The approach to visit the pristine islands and cerulean waters of Caramoan is long and tiring. Just imagine enduring a more or less 16-hour travel combo of bus, van, trike and boat transfers and you will find yourself totally crazed and dragged if not bored to death.
The Air-conditioned Bus
Darkness and coldness welcomed us as we stepped into the bus set to leave by 8PM. We took the night trip bus to Naga, hoping to arrive before dawn breaks as the travel time, they say, takes around 8-10 hours at least. I walked down the aisle looking for my reserved seat at the farthermost back part. I occupied the window seat. There is comfort in sitting next to the window as the wall can serve as bed while the pane can become a storybook which is probably the best thing about it. One can also get amused by gazing outside and feed thought catalogue with the scenic green mountains, rolling blue seas, rich Filipino culture, or simply with whatever meets the eye.
Most people aboard the bus have worlds of their own. Some were vivacious playing 4 Pics 1 Word in their tablets, some were struggling to fall asleep in the stiffness of their seats, some were talking incessantly about nothing and everything while some were just, quietly, in love. I had troubles with sleeping while in transit so I instead looked for something to tickle my senses. Then the black midnight sky just outside the bus window became my point of interest. From the blank canvass I saw you… and somehow us. I suddenly felt the need to insulate my body with a fetal position. It was unbreakable the whole trip, notwithstanding the trembles from wild zigzags and rugged terrains, notwithstanding the soothing country music I usually enjoy listening to.
Time is of the essence so we tried reaching Caramoan as quick as possible given only one scarce weekend. Thus, we hired a van instead of waiting for other passengers to fill the seats, to bring our heavily air-conditioned bodies to Sabang Port. I took the front seat this time, beside the driver. The feeling was consistent though as still in the bus. I wanted to sleep so bad. No, I wanted to be with my love. There were things I thought I can manage but when reality breaks in front of me, I easily lose grip from the twigs holding me like a leaf carried by wind of chances and uncertainties.
I felt sick and a little like zombie. Slowly, I turned my head to the east. There was the sun bursting behind the lonely Mt. Isarog, executing some stolen glances. Somehow, it signified hope and made everything seem lighter and brighter. It brought back life to me and the bliss remained until we finally arrived at the port after a couple of hours.
The boat was long and narrow that can accommodate around 80-100 persons. We sailed the Pacific headed to Guijalo Port of the peninsula with the summer breeze playfully delighting what is beneath my chest. Sitting without thinking whereto, I got a nice view of different mountains nestled in the Bicol region. The tip of the nearly perfect cone-shaped Mt. Mayon stood out. I have seen its entirety before but a mere sight of its crown was enough to give me an equally majestic sensation. As I looked farther, I saw love smiling with the beautiful islands and gleaming waters on background. I must say the boat-ride blew my worries and drowsiness away. Two hours of lovely drift and we finally reached the port of destination already.
To bring us to the centro or town we needed to ride a three-wheeled motor vehicle. We had to divide the group in two for each tricycle has a capacity of 5-6 passengers only and we were 10. Passing small villages and woodlands, I was not mindful of the time being at the peak of my excitement. Maybe, I got used to the fatigue brought by long hours of travel or the thought of a beautiful paradise waiting offset all the loneliness. Or maybe, I finally realized love was not with me in the long hours of travel.
Obviously, getting to Caramoan takes time.