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Camarines Norte

Posted by on Oct 12th, 2009
Filed Under: Featured, Luzon


Camarines Norte

Virtually underrated and rarely visited by most travelers, Camarines Norte hides its spectacular secrets of undiscovered caves, exquisite and unspoiled postcard-perfect beaches and rich coral gardens, promising dive sites and world-class surfing, elegant looking bays that open into the Pacific, misty mountains and charming towns throbbing with Bicolano warmth and hospitality – all of this under a veneer of quiet, genteel simplicity.

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bout 7-8 hours by bus southeast of Metro Manila, the province of Camarines Norte often serves as one of the main gateways to the Bicol Region. And most often, to most travelers, it often just serves as that – another mere stopover to the other destinations in the region. For most of Bicol which is just about getting used to the idea of tourism, Camarines Norte tends to get overlooked by travelers to the recently popular wakeboarding in Pili and island hopping in the Survivor islands of Camarines Sur, the perfect cone volcano of Mayon in Albay and the whale sharks of Sorsogon. Of course never mind that the wet and wild Pacific frontier province of Catanduanes is also home to one of the most famous international surf breaks called the Majestics. Where does this leave Camarines Norte then?


Philippines Calaguas, Camarines Norte
Calaguas, Camarines Norte
Photo by Melvic Briñas

Spanish explorer Juan de Salcedo marched into Camarines Norte after subduing Taytay, Cainta, Laguna, and Tayabas. Obsessed with the stories of gold mines in the area, he visited the towns of Paracale and Mambulao (now called Jose Panganiban). Later on, when Francisco de Sande took over as the new Spanish Governor General of the Philippine Islands, the wave of the Hispanic influence in the region started to be felt as he established a permanent garrison in Naga (called Nueva Caceres then) to repulse Muslim and Chinese pirates raiding the area. Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, Camarines Norte had towns like Daet, Capalonga, Mabulao, Indan (now called Vinzons) already flourishing but Paracale was the crowning jewel because of its gold mines.

The history of Camarines Norte is inextricably linked to that of its southern counterpart. From 1573-1829, the two Camarines provinces was only known as one political unit – Ambos Camarines. And after years of splits, reunification and more separation and more unions which eventually led to the final segregation of March 3, 1919 when American Governor General F.B. Harrison separated Camarines Norte from Camarines Sur and later appointed Don Miguel R. Lukban as its first Governor. . At present, the province has 12 towns – Basud, Capalonga, Daet, Jose Panganiban, Labo, Mercedes, Paracale, San Lorenzo Ruiz, San Vicente, Sta. Elena, Talisay and Vinzons.

We didn’t have any high expectations then when we rode the bus all the way to Daet, (the provincial capital) from the Camarines Sur capital Naga. We were on a rusty and rickety mini-bus with no air-conditioning, and dirty floors – although we really didn’t mind the two young girls behind us singing presumably all of what seems to be an entire album of the pop singing group Pussycat Dolls. From Naga it was 2-3 hours by our bus. We finally got into Daet around 8PM and a local restaurateur whom we met on the bus whisked us to the city center as the bus station was too dark and a tad unsafe (according to her). Contrary to what a popular guide book was saying, we actually found the capital town quite charming (save for the thousands of tricycles – Daet has gained the notoriety of having the most number of tricycles in the country). At night, rows and rows of street food stalls line its main drags and it was quite fun to go around and have our yummy fill of Filipino street food. We reserved our initial comments for the town until daylight the following morning to see if we still had the same vibe of the town. And still, we found Daet as charming as it was at night: a buzzing beehive of small-town activity.

