Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Road to Caramoan Took Four Years and a Day

The town of Caramoan is on the mainland. From Naga City, it would take two hours to get to Sabang. From Sabang, another four (or was it six? I forgot) hours on rough road to Caramoan. But when pumpboats came to ferry people in just two hours, the buses were left to rust in town.

It took me a looooonnngggg time to get to Caramoan. It took me four years and a day. In 2009, I was going to fly in to Legazpi City in Albay and then take the long road to Caramoan, but Mayon started acting up and when alert status was upped to level 2, I ditched the plan and it took me another four years to get to Caramoan. Correction: four years and a day. A day...spent getting from Legazpi City to Caramoan.

Caramoan is actually not that far. It was the waiting that made Caramoan seem far.

Waiting area in Sabang, Camarines Sur (left)
and crossing the segmented floating bridge to get on the boat bound for Guijalo Port Caramoan (right)
0515 Arrived in Grand Central Terminal (Legazpi City) and found a van for Naga
0545 In the van....still in Grand Central Terminal
0615 In the van in Grand Central Terminal mentally willing people to come and get in the van
0645 The van finally fills up and leaves for Naga
0815 Got off at Atayan, Pili
0830 Got on a bus for Goa Terminal
0930 At Goa Terminal, got off the bus and looked for a jeepney for Sabang
0945 Tick tock tick tock...waiting in the jeepney
0955 The jeepney I am in starts rolling out of Goa Terminal
1015 Sabang port! 45 minutes until the next boat trip to Caramoan.
1100 Still on dry land
1200 Still no signal for passengers to board the boat
1230 Boarding is finally announced
1245 And we're sailing!
1345 Still rocking and rolling in the waves
1445 Boat docks at Guijalo Port in Caramoan
1500 Finally stepped on the dock after everyone else spilled out of the boat
1515 Chitchatting with the tricycle driver as we leave Guijalo Port for Paniman Beach
1545 Congratulations! Destination reached: Paniman Beach

Total waiting time: 5 hours and 10 minutes
Total time on the move: 5 hours and 20 minutes
Total time from point A (Legazpi City) to point B (Paniman Beach): 10.5 hours

Guijalo Port (left) and Paniman Beach (right)

So that was the long of it. Here's the short version:
  1. From Legazpi City, take a van (1.5 hours, Php 140) or bus to Naga, Camarines Sur. Get off at Atayan, Pili, Camarines Sur.
  2. At Atayan, Pili, get on a bus for Goa Terminal (1 hour, Php 49).
  3. At Goa Terminal, ride a jeepney to Sabang (20 mins, Php 22).
  4. At Sabang Port, cross the floating bridge (Php 10) to get on the boat bound for Guijalo Port (2 hours, Php 120). Schedule are as follows:  Sabang to Guijalo 530AM / 7AM / 9AM / 11AM / 2PM. Guijalo to Sabang 7AM / 8AM / 9AM / 11AM. Note that schedules are not strictly followed. If there are only a few passengers, sailing will be delayed.
  5. If you're staying in Caramoan Centro, from Guijalo Port, take a tricycle to Centro (10 mins, Php 20/pax).
  6. If you're staying in Paniman Beach, from Centro, hire a tricycle to Paniman Beach (20 mins, Php 150/tricycle). If you're in a hurry, you can hire a tricycle from Guijalo Port straight to Paniman Beach (30 mins, Php 300/tricycle).

St. Michael Archangel Church in Caramoan Centro

There are places to stay in Caramoan Centro and in Paniman Beach. I opted to stay at Paniman Beach, in Kuya Ramil's house (Php 300/pax since I just used the fan; it's Php 500/pax if you want to use the AC). For big groups, the entire house can be rented. It can fit up to ten persons. You can ask Ate Myrna (Ramil's wife) to cook, or spare her the trouble by eating at a nearby resort, or buying food just a few paces away. For drinks and snacks, there are a number of sari-sari stores around Paniman Beach. Island hopping, which, I bet, is your main reason for visiting Caramoan, can be arranged thru Kuya Ramil.

One of the rooms at Kuya Ramil's house

The different Survivor franchises that have filmed in Caramoan have helped the residents of Caramoan by providing jobs. With the money Kuya Ramil earned working as a speedboat driver for the different franchises, he was able to build his concrete house and acquire a number of pumpboats. According to Kuya Ramil, Survivor USA will start filming again on March 2014.

Contact information:
Ramir (tricycle) 0930 616 9766
Ramil and Myrna Cruel (homestay/island hopping) 0907 435 1962 — Don't be fooled by their family name. They're actually good people.

Caramoan, Camarines Sur:
The Road to Caramoan Took Four Years and a Day (you're here!)
Caramoan Island Hopping


  1. We stayed on the same room ila Kuya Ramil.. But may aircon na karon. ^_^

    1. Wa ra nako gamita ang aircon kay wala sa budget hahaha :-)

  2. great shot of that church, mustachio! That's a lot of time spent waiting and traveling just to get to Caramoan though it would be interesting to see Survivor USA being filmed in real life. :)

    1. Thanks JoAnn. Would be interesting, but when there's a shoot, some islands are off limits. I guess you know that USA, Serbia, Israel, Bulgaria, Sweden, France, and India have filmed there. Not sure if Survivor USA would allow outsiders to watch but I remember our guide say that some, forgot which countries, would allow.

  3. It's great that the Survivor series has helped a lot of Caramoan residents. God knows we need more of that in this country. xx

    1. Oh yeah! And it was because of Survivor USA that the road to Paniman Beach was improved. It used to be a rough road, not it's all concrete :-)

  4. My brother wants to visit this place. Last year pa cge pamugos. :D

    1. So...when are you taking him there, Synz? :)

  5. I want to visit and explore this island and become a survivor. LoL! Great post about Caramoan. I bet you will be a good Tourism Officer there, in short, tour guide. LMAO! peace!

    1. Ummm I don't think so. If magtour guide ko, basin mag una pa ko sa mga guests ug langoy langoy :-D

  6. Hi Sir, If we are travelling in groups, is it better to rent a van from legazpi to sabang port? How long would you think it would take us to reach caramoan? Any estimate value of costing? Thanks!

    1. Hello there. Yes, if you are a big group and can fill a van, why not! But I don't know how much renting a van would cost. Since you won't have to do transfers (commuting would take three rides), it would probably just take you 2.5 to 3 hours. Thanks for visiting the blog!