3 White Sandy Beaches, An Enigmatic Lake and A Sutokil to Death in Camotes Island, Cebu, Philippines

11:00:00 AM Jerik De Guzman 36 Comments

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In such a beautiful province such as Cebu, it's not surprising to discover hidden/not so hidden gems. Camotes Island will surely electrify all your senses. My trip to the islands was more laid back; listening to soothing music as the ferry boat rips the Camotes sea while in between, i doze off like a little baby. Believe me when i say this, as soon as i was dropped off by the motor driver to my destination, my jaw dropped, my stomach started having those cliche butterflies, and i was bound to discover more. I am literally in a delightful place i am proud to say, i have visited.
If the beaches of Camotes aren't world class, i don't know anymore what is. In such a beautiful island, i started wondering where the hell are the tourists. This place is something they could go back to over and over again, and never get tired of. I've been around Asia and have discovered the best of what our neighboring countries have to offer but nothing is really at par with our beaches. I am not saying this because i'm Filipino but i am saying this because it's simply beautiful. You have to go there!
5 minutes after i dropped off my backpack and started changing to my swimwear, i was already in paradise. This is the beachfront of Mangodloong Rock Resort in Heminsulan, town of San Francisco which is just beside the resort where i am staying. I told myself, i could literally spend the whole day doing absolutely nothing here, and feel more rewarded than ever. 

After a bit of swim, and two bottles of San Miguel, i was more than excited to see the rest of Camotes Island beaches. As they say, the best was still to come. Imagine my excitement when i was told, there's more to come. 1 beach down, 2 more to go! 

It was nearing lunch time, and i fancy going somewhere where there's food and drinks. The efficient moto-driver pointed me at Santiago beach in San Fran - The Pride of Pacijan island. Yes, apparently the people of Camotes love to call this municipality as San Fran. Slang much? He told me i have to see it to believe it.
When i got there, i told myself. This isn't real. It's the biggest and widest beach i've ever visited in my entire life. The best part is, i could literally count in my fingers the number of people i've spotted. Where in the world is everyone? This is surely looking good. The beach is so huge, i actually had to ride the motor in order to get across the area where there's food. I stopped by and ordered an iced-cold San Miguel Pale Pilsen. Classic and absolutely wonderful on a hot sunny day.

After relaxing for bit, we sped away again, this time to where no one's really there. I dared the motordriver to take me to a beach where there's no one in sight and the most beautiful of them all. At first, he wanted to bring me to some beach (i forgot the name) where some resorts are strategically located. I begged off because the last thing i want is convenience and modernity. I want a beach where i could feel as if i was transported back in time and where money is non-existent and time, irrelevant.

I never knew such a place could exist, until i was dropped off in the middle of the plush jungle. The steps leading to the beach was as exciting as it could get. Tucked by huge coconut trees and a handful of old nipa huts and dilapidated boats is Bakhaw beach.
I wanted to put into words how i felt the very moment my eyes laid on this beach, but i couldn't. With absolutely no soul in sight, and the waves crashing as the only sound i hear. I was deafened by this gorgeous beach. It was nearly perfection, i must say.
I had to go back the next day with my friends. I was also praises for this beach that i told them, this is the REAL thing. When we got there the next day, we spent where what is now known to us as one of the greatest beach destination ever.
The clearest waters, the finest sands, and no annoying tourist in sight. I am happy to announce that this is probably one of my greatest achievements in my life. I've never felt so tantric in all of my travels. How i love Cebu for nestling this paradise.

After three awesome beaches, it's time to head to one enigmatic lake. 
The air of mystery here is just so palpable. Lake Danao is an enormous lake, still in San Francisco The beauty of this lake is preserved and maintained. There are paddle boats available for rent and you can even eat your feast while slowly floating  across this vast area of fresh water. What's not to be missed? The small island within the lake. Beat that!
There were kids swimming and all i could think of is how blessed these kids are for having the best playground in the world. 
Sutokil is a contraction for “SUgba” (sinugba), “TOla” (tinola) and KILaw (kinilaw). “Sinugba” is grilled food. “Tinola” is, for lack of a better term, soup? “Kinilaw” is raw seafood in vinegar and spices (be sure to eat the “kinilaw” right away, as the vinegar actually “cooks” the fish meat). There’s also “Sinuglaw”, which is a combination of “Sinugba” (grilled pork) and “kinilaw” (raw fish meat) thrown together in a bowl of vinegar and spices. The combination of these words are as varied as the ingredients in the dishes served.
Now, on to my kind of business. i couldn't think of a better lunch than my personal favorite, Stuffed Grilled Squid. Outstanding!
Because Camotes Island is relatively flat, the best place to view the sea is from one of the highest viewing points where travelers can go, the Bohoc Rocks and Cliff. After walking the stairs down, I was bound to get an amazing view of the sea. As the kids begin their dives, i felt 35% excited but 65% nauseous. Did i jump?
I didn't. I don't want to make excuses but really, i don't want to disrupt the joys of these kids. They all look at me and expected me to jump as i already put my bags on the floor and took of my shirt off. I felt as if i owe it to them to let them play and be kids. I had already my chance.