Being the provincial center, most of the province’s hub of commercial, political, religious and educational activity is in the town of Daet. Whilst it is true that it seemed like the town was swarming with tricycles, it still did maintain that provincial and charming feel that we had experienced the night before when we arrived. The people were generally friendly and warm. The first Jose Rizal monument that was ever built was built in Daet which stands at the corner of Magallanes and Justo Lukban streets which faces the Daet Municipal Hall. This monument was erected in 1898 in honor of the Philippine National Hero and consists of a three-tiered stone pylon with a square base supporting a triangle in two stages, the last one tapering to a point. It was believed that the foundation was made of mortars and boulders from the Old Spanish Jail where many Filipino patriots died, further magnifying its historical and cultural significance. Lt. Col. Ildefonso Alegre and Lt. Col. Antonio Sanz of the Philippine Revolutionary Army initiated the construction which was eventually inaugurated on December 20, 1898.

A few meters away from the Rizal monument is a wall honoring the brave sons of Camarines Norte who died fighting the Spaniards during the country’s fight for its independence. With these interesting monuments, we kind of found the area not very carefully maintained despite its great significance. Aside from monuments, Camarines Norte folks are quite proud of their Provincial Capitol whose 12 columns represent the 12 towns of the province. Whilst in the Provincial Complex, don’t miss the Museo Bulawan which provides a window into the province’s rich history and culture. In Vinzons town, the Baroque-style, coral-stone façade St. Peter the Apostle Church is considered to be the oldest church in the Bicol Region whilst the stone church of the Our Lady of Candelaria (Our Lady of Candles) merits a visit especially during its feast day which is every 2nd of February, Shrines to local heroes – Wenceslao Q. Vinzons Shrine (Vinzons, Camarines Norte) and Jose Maria Panganiban Shrine (Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte) – are also a must visit.


Philippines camarines norte surfing
Tourism Paradise Philippines Writers: Scott Allford and Ryan Buaron surfing in Bagasbas
Photo by Melvic Briñas

Another top-drawer to Daet is of course the world-class surf action off the wide and long gray sand beach of Bagasbas (sand break) which opens out to the Pacific Ocean. Locals claim that Bagasbas is the real cradle of Philippine surfing – of course that is still open to debate. One thing is for sure, we were not disappointed by the waves of Bagasbas. Certified surf instructors as well are available and boards are for rent at competitive prices. Look out for rip tides though as the place was quite notorious for them as well – we didn’t seen any that time, but if you are on your own, make sure to be on your guard. Kite-boarding, another growing sport, is another popular activity in the area. In February 2009, Bagasbas hosted the First International Kiteboarding Competition in the region. Having the surfer ambience going on, Bagasbas has a very laidback feel, the shacks of restaurants/karaoke bars and tiny backpacker resorts line a tiny strip fronting the beach. Save for the loud singing from the karaoke bars, overall Bagasbas was an awesome place.


Philippines camarines norte Malasugui Island
Malasugui Island
Photo by Ryan Buaron

Just on the San Miguel Bay and about 20-30 minutes (via Bagasbas) and 30-45 minutes (via Mercedes town) by motorboat are the gorgeous Mercedes Group of Islands. Composed of 7 islands, it was such a pleasant surprise how beauties like these have been kept from the national tourism spotlight for so long. First, there is the dramatic lighthouse on Canimog Island which is considered to be the oldest in the entire Bicol Region. Canimog Island also boasts of coral gardens, rich and teeming with huge and healthy coral growth and marine fauna. On several occasions hundreds of flying fish would do their aerial acrobatics around our boat while we were cruising along. By the lighthouse on Canimog (where you also camp), you will have such sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, the beautiful cliffs and rock formations, as well as an eye on the thousands of huge bats literally hanging out in the island’s lush foliage.


