Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Saling Pusa: A force invitation to a CWC and Caramoan Adventure

Martin Buber said that all journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. The said quote suited well on my recent adventure this time in Camarines Sur. It was a birthday getaway weekend of Sek, who happened to be hailed from Naga city, Camarines Sur. Upon learning his plan, I invited myself to be part of it. It was a chance I would not grab because of my dream of Wakeboarding in CWC and island hopping in Caramoan, frequent shooting location of the Survivor franchise. Unknown to me there were more destinations waiting for me.

Day 0
Cubao, Quezon City
Our meet-up place was Mcdonald's Gateway. When I got there two minutes before the call time, no familiar faces were there. So I made an SMS to Corky then he told me to meet Sek in Starbucks Araneta. When I went thre, Sek was in the Food Plaza of the mall. It was like a wild goose chase without the goose. Finally, I saw Sek and Topher in one of the tables in the Food Court. We waited for Topher to finish his dinner while waiting for the others. Then, Jethmal called Sek asking where we were. To cut the long story short, we ended on the original meet up place. Dane arrived moments later then Jet returned there after entering the mall. Finally, Corky landed on the venue.

Ali Mall, Cubao
We boarded the Raymond Bus Liner enroute to Tabaco, Albay. I have a bad history with this liner but I have no choice to give it a chance. There were no empty seats on the bus probably because it was a Friday.

The driver step on the pedal and were off to our journey. It was a fast drive even if drove in EDSA's notorious points of traffic. We were in Alabang with in half an hour.

Calamba, Laguna

After exiting the South Luzon Expressway, the bus suddenly pulled over. Minutes passed and we were still not leaving. Some curious passengers went outside and found out that a flat tire caused the long wait. So we went outside, to get some fresh air. It took almost an hour to fix the problem.
Day 1
Calauag, Quezon
It was our official stop over. Jet and I went inside the canteen to buy some food. Shocked with unreasonable prices, we decided to go outside. And so we ate in a local burger chain just across the road. Topher bought a 50.00 worth of cup noodles on the said canteen.

Naga, Camarines Sur

Thanks to our driver who was in a fast and furious mode, we reached Naga City just before the sun rises. LG, who served as our welcoming committee, met us in the bus terminal. A short walk led us to SM Naga, which prompted me to the customary photo session of the mall. Then we rode a trike towards to LG's house in Canaman. After settling there, we wasted no time and went to the city.


Our first stop was a carinderia just in front of the E-Mall. There we ate a famous noodle dish there called Kinalas. It was something special because the tase was delicious eventhough the meat used was only pork instead of the traditional beef meat. We all enjoyed it however Jet who put too much spice on his soup was too sweaty while eating his meal.

Naga Cathedral

I have been here a few times during the Feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia but this was the first time it was not crowded. It was solemn. Peace and calm were present on the sacred place. It was a perfect time to pray. After a few shots taken, we left the cathedral.

Basilica Minore

A just concluded fun run welcomed us in front of the Basilica. Because of the event, there were a lot of people there. Howver, inside the church it was quiet as a sign of respect to Ina. I have a chance to touch her again after a long time. Then, prayed the novena in honor for her.

Canawan, Naga
After countless of picture taking, a super tiring long walk, a 1.5 bottle of coke and a piece of fried siopao, we returned to LG's house. Exhausted from the improptu visita iglesia, I just laid down on one of the matresses in the floor.


We ate lunch in one of the eateries in the city proper. It only cost PhP 225.00 for a group of seven persons. It included 5 different meals, 7 servings of rice and two liters of soft drink.

Pili, Camarines Sur

After lunch, we boarded a bus en route to Iriga. We paid PhP 10.00 for the trip. Then we rode a tricycle that will bring us to CWC, which located at the back of the provincial capitol of Camarines Sur. Yes, Pili is the capital of the province and not Naga who is the heart and soul of the province. We came just before the staff had their lunch break so after registering we just waited for our time to start. PhP 125 for one hour. PhP 40 for the rent of life vest and helmet. PhP 500.00 depositwas charged for insurance of the gears.

