Friday, April 13, 2012

Camarines Norte: Island-hopping in Apuao, Apuao Grande & Caringo in Mercedes

Apuao Island
After the Calaguas Group of Islands, the islands off the coast of Mercedes are another popular beach destination for visitors to Camarines Norte. We visited Apuao, Apuao Grande and Caringo Islands. Plus we passed by Canimo, Canton and Quinapagyan Islands along the way.

Our day actually started very early since we motored to the Mercedes Fish Port at five in the morning to witness the Bulungan sa Pandawan. Bulungan is an early morning fish trading practice at the Mercedes Fish Port where bids for the lots are whispered to the broker who determines the highest bidder.

The place was abuzz with activity before sunrise with boats unloading crates of fish and other seafood, and bidders trying to outdo each other for the freshest catch.

Canimo Island
After breakfast at the port, we boarded a small boat to visit the different islands. Being in the Pacific Ocean side, expect waves to be really high. I'm actually motion sick and it was quite difficult for me. But the islands are worth the visit. We were the only visitors it seemed. So it's a great place for those who want to enjoy some quiet time.

Our first stop was Canimo Island where there's an old lighthouse. Unfortunately, the waves were too high, preventing us from landing at the usual place. And since the walk would have taken much longer at the alternative jump off point, we decided to forgo the stop.

Apuao Island
Behind Canimo, the waves got even rougher. But when we finally arrived at Apuao, the hammock and huts, the cover of trees, and the cream sand beaches erased all thoughts of discomfort. I simply wanted to take a nap and enjoy the strong breeze that hit the island.

Apuao Grande Island
Apuao and Apuao Grande Islands
Next to Apuao is Apuao Grande. It's actually separated by a very narrow gap that you can easily cross especially during low tide. There used to be a resort on the island. But it was abandoned after it was badly damaged by a typhoon. Both islands are also great for picnics.

Part of the plan was to visit the cave in Canton Island. But since it was high tide and the waves were a bit rough, the entrance was submerged under water and it would have been dangerous to get close.

Caringo Island
Ibasco House on Caringo Island
Our last stop was Caringo Island to visit the oldest house in Mercedes, the Ibasco House which amazingly has been preserved in this remote island all these years. We then made our way to Cayucyucan Beach back in mainland Mercedes where we were picked up at one of the local beach resorts there.

Visit the Ivan About Town FB page for more photos of Camarines Norte. Thank you very much to Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo A. Tallado and the Camarines Norte Tourism Office for inviting me to visit their beautiful province. Thanks also to the Mercedes Tourism Office for assisting us.

Camarines Norte Tourism Office
Provincial Capitol, Daet, Camarines Norte
Tel. No. +63 (52) 7213087 / Fax No. +63 (52) 4402013
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