Philippines camarines norte Apuao Grande Island in the foreground, Apuao Pequeña on the background
Apuao Grande Island in the foreground, Apuao Pequeña on the background
Photo by Scott M.Allford

Next to the island of Canimog are the stunning islands of Apuao Pequeña and Apuao Grande (the two islands are connected by a white sand bar and you can actually walk between the two islands during low tide) whose long stretches of white sand beaches lined with pine-like agoho trees similar to the overrated Anawangin Cove in Zambales (only a million times better – cleaner, significantly less people, and definitely has a white sand beach). Apuao Grande used to be the home of once a high-end resort which fell into disrepair. Now, most of the villas are leased to many expatriates who decided to settle on the island. The coves of Canton Island also beg to be explored either by swimming, or rappelling. The rest of the islands – Malasugui, Caringo (Australians and Germans have been frequenting this island) and Quinapaguian all have white sand beaches, and beautiful sand bars and almost no tourists! Island-hopping is from PhP 1800-2000. Be responsible and demand a working life vest all the time.

Aside from the Mercedes Group of Islands, the Calaguas Group of Islands is slowly making its way to one of the most promising beach getaways in the Philippines and possibly around the world for its white sand and aquamarine colored waters. Currently, the island does not have any running water, no resorts, no toilet, and of course no electricity – which means, be prepared to camp out as a return daytrip by boat can cost a hefty PhP 6,000.00 at the latest rates – it’s really a cheaper option to gather your friends and camp out instead.

Our contact, the affable and extremely helpful Melvic Briñas (+63.909.2944444/ +63.922.2472111/ +63.906.5144444 melvicbrinas.multiply.com) organizes trips to the Calaguas Islands, Mercedes Group of Islands and Bagasbas (surfing and kite-boarding) area.

Another must-see island is the island of Quinamanucan which is 20-35 minutes by boat from Vinzons town. The island has spectacular wall dives with drop offs shooting up from 1000 meters down as well as having impressive underwater gardens that count stony, whip, soft corals, black corals and many others.

Back on the mainland, Camarines Norte has heaps of unexplored caves and mountains and waterfalls. 18 kilometers west of Daet is the Mananap Falls in San Vicente (requires a hike of 2 kilometers uphill) and the 70 feet tall Colasi Falls in Barangay Colas, Mercedes (one hour from Daet town centre by jeepney and 3 hours hike to the waterfalls). Other notable waterfalls in Camarines Norte are Pag-asa Falls, Binuan Falls, Maligaya Falls, Malatap Falls (almost equidistant from the towns of Labo, Jose Panganiban and Capalonga) as well as the Twin Falls near Sta. Elena town. 30 kilometers south of Daet in the town of Mercedes, you can also find the soda spring in Barangay Lanot.
Amongst the local festivals, the biggest is the Bantayog Festival where the twelve municipalities of the province celebrate the foundation of Camarines Norte which features the various practices, folklores, and beliefs and as the name suggest (Bantayog means monument in Tagalog), it centers on the first Rizal monument built and is commemorated around the dates running up to April 15th of every year. Activities include parades, sand sculpture contests, exhibits, fireworks display and fairs.


Philippines camarines norte The Oldest Jose Rizal Monument
The Oldest Jose Rizal Monument
Photo by Ryan Buaron


Why Not Go


If you are on the lookout for classy hotels and efficient tourist infrastructure then Camarines Norte is sorely lacking in these factors. However, if you are out to laze around on a beach and you can do without the annoying touts or you want to explore rugged mountains, Camarines Norte is a great place for you.


Why Go


Camarines Norte is mostly off the traveler’s list mainly because of a dearth in local tourism promotion. This means that it is not overrun by hordes of tourists and you would have a good feel of the local culture and its many beautiful places not usually advertised widely. What it lacks in tourist numbers it makes up for with the numerous beautiful places that a person with the spirit of adventure would truly appreciate.