Winchpark, CWC

We started 15 minutes early because the staff was disturbed because of our presence during their break. The whole park was exclusive for the six of us. As my tradition, I was the last one to try. As a result, I had the best performance for the group.
I reached more than half of the park. The second try, Corky nailed it as he reached the other side. Not to be outdone, I also reached the other side but failed to finishe it minus the splash in the water. It took more than half an hour before other people showed up in the park that ended our exclusivity to the park. After an hour and so, we enjoyed this hobby. It was lot of fun even we had a lot of misses than hits. Surely, I will never forget this and I wanted to return so I could wakeboard in the
Pro's park.

Poolside, CWC

How time flies, it was time to surrender the gears back to the registration area. We spend time resting on the poolside. The guys were contented on sitting there and observing the beatiful views around the place while I took a dip in the water.
However, when I noticed that I was causing pollution on the pool, I decided to go back. There, I saw a former classmate of mine and had a conversation with him.

Lago del Ray, CWC

Just beside the wakeboard park is the Aquapark in Lago del Ray, which is also a man made lagoon. Bunch of children were having fun with the inflated stuffs floating in the water. It costs 120 per hour but we did not try it believing it is just for kids who want to have fun. Thus, we just loitered in one portion and have an instant photo shoot of ourselves.

Naga Coliseum

I went inside to the coliseum in order to see Gawin who is playing for the Ateneo de Naga but he already went home immediately after their game. Then I saw the guys wrestling with each other inside a boxing ring near the complex. Another long walk ensued. We boarded a jeepney that transported us to another one that will bring us to LG's house. (of course, the 7 of us only knows what happened there)

Canaman, Naga

We have to prepare quickly because we have to leave immediately so we can go to Nabua, where we will spend the night. Because of unforeseen events, we have to go there. Before we left, our host's mother insisted us to eat dinner first so we obliged.
Then we went back to the terminal minus LG. Eventhough we were going to his dad's place, he cannot go with us so I was tasked to be the lead guide to our destination. The said town is along the way going to our province so I know where it is. The plan was to ride a bus but there were no more bus so we rode a van going to Nabua.

Nabua, Camarines Sur

Our new host is a Physician but opted to be in the business sector. He fetched the six of us through a motorcycle. It was no habal habal so it took turns of fetching us. Topher and I were almost forgotten to be brought in the house, were the last one to arrive. Doc made dinner for us. It was plentiful. I really enjoy home made dishes especially in the provinces. After dinner, we went inside our room which was airconditioned. For a moment, we had first class accomodation.
Moments later, we went outside to have our drinking sessions. Although tired and exhausted due to our non stop activities, we decided to chill out. Doc shared some cool stories about their place and town that quite suprisingly true.

Day 2
When the bottle of brandy had its last drop, I decided to call it a night and proceed to our room. Inside the room, Sek and Jet were already asleep when I saw them. I turned off the lights before I slept in the other bed.
It was the second alarm of my phone thaw finally woke me up. Due to the long travel ahead of us, we have to leave early. I turned on the lights so the guys could wake up. Due to a few hours of sleep, we were quite sleepy to wake up. But we have to leave, so one by one we prepared our things and move to our next destination. Meanwhile, Doc prepared us some breakfast that includes pansit bato. It was made from their neighbor town, Bato. Sek was the only one who did not ate breakfast because of his diet. We had a short tour of the house before we eventually leave the place. LG's father even rented a trike to transport us to the town proper. He even paid for our fare. I really admire his hospitality for accepting strangers in his humble abode.

Pili, Camarines Sur

We alighted the van in a diversion road to ride a vehicle enroute to Sabang port. While waiting, the guys bought some bread and shared to everybody. My stomach was unfriendly during that time so when I saw a gas station, I hurriedly went to their comfort room. After I unloaded my dirt, I was shocked to see a bidet spray there and it was working. You have no idea how I envy that rest room. Then I saw my friends starting to load their things to the jeepney so I rushed towards them. Because the PUj was almost full, they decided to go topload meaning at the roof of the jeep. I had no plans of toploading so I seated beside the driver.

