Monday, June 3, 2013

Al Ain City Daily Photo Goes to Caramoan: Our Accomodation

Hello everyone! Has it really been a month and 17 days since my last post? Whew! Just whew. Oh! I can even see some cobwebs here.

Can I store my Bitcoin on an exchange?

Well, to be fair, I've been really busy with various responsibilities being a member of the International Nurses' Day 2013 Committee. Mostly taking photos for the different activities during the week-long celebration.

But I'm back on the blogging wagon (yay!) and ready (shall I say determined?) to write blogsposts that I could share with my readers. And to start with, allow me to continue my vacation stories. So please bear with me, okay? This might bore you to death. Hahahaha!

From Guijalo Port, it took us about 20 minutes of land travel to our accommodation. It was a pleasant trip since our tour guide was very accommodating. Yet I found it so irritating to have a bumpy ride because of the rough road. Yes, there's smooth road (thanks to Survivor!) but I think it is more of rough road leading to the town of Caramoan.

As I've mentioned in my previous post, we wanted to stay at Gota Village Resort (by the way, who wouldn't want to?) but due to budget issues, we opted to stay at Istaran Budget Hotel. No regrets. Why? This economy hotel offers various amenities just like other budget hotels in town. The only difference is the absence of indoor or outdoor pool. For budget vacationers like us, it was fine; but if you're longing for a luxurious Caramoan vacation, you better start checking the Gota Village Resort or Tugawe Cove Resort.

Here are some of the photos of the budget hotel. These are straight out of the camera shots(DSLR and mobile) so don't expect to see nice photos (okay, okay I must admit that I am too lazy to do even minor editing argh! Not to mention that I was not in the mood for clicking before or after the island hopping----yeah right! excuses, excuses!). You can click the photos to enlarge.

this is how it looks like from outside

 my family at the reception
sir Fernan, Malyn and Ivy at the reception

hubby at the pocket garden

wash area located at the reception with hand-made earthen jars
wooden stairs with chandeliers and small souvenir shop at the reception

Standard room and dorm-type room-equipped with A/C, bath and toilet, bidet, hot and cold shower. 
Installed with flat screen TV and cable connections, side table and intercom. 

lobby (wifi and play area)

function hall  (we do looked sore here hahaha! but ready for our day 2)

What I liked about our stay in Istaran Budget Hotel was the service that they have provided. The employees were kind and courteous. Most of all, I loved the food especially the relyenong bangus....the best relyenong bangus that I have tasted so far! 

This is the usual table presentation at the function hall for a budget meal. With this type of package, our tummy were always full! I must say that our gustatory desires were always satisfied especially during dinner time.

Here are some of the best Pinoy cuisines from Istaran Budget Hotel.

relyenong bangus
liempo and grilled chicken
tapsilog for breakfast- I wonder how they marinate the beef, it was so yummy!

I would like to thank Mr. Darius Mirasol of Northlink Events and Travel Services and Mr. Angel Naval, the owner of Istaran Budget Hotel, for accommodating us.

By the way, I'll be posting my tips on how to get there and things to do in Caramoan at the end of this series of posts. You don't wanna miss some new stories, right? :)

That's all folks for today. My next post is all about our 1st day of island hopping, so keep on visiting this page. Salaam!

Related Posts:
Al Ain City Daily Photo goes to Caramoan: Planning our Trip and Journey to Guijalo Port
Al Ain City Daily Photo goes to Caramoan (Prologue)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Al Ain City Daily Photo goes to Caramoan : Planning our Trip & Our Journey to Guijalo Port

Tic, tac, tic, tac. The clock says it's 02:00 AM. I've counted the sheep to fall asleep but to no avail. This insomnia thing is really irritating me. Shall I blame it to my duty requests? Ugh! Yeah right! I am on a perennial night shift and when it's time for my day off, I'm having difficulty falling asleep. Or shall I blame it to my dry cough and sore throat? I am on day 4 of Augmentin. Though I feel better compared to the past few days, this sore throat is really painful. I'm tired of coughing and counting the sheep. I don't want to spend the rest of the night doing nothing. Ok, let me see what I can write for today.  Oh! Let me continue the story about our Caramoan adventure (*sips lukewarm tea*).

Caramoan has many beautiful off-shore islands scattered across its vast water. Known internationally as the setting of several foreign Survivor TV series like Survivor Italy, Bulgaria, Israel, France, Serbia, Sweden and recently, the USA. No wonder that it has risen to one of the hot tourist destinations in the Philippines. I came to know about this tropical paradise not only because of the Survivor TV series, but because of the photos posted in Facebook by my Auntie Adore, a long-time resident of Caramoan. Since then, I've been dreaming of spending my holiday enjoying the sand, sea and beautiful sceneries of Caramoan. Hurray! At last another one ticked off my wishlist!

A few weeks before our holiday, I reminded my hubby about our plans. Though we had a limited budget, I still insisted on a 3D/2N adventure. Initially, we were planning to go to Bohol on our first week and then to Caramoan on our last week. We had to change our plans upon arrival in the Philippines when we've learned that Joel had to attend his final week in the school.