Best Time to Visit


Camarines Norte is a great year-round destination. During the typhoon season when the swells grow bigger in Bagasbas, it only means that it’s time to head out to surf. Otherwise, even during long weekends, the islands (at least at the time of this writing) rarely get any visitors even during notorious long weekends


Where to Stay


Philippines Hotels and Resorts

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There are heaps of places to stay in Daet and especially in Bagasbas. You may want to check out Surfer’s Dine-Inn in Bagasbas (PhP 800-PhP1,000 a night with A/C) with basic rooms either with A/C or with Fan rooms. For other places to stay, you may want to contact Melvic Briñas (+63.909.2944444/ +63.922.2472111/ +63.906.5144444 melvicbrinas.multiply.com) for more information or you may contact Camarines Norte Tourism Office at camarinesnorte_tourism@yahoo.com. Hotel prices in Daet ranges from PhP 600.00 to PhP 1,500.00 a night.


Philippines camarines norte Surfers Dine-Inn, Bagasbas, Daet
Surfers Dine-Inn, Bagasbas, Daet
Photo by Ryan Buaron


Where & What to Eat


What we missed in Camarines Sur was more than made up for in Daet. The nice lady we met on the bus heard our quest for the great Bicolano fares and was more than happy to oblige to treat us to the authentic and absolutely delectable Bicol Express, Tuna Express, Sinantol (dish made from santol fruit), Laing and Kinunot. Heavy use of coconut cream and chili peppers are basically the trademarks of Bicolano cuisine. Mrs. Doyet Garcia’s Lutong Bahay, a small eatery on Mercedes Road in Daet whipped up the best Bicol fare we ever had in living memory. If you are ever in the area, contact her (Doyet Garcia- +63.928.5011821) in advance so she can prepare these dishes at very, very good prices. Our most favorite among the dishes is of course the Bicol Express and Tuna Express whilst we had a dilemma with the Kinunot. Not because of its taste, but what it was actually. We were informed that this mashed meat dish mixed with coconut cream and chili was from a hammerhead shark which even after several reassurances from well-meaning locals, was still a little bit difficult to swallow considering that hammerheads which are abundant in the San Miguel Bay (off Bagasbas), are actually an endangered species. In other versions of the dish, Kinunot is made out of stingrays instead hopefully none of them are endangered too (there are at least 5 stingray species that are currently listed as endangered). Overall though, we’d want to take a trip to Daet if only to have another go of Mrs. Garcia’s super yummy Bicol Express!


Philippines camarines norte Yummy Bicol Fare, Tuna Express, Sinantol, Bicol Express, Laing
The Fire Down Below, Yummy Bicol Fare: Tuna Express, Sinantol, Bicol Express, Laing.
Thanks Mrs. Doyet Garcia for these yummy treats!
Photo by Ryan Buaron

Another great place for good eats is Alvino’s right in Daet town, which has more mainstream Filipino choices and some more treatment of the Filipino style of eating. Set meals are wrapped neatly in banana leaves and paper and the presence of disposable plastic gloves means that the meals are eaten by hand.

The diner at Surfer’s Dine-Inn in Bagasbas was as expected a little overpriced and the La Paz Batchoy was far from authentic.

Another must-try in Camarines Norte is the Camarines Norte Queen pineapple as the province cultivates this pineapple variety extensively. The province was ranked 4th in the entire Philippines in terms of area planted.


Nightlife


Camarines Norte nightlife centers in its capital town Daet which includes laidback cafes and restaurants. A similar tropical island vibe can be gleaned on Bagasbas, a stretch of tiny resorts and restaurants and karaoke bars catering mostly to locals and visiting surfers.


My to do List


1. Take a bottle of beer or two and go island hopping!**
2. Explore the caves of Canton Island.**
3. Laze around the sand bars of Apuao Pequeña and Apuao Grande.*
4. Take photos! *
5. Visit the oldest Rizal monument ever built.*
6. Check out the food stalls of the Daet Streetfood Night Market.*
7. Surf at Bagasbas.*
8. Hike and take a dip at the Colasi Falls.**
9. Camp out at the Calaguas Group of Islands.**
10. Take a slice of the famed Camarines Norte pineapples.**
11. Dive off the Quinamanucan Island.**
12. Chill out at the lighthouse on Canimog Island.**
*- Highly Recommended
**- Recommended by Locals


Stay Away From


1. Mosquitoes! – just bring bug repellent to be sure
2. Drowning – Learn to spot rip tides and make sure you wear a working life-vest!
3. Getting wet, take Ziplocs with you for your gadgets and valuables.
4. Protect yourself from UV rays by putting on a sunblock. (see a more complete list below for island camp-outs).


