Guinahoan Island: for the love of rolling hills

Here’s a secret (that is obviously not anymore, I mean omg, May, stop revealing too much about yourself): my most favorite part of island hopping are not the beaches, but even a little chance of hiking or trekking. I honestly get bored easily, so even during my “chill” vacays I still look for quick activities like a short trek to small mountains or hills.

I stayed in Caramoan for 3 days with the What To Eat Ph team – 2 days island hopping and 1 day restaurant reviews. After Las Casas, this was (if I’m not mistaken) my second out of town trip with WTE family and it was great that we finally got to explore a part of where my (biological) family came from – Bicol!

Our first day may sound super tiring, but it was actually the “better” day because of the rush, excitement, and urge to really get the most of what we could reach within the day. And believe it or not, we hopped 8 island hopping spots that day!

  • Guinahoan Island, Caramoan | themhayonnaise

For this particular post, I talked/wrote about my third favorite island among those eight. (Seriously super excited to write about my first and second!) This island is our first stop for the day. I didn’t expect we would be doing a trek ever in this trip, but thank God for creating small mountains and hills on His islands.

Read more of my Bicol adventures here! >>

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ABOUT THIS PLACE
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As the farthest island from the port, Guinahoan Island is most often the first destination in Caramoan island hopping tours. They call it one of the twins of Batanes’ rolling hills in Bicol which features the most obvious and closest resemblance. You will be guided by small hoomans that are more than wiling to share more interesting info about the island. They are good photographers, too! It is an easy 10-15 minute trek to the top, that will surely make you say “wooooooow!” Yeah, that long kind of “wow”, honestly.

Related post: Binurong Point: a view from the top

The top of the hill offers a picturesque view of a beach, part of the Pacific Ocean. This side of the island have big waves, hence tourist boats cannot dock. My tiny guide mentioned it was a home to sea tortoise before, but they were transferred to a sanctuary somewhere on another island to take care of them better (which hopefully is true!).

  • Guinahoan Island, Caramoan | themhayonnaise
  • Guinahoan Island, Caramoan | themhayonnaise
Related post: How I take and edit my travel and food photos for the blog

At the top of a hill is a lone modern lighthouse to which you can trek for a few minutes to have your photo sessions. The top of the hill is a scenic location for you to be with nature and enjoy the winds coming from the pacific ocean and see the islands scattered around the Caramoan. 

Traversing the hill to your north down below is Liwan Beach. A golden sand beach facing the Pacific Ocean to which you can do your usual beach bumming and meditation as only a few people gets to this beach as it is only accessible via trek to the hills. Small boats could not go around to the north side of the Guinahuan Island towards Liwan Beach as the waves are always strong. 

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PRE-TRAVEL GUIDE
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When is the best time to visit Caramoan?
February to June (some say January would be nice, but as of 2019, guys, January as observed is getting wetter and wetter, if you get what I mean). To be honest, Caramoan is a very tropical place despite the frequency of typhoon visits. Most of the year, Caramoan feels like summer, and if you are off those places with farm, trees, and abundant plants, it is honestly super hot. But you have to be mindful of the waves on the parts of the open seas, as they could grow bigger and stronger when it rains.
How to get to Caramoan?
Getting to Caramoan seems easy, but you really have to be careful on choosing among your transportation options. But yes, there are options:
+ via air travel Only Cebu Pacific offers direct flights to Naga from Manila as of date.
From Naga, you can hail a tricycle to bring you to a van (UV Express) terminal bound to Sabang. Two hours from the terminal is the Sabang Port in the town of San Jose, Camarines Sur which is the most common jump-off point to Guijalo Port, Caramoan.
+ via land and sea travel (via Naga) If you’re commuting, I recommend RSL bus or <a href=" Philtranco bus as they are my most-used line even from before. Other bus lines offer trips from Manila, Pasay, or Cubao to Naga as well.
From Naga, you can hail a tricycle to bring you to a van (UV Express) terminal bound to Sabang. Two hours from the terminal is the Sabang Port in the town of San Jose, Camarines Sur which is the most common jump-off point to Guijalo Port, Caramoan.
+ via air / land and sea travel (via Catanduanes) Only Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific offer a direct flights to Catanduanes from Clark and Manila respectively as of date. If you’re commuting, I recommend RSL bus as such have trips direct to Virac. Other bus lines offer trips from Manila, Pasay, or Cubao to Tabaco Port. From Tabaco, take the ferry to Virac. Total travel hours make take up to 14 to 16 hours. Yep! That’s more than half a day, so think twice – are you willing to give up the money or the time?
Landing in Virac airport, the capital town of Catanduanes, you may hire a tricycle ride to Virac port or San Andres port, where you can join a two-hour boat ride going to Caramoan.

How to get around Caramoan?
Getting around Caramoan is easy either by bus, tricycle or hired van. The challenge is that you will -almost always- will wait for more than 20 minutes for a public transpo to pass through. Best if you already have a contacted service provider, or share a private ride among your fellow travelers.

Related post: Pros and cons of being a travel and tours joiner + tips and reminders for a happy trip

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TRAVEL TIPS
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  • Give yourself a favor and bring at least a liter of water, especially if you’re trekking after sunrise.
  • A small bag of trail mix is good too!
  • Wear comfy and (Instagrammable) clothes. Or just comfy, because who cares, right?
  • Wear sunblock. Many think wearing sunblock is for “maaarte” but this is mainly to protect your skin from the harsh heat of the sun.

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