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Playa Tropical Resort Hotel: Bali of the North

Friday, September 23, 2016 Currimao, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Last month, Lanz, Lili, Jechel, and I made our sort-of-backpacking trip to Ilocos Norte. We got to visit one of UNESCO's World Heritage iconic Church of Paoay, tasted Batac's famous empanada, explore local sceneries, and more! First time visiting Ilocos Norte? Nope. It's my third time already. First, with my family and relatives. Second, a high school field trip.

Anyway, 4 months ago, me and my colleagues, booked a 1 night stay for August 23 at Playa Tropical Resort Hotel through Deal Grocer. The stay is good for 4 people with breakfast and 2 15-minute massage. Instead of PhP 3,800 ($76) we only got it for PhP 3,200 ($64). It was really a great catch so we bought the deal. Plus, the pictures advertised were really enticing, especially the pool.

Read on to know more about our stay at Playa Tropical Resort Hotel, a Balinese-inspired haven of the North.


Location


Playa Tropical Resort Hotel is located in Barangay Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte and it is situated on the main strip of beachfront resorts and hotels. It is a 45 minute drive from Laoag International Airport, a 6-8 hours drive from Baguio, and a 9-10 hours drive if you will be coming from Manila. It's location is very accessible to Currimao's market, 7-eleven, karinderias (food stalls), pharmacy stores, bus stop, and other local stores, all are in easy walking distance. There is not much restaurants or other fancy establishments in Currimao but it's truly a peaceful place, perfect for connecting with nature.


Checking in & first impressions


From the Manor Rd. and Balacao Rd. intersection, we rode a tricycle going to the hotel. It was somewhat enigmatic when you drive through the security gate and towards the surprising entrance. After stepping out of the tricycle we rode, we were greeted with a beautiful Bali-like palace. The first thing you will notice are the exquisite furnitures from Indonesia.


We arrived at 10 in the morning. We were exhausted from our 8 hour trip, we want to take a bath, and we didn't have any breakfast yet.

Our stomach is grumbling and we really needed to eat. Good thing is that the hotel's restaurant is open. We left our bags in the lobby and went straight to the restaurant while waiting for our room to be prepared.

Although there were some problems when we were checking in, but nonetheless, we got upgraded from a Double Deluxe room to a Villa without any charge. Plus, we got to stay for another night for free. Yay!!! So instead of a 2 days and 1 night, we get to indulge in the beauty of Playa Tropical for 3 days and 2 nights.


As we approached, we were greeted with awe by its breathtaking landscape. Oh, what a beautiful place! It seems like we got transported to Bali in a zap! And oh, we can't wait to try out the pool!


The Villa


We were given Aqua, 1 of the 4 Casas (villas), the gems of Playa Tropical that proudly stand in the resort. The villa is a beautiful 2 floors occupancy with a dreamy Bali view.


The first floor houses the master bedroom that opens up to the pool and the garden. We had our own living room and a dining room. Plus, a private pool and a garden at the back. Sweet!


What I absolutely love about our villa is our private pool. Here we spend most of our time: just wading, having chat. And on our last night, we bought some beers and went absolutely crazy! Haha.


Upstairs is a very wide room with 3 single beds, equipped with a flat screen cabled TV, a huge vanity mirror, a low table and huge throw pillows, a wooden bench, and built-in bamboo cabinets.


There were complimentary shampoos and soaps in the bathroom.


And there were complimentary bottles of drinking water waiting for us in the mini refrigerator.


TRIVIA:
Did you know that the 4 villas are named after the 4 elements? Agua, Tierra, Viento, and Fuego. Agua: A beach where the calm waves and fine sand reminds you of the infinite wonders of the world. Tierra: A home in landscaped gardens where you can live in bliss. Viento: An escape where your worries drift away with the gentle ocean breeze. Fuego: A paradise where you find the most beautiful sunsets.

The pool

The Playa Tropical's infinity pool is overlooking the beach. We didn't get a chance to experience the pool though. When we arrived, they were fixing the pool and another 2-3 days for it to be filled. Ah, it would be so nice to plunge into its waters.


The beach


The beach is where we spend our mornings and afternoons during our stay at Playa Tropical. The sand is fine, powdery, and gray. There is always a refreshing breeze which means you will never feel like you are baking under the sun. The water is incredibly cool too! The sea is perfect for an early morning or an afternoon swim.


