Survivor Philippines Bicol Region - The Path to Turning a Series of Misfortunes in CamSur to Good Memories

I'm a believer of second chances and an advocate of repeat trips. However, there is one area in the Philippines that I don't want to go back to for the longest time because of a series of bad experiences - ALL in ONE trip. This happened way back end of November 2008 and I could still remember more than I want to until this day. I guess I was still an inexperienced traveler (also not yet a blogger) and new to planning DIY trips. So now, I think it's about time to move on from that unfortunate trip and consider exploring Bicolandia in the near future (if the opportunity comes along to travel with those who can show me what it's really all about). I want to explore Naga and Bicolandia once more to put the past behind me and make up for the things I wasn't able to do in this trip! I'd like to start the healing process by telling my CamSur story haha. After all, there are quite a lot of happy pictures with childhood friends and I got to Caramoan (where they filmed Survivor), the CamSur Watersports Complex (wakeboarding site) and back home (Manila) in one piece ;) Still, I'm giving this another shot because it's a different thing to say that you've been there and you got to do something in the itinerary, right?! Just read my story below and you'll see what I mean haha.

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8 a.m. Day 1 - Arrival. We took an early morning Cebu Pacific flight to Naga (Pili Airport). We had arranged, booked and fully paid for everything (bank-to-bank) before we even arrived via http://caramoanislands.com/ (Read my full story below before you book). 

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Misfortune #1 - We still had time to smile but they put us in an overloaded public passenger boat with chickens and live animals! We were to sit on these planks with our feet hanging for a few hours. Below us were the cargo loads and in front of us lots of people.

Our package included Land and Boat Transportation. It was supposed to be private but they said that since we were only 5, we did not qualify for the private boat (they only told us this when we saw the boat). Mind you we paid around P40k..

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I think they were better off on this boat..

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Hello, Mayon! How you doin'?

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12:20 p.m. We got to the Gota Village Resort in the Caramoan Islands. I loved the small Log Cabins. It's tiny inside but it's really one of the finer things of this trip. They said the crew shooting the Survivor Series stayed here and these were built for them (while the Survivors just get trees, sand and sun haha). 

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2:30 p.m. We have an order-all-you-can for the food in the package (by the end, we were sick of the eating the same things..). Ready for half a day of island hopping!

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2:40 p.m. 10 minutes away was a nice beach. I don't remember the name, forgive me.

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Misfortune #2 - We had fun taking pictures and played around for 30 minutes. But then the weather got worse. See the gloomy clouds behind us? 

Misfortune #3 - We had to seek shelter from another island with an armed (big armalite-clad) man because the rains just wouldn't stop pouring.. Traumatized about the big gun and crazy weather.

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10 p.m. Well, we were able to go back to the resort and cancelled the rest of the island hopping. Jeff taught us some neat camera tricks so that part was fun.

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8 a.m. Day 2 - Revenge! 

Misfortune #4 - We were up early to see if the weather is clear. By 8:30 a.m., it was a NO go because the waves were high =(

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9:15 a.m. They said we can go caving instead and check out the Yamashita treasure site. They said it was near and charged us P300 (5 people) for the caving fee with guide (poor man I think only got a P100!) and P200 (5 people) for the helmet.  

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I was in my slippers and we had to walk through farms (pilapil-wide).

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9:45 p.m. Are we there yet? I don't even see a mountain!

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Help! Turning back would mean I'm weak and I would have to go back alone. Manong, how can you even do this barefoot?!

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They said there was a boat waiting for us on the other side. We had to cross a river,

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climb straight up (we met the crew of a TV show going down and I had to be helped by people and none other than Born to be Wild himself long-haired Kiko Rustia.. he's not in the pic haha)

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10:45 a.m. then climb down to enter the cave!

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Misfortune #5 - No light! No Yamashita's treasure! None! Nada! Zilch! I was just carrying on for my life and the boat that was waiting for us on the other side! 

Misfortune #6 - Then they tell me I have to go straight down 90 degrees several meters above ground without any gear and in slippery slippers!   

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11:45 a.m. I was so glad to be alive and that Manong could probably see me near tears and dehydrated. He climbed a tree and gave us each some fresh buko as a reward (I remember finishing the whole thing haha). There was also a bit of shade. 

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Moving forward, there is a swamp as you can see. They said there's an opening to the sea (far right) and the boat will be waiting there.

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12:10 p.m. Misfortune #7 - The water was murky (some parts waist-deep for tall people) and I was starting to panic that I will just sink or get pricked by something. It took forever to get to the opening. Then - there was no boat in sight, I was hungry and it was super hot. They said there's another way - into the Mangroves and back to the Resort! 

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2 p.m. Misfortune #8 - Oh, midway through the trekking in knee-deep mud. Manong says there may bayawaks in the mangroves! And I couldn't choose between having my slippers on (it stuck to the mud and more difficult to lift) and taking off my slippers to hurry up (baby mangroves prick your foot). Either way, you're feet are dead and tired. We reached the Resort after 2 hours!

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We were all glad that was over. Haha. Can you see a pattern here? Happy, sad, happy, sad haha.

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We were leaving the next day so we just enjoyed the beach near the shore.

