Caramoan, a peninsula in Camarines Sur, boasts an array of majestic islands covered with white sands and rugged limestone cliffs made famous by the shooting of the international series “Survivor”.
This is the destination for you if you:
- love island hopping, swimming and snorkeling
- don’t mind getting a tan
- enjoy bicolano food
- love meeting and socializing with new people
- appreciate nature at its best
- are a shutter bug
There are so many islands to visit in Caramoan that you would never find yourself bored. We’ve yet to get a decent photo of every Island, and many of them are more photogenic from an aerial view, but here is a simple guide for each island.
Many of the Caramoan based Tour Providers offer 3 standard packages – the Short Trip, Long Trip A and Long Trip B. We offer the Short Trip for our 2D1N package, the Short Trip and Long Trip A on our 3D2N package and Short Trip B as an optional tour.
*Note the description of these islands are based on the optimal season to visit Caramaon, which is during the dry season, typically Dec -May.
THE SHORT TRIP
“Matukad”, the Bicolano word for “Steep climb”. Remember to bring appropriate footwear for this hop. You might find it strange that you will be asked by your guide to climb to see this island. But this 10 minute steep climb, clinging on to the jagged cliffs and tree roots is worth the effort to unearth this secret lagoon.Legend tells the tale of the two mystical bangus (milkfish) in the hidden lagoon of Matukad Island. If you speak to any of the locals in Caramoan, they will tell you that many years ago a man discovered 2 giant milk-fish in the lagoon weighing in at around 6 kilos. The man caught one of the fish and took it home the next day to feed his family. The following day the family died. It is said that the lagoon and its inhabitants is blessed and protected by mystical powers. So ever since then, the remaining milkfish has been left alone. If you are lucky you might get a glimpse of the giant fish. But be warned, it is said that if you take a photograph of this creature, it will disappear once you leave Caramoan.
“Lahos” visayan for pass through. The perfect description for this island as you can pass right through from one side of the island to the other as its small white sand beach is sandwiched between two large limestone rocks. In tagalog “laho” also means to disappear, which is exactly what this island does during high tide.You may recognize this island from the TV show “Survivor”, as this is where they shoot the tribal councils. Be cautious of the “walo-walo”, a very poisonous coral snake which locals say can kill a person in 8 seconds, 8 minutes or 8 years. Don’t worry too much though, these are very shy creatures and tend to stay away from people.
This “petite” cove does not look like much but it sands are finer than polvoron! Mixed black and white grains, and in the middle of the beach there is a huge ancient dead coral that looks like it has been dropped from above. Which is very fitting, since the visayan word “busdak” means to drop something heavy, or slam it down.
Minalahos IslandSimilar to Lahos and Matukad, this island offers white powdered sands and ragged limestone rocks. On this island its unique selling point is its sheer height of limestone rocks, that almost take over the beach. This is also a tidal island that sinks during high tide, and leaves only the rock formations visible. Look carefully in the rocks’ small caves and holes, as this is a well known playground for the “bayawak” or monitor lizard.
Cagbalinad BeachAnother tidal islet that sinks during high tide. Cagbalinad is one of the most secluded beaches that offer privacy and serenity, however it is not the beach that is the best part of this island, it is its panoramic view of the Goto Beach Cove, directly in front of it. Lie back under the receding rock formations in the cool sand and take in the views. Great for shutter bugs!
Hunongan CoveHunongan Cove is one of the elite resorts of Caramoan. The islands is often passed by for tourists to take pics from afar of these expensive, exclusive beach cottages for the rich and the famous. You might even spot a yacht or two!
LONG TRIP A
Cotivas Island Cotivas Island is famous for its long golden sand tip and is one of our favorites for eating lunch, taking a dip and the obligatory jump shot. The island is well kept by its caretakers and there are a few cottages that you can rent to take advantage of some well needed shade. There is also a makeshift bathroom on this island which also makes it a perfect option for overnight camping for those daring enough.
Manlawi SandbarThis area is covered in soft sands and is shallow enough to wade through during high tide, and during low tide, the sand bars are revealed and a gloriously wet and soft sands good enough to sink your feet into, much like a mud bath! Make sure to wear a lot of sun block as the area has no shade at all, or rent one of the floating cottages.
This is also very popular for lunch as there are many local vendors selling fresh sea foods and souvenirs in their “floating” market.
Sabitang Laya Island This famous triangular island offers a long stretch of glorious ivory coast with crystal clear waters. Just off the shore there is also a coral area protected by underwater fencing. A great place to snorkel and see the beautiful corals and marine life. An awesome 2 for 1 deal!
After walking the length of the beach, Sabitang- Laya is tipped of with limestone rocks that you will pass through to get to the small secluded white beach cove of Bag-Ing. The boat will normally drop you off at one end and meet you at the other side.
Guinahoan Island (lighthouse)Guinahoan Island offers a short 10 minute trek though its “Batanes” like rolling hills and grasslands to its peak where the most beautiful aerial views of the islands can been seen. Take a rest in one of the hilltop cottages and take in the views as well wildlife such as goats and cows. A great place for a jump shot and a pic next to its humongous lighthouse. And at the bottom of the hill, its shore line is laden with man groves.
LONG TRIP B
On approach, you will be drawn into the very still waters in the cove of Lantangan Bach on Pitogo Islands. With its ery “Jurassic” like views you will be amazed by its unusual white pebble beach which feature smooth edges compared to the normal jagged edges of the limestone rocks or coral beaches.
Some call it the singing island due to the pacific wind passing through these pebbles, the crashing of the wind and the cry of bats in the distance.
Malarad Island /Tayak Beach
Malarad Island boasts a pebbled coral beach and is a great spot for diving/snorkeling. It is only accessible during high tide due to the coral formations that prevent the boats from docking on a low tide.
Tayak LagoonTo get to this hidden pool, you have to swim under the rock barriers that separate this lake from the sea. During the summer, when the lake is crystal clear, its corals and marine life are great for snorkeling.
Tinago Beach meaning Hidden Beach in English is exactly that. You will not be able to see this beach as you tour around the islands in your boat as it’s hidden behind 2 cliffs, and the boat has to maneuver through a narrow passageway of rough waters to get to it. This is another beach that boasts white powder like sand that contrasts against the rugged background of limestone cliffs.