Cafe Amarra



On our first day at Playa Tropical we got to try out one of Cafe Amarra's specialties like the ensaladang iloco, pinakbet, and other Ilocos specialties which I really love (because I am an Ilocano myself). A single viand is good for 2. The food is good but pricey. And you will spend an average price of PhP 800 ($16) or more for 4 persons. We paid PhP 800+ for that late breakfast and lunch.

TIP: Try out a pot of coffee and experience real Bali inside Cafe Amarra.


We got a complimentary breakfast for 4 (for 1 night stay) which we opted to take advantage during our second day. We were treated to their breakfast specialties. Oh, you should try out their longganisa (sausages) here, it's heavenly!


The food can also be ordered to the pool area and to your room. There is no stay at Playa Tropical is complete without lounging in one of their Bali-inspired cabanas and trying out their brewed coffee. Absolute bliss.


The spa


Playa Tropical has its own spa facilities, the Solana, and it is open from 8 AM to 8 PM. During our stay, we were offered a 15 minutes complimentary massage for 2 persons a night. However, I opted to just give my 15 minute treatment to one of our companions so she can have another 15 minutes for free. She's been lucky to experience a full body massage. I preferred to hang out in our own private pool at the villa with the others.


Behind the spirals


The spirals can be found almost anywhere around the resort and we really are perplexed what it could mean. We got lucky to talk to Ms. Toni, owner of Playa Tropical, to explain to us what's the meaning behind this spirals. The pretty Ms. Toni shared with us that there are 2 ways to draw a spiral: from the outside going in and from the inside going out. These two ways represent life, as both, an inward journey where we discover ourselves, and an outward journey where we discover the world.


Final verdict


It’s not often I leave somewhere with the feeling that I know I will return. I am far too in love with travel and new places to repeat the same place twice. However, I fell in love with Playa Tropical and due to our short stay here, I left feeling as if I had only just scratched the surface of this gorgeous hotel, especially our own villa. I can imagine that a 2 nights here would leave you feeling completely de-stressed and ultimately pampered, a perfect getaway for the weary soul. La Playa Tropical Resort Hotel is a gorgeous resort hotel with a effortlessly cool vibe and incredibly luxurious Balinese details. For that reason, it easily gets Charlotte Anne's seal of approval.


What did you think of my review of Playa Tropical Resort Hotel in Currimao? Are you planning to stay here or have you visited the hotel before? If you have any questions or enjoyed this post, I’d love you to leave me a comment in the box below!

Al Del Rio Villa Resort: A cozy homestay in Caramoan

Friday, September 09, 2016 Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Philippines

Recently, I wrote a blog post about my trip to Caramoan, and oh boy, it was such an amazing experience! One of the best thing about our Caramoan trip is we got to experience local hospitality through a homestay. Homestay is a great alternative to hotels. It's great if your travel is on a budget. It's way cheaper! Plus, you'll get to learn more about the culture by staying with the locals.

Travel Book booked us for a 2 nights extraordinary experience at Al Del Rio Villa Resort. And our stay also includes a Caramoan package tour: island hopping, boat and tour guide fees, environmental/island fees, floating cottage fees, full board meals, accommodations, and other fees. Courtesy of Al Del Rio.

Al Del Rio doesn't look much from the outside but once you stepped inside you'll be amazed how homey and how spacious it actually is.


Here's Al Del Rio's living room...


Al Del Rio Villa Resort offers an impressive country-side experience like a local in Caramoan. It is a spacious and comfortable place, located at Durong-an, Barangay Bikal, Caramoan, Camarines Sur, pretty much a few steps away from Bikal Wharf. Bikal Port is where all the boats are located going to the different islands of Caramoan.

Check this photo. From this point (where Al Del Rio is) to the Bikal port. See just a few steps away.


THE ROOMS


Al Del Rio Villa Resort has 6 air conditioned rooms (4 standard rooms, 1 family room, 1 barkada room), a bamboo house, and guests can also stay in the tree house.

Standard Rooms. Our room is a standard room that has 2 queen size bamboo beds with comfortable mattresses and soft pillows, extra blankets, flat screen TV, a built-in cabinet, air-conditioner, and a fan. It has a private toilet and bath room too.


We had our own balcony which offers the best view, overlooking the beautiful scenery of Bikal. This view from our balcony is just so amazing, and even more amazing when you where here.


Check out this other standard room too. All standard rooms can accommodate up to 2 to persons.


