Experiencing and conserving the pristine beauty of Caramoan Islands

By Nikka Garriga

A trip to the province Camarines Sur will never be complete without exploring the unspoiled islands of the Caramoan Peninsula.

The term “secret” is perhaps best applied owing to the boulders of limestone formations that tower and surround the islands’ powdery white sand and clear, turquoise waters.

Genaro Galang, or more commonly known around visitors as Mang Genaro, is among the pioneer licensed tourist guides in the area under the Caramoan Adventures tour group.

A typical one-day tour includes a visit to five of its islands--Matukad, Lahus, Cagbalinad, Minilahus and Sabitang-laya.

Matukad is probably the most popular as it is where the American reality TV series “Survivor” is frequently staged. The island seems to depict a woman lying flat on its back from an aerial view.

Apart from the bluish water of its lagoon, Matukad is also a bird hunter's paradise for those wanting a glimpse of the lawin or hawk.

Lahus, which translates to "passing through", is found in between two giant rock formations, while Minalahus has the same features though the equally clear waters are often low tide.

Cagbanilad is a favored spot for its diverse marine and coral reef resorts and its display of huge limestone formations. Its natural beauty and isolated location has indeed placed the Caramoan Peninsula a sought-after destination for both local and foreign tourists.

The effort to keep its pristine state is also a responsibility that tourist guides like Mang Genaro keeps a close eye on.

"Caramoan Adventures was formed with the help of Father Joseph Solando who asked us that in return, we allot a portion of what we earn to conduct activities like monthly clean-up drives," he explains.

And if you are looking for something more than just island hopping, Mang Genaro says there are also other unexplored attractions and activities like kayaking, trekking the island has to offer.

With the continued influx of visitors and international exposure it is receiving, one can only hope that Caramoan and its islands remain as scenic and refined as it is.

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