Sunday, July 1, 2012

Going to Caramoan from Manila

The route from Manila to Caramoan

It's a long ride, taking more than 12 hours to get to Caramoan by land and by sea. But getting there isn't as hard as it seems. Here’s how in four easy steps:

1. Bus from Manila to Naga City
Ride the Isarog Lazyboy Extreme bus. It’s got extra wide lazyboy seats and a washroom. Call 381-0840 to reserve. Click here for more details! If you're on a tight budget, though, ride a normal bus.

Duration: 8.5 hours (9pm – 5:20am)
Cost: Php 1,000 pax

2. Walk to UV Express Service Terminal
It’s a short walk from the bus terminal. You’ll pass by SM Naga. The bus terminal is on SM’s right while the service terminal is on its left. Find the parked van going to Sabang Port.

Duration: 5 minutes (5:25am – 5:30am)
Cost: None

3. Van from Naga to Sabang Port
Conductor waits until the van is full before departing. This may take a while, though if you're lucky, the van leaves right away. It’s a tight squeeze inside but it goes straight to Sabang Port without stopping.

Duration: 1.5 hours minutes (5:30am – 7am)
Cost: Php 100 pax

The next step is to ride an outrigger ferry. Depending on water conditions in Sabang, the departure area may be on the right or left side of the road. Ask the porters if unsure. You won't miss them. 

Sabang Port on the right side of the road.
We had to wait for an hour before the next trip.

4. Outrigger Ferry (Lantsa) from Sabang to Caramoan Port

Trip Schedules: 
5:30am, 7:00 or 8:00am, 11:00am, 2:00pm

Duration:  1 hour and 35 minutes (8:00am – 9:35am)
Cost: Php 10 to use ramp going to ferry (left) and Php 120 for lantsa (right)

I wouldn’t recommend the lantsa for the elderly because getting on is quite difficult. You may also get splashed if the waters are rough. An option for them would be to ride the ro-ro.

Flanax moment! It's challenging getting in to the lantsa! Not advisable for the elderly. 

For experience, try using the washroom at the back of the boat!

Yep, I tried it for experience and I think I shot through all the holes. Whoops!
(Photo on the left by Johann Tan)

The view. Some refer to these as Bicol's "Chocolate Hills"

Depending on water conditions upon arrival, passengers and their belongings may be brought to shore via paddle boats. Careful on the way down!

Duration: 2 mins
Tip: Php 30 pax

After around 12 and half hours, say hello to Caramoan!

In Summary:
1.       Isarog Bus from Manila to Naga City (Php 1,000)
2.       Walk to UV Express Service Terminal
3.       Van from Naga to Sabang Port (Php 100)
4.       Outrigger Ferry (lantsa) from Sabang to Caramoan Port (Php 160 all inclusive)

Total Cost: Php 1,260 pax

Try booking at Rex Tourist Inn where the van going to and from the port is included. This saves on cost, plus a lot of time and effort haggling with trike drivers.

Duration: 20 minutes (9:50am – 10:10am)
Cost: Included in hotel package

If you know of a cheaper and faster alternative to this, please feel free to share!

Here's a little sneak peek as to what's in store for travelers in Caramoan. It's definitely worth the trip:

Minalajos Island, Caramoan

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