While we were traveling back to Manila from Baler (Aurora) last June, my companions were already talking about our next weekend getaway, saying that there will be another long weekend come August. At that time, we all agreed that Sagada would be our next destination, but early August, we received the invitation for a weekend getaway to Caramoan. It was first scheduled August 20 - 23, but our companions had work-related responsibilities, so they decided to cancel and re-schedule. Thankfully, the next weekend was another long weekend here in the Philippines, so we pushed through last August 29 - 31.
Caramoan is located in the province of Camarines Sur in Bicol region. I first heard of this place in 2009, but the willingness to travel there intensified when it became the location of choice for the hit US reality television show, Survivor, which shot back-to-back seasons in Caramoan (Survivor Philippines - season 25 and Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites - season 26).
Traveling to Caramoan took us 14 hours. It was a long and tiring ride (as there were a lot of road repairs), but when we got there, it was like all our wearies were washed out. We spent most of our time island hopping, and because this place is not highly commercialized yet, there weren't a lot of restaurants in the area, so most of our meals were eaten at the dining area of the resort where we stayed at.
It was my very first time to set foot in Bicol, and my very first meal there was this serving of Jollibee Chickenjoy and rice, which was my breakfast in the town of Pili in Camarines Sur. At first I was thinking of going for their breakfast meals, but nothing caught my fancy, so I just opted for this. A very good choice, I must say, because even if we were already in Camarines Sur, it still took us nearly 4 hours on the road before we reached Caramoan.
As soon as we reached West Peninsula Villas in Caramoan, we were instantly asked to order our lunch because we were nearly 20 people on this trip total (7 in our group + 2 in our van and another van of tourists), and it might take a lot of time before all of will get served, so checking the menu, I quickly told my mom I wanted Calamares and let her order while I carried our things to our room. She ordered Grilled Fish, and we both had a great lunch.
That afternoon, we went on a short island hopping.
For dinner that night, mom and I chose to go for Sinigang so we would have warm, comforting soup. Based from our lunch a few hours ago, we learned that their serving is good for sharing so we went for just one dish. Our companions ordered Bicol Express, which was interesting for me, because from what I know this dish has coconut milk, but this looked a lot like Pork Binagoongan. Well, regardless of how Bicol Express should look like, one thing is for sure - it has to be very, very, spicy... and this one was to the roof spicy!
The next day was a very hectic day for us, so mom and I ordered this big bowl of Lomi for breakfast. We both had two small bowls full, and the leftover we asked to be packed, so we could take it on our Island Hopping.
We stayed at an island for quite a long time where we ate lunch. This island had huts for tourists to use to eat their meals, and the caretaker of the area came to our table and offered us some fresh crabs. Island life is synonymous to eating seafood, so our group went for it, and we all had a great time eating crabs using our bare hands! Fresh crabs cooked in coconut water... so delicious!
For dinner, we decided to walk around and look for other choices - hoping we would see a Carinderya or what... and we were thankful to see this little food place near the church. Unfortunately, service was very, very slow, so when they placed the food on our table, we quickly devoured on it and I wasn't able to photograph it anymore.
It was time for us to leave. For breakfast, mom and I ordered another noodle dish, while our companions ordered chili crabs. Another way too spicy dish that I couldn't handle, so after tasting it, I told myself no more. :)
Traveling back to Manila, we had two more food stops - lunch at Bigg's Diner in Pili (Camarines Sur) and dinner somewhere in Quezon Province... which I will share in the days to come.