Monday, October 31, 2011

Caramoan Characterized

Before we talk any further about the rest of my Caramoan visit, let’s have a few words to paint a general picture of Caramoan for those who have not been to the place yet. Just to manage expectations really…

Caramoan, is pronounced ‘ka-ra-mo-an’. That’s four separate and distinct syllables. For the American English speakers the ‘Ca’ is pronounced as you would say it in “car” not in cat, cap nor carry; the “ra” is more like the Japanese sound in “rajio” or the Italian sound in “ravioli” and not the way you would say ram, ran or rack. Pronounce these two syllables like how South Americans or Spaniards say “Caracas” or “Caramba”. The next two syllables are real two syllables “mo” and “an”, not your word ‘moan’, okay?! The “mo” sounds like when you pronounce Montana or mobile, not in mother, movie, mow nor motion; the “an” sounds like the “un” in under or undo, not in pan, van nor the names Anna, Anne or Ann. Alright? So its ca-ra-mo-an! Hey, I said American English Speakers, since Pinoys pronounce Anna, Anne or Ann generally sounding like “un”. And I had to use those word comparisons because if I just wrote “ka-ruh-mo-un” many Pinoys would read that as “ka-rooh-mo-oon” hehehe. Anyway…

Caramoan is a town alright, but/and it is not an Island. It is a peninsula that is very much part of the big island of Luzon, which is the biggest in this country, if you still don’t know! There are islets and rocks around Caramoan’s shores though, so saying “Caramoan Islands” is technically not wrong. Though “Caramoan Peninsula” seems to be more appropriate. The notion that many people probably had (so that they started calling it an island) is because even until now, you approach it riding a boat. However, if you observe well, the boat just actually skirts the shoreline of the peninsula until it reaches the town’s port called Guijalo. Oh, Guijalo is a barangay of the town and it is pronounced as “gui” like in guild or guilt, “ha” like in hobby or hahaha (not as in happy nor halo), and “lo” as in “lo and behold”. More simply, it should be “gi-ha-lo”!

Approaching Caramoan via the boats is slowly becoming just an option since the government is almost done widening and improving the road that had previously just been a dirt path. Well, the governor and his guests go there via that helicopter that has the CWC as its parking area!

Accommodations are generally at center of town. So there is no body of water anywhere there. The nearest would be something like 5 kilometers north of town center which is in Barangay Bikal, or back to the Guijalo Port which is about the same distance from center of town. Either way, there are no beaches there – at least those that would be ideal for a grand R&R. Those are mostly mangrove areas and shallows. There are a few resorts as of yet and the most popular are up at the northern edge in Gota and Paniman next to Bikal. These are generally accessible by motorbike and things you need or want may not be as easily accessible. Note that folks at Paniman still buy everything including fish from the market at center of town. Thankfully though, those resorts are not yet as noisy with blaring karaokes even during peak season!

Ah, save the popular and expensive but luxurious Gota Village Resort from the above paragraph since the road going there has been widened and paved, though they also buy your needs from center of town or even as far as Naga City and Metro Manila. Example? Its not really easy to find tuna in the area and prime beef is not always available at the market, if any!

Now now, the grand paradise that is “Caramoan” does not even lie in any of those resorts, even if they have beaches. It is amongst the many coves, islets, craggy rocks and caves dotting the shores that are mostly uninhabited as of yet. So you really need to take a “tour” around these areas to fully enjoy Caramoan.

Okay, now that you have an idea of what Caramoan is… where was I on this trip? Ah, may I have my lunch first!?!

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15
16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30

1 comment :

  1. Cool.. I've been to the Philippines a lot. Lived there almost a year. Still haven't been to Caramoan. I'm going to put it on my to-do list ;)