Things to Bring


1. Appropriate and comfortable beach attire
2. Hat to protect from the sun.
3. Tents (unless you come with a tour group, our contact Melvic has tents too)
4. Sunglasses
5. Sleeping Bags
6. Flash lights/torches
7. First Aid Kit
8. Camera with ample battery power/memory cards.
9. Waterproof pouches or Ziplocs.
10. Moist towels and rolls of tissue paper
11. Huge garbage bag to protect gear while on boat as well as to put your trash back whilst on the island.
12. Waterproof jacket/raincoat
13. Snorkelling gear.


Getting There


Camarines Norte can be reached by land travel from Manila by buses. Amihan (Daet -054 7213787; Manila (Pasay) – 02 8543735, 02 3855025) , Superlines (Daet – 054 5712225; Manila (Cubao) 02 4143319), and Philtranco (Daet- 054 7212030 , 054 7214350; Manila (Pasay) – 02 8515420, Manila (Cubao) 02 7227567)- buses ply the Manila-Daet route and vice versa.

Alternatively, one can fly into Camarines Sur, through the Naga Airport in Pili (45 minutes ride). Zest Air, Philippine Airlnes and Cebu Pacific from Manila and vice-versa and then it takes about 2-3 hours by bus/van from Naga to Daet. SEAIR (http://flyseair.com) used to fly the Manila-Daet route but this has proved to be seasonal, check out their website if they have flights for that route on the dates that you will be visiting. A more comfy ride through the Philippine National Railways is set to commence at the end of 2009 as well (+63.2.2549772) but can be a very, very slow way to reach Camarines Sur. If you are driving, make sure that you pick up a map and follow the scenic but sometimes hair-raising Pan-Philippine Highway.

Boat rental from Vinzons-Calaguas (day trip or not with a tour group- 2 hours boat ride) – PhP 6,000.00 and jeepney fare from Daet-Vinzons is PhP 15.00 per person; Paracale-Calaguas (1 ½ hours boat ride) by van is PhP 55.00. Tricycles in Daet is about PhP 7.00 per head for the first kilometer.

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Ryan supports socially and environmentally responsible and sustainable tourism, as well as the promotion of the Philippines as an alternative Asian tourist destination. Learn more about me [+]

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29 Responses to “Camarines Norte”

  1. mlv says:

    holy shit, you just wrote this, eh?

    appreciate the article and going through it, the whole site. you’re doing a great thing.

    you said something about a list of island camp-outs, but i don’t see it.

    you see anyone just camping out on the beach? and if you didn’t, you think anyone would mind if we did?

    and maybe i missed it, but how’s the tagalog there?

    thanks.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi there,

      You can camp out in the islands I mentioned (Mercedes Islands and the Calaguas Islands). It usually works out cheaper (and safer!) if you get the services of a guide. From what I saw, all those islands are not private (save for Apuao Grande I think- you may have to check that with Mr. Melvic Briñas). Make sure you contact him to check on the sea conditions just in case. He is highly recommended and he knows the ins and outs of those islands.

      Tagalog is spoken and understood well in Camarines Norte due to its proximity to Quezon Province. You will not have a problem getting around. I hope you will enjoy Camarines Norte which is easily one of our favorite destinations in Bicol.

      Cheers!

      Ryan

  2. jason guinto says:

    is vinzons’ church really the oldest in bicol?