It's hard for me to pin point what makes Camotes Island so beautiful. Is it the beautiful beaches? Really? Because, well, it's impossible to miss this on the list. But the real essence of traveling for me is making choices that i know i won't regret in the future. I sure feel as if time is my enemy here because a few weeks more of stay here will probably make me realize this place has everything i've always wanted. I am proud to have visited Camotes and i will live to tell the story to those who haven't visited yet. 

This lifetime will be incomplete if you've missed this.

36 Comments:

Nicole said...

ganda! Makakapunta din kami diyan! Hehe!

doi said...

buti ka pa napuntahan mo na Camotes Jerik! ^_^ may araw din to saken soon! :)

Ed said...

I've been to Camotes three times na Jerik. But I only dropped by the famous resorts. Would want to check out other areas next time.

You had me at Grilled Stuffed Squid!

Markyramone said...

blinding white sand indeed, yan next target ko sa Cebu Camotes Island...Kamote pg di ko pa napuntahan yan next trip sa Cebu

Yeah, where are the tourists? Of maybe cause it was lean season? That sutokil killed me... Sooo craving now!

Now that's what you call a world-class beach minus the tourists.

you're still looking for tourists when you have the place all for yourself? hehe! ganda! i should include this in my next trip to cebu :)

@Nicole Biyahe na sa Camotes! Saya dun! kung mahilig ka sa beach, kelangan siyang puntahan talaga!

@doi buti ka pa Doi, anytime puwede mo puntahan sa lapit. di siya ganun kalayo. :)

@Ed Bai, mahilig talaga ako sa mga islands na puwede mo i-navigate via motorbike. Although di ako nagmamaneho pero trip kong sumakay. Eroplano pa lang pag tumingin ka sa baba makikita mo na mga northern islands ng Cebu. Ganda!!!

@Micamyx|Senyorita Favorite mo din? Ako yan ang ultimate beach meal ko. Imposibleng di masarap yan he he

@Markyramone lahat na lang ng beach sa Cebu maganda. Di ko pa napupuntahan Malapascua and southern islets. Maganda kaya?

@Pinay Travel Junkie Summer ako nung nagpunta kaya nagtataka ako bakit walang tao. sa ferry pa lang. lima lang yata kami nakasakay. Feeling ko di aandar dahil lugi pero buti nakatuloy.

@lakwatsera de primera Claire, baka you have recommendations pa on where to go na parang ganito. I'm sure marami ka ng alam. If budget permits, hopefully will do NZ and Australia. :)

@Gladys | ByahengBarok.com Naisip ko lang livelihood ng mga tao kasi parang ako lang yata nagbibiyahe nung time na pumunta ako. atleast nakatulog ako nung nagrent ako motorbike and nag-order ng food at drinks. he he Punta ka Camotes! Highly recommended toh.

Rizalenio said...

Your photos are beautiful. I tell myself the same everytime I see kids swimming at the sea. I envy their playground. Bravo to you for this wonderful post, Jerik. :)

happysole said...

ang ganda talaga ng Pinas!

just curious, how many san miguels have you had that day? hihihi

@Rizalenio Thanks so much!!! Di pa ako nakakabili ng dslr. Soon, mas nauuna mag-book kasi magbiyahe kesa camera. ha ha Thanks so much! When's your next trip?

@happysole Yes! I agree. The Philippines is just too beautiful. Re San Miguel, hmmm i think i had 3 bottles at noon. Then, nag soju na ako pagbalik sa resort till before dinner. he he Tapos Grande naman after while videoke. he he Relax lang! :)

rach said...

I've been to Cebu once but wasnt able to explore other island! now i want to go back to see this beautiful place! :)

Vikki said...

I've been hearing a lot of good things about this place and this makes me wanna go soon. Great pictures, btw. I'll be following your blog for sure.

I dream of seeing Camotes Island for a long time now... I know the beaches there are great along with Bantayan Island.

wow, ganda naman sa beach..white sand. tas ang linis pa ng dagat..perfect for bon fire and camping

Great post Jerik. How much did you pay for the habal-habal tour? My wife and I are planning to go there soon.

@PBJ,

With your narration, seems like i've also with this place. I can describe Camotes Island as "Cast-Away Island". :-).

Erratum: "Seems like I've also been in this place with your narration."

Rach, everytime i go to cebu there's always some place that i am looking forward to seeing. The province is really blessed.

@Vikki, thanks so much! Will check out your blog too. Keep reading.

@Ian i will never compare Bantayan and Camotes. But both islands are just spectacular. Cebu never fails to impress me with its white sandy beaches.

@June yes! when i was there, i didn't see any tourist. I asked myself... why? It's impossible with such a beautiful place.

@Earl i couldn't remember how much i paid but it should not be more than P500 for the whole day tour. I always cheers beer with my driver and he seems happy with my treat. When are you going? You and your wife will surely have fun.

@Bonzenti thanks, as always. You also inspire me with how much you love your province. Will promise to visit Mindanao real soon. :)

We had a blast! We paid 500 pesos to the driver for the tour plus we treat him to a BBQ dinner at the Baywalk. Camotes is really awesome!

@Earl (Suroy Pilipinas) Yes! Camotes is a delightful place to visit. I wish i could stay there for a month. There's just too many gorgeous beaches to visit. Hope to see your pics and read your stories soon. Thanks, Earl!

Wow! Really beautiful! Thinking of leaving my couch for a moment and experience the sandy beaches!!! Really great photos @pinoyboyjournals !!!