Scenic limestone formations at Gota Beach
We’re still in Caramoan and if you still haven’t bagged your shades, swim wear, sun tan or sun block lotion, it’s time to do so, because it’s the beach all the way from here and the peninsula has a lot of them!
The small Gota Beach
From the Centro, hire a tryke to take you to Gota beach. It’s less than a half hour drive. You’ll know you’re in Gota Beach when a gorge of mountains opens up to reveal a scenic beach with numerous huge limestone formations greeting your sight. Don’t celebrate yet as this beach, known as the Small Gota beach isn’t the best the peninsula has to offer.
The large Gota Beach serves as a port where you can hire boats
Walking in a small cemented path among mangroves at the side of the beach will lead you to a larger beach where numerous boats are waiting to take you where you wanna go. This is the Large Gota Beach, which also serves as a port for any island hopping activities.
From there, these boats can take you to the other previously featured sites like Matukad Island and Tayak Island where they got hidden lagoons. Another interesting island near the port and Matukad is Bichara Island. It is a small island with impressive limestone formations and a long stretch of beach cutting through both sides of the island.
Bichara Island, where the beach cuts through.
Downside to this is it can get a little crowded since it’s near the port and the sands are friendly enough to take your children. Still you may enjoy your stay here.
Beach and an island with no name
If you don’t like crowds though, you can just pick your own beach from the numerous you’ll see. For lunch we settled on this very long stretch of beach with literally no people. It has no name or I simply forgot. But in front of this beach, about 300 to 500 meters away is a very scenic island with no name again.
After devouring our lunch I tried to swim towards the other island but then from the opposite side of the beach I could hear a guy screaming “Wag ka dyan! Madaming jellyfish dyan!” (Don’t go there! There’s a lot of jellyfish at the area!”). Anyways I obliged and soon we found out we’re not the only one on the beach. There’s a small hut on the end and there were a 2 kids a dad and another boatman there. We greeted them and told us about the numerous jellyfish and the large stingy ones are also there. They also told us there were good coral formations at the island.
A Jellyfish, the less stingy one
Ok. I hate jellyfish. I did try to swim but when I saw all these orange floating jellysfish at the deeper waters – a lot of them – I went back to shore. One of our better swimmers still went on the other island and one of some of our non swimmers was able to charm the other boatman to take them there. There were only two of us left and everyone was already at the island. Summoning up all my courage and asking one of my companions to come along with me, we swam towards the other island equipped with our mask and snorkels to be able to see and dodge an army of jellyfish blocking our way.
Nice coral formations on the unnamed island
Getting past those, we were rewarded to be able to see some nice coral formations at the island. Lots of anemone and starfishes and other large fish I have no idea what their names are.
Lahuy Island, literlly an island of gold!
There are lot more islands to explore at the peninsula if you have time. In another port, like from the Sabitan Laiya, you could visit the island of gold, Lahuy Island. It is literally a goldmine where you could find gold sifters. It also has a very scenic beach. Didn’t manage to find time to sift for gold though.
Visit Bulang-bugang Underground Stream in Taisan to cap of your island hopping activity
If you think you have enough of the beach and would like to rinse of the salty feel from your body, head of to Bulang-bugang Underground Stream in Taisan. It has very cool, crystal clear water. You can enter the cave but you must bring lights with you and the river is very deep at that part.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.