    • Ryan says:

      I can double check for you mate, but as far as my research on this Church says, it is. :) But I welcome any corrections if it needs one. :)

    • Len says:

      Just to give you information…Vinzons Church, (St Peter Parish Church) will be celebrating his quadricentinial anniversary this year :)

  3. jason b. guinto says:

    interesting piece on camarines norte. other articles reveal that there are other claims to vinzons church being the oldest in the bicol region. i am confused. i was born and raised in vinzons.

    by the way i admire your spirit to travel, write and takes photos – all at the same time! next time you drop by, i recommend that you visit “K-SARAP” restaurant in daet centro. they have good local food and good service!

    • Ryan says:

      I believe you, I really liked Camarines Norte… VERY UNDERRATED but have so much to offer. I can’t wait to come back!!!

  4. ohnel villafranca says:

    hi ryan,

    thanks for appreciating our province. your right, there are lots of things awaiting for tourist who will visit camarines norte. you are also correct that the local government should make more efforts to introduce the province as one of the premiere destination in the country just like our neiboring province camarines sur.
    when you visit camarines norte again and when im there pls free to email me so i can give waem welcome.

  5. ohnel villafranca says:

    hi ryan

    correction po, the last two words are warm welcome. and pls try our own version of bicol express. not just made with coco milk and chili also with slightly ripe pineapple.. a sweet and spice taste combined..

    • Ryan says:

      Hmmmmm…. I tried Bicol Express at Ate Doyet’s over there. Yum. But with pineapples? Not yet, now you make want to go back to Daet!

  6. Uwe says:

    Let me put some more Infos about Restaurant.
    In Daet, near the only Trafficligth of the Town, Zabala St., is a very good chinese Restaurant called “Golden Palace”, and also in the Central Market the “Shaky´s”.
    also some other on the mainstreet.
    And in Talisay (5 min fm Daet)just open a new small Resto.

  7. Mike says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Great job in posting this article. Im planning to travel by my lonesome self to a new place and you’ve convinced to try camarines norte.

    I have some questions.

    Is it possible for a one week travel by public transport to cover Albay, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur?

    Is it possible and advisable to save some money if I’ll hire a local fisherman to go to these group of islands in Camarines Norte and in Caramoan?

    Any money saving tips, you got in travelling through these provinces?

    Thanks a lot,

    Mike

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Mike,

      Camarines Norte is a great choice (I dunno why, but it seems that alot of people are not giving it a chance). Now to answer your questions:

      1. Public transport between those provinces you mentioned is possible. Within a week, it really depends on how fast you move between destinations. If you take a map of Luzon, you will see that from Manila, the first province of Bicol you will enter is Camarines Norte, followed by Camarines Sur, then Albay and then onto Sorsogon. Always allow sufficient travel time between these provinces. I haven’t tried the Legazpi to Naga route but it should be around 2-3 hours and Naga to Daet would be about the same. I am estimating these times as we took a really old and decrepit bus on our way to Daet from Naga. As for travel times to Caramoan from Naga and back, i think you may already have read our Caramoan article for some ideas.

      My question though is how are you gonna be getting to these provinces? Will you be flying to Legazpi or Naga? Because if you plan to do something like that, I can suggest that You fly into Legazpi (and do a side trip to Sorsogon for the whale sharks at this time of the year), then work your way back to Naga, spend an overnight in Caramoan, come back to Naga and then work your way to Daet and then bus back to Manila. That would make sense actually so you practically cover mainland Bicol in one go.

      2. In Caramoan, they usually already have a fixed rate going (try to haggle the price) even though it doesn’t really look like there was an established system when we were there last year, but in some cases, you may find other backpackers who would be willing to split the cost for the island hopping. What we did actually was we befriended the trike driver who picked us up in Guijalo and asked for a best priced boat ride around the peninsula. So far, I think people in Caramoan were still not too gung-ho for tourist money. Though you would sometimes encounter things when settling bills (Bahala na kayo sir – It’s up to you sir) which I find annoying sometimes.

