The charm of Camotes Islands: The sea and the caves cement our camaraderie
CAMOTES Island has been pinned in my travel list for a long time already.
The travel advisories from different embassies directed to many tourist destinations in Visayas immediately before our travel date scared me, but in the long run, my itchy feet prevailed. Squeezed after a work-related convention in Cebu, a two-day escapade was just a perfect fit.
Why Camotes Island? Listen, the sound of its name alone evokes a laidback rustic white sandy beach scenario free from intruding crowd. I am happy to feedback that the reality of Camotes was as genuinely exciting as the planning stage.
We went running around on her white sand beaches, basked under the summer sun, and discovered her torquise blue waters at the Santiago Bay, Bakhaw Beach and Tulang Diot Islet.
In Santiago bay, we just walked along her long shore lined with white sand as we were there on a sunset, and observed the sea urchins and sea cucmbers. In Bakhaw, we soaked ourselves in gusto to her crystal clear salty waters and played volleyball using the seaweeds.
In Tulang Diot, we had the joyous beaching because the islet easily belonged to us and her waters embraced our bodies raring for clear blue salty waters for so long already.
Initially, the caves were not a come on because they evoke no romantic get-away idea. Caves are synonymous to horrifying dark abyss and stinky bats. But the reality of the visit turned our expectations around.
The caves of Paradise, Bukilat and Timubo are bathers-friendly, as they all enclose cool waters worth one’s time to dip into. Timubo cave was the first one we encountered and we had fun dipping in her waters and when we realized that going farther inside is manageable when some other tourists came in, we also went in. Timubo is pretty but we can’t get good photos because some lights are off.
The next cave was Paradise, our favorite because when we came in, there were only three of us and the waters are cool and blue. We joked that if the man-made table and benches inside this cave is used as conference table for our pre-litigation cases and we are sure that we will have 100% success rate.
The popular Bukilat cave is a separate tour and a must-see. This high-ceilinged cave has openings that serve as source of light. Going inside this cave is like entering an enchanted kingdom, as the cave is picturesque. Bukilat was recently one of the locations for the movie of Kathniel, Can’t help falling in Love.
I was with two friends whom I travelled alone with for the first time. Trailing the beaches and caves in Camotes is quite a challenge given the distances between the places and the mode of transportation for a small group is either a tricycle or the habal-habal (motorcycle). Our camaraderie was put to test because the group has to maintain composure while travelling along long paths with a few signboards and lots of banana trees and horned white cows along the way.
Well, I am happy to report that we all three passed the composure test and the camaraderie can surely go to many other places. With the two girls, Josephine and Helen Joyce, I seem to be travelling with a scriptwriter-director and an actress.
Oh, I have one thing I have to tell you. Travelling in Camotes is trading one’s comfort food. There are no top-notch restos or eateries; we tried the bland Sutukil in Santiago and the red-colored barbecues in the Baywalk.
The only consolation we had was that we were able to buy fruits in the market stalls beside the Baywalk. But if you happen to pass by the Poro, the small eatery beside the Tourist Information is the only that I can recommend for you to try.
Other points of interest: Mangodlong Beach, Lake Danao, Holy Crystal Cave, Busay Falls and Buho Rock.