The “Camsur” Experience (Caramoan)

Jack Kerouac wrote a book called “Big Sur”, about his stay in a populated coastal part in California that faces the Pacific Ocean. “Camsur” is a shortened term for Camarines Sur in the province of Bicol where the Caramoan Peninsula is located.

It was my first time to travel to the Bicol region and as expected the trip to Caramoan took very long, from the 8 hour bus ride from Manila to Naga, an hour trip to Sabang port and the two hour boat ride to Caramoan. The whole trip almost took almost half a day.

But it was all worth it, as Friday morning we started the island hopping part of our trip, some islands were closed down due to the shooting of a French Survivor reality TV series, but still, some of the islands that we visited has some of the finest white/golden sand beaches that i’ve ever seen in my life.

Crystal green and blue waters under the shimmery hot sun, the pretty visible coral reefs and other sea creatures, rock formations all contribute to the appeal of the islands scattered all over the Caramoan Peninsula.

If ever I’d become a castaway I won't have any problem getting stuck in one of those islands. “No man is an island” but i think i can be an exception. If I were to get lost from this mad society when I get old, this would be one of the few places I’ll consider spending my retirement years.

The boat ride sometimes took very long, hopping from one island to the next took 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes i feel like going to sleep while sitting on the boat. However, strong waves will time to time, batter the boat bringing along some sea water to rain down on me. I was loving it, although at one point I thought the boat will roll over and under the sea.

Good thing, although the waves are bigger than normal, our boatman was cool and relaxed knowing just what to do in handling the boat quite well in sailing along the strong waves.

For two days we visited four or five islands, took hundreds of pictures, posed for photographs with a starfish, climbed up a hill where a giant Mama Mary statue was erected, went caving, lost both of my slippers in a mini “kumunoy”, went swimming in the beach, in an underground river and enjoyed the company of some of my former workmates and old and new friends as well.

Most of all, during this trip, I realized how beautiful the Philippines is, a year ago i was pissed off at my life here and would do anything just to get out of here, I envy those who are living in America and Europe, thinking the Philippines is a place where everything was lost.

Now, I am realizing slowly, that amidst all political screw-ups, turmoils, economic uncertainty, all of which are normal in every nation, I have developed a new-found zest and appreciation for the Philippines. I’ll make it a vow to at least visit half of the Philippines before i reach the age of 35 years old, or before i start my own family.

There’s lots of places to see, lots of people to meet and make friends with. Reminds me of a Rancid song detailing their life on the road “all these (places) all these people, all these friends we were equall”.

In the end, i now know that, there are these places that will make one’s zest for life burn for more and to quote good ole Jack Kerouac “burn burn burn like fabulous roman candles” , these friends that you travel with will make the experience more joyful and the equality of everyone of us in times of discovering and learning a new place makes it even better than what we normally do on our everyday lives. How i wish i could just pack up my bags tomorrow and go on another sojourn with my friends in a new destination.

But in real life, there’s work that we all have to do, but in between those times, we should start planning for that next great adventure… who’s with us next time?
Palawan, Bohol, Davao, Cebu, iloilo, Batanes, Albay, Camiguin, CDO, damn and the list justgoes on and on….