      With the Mercedes Islands in Daet, try to contact Melvic Briñas, instead of us going all the way to Mercedes town to jump on a boat, ours directly picked us up from Bagasbas (saved us some hassle). We tried to haggle the price with the fisherman (dint work really).

      Money saving tips (well, kinda):

      1. Eat where the locals eat.
      2. Make sure that you agree how much everything costs (esp with transportation) before going ahead with a deal.
      3. Haggle! Come on, this is Asia, people are expected to haggle.

      So far that’s what I can think of as the moment. Hope that helps!

      Ryan

      • Mike says:

        thanks ryan!

        i’ll share here what happened.

        btw…ive been telling all my friends about the site. the best! keep it up!

        • Ryan says:

          Hi Mike,

          Glad to help man. Cheers and thanks for sharing this site to your friends, the more people we can have sharing their experiences here the better information we have on these destinations for other future travelers. Catch us on Twitter @TourismPinas and Facebook- Tourism Paradise Philippines (you will see some of our many travel photos and videos there). :)

          Have a great weekend!

          Ryan

          • Mike says:

            Hi Ryan,

            Just came back! I followed your advise to start from Legazpi going to Naga. Unfortunately, I did not push thru with Caramoan and Daet Islang hopping because I saw an advice from one of the caramoan resorts that a survivor franchise is currently showing in caramoan and budget constraints for Daet.

            Anyway, I started from Legazpi (Linon Hill, Lava Wall Tour, Cagsawa Ruins) then Donsol, Sorsogon (Butanding, Firefly watching) and CWC in Pili, Camarines Sur.

            Things learned:

            1. You can go to the Lava Wall of Mt Mayon by motorcycle. Negotiate the price with motorcycle drivers at Linon Hill. Its way cheaper than renting the ATVs which cost 1800 per hour!

            2. Talk to other tourists and share the cost of boat rental in Donsol both for the butanding and firefly tours. You can find transient houses in the town center which are cheaper than the resorts.

            3. CWC’s have reasonable prices for their accomodations but the food in the resto is a little bit pricey. I like the facilities and the free shuttle service to naga.

            4. Public transport to these places are very reliable. Although, you need to arrange for pick up for the tricycle drivers going inside Cagsawa Ruins if you dont have the patience to wait.

            5. And Ryan was correct, eat where the locals eat!

            You can view my pictures here : http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=55832&id=1481464155&l=a4a63d0013

            • Ryan says:

              Hi Mike,

              Wow, great panoramic photos you got there mate! As for Caramoan, actually, it doesn’t really matter if there is a Survivor filming because at any time, only a few islands are blocked off (you can still head out to the other many islands). When we were in Caramoan, they were filming Survivor Serbia and we even met some of the castaways.

              For Daet, oh well, you can just head back next time. :) It is pretty close to Manila so… you can do it anytime.

              Well, it seemed that you had a fantastic trip!

              Cheers,

              Ryan

              ps. what were your settings on your camera when you took those firefly photos? I couldn’t seem to figure out to take any of them save for one… :(

              • Mike says:

                thanks ryan =)

                just the night settings but a very close shot with the zoom maximized. this is the only decent shot i got. it helped also that there’s a bit of sunlight left when we went out.

                Mike

  8. rico says:

    You made my wanderlust itching for Camarines Norte!! This province could rival Anawangin’s scenery & La Union as a surfing destination plus the white sand beaches, given the aggressive exposure. I want to hang out in Bagasbas and go beachcombing in the islands of Mercedes & Calaguas soon!