Barkada Room. The Barkada Room can house up to more than 10 heads. So if you're planning to have a Caramoan getaway with your pals and you don't want to be separated with each other, then the Barkada Room is for you (cue in "Friends 'Til The End" by Violetta). It is air-conditioned and it is also equipped with electric fans. It has it's own private toilet and bath too.


Bamboo House. Why Bamboo House? Of course, it is made up of bamboo. It is breezy here and can accommodate up to more than 8 heads and it is equipped with electric fans too.


Tree House. Al Del Rio has a huge tree house situated at the back of the Al Del Rio house. This tree house has 2 levels and can accommodate up to 8 to 10 persons, and literally, it is a house on top of a tree. It is equipped with electric fans, comfy mattresses, fluffy pillows, and blankets. Mau, our host, told to us that the tree house will even have its own toilet and bath soon, and yes, inside the tree house.


THE FOOD


Mau's mother and her uncle prepared home-cooked delicious rice meals for us throughout our stay and during our trip to the islands. Our breakfast for our first day includes and scrambled eggs and spiced chicken longganisa (sausages). For lunch, we ate at Matukad Island were our meal is ginataang Kamansi with alimasag, and fried Sal-igan fish. Our dinner includes tinolang manok (one of my fave), sauted alimasag, and okra.


The other day, we were treated to sunny side up eggs, tuyo, and fried eggplants. Our lunch at Manlawi Sandbar is a yummy fried squids, and laing. And in the evening, we enjoyed an authentic ginataang pagi (sting ray Bicol express), sweet and sour Lapu-Lapu, and a corn soup with abalone and shrimps.

All our meals were not complete without desserts. We feasted on boiled saba, pomelo, jack fruits, corns, and a special delicacy called balusongsong which was really really really delicious.

A thing that I really loved about Al Del Rio is that all their meals our scrumptious.

THE VERDICT


Our homestay during our 2 nights at Al Del Rio Villa Resort was superb! We felt very homey in their abode. Everything reminds me of how a simple country-side living can take all your troubles away.

Mau who proudly showed to us the breath-taking Caramoan is truly a wonderful host. Mau, her mother, and uncle are incredibly caring and hospitable too.

On our last day, when we said our goodbyes and thanked our hosts, Mau, Mr. Allan and Mrs. Rosario, they already invited us for another stay! Well, I guess that will happen sooner than later...

HOW TO GET THERE


Manila to Caramoan: By van. Or you may contact Maureen (contact details are at the end of this post) to make it a part of the package tour.

Manila to Caramoan: Take Raymunds Bus and say that you're destination is to Bikal, Caramoan (with terminals at Cubao, Sampaloc, Alabang, Turbina, Naga, and Caramoan)

Naga to Caramoan: Trips from Naga to Caramoan by bus is shouldered by Isarog Bus and Penafranca Bus. Just say Bikal.

Manila to Sabang to Guijalo to Caramoan: This is a highly discouraged route because it is a hassle and more expensive. What's even more disappointing is that, there are only 2 trips a day. And if you didn't catch the first boat, you will have to wait for 2 hours. The next trip will be on the next day.

PS: If you're interested to stay at Al Del Rio Villa Resort in Caramoan, you can check here the room rates and availability. Al Del Rio also offers Caramoan package tours, good for 2 days and 2 nights, or 3 days and 2 nights, or your choice. For more information and inquiries you may contact Maureen Constantino of Al Del Rio at aldelriocaramoan@gmail.com or 0917.7350.742 / 0905.1363.319.

Inspiration For A Memorable Graduation Celebration

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The vast majority of your life has been spent studying. Now you’re about to enter into the big wide world and start the journey through your career. But first, it’s time to celebrate the end of your academic career and the passing of your exams. Your Graduation ceremony could be one of the most memorable points of your life so far. You’ll feel pride and achievement like never before. So why not get in the party mood and celebrate in style?

Most schools, colleges, and universities offer a Graduation Ball or event. But these can be a little bit formal and dull. Many students prefer instead to host a huge party that lets them and their friends ‘blow off the steam’ of so many years of hard studying. If you’re thinking about hosting a big party, try adding some of these touches to make it just as memorable as the ceremony:



Theme


For a party this big it might be a fun idea to set a theme. You could make it a costume party or concentrate on the decor. Lights and decorations help to set the mood. If the party is at home, consider opening up your garden to the party too. Add some string and strip lights to illuminate the area after the sun goes down. If you have a gazebo, consider using a sheer sheet of fabric on one side and draping fairy lights down the outside of it. This creates a lovely glow to the inside.



