If it wasn’t for the reality TV show, Survivor I wouldn’t have known that somewhere in Camarines Sur there is an unexploited, rugged, and breath-taking beautiful group of islands. The show has put it on the map, which pretty much explains why it is currently one of the most preferred summer destinations this year. And today ladies and gents, I will begin the story on how I got my tan in what has to be, one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines, Caramoan Islands.
So how did I get my ass there? By invitation. One day, my office mate, Martha, asked me to join her and some of her friends in their Caramoan trip. But before I take you to Caramoan, let’s start the story on how we got there. The adventure started at Camsur Watersports Complex.
The looooong travel
On the 6th of April 2013, with only two hours’ worth of sleep, I went on a trip to CamSur with 8 others. Two of Martha’s friends brought vehicles and for over 12 hours, we were on the road with few stops along the way. Our travel began at 5AM. At around 10M we had lunch at Lita’s Carinderia in Gumaca, Quezon. It is one of the eateries that lined the highway, facing the sea. The food was so-so and overpriced so if you ever get there, do yourself a favor and try other food establishments in the area.
While we were driving around Naga I noticed that there are many eateries that had the word kinalas on their signboards. My curiosity didn’t go unanswered because my travel companions decided that we eat in this noodle place named, Cordova’s Kinalasan.
Turns out that kinalas (PHP 28) is a type of noodle dish, which seemed to me, a cross between batchoy and bulalo. It has strips of pork, the noodle is thick, the broth, suety. It is kind of bland so it’s up to you to make it more flavorful by adding your choice of condiments. They got calamansi, soy sauce, black pepper, vinegar, chilli pepper, and fish sauce. One of us seemed to have the knack for making a kinalas flavorful based from the reaction of those who were able to try hers. I heard her saying though that kinalas tastes better with vinegar and chili pepper. I tried it and I gotta say, she knew what she was talking about.
If you don’t want kinalas, you can order other offerings in the menu such as loglog, baduya, and panlegazpi. Baduya (PHP 8) by the way, is their own version of maruya (banana fritters).
Then the long travel ensued, with few stopovers to respond to the call of nature. It was a journey so long, I started feeling sorry for Jb, who had no one to share the driving duties with. Some hours I tried to catch some zzs. Most of the time I just stared out of the window, enjoying the rock music stored in Jb’s playlist. I was in a ride with Martha, Jb, and James. Most of the time, the three talked about their common friends, relived old memories, and discussed about their travel plans. If I could relate to what they were talking I’d pitch in, otherwise, I kept to myself.
The travel was so long it felt like I’d grown a year older, so when we finally reached CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC), I was so relieved I had to suppress the urge to kiss the ground.
You see the water and those cables and cranes in the picture? That’s for wakeboarding, waterskiing, and waterskating. CWC is a watersports park, with other amenities like swimming pool, hotel, bar and restaurants, and shops. So did I try any of the water sports? Yes, I did, but more on that later.
Villa del Rey Hotel
We stayed at Villa del Rey Hotel. To say that this hotel is interesting would be an understatement. It has beautiful lodgings like dwell homes, tiki huts, wood cabins, containers, cabanas, villas, Eco Village, and mansion suites. Our group picked the wood cabins.
When Macky, Jb, and James decided to go wakeboarding, despite my interest to try it, I found myself dilly dallying because I didn’t bring enough clothes. Yet I kept thinking of my friend Rhoda who likes outdoor adventures; if she were there, she’d definitely go for it. As I was busy debating with myself, Jb decided to resolve my hesitations by paying for my wakeboarding fee. Next thing I knew they were already asking me to sign a waiver. Since I had no extra clothes, Martha and I exchanged our outfits. Then I was given this pink vest and a yellow head gear.
We walked our way to the water park for the beginners. It has a simpler cable system and a smaller man-made lake, and since I am not equipped with the ability to estimate distance, I won’t be able to give you that information. Both ends of the lake have waiting areas for the wakeboarders.
The sport is fairly simple, here’s how it goes:
- Hold on to the wood attached to the cable.
- Bend your knees
- Hunch your back
- Keep your toes up on the board
- Don’t tug the cable, just keep your arms straight
- Remain in a squatting position
- Dive head first to the water and meet your maker (optional)
Okay the last part is not included hehehe…
My first attempt was a failure. I think I panicked a little that I let go of the cable too soon, I didn’t even get to the middle part of the lake. Joselito, one of the instructors whose voice could reach to the ends of the earth, was quite supportive and patient to teach us the right tricks. He kept reminding us what and what not to do, with a voice that was so loud, I swear I could hear him inside my head.
Thankfully something clicked and had me crossing the lake smoothly on my second try. There were like 20 other people who took wakeboarding that night so every time we reached the other end of the lake, we had to patiently wait for our turns. I was able to cross the lake 5 times, with only one failure. Not bad for a first timer huh?
Wakeboarding is fun and if you get to CWC, I highly recommend you give it a try. For your information here is the rate (exclusive of gear rental):
- Day/hour (8:30AM – 5PM) – PHP 125
- Half day (8:30AM – 12:30PM/1PM – 8PM) – PHP 370
- Whole day (8:30AM – 5:00 p.m.) – PHP 610
- Night/hour (5PM – 9PM) – PHP 175
- Whole night (5PM – 9PM) – PHP 500
- Whole day + whole night (8:30AM – 9PM) – PHP 970
And that’s how my first day in CamSur went. It was a long day so as soon as I hit the bed, I was already off to la la la land. Stay tuned for more stories about this lovely, accidental trip. For now I am leaving you with the contact information of CWC.
CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC)
Provincial Capitol Complex
Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur
Telephone nos: (054) 477-3344/(054) 477-3349
Mobile nos.: (63) 917-8954156/(63) 999-8893697