Friday, May 22, 2015

Tour Around Camotes Island

You might be reading this blog because you are arranging or planning a trip to Camotes Island. I understand; that is exactly what I’ve been doing every time I travel. Let me tour you around the Camotes Island, the island I’ve been hearing
from Cebuanos the time I arrived here in Cebu 6 years ago. It was just last weekend I fulfilled that dream (come to think of it). Anyway, let me begin with saying I’m a thrifty wanderer, a backpacker and a working girl, so my travels are usually on a budget. I’ve been trying to cover everything in a day or two days adventures. Our weekend trip to Camotes Island was short planned too. We were supposed to visit Siquijor but due to some circumstances re-routed to Camotes. The final confirmation of the people who will be joining that adventure was 2 days before the actual trip. We read blogs (most blogs were posted a year or two years ago) and look for information online about the place. We have to consider the following: budget, transportation, accommodation and food.

Our goal is to spend 1,500 up to 2,500 per head. Let's see…

Most hotels and known accommodation in the island were fully booked, so we decided to rent a single room where we can secure our things and we sleep in tents. We searched online and found this very enthralling ad.

We immediately dialed the number and spoke to Sir Joseph Lanuza and we asked him about the tour package and honestly informed him that we don’t have a place to stay-in yet and that we only have tents. He helped us plan our trip and we set forth Saturday morning around 9am. He told us we should be there early to catch up the 11am boat.

V-Hire from SM Cebu to Danao- 50php

Sikad from Danao terminal to Danao port – 10 php

We arrived around 10:45am and all 11am and 2pm trip of Jomalia Shipping were all fully booked.

Sir Joseph even tried to use his connections, but due to the volume of tourists shipping lines won’t accept advance booking. We booked at Junmar shipping travel time available is 3:30pm. We were slightly disappointed but still persistent to carry on.

Photo of us waiting outside Danao port, joking around.

We were entertained by the kids swimming near the port with plastic as their improvised floater.

Junmar Shipping: Danao port to Puertobello Port – 200php (FYI: Jomalia Shipping docks at Consuelo port)

Still waiting...

Finally, after more than 3 hours of waiting our ferry boat arrive and we sailed across the sea.

Smile of relief...
Junmar is a 2 storey ferry boat. 

We occupied the seats at the back with only tarpaulin serves as roof. We didn't care anyway, to reach Camotes was the only thing in our mind at that time. I guess the other passengers were thinking the same.

Sailed around 3:10pm and arrived at Puertobello port around 4:50 pm

Puertobello port

Our contact Cairon was waiting for us since 3:00pm. He took our first groufie upon arrival with the car (Isuzu D-Max) that we'll be using for the entire tour.

The original itinerary of our tour would be half day Saturday and another half on Sunday but, but did not happen. We decided to make use of the remaining time instead.
First destination…Lake Danao… I suggest you rent a car or multicab in touring around to save. One day tour in a motorcycle is 500php and some may charge per destination from 50php-200php. Most of the people who had been there suggested we rent a car. With Sir Joseph and Cairon’s tour package we saved a lot and enjoyed the tour.
We made a short stop-over on our way for picture taking session. This place is so cool…

We were heedless of cars and motorcycles passingby. Cairon keep on reminding us to be careful. Hahaha!

We arrived around 5pm, we just beg the caretaker to let us try their boating they are about to close when we arrived. He agreed given we do it less than 30 minutes. After paying 50php we started paddling in and taking photos.

They also have back-riding but were not able to try it anymore…
Scenic sunset, view from the lake...
Thanks Jacky B. for taking this photo :P
It was already dusk, so we started and ended our tour on that day.

 We headed to Santiago White Beach to arrange our accommodation and get ready for dinner. We were all shocked when we arrived at the place, it was full of tourists roaming around, and backpackers just like us setting up their tents. We were booked in a lodge; unfortunately the lodge keeper gave our rooms to a family with kids and just offered us tents for rent. We brought two tents so we just rented one for 350php and he will charge us 100php/tent. Another unexpected or should I say unfortunate event for us, but we have to deal with it, as backpackers “kuno” we have to.
We stayed in-front of Dread House Lodging House.

 They have reggae jamming every night and one of the places visited by the tourists around the Santiago White Beach.
 This big tent is open for rent too.
 When we were setting up our tents, some campers where already set-up. They rented tents in Dread House too, since there were no available rooms for rent anymore.

 Our tents... :D

 Cairon left few reminders before he left; to order our dinner first before we set-up our tent and they are experiencing black-out from 7pm to 8am each day. We did not listen to him as to ordering our dinner, we have done it after setting up our tents and so we ended up 16th in queue. We waited for almost 3 hours before our dinner was served.
 Nena's Grill Menu
 Good thing Steph brought emergency food that sustains us until our meal was served.
Our tents were penetrated by water so we ran and transferred to the nearest restaurant. We were all sleepy and exhausted. We looked for a place where can find small comfort and rest. We did not go back to our soaking wet tent anymore.

Note to backpackers:
  • · Do not expect too much!
  • · Secure your accommodation first if you really want to stay in a room not in a tent.
  • · Black-out from 7pm-8pm everyday
  • · Bring emergency food, just in case
  • · There’s a scarcity of water especially peak season (summer)
  • · Most hotels, inns, lodging houses around Santiago White beach are fully booked every summer
Infront of Nena's Grill where we stayed overnight with the support of those monoblock chairs.

Front beach was over crowded with tents.
 We woke up too early, to witness the sunrise and see the beauty of the beach we haven't seen when we arrived.

 Santiago White Beach shore early in the morning...

 In-front of Santiago Bay...

Our groufie..
If you are planning to tour around Camotes early, you should be up early and look for breakfast. Orders for breakfast were inqueue in every food station we visited. Good thing we found a bakery one ride from Santiago White beach where we bought our breakfast and we set forth for the entire day's adventures.

Ready...Set...and go!!!Goodbye Santiago White Beach...Until next time...

Click below for the places where we left our footsteps :)

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