Remember that show that everyone used to watch because it seemed crazy to go all Lost on an island, only to fight for that one immunity idol? Well, everyone used to love it. Apparently, many still do because it is currently on it’s 26th or 27th season. Now, that show took some time in the Philippines to shoot their 25th season. And boy, was the first episode enough to get me wanting to go there.
But all gems are hard to reach. This is probably why Caramoan was a perfect choice. And for adventure/beach lovers like me, it was a dream to get there.
Unfortunately, that dream is definitely hard to reach.
How do you get to the Survivor islands of Caramoan?
MANILA TO CARAMOAN VIA SABANG
1. Get to Naga
First of all, you need to get to Naga. You can go to Naga by taking the Penefrancia or Isarog Lines. These cost Php 750 and they’ll take approximately 8 – 9 hours. The bus leaves either during the morning or at night. The schedule that we took was the one for 9pm. We arrived approximately at 6am.
Besides the usual aircon bus, there is also the sleeper and the lazyboy. The lazyboy (Php 1000) is perfect for those who would like to get lots of foot space. They can easily stretch their legs. The sleeper (Php 1200), on the other hand, have beds for the passengers to sleep in. But according to a friend, this is quite hard to manage when there are chicken liver lanes everywhere.
Since I needed to save, I opted for the regular aircon bus with CR. It was okay though and even the leg room was enough – didn’t really concern me much, especially because I always put my feet up anyway.
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I realize that the fares online is much more expensive than we actually paid, but well, I do not have any complaints about that. Definitely not.
Originally, we were supposed to take the train, which was a few hundreds more expensive, but something new that I wanted to try it.
Recently revived by the government, this train initially got lots of attention, as it seemed to feature those facilities and amenities on trains that you would find abroad – in backpacker places where for now, I can only imagine. We thought the train had already been fixed (it got disrailed during a storm, last year). Apparently, the rail has been fixed, but the operations have not resumed. It’s too bad. If I had taken this train, I might have not told my parents the entire truth about how I got there. They’d probably freak out, as I remember, when the train disrailed, it was over a bridge and a few people died.
To further appreciate our drive to do the train, check out the new train accommodations in the PNR website.
Cebu Pacific and PAL both have flights to Naga. While the flights back are obviously much, much cheaper, this definitely saves a lot of time. For only 1 hour, you get to be in Naga. Imagine how much that saves. But yes, a pain in your pocket.
For those who cannot book cheap flights to Naga, you can also try booking for a flight to Legaspi, which is just a two hour bus ride away. So yes, it’s still a long way to get there, but 3 hours compared to 9 hours, is definitely a huge save of time.
Once you get to Legaspi, take a bus or van to Naga. Voila, you’ve finished the first part of how to get to Naga! And yes, this is just the first part.
2. Get to Sabang
Once in Naga, catch a van to the Sabang port. This costs Php 100 and takes about an hour drive. You get to see Mt. Mayon along the way!
3. Get to Guijalo Port
Once in Sabang port, take a boat ride to Guijalo Port, Caramoan. The bridge to the boat costs Php 10/pax and the boat ride costs Php 120. The boat is about a butt-numbing 105 minutes (1 hour and 45 minutes) ride. There is a shade, but because you’re seated with about 3 or 4 other people in your lane, it can get very, very sticky and hot. Blessed are those who sit at the sides as they are sometimes allowed to go out onto the sides and sit there instead of squashed up beside other people. The boat is so slow that you might get slightly impatient along the way – or maybe that’s just me.
DIRECT MANILA – CARAMOAN REGULAR BUS
For those of you who don’t mind the regular, non aircon bus, you can also take the Raymond bus that goes straight from Manila – Caramoan in 12 – 13 hours. This bus takes the RORO boat and yes, it has resumed operations as we witnessed it coming in when we were about to leave Caramoan.
MANILA TO CARAMOAN VIA VIRAC
On the other hand, you can also fly to Virac, Catanduanes and then take a two hour boat ride from there to Caramoan islands.
We took the long, hard way. Which would you rather take?