I woke up about 5:30 that morning oddly enough with the feeling of relief that I get to go home today. I say ‘odd’ because I normally feel wistful when my vacations come to an end. Then again, more than a couple of things about this outing did not exactly work out for me, so that’s probably why I was looking forward to leaving.
Anyway, I went back to the store for the last time to have my breakfast of coffee and pandesal, then stocked up on food and water before heading to the van that just arrived. We were supposed to leave the lodging at 7, but the others took a while to get ready, so we didn’t get to Don Miguel for their breakfast until about 8:30 (Just to put things in perspective, I think Don Miguel is less than 10 minutes away from our lodging.) As the others were eating, the drivers of both vans approached me and asked if I still wanted to switch to the other van, and I quickly said yes.
From there, we went to see the 17th-century St. Michael the Archangel Parish. There were a couple of things we didn’t get to do that was supposed to be part of the tour. I didn’t really care much for the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Mother of Peace Grotto; it was the missed souvenir shopping that I regret. Sure, there’s a clause in the tour agreement that says the itinerary would change depending on the circumstances, but I wasn’t aware that anything significant happened that had influenced the tour, so that was a bust.
(I know what you’re thinking: “You didn’t even enjoy the tour. Why buy souvenirs?” I don’t really buy keepsakes for myself. There are people in my family who enjoy getting those, though.)
Later on, we stopped at at the CamSur Water Complex (CWC), where you could do things like wakeboarding and wakeskating. I think we were there about 15 minutes, so no one really did any water sports. (Seriously, what was the travel agency thinking, including the CWC as a quarter-hour side trip? You’d need at least half a day to do any of those activities.)
Back on the road, I vaguely remember multiple bathroom stops and food breaks, all set to music I had semi-permanently shoved into my ears. The fucked-up roads were just as bad, but I guess I had mentally prepared myself for it this time since the hours seemed to go faster as we hit bump after bump.
Long story short, we got back to Metro Manila with me thinking, this is one of the most unsatisfying trips I’ve ever done. I have to admit, though, that snorkeling experience was not bad at all. I’m assuming the lead-off to the mostly terrible ordeal was the shitty 16-hour ride, so if I ever do go back to Caramoan, I’m doing it by plane.
If you’re interested in taking the trip yourself, here’s how much I spent. I think it might be worth noting that throughout the three-day trip, I didn’t have much of an appetite, so food was the least of my expenses.
Total (Incl. lodging, van rental, and boat fees): Php5,250
*I had to pay an extra Php1,000 for a private room
Day 1 breakfast – Php26
Day 1 lunch – Php80
Day 1 dinner – Php80
Day 2 breakfast – Php14
Day 2 lunch – Php 0 (had breakfast leftovers)
Day 2 dinner – Php35
Day 3 breakfast – Php38
Day 3 lunch – Php 0 (had breakfast leftovers)
Total: Php 273
Total (Pasalubong, tips, bathroom use, snacks, etc.): Php911
(By the way, I booked my tour with Astrokidd Travel and Tours, who is very responsive to emails. One of the drivers of the tour, Kuya Jojit, also lets you hire him and his van for tours. If you want to cut out the middle man and go straight to him, you can reach him at 09072357665. He’s pretty nice, and he can take you anywhere in Luzon, I think.)
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