At the start of our week 2 in the Philippines, I phoned Darius Mirasol of Northlink Events and Travel Services. We paid a visit at their office in Metropark Village in Daet, Camarines Norte to book for a 3D/2N package for 7 pax. We wanted to stay at Gota Village Resort but eventually chose Istaran Budget Hotel due to budget constraint (I will give the details of Northlink Event and Travel Services and Istaran Budget Hotel at the end of this post).

Everybody was excited when we got the booking. We started packing our beach stuff and there was one day that we've spent the whole time buying for our "anik-anik" (you know, girl thing :)).....can't live without it). We were a bit sad because my mother declined our invitation for some reasons. I couldn't change our booking and we really had to go since I have already paid the 50% of the total travel cost.

After few days from the time we booked our travel, the day has finally arrived :)). Allow me to share our travel time from Daet to Guiajalo Port with our photos. 

We had to leave Daet at 01:00 AM going Sabang Port, thus those haggard looks. Kids were still sleepy because they had 3 hours of sleep. Adults didn't sleep at all. In the first photo, I was with my niece Ivy, our "maid-in-heaven" Marlyn, my sons Joel and James with my hubby being the photographer. Obviously, I was the photographer in the next photo.

Oh! I forgot to mention that we had to go back to our house because I forgot my tripod. Good thing that we were still at Calasgasan when I noticed that it wasn't beside my camera bag. Clicking adventure isn't complete without a tripod hahaha! (my piece of advise: do check your things before leaving).

On our way to Basud, we dropped by at Brgy. Laniton to fetch Sir Fernan, my son's Chemistry teacher and eventually became a family friend.
Inside the van: Ivy, Joel, Marlyn and sir Fernan
And our journey to Sabang Port continues. These are some of the photos while we were traveling (you know I have to two sons who doesn't want to be photographed at all times, even just for fun. I have to say please or bribe them before I get them to pose for the camera).

It was approximately 3 hours of travel time when we reached Sabang Port. We were an hour early for the first boat trip going to Guijalo Port (di halatang masyadong excited hahahaha!) leaving us without a choice but to wait. It was cold and a bit windy, we had to drink something warm to ward off the coldness. Good thing we found a store where we drunk our first cup of coffee for the day.
in front of Sabang Port
At exactly 05:15 AM, we were on board of the first boat trip going to Guijalo Port. I have to list down some of my observations while boarding the boat.

1. It wasn't organized. Some passengers didn't even bother to write down their names in the manifesto (not sure whether it was checked by the Coastguard, leaving us afraid while on board, thinking that they have accommodated more than 120 passengers).
2. Life jackets were available but nobody bothered to inform the passengers that it can taken when the need arises including its location in the boat.
3. Some passengers were throwing their garbage in the sea aboard of the boat. Spell DISCIPLINE. Huh!

Aboard of the medium-sized boat, I managed to take some pictures though I was afraid of the water splashes while clicking (my piece of advise: bring a plastic with you to protect your camera if you don't own a cover for camera).
docked at Guijalo Port

my clicking partner in action!

As skywatcher and sky lover, I patiently waited for the sunrise but I was unlucky being seated at the middle with passengers or luggage blocking my vantage point . I got these two photos though :((...........

but still happy to appreciate the beauty of nature while looking at these when the sun has finally risen above the horizon.

It took about 2 hours when we finally reached Guijalo Port. We were welcomed with busy atmosphere----people transporting their things or goods out of boat, tour operator employees patiently waiting for their guests or sending off their guests back to Sabang, and porters asking for the passengers to avail their services.

My bladder was full and I couldn't hold it anymore for another 15 minutes or so (travel time from Guijalo Port to our accomodation). With the uneasy feeling, I just managed to take one photo when reached the place. :((
some of the porters at Guijalo Port
That's it!  I know that you will be bored to death with this post, but just in case you are planning to travel to Caramoan, reading this post will be beneficial especially for photobloggers like me.

As promised, here are the contact details of Northlink Events and Travel Services and Istaran Budget Hotel:

Northlink Events and Travel Services
Metro Park Village
4600 Daet, Camarines Norte
Telephone Number: 0063-54-7310525
Mobile Numbers: 09175548297 and 09994449853

Istaran Budget Hotel

Caramoan office:
Sirang St., Tawog,
Carmaoan, Camarines Sur
Philippines 4429
Mobile Numbers: 09482290915 / 09165861646
E-mail: /
Naga Office:

Faxtel: 054-475-1986
Look for Angel Naval

Next post:  Our Accommodation
Related Post: Al Ain City Daily Photo goes to Caramoan (Prologue)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Al Ain City Daily Photo goes to Caramoan (Prologue)

Hello dear readers and followers! I'm back! How are you doing? I hope everybody is doing well.

It's good to be back but I feel a bit sad at the same time because I had to leave my kids again. I'll be seeing them again after 5 months. Anyway, I'll just keep myself busy to ward off this homesickness. To start with, I would like to share these random vacation shots taken at Caramoan Peninsula, Camarines Sur, Philippines. If you are familiar with Survivor, a reality television show, then I think you have an idea about the place. I've been there with my family and we did enjoy the sand, sea and beauty of nature. Indeed, it's more fun in the Philippines! Another one checked in my wishlist. :)

I'll be posting my vacation stories in a series, so keep on visiting this page. Salaam!!

at Bikal, on our way to island hopping (day 1)
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