Sabang, Camarines Sur

We arrived on schedule on the port. After writing in the passenger's manifest, we waited for the boat to arrive. Few minutes later, it came. All passengers were anxious to get on board but have to wait for awhile to unload the passengers inside. To board the boat, one should walk in a makeshift bridge that men had to carry in order to reach the vessel. After settling the things, I seated beside Corky. Then a lady seated besides me. I was quite fortunate to seat besides her. She's the type your eyes would not leave its sight. It was a two hour ride so I thought God gave me 120 minutes just to talk with her. Of course, I wasted almost all of it. Blame it to my shyness. However, I did have quite few but interesting conversations with her. She was nice and very accommodating to my queries. Although I got some details about her, the sad part is that I did not even got her name. :(

The girl in blue dress was the one I let go away.  I hope I can met her again.

Guijalo Port, Caramoan

The port in Guijalo is diffetent from Sabang because it is more commercialized than the latter. However, to cross on the mainland, we should board a small boat. When we got there, Jet already hired a tricycle driver named Manuel that will bring us to Paniman where we will get our boat to deliver us in the islands of Camaroan. It was quite a long drive to the other side so we settled our things first in the town proper. I suggest that we eat in Lutong Bahay. My friends had no idea what I was talking about so they laugh. Then Manuel stopped right in front of the said eatery. Of course, they were surprised so I shared a secret of a traveler like me, i.e. Research. Hungry and thirsty, we wasted no time to eat lunch there.

Market Side near St. Michaels Church, Caramoan
We bought a fish and a cooking pot to cook rice. Then we went to a store that we had bought all the things we needed in our camping trip. After settling all the necessities we have to bring, our sojourn continued. Kuya Manuel led us to her sister in Barangay Paniman. After some deliberation, we agreed to used Christine 2 (the name of the boat). We were asked which island we want, so I said loudly Matukad Island. At first, I was kind of disappointed that the said island was close because of the Survivor Franchise but was shocked and happy upon hearing that it was opened a day earlier.

Matukad Island, Caramoan Peninsula

    Aerial shot of Matukad Island

To reach there, it will only take 15 minutes from the shoreline. When we got there a handful of island hoppers were already there. I instantly looked for a good camping site. Corky led the way in setting up the tents. Jet and Dane were game on learning how to pitch the tents. Meanwhile, Sek and Topher were the ones in charge of the food because of their culinary skills. Upon settling down, another boat arrived composed of other island hoppers. It included my preaty seatmate. As always, my shyness were all over me so I just went to the lagoon where the mysterios giant bangus is residing. However, one should climb the rocks in order to reach the lagoon. Jet accompanied me on this exploration. I am an experience hiker so I thought it would be easy for me. Luckily for me, I did have any injuries or scratches because of the edgy rocks. Jet took some photos of me at the top of the rock but when it was my turn to use the camera it shut down automatically. I tried three times but to no avail.

I was not spooked but I just surrendered as a sign of respect to the things that science could not even explain. I did see the milkfish which is about two feet. However, I did not see my "future" when I returned to the shore. Apparently, they left. Another blown chance for me. Haissst.


I had a chance to talk to the boatmen about the myth surrounding this island. One of them was even possessed when he went down in the lagoon. Also, one foreigner could not go back after swimming there. However, I was interested on the mythe of the two giant bangus. Before there were two milkfish over there in the lagoon, however, a fisherman caught one of them and ate it. According to one of them, the son of the fisherman died instantenously with no reason at all. Upon hearing, I hurriedly go back to my friends to share what I have discovered.

Just before sunset, we had the whole island by our lonesome. We were on Survivor mode. Six castaways stranded on the island. Later, we decided to have dinner. Topher and Sek prepared inihaw na isda. Then, they fried some luncheon meat. The meals were awesome.


