Not to be mistaken by the similarly sounding Caramoan in Camarines Sur, Caramoran is a municipality, northwest of Catanduanes. The name admittedly came from the former when people would point to the former which is just on the opposite side of the strait separating the provinces. Not to be left off as a shade of its homonymic neighbor, Caramoran, one of the largest municipality in Catanduanes, boast the idyllic isles of Palumbanes Islands and languid Hitoma Lake on land. This is the second part of my return visit to the Happy Island of Catanduanes in conjunction with the 2018 Abaca Festival.
I had fond memories of Caramoan Peninsula early in my years of travel. Low limestone islands, captivating azure waters, a few caves and pristine white beach on several islands of the peninsula. That was more than a decade ago. Before the popular reality show Survivor decided shoot here and placed the islands on the world wide spotlight. It was only recent that I had a chance to go back and see how popularity have changed the place. I may have not visited all the places I had been before but this day tour sojourn was enough to satisfy my curiosity.
The Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal got immensely popular for its well-managed and exhilarating Discovery Trail. Nature lovers reveled in the natural rock garden playground where they traversed through forest trail, find their balance on giant hammocks and savor the scenic rocky peaks while learning more about the surroundings. But this trail is only a part of the huge 2,000 hectare Masungi Karst Conservation Area. Just recently, the Masungi Georeserve Legacy Trail was opened as a separate offering. The new trail highlights the project’s conservation efforts, immersion and insight into the challenges they continue to face.
It took me 12 years before I stepped my foot on back to the island of province of Catanduanes. And what better time than in the midst of their festivities. The 2018 Abaca Festival is on their 3rd year. The month long celebration aims to showcase their native abaca fiber or Manila hemp which is one of the main products of the province and source of livelihood. The month-long festival have pockets of activity culminating towards the 4th week of May. One of the much awaited is the Bicol Festival of Festivals Showdown where contingents from Bicol region participate in a dance showdown. A colorful revelry with heart pounding beats and awe-inspiring performance. An exciting return to what is now known as the Happy Island!
My road trip around Siargao continues after that fun spelunking at Tayangban Cave. I didn’t bother to change to dry clothes as I know, the hour-long trip to Sta Monica, north of Siargao is enough to air me dry. It was a scenic ride passing by the beaches of San Isidro. Our stop was Taktak Falls, the only known waterfalls on the island. Then later head south again to cap the afternoon at Magpupungko Rock Pools.
Siargao may be known as one of the country’s main surfing haven, but for a casual to non-surfer like me, I’m more interested on what other places I can visit on this island. I dedicated a day for exploring Siargao by road and hired a habal-habal to take me around. Upon checking out of Buddha’s Surf Resort, I transferred to another hotel near Dapa port so I can be early next day for the boat to Socorro. Left my other bags and immediately started for our first destination – the Tayangban Cave in Pilar. I really have no idea what the cave features are which made it more exciting.
What does Buddha do on his spare time? He surfs! Well that’s what the owners of Buddha’s Surf Resort in Siargao thinks. It’s just amusing to see a figure of Buddha lifting a surfboard when I arrived at the resort. Located right smack between the famous Cloud 9 surf spot and the bustling General Luna, Buddha’s Surf Resort is one of the pioneer establishment in Siargao that has long catered to visitors of the island.