Drinks


If you’re serving drinks, why not make them a bit more fun? A big bowl of punch or a choice of cocktails can make the event a little more special. Both choices can be alcohol-free if you prefer and there are some great recipes on line to use. You might choose to have a bar and waiting staff for the night. It frees you up to spend time with your friends and helps to keep things in order a little more.

Memories


Have a look at companies like Melbourne Memories Photo Booth for ideas on how to capture the evening. The alternative is a professional photographer. But they can make guests feel uncomfortable as they pose for more formal photos. You could also use a drone to pick up some great aerial or ground level shots for a wider view of the evening. Why not stream live to YouTube or create a page on a photo sharing site?

Caramoan Getaway with TravelBook.ph: A 3 days and 2 nights itinerary

Saturday, September 03, 2016 Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Philippines

What is it about the beach that reaches in and feather touches the wilder parts of our soul? Is it the sounds, the smells, the colours or a combination of these? There’s a soothing necromancy to the sounds of the sea that can’t be found anywhere else. I say necromancy because the night sounds can seem as sinister as a burglar to the unwary. Have you ever sat on a shingle beach with the sun setting and the salty lips of the waves kissing the sand roughly? Is it possible to recreate this sound? Open your ears and give it a try. Can you hear it?

My recent week is full of escapades! I spend the last 7 days like a pro traveler. From a recent Bali trip with my colleagues for 3 days, a day trip from Baguio to Manila, and to Caramoan for another 3 days. It was a blast!

Anyway, a week ago, I won TravelBook’s Blogger Getaway Contest. You can read my entry here. The prize? A full expense paid trip to Caramoan. Guess, I got lucky ha.

The sea teems and hisses, scrapes the stones, lashes the beach and releases. It sizzes, chafes the pebbles, dashes the sand and retreats. It fizzes and seethes, spits out grit and slaps the beach with its salty lips. Finally it swishes, washes and polishes the shingle, then swirls and whirls as the tide switches. Its work done, it recedes, leaving a seaweed-slick shingle beach behind.

Read on about my amazing trip to Caramoan with TravelBook (and about how Caramoan almost slipped away from my hands).


Day 0: Baguio to Manila

01:15 PM - Departure: Baguio to Manila
05:15 PM - Arrival: Victory Liner Cubao Terminal
05:30 PM - Bus ride to Boni
06:00 PM - Walk from Boni to Robinsons Cybergate 3
06:10 PM - Travelbook.PH's office
09:00 PM - Departure: Manila to Caramoan

It was already 8 in the morning when I woke up. I just arrived from my recent trip in Bali. My room's a mess, all my stuffs are on the floor, and I don’t have much money to go on another trip. I only have two 100 peso bills, two 20 peso bills, one 10 peso coin and eight 1 peso coins inside my cat coin purse.

I already accepted the fact that I won’t be going to Caramoan. I decided to just stay at home and rest for a while.

Caramoan is slipping away.

After an hour my Facebook messenger popped out from my phone screen…

To cut the long story short, my awesome friends helped me finance my trip from Baguio to Manila and back, just so I can go and experience my prize. Thank you so much everyone, especially to Lee and Evo!

11 AM. I already knew I won’t be able to make it on time if I will take a regular bus trip which can take up to 8 hours of drive going to Manila at least. I decided to just take a deluxe bus (the faster bus that has its own toilet and takes the fastest route) and only 4-5 hours of travel instead.

I was at the bus terminal in Gov. Pack, but the next deluxe bus is at 2 in the afternoon. If the bus will leave at 2 then I’ll be in Manila 6 or 7 in the evening. All seats were full, however, I was told that I can enlist my self and wait if there will be a free seat for me. Okay, I’m betting my luck as a chance passenger.

I went to the other bus terminal in PNR. The next deluxe bus trip will be at 01:15 PM and yes all seats were also full. I patiently waited in line for the deluxe bus chance passenger lane and luckily there were 13 seats left. Yay! Manila!

Day 1: Caramoan and the East

10:30 AM – Arrival: Caramoan and late breakfast at Al Del Rio Resort
12:00 PM – Departure: Bikal Wharf to the East side
01:00 PM – Matukad Island
03:05 PM - Lahos Island
04:15 PM - Cagbalinad Island
05:15 PM - Yupakit Island
06:30 PM – Back at Al Del Rio Villa Resort
07:30 PM – Dinner

Touchdown Caramoan!

