Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Travel: Camarines Sur, Philippines

     Camarines Sur is a province of the Philippines located in the Region V (Bicol Region) in Luzon. Its capital is Pili and the province borders Camarines Norte and Quezon to the north, and Albay to the south. To the east lies the island province of Catanduanes.
     Camarines Sur is the largest among the six provinces in the Bicol Region both in terms of population and land area. Its territory encompasses two cities: Naga City and Iriga City.

     If you are coming to the Philippines from abroad, the usual start point will be Manila. From there you have two options: by land or by air.
By Air
     From the manila international airport you can ride Philippine Airlines, the flahship carrier, or Cebu Pacific. Both of these planes has travel routes to Naga Airport (WNP). Naga Airport is located at Pili, the capital of camarines sur, which is adjacent to Naga City. The airport has been named as Naga Airport since Naga is the lone chartered city, the province's and the region's most progressive city. It is also commercial, educational, financial, and cultural center of the province.
 Philippine AirlinesCebu Pacific
No. of Flights per day32
Flight Schedules (ETD-ETA)PR265 9:10 – 10:00
PR371 12:35 – 13:25
PR263 15:40 – 16:30
5J-521 06:35 – 07:30
5J-523 12:15 – 13:10
Frequency of FlightsPR265 Daily
PR371 Mon-Wed-Fri-Sun
PR263 Daily
5J-521 Daily
5J-523 Daily
By Land
     Camarines Sur is also accessible by land from Manila. There are so many rental vehicles available some are situated just outside the international airport of Manila. But if you are not familiar with the route and you dont want to fumble with maps, then the way to go is by bus. There are so many buses in Manila that are having multiple trips daily to Naga City. You can go to Cubao Terminal or Pasay Bus Terminal where buses going to Naga Cam. Sur can be found. Some of the buses in Cubao Terminal are Gold Line Tours, Isarog Lines,Raymond Transportaion, and Peñafrancia Tours. In Pasay are the Amihan Bus and Philtranco. Cost of one way  fare is around Php 700-900, depending on the bus line and the season. If it's peak season then it may be higher. The peak seasons are all souls day, holy week (semana santa), christmas time, new year and during Peñafrancia Fiesta (third week of September).

Mt Isarog National Park
     The Malabsay Falls is just inside the Mt Isarog National Park, it is the usual choice for the typical visitors because of its location. After taking the path to the right after passing the entrance hut the visitor will drop down into a spectacular gully where the 20 meter falls is located. The crystal clear waters offer opportunities for rock jumping and relaxing in nature. But if you are the adventurer type who loves trekking/hinking, sheck out Nabontolan Falls - located above Malabsay Falls. It is about an hour of hike from the entrance. Limatik or blood leeches are abundant in the area so take necessary precautions.
     With a permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, you can also trek to the summit. An entrance fee of Php 75 for students and Php 100 for professionals is required by the DENR Protected Area Office. This office may be reached at +63544728018, Mr. Oscar Dominguez, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer

Photo by: Roy D. Tipones

Gota Beach
     A project of the provincial government, Gota beach resort is steadily becoming one of the most attractive resorts for Philippinos who are not attracted to the over-developed Boracay. It is surrounded by jagged mountains, interesting rock formations, secluded white beaches and suprisingly, other like-minded tourists. A less pricey option is to stay in one of the many home stay or other accommodation options and hire a boat to take you wherever you choose to enjoy nature without expensive resorts.

Culapnitan Cave
     This cave is found in Libmanan. It contains innumerable stalactites and pillars ranging from massive to extremely delicate. The cave was called Culapnitan caves because its a home of thousand bats that is called culapnit in the local dialect.

Sabang Beach
     This coastal barangay of San Jose sees the connection of the river and the sea and has various options for accommodation as well as serving as the main stopover for tourists heading to Caramoan Peninsula. Every year during the last week of April (May during 2009) Sabanga hosts the "Malasagui Festival" (Blue Marlin) which plays host (among other things) to fishing competitions involving fastest and biggest catch. The Blue Marlin has been known to grow as big as 600Kgs! Though dont expect to see this size on show.

Lake Buhi
     Lake Buhi is home to the world's smallest edible fish, the sinarapan or tabios. The lake is 16.5 sq km, 15 km away from Iriga City. Sinarapan were previously threatened with extinction. Thanks to the intervention by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, it has at least a chance of survival. You can see this interesting, tiny species close up at the aquarium in the Municipal Builidng of Buhi.

Photo by: limledi
Atulayan Island
     A cinema-like paradise of an island, you can easily pull your heart down and complete your collection of rare shells and stones. Once the site of the French-Italian movie "Mutiny in the South Seas". Its ivory-colored beaches provide the best setting for the movie

Quipayo Parish Church
     Located in Calabanga, this is one of the oldest chuches of the province. At present it is one of the three parish church of Calabanga, the other two is La Porteria Parish church and Divine Mercy Parish church

Photo by: Bobong23b

Camarines Sur Watersports Complex
     Camarines Sur Watersports Complex or popularly known as CWC is situated at the Capitol Complex of Camarines Sur. It is a unique watersports park designed for wakeboarding, wakeskating and waterskiing. For beginner riders to the professional wakeboarders and skiiers from all over the world, CWC offers a 6-point cable ski system, coupled with restaurants, sand bars, spas, pro-shops and grand stands to hold guests. Riders can also enjoy their favorite water sports at night as the park will be equipped with spotlights that allow for it even to be open on evenings.

     Camarines Sur has a very rich and colorful culture. There are so many festivities celebrated individually by its thirty five municipalities and two cities. The following are the well known celebrations in Camarines Sur.

Peñafrancia Festival
     Every year on the third week of September, the most awaited celebration of Bicol is being held in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. Her centuries old image becomes an object of a stirring religious event which is the ceremonial fluvial procession.

Photo by: John

Kamundagan Festival
     Naga City open its doors every December in commemorating of their charter anniversary and the birth of Jesus Christ. Highlights of the festivity are: Kiri-kiti, Pastoras, Beauty Search, Agro-Industrial Fair, Cultural Presentation, Civic Parade, Bikol Song Festival

Voyadores Festival
     A street dance reenactment on the transfer of the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia from the Basilica to the Metropolitan Cathedral. Named after the male devotees (voyadores) who accompany and carry the Virgin's image in a procession called Translacion for a novena at the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Bikol Pastores Festival
This festival is celebrated by the friendly people of Calabanga, another beautiful town of Camarines Sur. This festival paves the ground for an array of cultural and sports highlights such as the following: Panunuluyan, Larong Pinoy, Night with the Stars, Open Ballroom Dancing Competition, Search for the Best Christmas Decorated Home, Balikbayan Night, Binibining Pastores Beauty Pageant, Bikol Pastores Dance Competition, Mardi Gras, and the Senior's Citizen's Night.

     There are so many hotels in Camarines Sur, but most of them are concentrated on Naga City. The hotels here are very affordable and there are so many of them to choose from. If you are planning to visit Camarines Sur during September which is a peak season, make sure to book your hotel accomodation way in advance because of the onrush of devotees coming in from different places. The room rates are ranging from Php500 - Php2500 depending on the hotel and the season.


1 comment:

  1. I like this blog. Everything's informative just like this post. I'm gonna need this info for our trip. :)