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11:30 a.m. Day 3 - It was still raining in the morning and we just waited for the boat that will take us to CWC.

Misfortune #9 - They let us sign the bill and we saw the breakdown. We didn't do anything but eat and sleep here. We paid P40k - P45k plus in total and the figures showed that only around P24k was spent if we had ordered everything separately and paid upon checkout. Even if you add a day at CWC, it would still not amount to that much.


Their only explanation - We already paid for it as a package so no refund will be given =( Next time - Pay for things separately. Do not get a packaged tour here.

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2:15 p.m. It was a 2-hour boatride and another 1.5 hour by car to get to CWC. We arrived at around 6 p.m. It took us the whole day to get out of there.. We were also snubbed by the waiters at the CWC restaurant =( Good thing the Laing Pizza was great.. =)

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10 a.m. Day 4 - We decided to check out the rest of CWC. I'd like to stay in a small trailer next time just to try it out.

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We stayed in these rooms below. The rooms, both in CWC and the Gota Village, are my only comfort in this trip!

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We headed to the wakeboarding site - CWC's the place to try this out for the first time!

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There were so many foreigners

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and we were watching people doing it from a distance at first. As if it would make a difference haha.

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We paid at the counter and it's our turn! Things were really looking great.

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There's a briefing and a how-to demo before they let you go.

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I was really gonna do this! Ready to fall and get back on my feet again...

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1 p.m. Misfortune #10 - This was the last straw - the wakeboarding machine broke down!!! And we were really the next ones in line. =( They said to wait it out, maybe an hour or two so we went back to our room and waited until 5 p.m. and still nothing. At least we got a refund.. And buti na lang - I was with good company for the whole trip! hahaha.


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7 a.m. Day 5- Misfortune #10.5 Pahabol - Our plane was delayed. 

The End.

Hahaha.

I'd love to hear from you! Please feel free to tell me below:
Have you been to Naga, Caramoan or other parts of CamSur? How was it and what places/food/activities would you recommend? What do you think of this adventure? You think my luck has changed? :)


17 comments:

  1. I have never been to camsur but Im determined to go there before the year ends. Caramoan will be perfect...

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  2. I this this is the real adventure because it combines both the good adventure and mis adventure :) and yes your luck has changed!

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  3. Oh wow, that was a real adventure! I haven't been to Camsur but I would sure love to visit and experience some wakeboarding.

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  4. Been here before with friends, we're lucky enough that we didnt experience those misfortunes, every time we spent there was full of adventures, fun and excitement

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  5. papunta ako this week sa CamSur.... Medyo na confuse ako is caramoan camsur din? Mukhang wakeboarding and caving ang pinaka center ng trip ha....

    Sa beach po ba marami tao and beachclothes are not that strict? tinatanong lng ng kasama ko haha.

    Hows po pala ang mga pasalubong, anything u would recommend to buy :) Thanks po!!!!

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    1. Hi! Caramoan is in Camsur =) For clarity purposes, I'm referring to the Gota Village when I say Caramoan here. We took a boat and a van ride for around half a day to the Camsur Watersports Complex.

      Nung pumunta kami sa beach walang tao although I think it depends on when you will go.

      For the pasalubong, I think anything with the Pili Nut =)

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    2. already gone there and we stayed at those trailers. Really comfy place too and this got 2 aircons, Malamig talaga.... rapsa matulog dito, kita ko rin yung cabins, still the same and i dont know still whats inside....


      The place you are in at the wakeboarding are for professionals, and I applaud you for that, though di natuloy, but I think you all can, kasi we gone to the begginers, short distance and no obstacles :)

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  6. Wow, what an experience! Haven't been there but now I am scared. :-) Did you go under a ladder, break a mirror or squish a black cat? heheh.
    I do plan to go there but during the Penafrancia festival.

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    1. Hi, Basel. Don't be scared. This was a few years ago so they may have improved already. Just take note of some of my tips like on bookings =)

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  7. I've been to Naga before but that was a long time ago. We went there to visit the place of one of our helper. We went to Mayon Volcano and ate to nearby restaurants there. We also went shopping and bought lots of Pili nuts. I also got to experience riding a carabao. It was scary at first but it was fun. With regards to your luck with that trip, well just think of it as an "adventure" hahaha and I'm sure the next travel would be a better, memorable, nice and a fun one. Since you already have experienced all the misfortunes on your first trip so just expect good things will happen on the next one. Think positive!!! hahaha

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  8. my parents originated in camsur,naga to be exact,the place really looks nice and the food is delicious,i miss eating toaste siopao

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  9. Camsur Here we come! Haha... Never been to CamSur, i've heard its a nice place.^^

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  10. Never been anywhere away from Luzon which makes me feel sad :( ... Based on your posts, you got to be brave to enjoy the CamSur adventure & be ready for misfortunes.

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  11. I've never been to Bicol Region. I want to go to CWC and try wakeboarding, also bicolandias food.

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  12. nEVER been there but i wish to go there to witness the goodness of nature in camsur!

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  13. I ve been there!

    I do recommend coming back especially to try their foods and ATV vehicles :)

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  14. Havent gone yet, but Im sure maybe, those problems you faced are now minimized if not solve today. .. :)

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Hi. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you =)