After 14 hours of travel by land, we finally arrived at Al Del Rio Villa Resort. I was still in a feverish state. Oh, I just want to have a rest and a good sleep. We had our breakfast at the inn. Afterwards I took meds and had a little rest before we move on to our main agenda.


TRAVEL TIP: Invest in a dry bag. It’s great for keeping your phones, cameras, and other valuables here while on a trek to the mountains or a swim to the sea. You don’t want to get your things all wet do you?


We left Bikal Wharf at 12:00 PM and our first island stop is the magical Matukad Island. The sands of Matukad is similarly like the sands of Boracay. Yes, the Matukad Island is the Boracay of Caramoan.


What’s so interesting is that, the island has a secret lagoon, which is said to be enchanted. According to our lovely host and guide, Mau, here resides a pair of bangus (milk fishes) and still lives up to date. It is said that the two bangus are mystical. Think Yin and Yang.

The tale: A long time ago, fishermen came and took the fishes from its habitat. Then came a series of unfortunate events: no harvest from the sea and there’s always a storm. When the fishermen finally realize the consequences for what they have done, they decided to bring back the fishes to the island and everything went back to normal. From that moment on, no one bothered to take away the fishes again.

At first, I thought it was a total bull. Why on earth there’d be 2 milk fishes in an island surrounded by sea? Sounds really fishy right? Until we took the challenge of climbing the pointy rocks just to reach the island’s secret lagoon…


Lo and behold! We saw with our own naked eyes the said lagoon and the 2 huge fishes. Bam! We were so amazed! From the top you can also see the whole beauty surrounding the island.

After our magical escape and lunch at Matukad Island we went to Lahos Island where we enjoyed its fine white sands and its cool azure waters.


For our next stop, we headed to Cagbalinad Island where we marveled over its Palawan-like beauty. Also, my fellow bloggers had the chance to explore its underwater wonders. Unluckily, for me, I didn’t get a chance to try it out: not snorkeling and not even swimming. If I did, I might become a wilted vegetable the next day.

TRAVEL TIP: Snorkeling and scuba diving gears are not yet available here, so I suggest you bring your own effects.


Of course, such a scene wouldn’t be complete without the smells of the beach wafting up your nostrils. A beach has such a medicinal smell, a coconut-and-citrus extravaganza of scents. But that is not what you can ferret out with your nose right now. Your stomach rumbles and growls as the aroma of flame-grilled meat drifts towards you. You can hear it sizzling on the griddle and the steak fat dribbling and hissing as it spills onto the grill. There are burgers being flash-fried also and lord oh lord, is that mushroom and onion moisture you can hear fizzling on hot charcoal? All the splattering juices and squirting blood being seared is enough to make any man’s legs wobble. To finish it off, your lips smack with the anticipation of salty meat as barbeque sauces, chilli, vinegar and cayenne peppers are layered onto the steaming platters of food.


So here’s my only decent photo during our first day in Caramoan. Haha. I’m wearing a shawl ‘coz why not. Haha.


Our last stop: Al Del Rio’s very own Yupakit Island. Yupakit Island is great for an overnight stay. Just bring your tents and enjoy the sun’s greatest splendor as it touches the earth.


To take your mind off the torture of an empty stomach, you gaze at your surroundings. The sun is setting and there are only a few swallows left in the sky. They pirouette like will-o’-the-wisps on valium, their scimitar wings slashing the air as they go. The seagulls are still squawking and squabbling over scraps of food, their raucous cries loud and brash in the faltering light. Come to think of it, you are just beginning to notice something for the first time. It is your hallelujah moment, an epiphany so profound that you know it will never be bettered. You could sit on this rock for a thousand years more and nothing as insightful will hit you like this again.


Day 2: The west side

07:00 AM - Breakfast
10:10 AM - Departure: Bikal Wharf to the West side
11:15 AM - Bag-ing Beach
12:30 PM - Sabitang Laya Beach
01:50 PM - Manlawi Sandbar and late lunch
03:30 PM - Guinahuan Island
08:00 PM – Dinner

My fever’s gone and I’m feeling better and great! I’m now ready for our 2nd day in Caramoan. Yay!

We were supposed to leave and head to the west side of Caramoan at 8 in the morning but our boat cannot leave Bikal Wharf because of the low tide. We waited for the water to rise until we can go.