We started our socials right after dinner. Three Empe Lights were just fine for the six of us. We shared some stories while drinking. Then the researchers from the Survivor show returned to study the seasnake found in one of the rocks. When one of them passed us, we asked him if the snake is venomous. The foreigner gladly answered, "Yes, they're venomous but they don't like to bite. Just stay away from the rocks. I was not bothered by the snakes instead I was still trying to uncover the mysteries I witnessed in this island. But I was not avail to do so. I even so an image of waman walked behind Sek. It was probably the goddess who guards the island. Our bonfire also makes an appear-disappear act. It happened four times. Still, we lied down in the fined sands of the islands and relaxed with our booze.

Day 3
For the second straight day, I was the one who rose up first signaling all of us to went out of our tents. The sun has not yet to rise so we decided to go swimming. The water is clear however lots of see weeds were all over the place. Stll, it was the best beach I been to. Sorry Guimaras, Bolinao and Nagsasa (which all are pretty beaches). After a while, I brought them up to the lagoon. It was high tide so the water reached the shores. I went up first so they could see where to climb. Sek followed suit. Then Dane was next. Jet, Topher and Corky followed suit. IT did not took us long to reach their. However, Dane failed to reached the other side because of fatigue. My camera worked at the top of the rocks but after one shot of the lagoon it mysteriously shut down again. When we descend to the island, bunch of people were already there including our boatmen. It was time for us to leave.

Just before we leave, the DENR people came to close the island. It was ironic because it felt that we really had to be there. One day it was close then when we arrive it opened then when we left it was closed again. Ironic, isn't it. We did not go to any islands. Probably it was my fault because I did not force my friends to do so. Still, I was satisfied with what transpired. I was able to enjoy a nice weekend with my brods. (This was the first time; a weather forecast went wrong, I am very thankful for the good weather).

When we reached Paniman, we took a bath just beside a well. We took turns in reaching the pail of water just like what Jack and Jill did minus the hill. Few minutes later, Kuya Manuel arrived to fetch us.


Before we go back to Guijalo port, we bought some souvenir shirts in the town proper. Then we stopped by shortly in St. Michael's church to pray for our safe trip home and also thanking for giving us a fine weather and all of us are still safe. When we arrived in Guijalo port, the boat was about to leave so we hurriedly went inside there. We did not even pay the terminal fee. But we wrote in the passengers manifest.

Sabang, Camarines Sur

We arrived sound and safe in Sabang Port. This time, i did not have a beautiful companion beside me but I could not complain at least this was the first trip that I have long conversation with a pretty stranger. Next time, I will try to befriend one.

At around 14:30 we arrived in SM Naga. We ate there. I will not name the restaurant because of my bad experience to them. I will not advertise for a business establishment that employs people who are stubborn to bring soups and serve rice to their customers. (FU) Then the five of us except Sek went to the comfort room in order to load extra baggages. WHile waiting for Dane and Jet, Topher made conversation with one of the saleslady. He asked, “Nakapunta ka na ba ng Caramoan, dun kasi punta namin. The pretty sales lady replied, Di pa po sir. Topher answered back with this, Bakit po ang gaganda ng mga sales lady dito. In which Corky shouted, Boom!

Naga Bus Terminal

All good travels have to end and it was time ti bid farewell on this fun and exciting province of Camarines Sur. I vow to return and visit the other islands of Caramoan and try to do well in Wake boarding. Probably next year but as I always say, Only God knows when.

Thank you Casper, Topher, Jethmal, Dane and Corky for making me part of this awesome and unforgettable adventure. This was the only available weekend on my calendar and yet I able to fill it thanks to you guys. Til next time!

How to get to Caramoan:

Ride a bus to Naga via Tabaco or Legaspi
Ride a van or jeep or bus to Sabang
Ride a boat to Guijalo Port
Ride a Tricycle to Paniman

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