    • Ryan says:

      rico,

      We are thinking of finally pushing through with that trip to Calaguas… So will do a more focused article on that island. :) I think Camarines is better, with less people. :)

      Ryan

  9. rico says:

    I’ve tried the not so known ‘Formosa Pineapple.’ It was addicting! It doesn’t have the awful ‘tongue-pricking sensation’ unlike the usual tropical pineapple and it is considerably sweeter. B)

  10. glyssa says:

    i have been in camarines norte for 4 times already… and i must say i FELL IN LOVE with the place… i just keep on coming back… i have been to pulangdaga beach which is one of the best beaches in cam norte… im looking forward in visiting calaguas and cayucyucan island…. my friends says i should not miss the mampurog lake….. haaaaaaaaayyy i love bicol so many great things to see!

  11. Chef Janjie says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Great blog. Please provide me with any contact number of the boatmen in Vinzons if you have any? This would be very helpful to us when we go to Calaguas this coming May 7, 2010.

    Thank you in advance.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Chef Janjie

  12. wow! a very comprehensive guide of Cam Norte! :) I totally agree with you, Cam Norte is has a lot to offer! Sigh, if only the local gov’t would put great interest in tourism! But hey thanks to our fellow travel bloggers, Cam Norte is slowly being discovered and much thnx to you all! :)

    I had a solo trip to Cam Norte last year and it was a great experience! As usual, I didn’t take the pricey tourist boat though (Php 6000 for an overnight camp for Calaguas??? I definitely cnt afford that! (Peace Melvic! :D I’m a cheapskate traveler tht’s why, but thnx man for doing a great job in promoting Calaguas. I’d definitely refer you to tourists for a hassle free tour. =)).

    Last year I was able to haggle the price down to Php 1,500 for a trip to Calaguas frm Paracale (the nearest jump off point to Calaguas, there are buses that would drop by to Paracale, btw) and it cost me 100 to Apuao Grande (thnx to a local fisherman who let me tag along on their boat, you can pay more than Php100 though, it just so happened that I have not enough cash w/ me. hehe ) I stayed overnight at Apuao Grande. I regret not bringing a tent w/ me, could’ve camped out instead in Calaguas. Boatmen don’t normally have cellphones but once you get to Paracale or Vinzons, there’s a lot of boats there so nothing to worry.As of the last visit of some travel bloggers, the boat to Calaguas from Paracale though is now at Php2,000-Php2,500 (overnight). here’s my post: http://thepinaysolobackpacker.com/2010/02/28/the-search-for-the-virgin-beach/#more-1960

    I wish to revisit Cam Norte again, as I was pressed for time on my last trip. Glad I’ve stumbled on this post. It’s really a helpful site, I’m browsing every destination for my future trips! Great job guys and more power! :)

    Cheers,
    Gael

  13. JOYCE says:

    hey! i’m doing my report now about this place camarines norte. and this site totally helps me. thanks for making this one. and this really makes me feel that i’ve gone through there. how i wish i could go there someday. btw i’m a freshman tourism student so i guess anytime we’ll gonna visit this place.

    hmm. thanks again..

    CHEERS.. :]

    • marlene carlos says:

      we visited cam norte last holy week ( April 7-9, 2012), it was amazing, the place is virgin. not yet exploited……u will enjoy the scenic view of the different island while traveling to afuao…and the wow is the afuao island. more beautiful than boracay…opps sori…… try visiting cam norte…you will also find the running water of macurog river…….mura pa.

  14. Ms Jem says:

    Ill be visiting my town after 7years? Im so excited and Bagasbas beach is the first place I wanna visit. I live there till I was 9years old. Its a routine going to the beach every sunday with my family and relatives. I missed to sea the waves. Memories coming back. My happy childhood and part of it is Bagasbas. since I have a limited time there of two days i need to manage my time so I could visit all places in my list. I am totally stranger of my place. Problem is the place to stay since my relatives there dont have much space for visitors. I know there are lodges around the town proper but I hope they don’t require reservation. Hope they invest on constructing and building hotels there.

    Im sooooo excited now!

  15. Ms Jem says:

    Anyways, thanks so much for a very informative blog. Very helpful.

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