I consider myself to be a certified beach bum and given that Philippines is comprised of 7,107 islands, there arecertainly a lot of beaches to visit. Philippines is truly a gem and out of all the islands that I’ve been to, these 3Cs are my top 3: Coron, Calaguas, and Caramoan.
Caramoan Island is located in the lower eastern part of Camarines Sur in the Bicol region of the Philippine archipelago.It’s a first-class municipality, a rugged place of land extending into the waters of the Maqueda Channel on the north and east and Lagonoy Gulf on the south. It has a 4,000- hectare limestone forest well endowed with a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It boasts of having perfect white sand beaches, tranquil lakes, deep caves, coves and rich marine life.
Caramoan can be reached via land travel, approx. 10-12 hours, through private cars or buses (Philtranco,Penafrancia, Amihan) and air travel through Naga airport. For more info, visit this website.
Since we already made prior arrangements with West Peninsula Villas, a staff picked us up upon reaching Naga town proper and headed straight to the Villa to check-in.
Note that West Peninsula Villas is located in the town proper and not on the beach side, and all the islands we visited are approx. 1.5hours boat ride away, a bit of a stretch but it was all worth it. West Peninsula arranged our itinerary and our meals for our entire stay.
Caramoan is also known to be a chosen setting for the Survivor reality TV show.
If you have the luxury of time, you can do a side trip to see Mayon volcano, go wake boarding in CWC, whale-watching in Donsol, experience Firefly River tour, and more.
The Calaguas is a group of islands in the Pacific under the jurisdiction of the town of Vinzons, Province of Camarines Norte, a merely 2-hour boat ride from the mainland. It boasts of powdery white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and unspoiled natural resources, a place where you can truly relax while enjoying the beauty and serenity of the place.
The long stretch of the beach named Halabang Baybay / Mahabang Buhangin by the locals, is a cove located in the Tinaga Island; a picture perfect paradise with its long stretch of fine white sand, dotted with volcanic rocks, and most frequented camping and swimming site by tourists.
Similar with Caramoan, Calaguas is a 10-hour ride from Manila to Daet via land travel through private cars or buses (Philtranco bus lines) and another 2-hour boat ride from Daet to Calaguas.
There are 2 ways you can plan a trip to Calaguas:
1. Join a group tour
If you decide to join a group tour, everything will be taken cared of. Land and boat transfers, accommodation (tent for 2pax), and food are all part of the package. You only have to show up at the meeting place at the agreed upon meeting time.
The group can be as big as 70pax. If it’s only going to be just you, I advise joining a group tour because it’s less hassle, cheaper, and you will get to meet a lot of people.
2. Do it yourself
DIY is good for group of friends (minimum of 4pax). Why? Because the cost of the boat ride can be shared within the group. Also, doing it with friends allows you to distribute the weight of all the stuff that you need to bring (i.e. tent, cooking equipment, food, drinks, eating utensils, etc.). If you are traveling solo, bringing all these on your own can be such a hassle.
Note: if you don’t like sleeping in tents, there are resorts on the island but the rate per night is quite high.
I am saving the best for last. Coron has truly been one of my favorite islands. I’ve never been to El Nido and Puerto Princesa, also part of Palawan, but I’ve been to Coron 3 times already. I can never get enough of it, the beauty of it all; truly a paradise within our reach.
Coron Island Palawan is a wedge-shaped limestone island, with few of its coastal areas being covered by mangrove forests. It has seven lakes, famous of which is the nationally-acclaimed cleanest lake in the Philippines, the Kayangan Lake. It also has a number of islands with white beaches and clear blue waters perfect for snorkeling, deepsea fishing and shipwreck diving.
How to get there: Air travel through Busuanga airport