Your epiphany is this: you are beginning to notice that someone is slowly turning up the volume of the beach sounds. The wave-music is louder, the haunting cry of a curlew above you is pressing into your head and the swell of the heaving sea is magnified to a murmur. The span of sea sky makes you feel like you are trapped in a dome of glass. Everything rings out with a crystal and piercing clarity and all the sounds are cut to sharpness. Is this caused by a drop in temperature, the stillness of the air or your senses becoming more attuned? It is none of these. It is because you are reflective and the immense majesty of sky, air and sea has made you recognise your own mortality. A moment like this may never come again and you are both enlightened and sadder for it.

The Bag-ing beach, Sabitang Laya beach, and the Baliti beach. These are 3 island beaches during high tide, and form a single island during low tide. We stopped by Bag-ing beach where we enjoyed its white sand.

Did you know that the beach here turns pink when the sea roughly kisses its shores? It’s amazing! You have to witness this beautiful phenomenon in person.

If you are anywhere on any of these 3 island beaches, you can opt to reach all beaches via a boat ride or simply just walk. I highly recommend, however, that you walk, take your footwear off, and feel the sand massaging your feet. Trust me, it feels relaxing. Enjoy as if you are walking on boundless shores.


Caramoan also has its own Maldives – the Manlawi Sandbar. Manlawi Sandbar of the Caramoan Peninsula is one of the jewels of the island hopping itinerary at this group of islets. It is a sandbar situated east of the largest of the island group, Lahuy that becomes completely submerged at high tide and a one-kilometer wide sandbar during low tide. Huts are constructed for those who would like to enjoy the scenery of this wide sandbar and these huts are designed to float during high tide.


We reached the sandbar during high tide and water is about neck deep when we were there. We got the chance to experience Manlawi’s floating cottages.

Pigging out for lunch in Manlawi will not disappoint you. Bring out those fresh tropical fruits, grilled seafood, or whatever you have. There are locals on their tiny boats that sell fresh coconut, halo-halo, and sea shells for souvenirs. Enjoy its beautiful scenery while eating or take a plunge into its waters.


Guinahoan Island exudes a different natural beauty altogether with its rolling pastures reminiscent of New Zealand and the Batanes islands; it is one of the farthest islands off the Caramoan Peninsula.


Our boat docked in its coast and it is evident that only a few residents live here. We were greeted in smile by the children that inhabit the island as we get off our boat, seemingly curious of our presence. We traversed to a grassy peak where the white-painted lighthouse is. Here we took time to appreciate what nature has to offer. It was truly majestic!


It’s not all bad news, however. Your newly found spidey-senses make you aware that the dipping sun is ember-red and it licks and glitters channels of the sea red like a dragon’s tongue. The sand has been burnished into a long winding-sheet of copper and the horizon is threaded with a thin line of silver. As the sun bows down further, the slumbering heap of sea becomes a-glow like melted platinum. The last few lances of light are cast down in a holy line of laser fire and it is over. The night is here and the sky looks like a black, velvet ceiling sprinkled with dream dust.

Day 3: Not yet goodbye

07:30 AM – Breakfast
10:00 AM – Departure: Caramoan to Manila
12:30 PM – Short stop in Pili, Camarines Sur
01:50 PM – Late lunch at Bigg’s Diner in Naga City
---
12:00 MN – Arrival: Manila
02:00 AM – Departure: Manila to Baguio
08:00 AM – Home!

Our final day won’t be complete without taking a group picture with our friendly host, Al del Rio.


Caramoan is not just about the coasts and islands that greet the traveler with it’s gorgeous limestone formations, enigmatic lagoons, secluded white sand beaches, but as well as a throbbing adventure sports scene that makes the rest of Asia stand up and take notice.

Going to and from Caramoan by day is not as easy as you think. You have to prepare for an up and down and zigzagging road and almost 14-16 hours of travel to Manila. Nakakahilong byahe! But regardless, Caramoan is truly breathtaking!

We had a short stop in Pili to buy some souvenirs and pasalubongs. Just an hour drive from Pili, we ate lunch at Bigg’s Diner in Naga City before finally heading back.


Our getaway is more than just Caramoan itself. It’s about friendships that change, complete, and fulfill your life that merely started off as strangers crossing paths. In my opinion – this adventure is just as exciting, as daring, as capable of helping us grow as the adventures of exploring the hidden gems of earth on our travels. Someone once said, "There are no such things as strangers, only friends we haven't met yet."

Thank you so much TravelBook.ph for this amazing getaway! You rock!!!

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