It was nine in the evening and we were sitting on a curb at one of Barangay Tawog’s sidestreets, eating a cup of ice cream from a nearby store. We just had dinner at the nearest carinderia and we were contented with the cheap ice cream we were having.
Barangay Tawog in Caramoan is where everyone’s at; this is where island-hopping tourists lodge, buy souvenirs, dine, drink and hang around at. Don’t expect Starbucks Coffee shops or swanky accommodations though. The place is still quite provincial, with eateries more like cafeterias, and lodgings, renovated homes.
Caramoan’s town center is really not that large. It’s basically one main avenue riddled with some dozen odd sidestreets. You can literally walk around it in half an hour, maybe even less.
Here, shops selling daily wares for the locals are interspersed with tourist stores.
I was specifically hunting for ref magnets unique to the place but was hard-pressed one (they do have lots of keychains though). Most were the generic colored fishes stamped with the locale’s name that can be found on any tourist spot in the country. There were also t-shirts being sold for PHP125.00 upwards, but the design I liked (a simple one with white turtle prints on a black shirt) had no available size for me (and was too expensive at PHP400.00).
The town looks to me like an old district of Manila sans the crowd and garbage piles (although the place is hardly spic and span too). The most prominent structure beside the centuries Caramoan Church was an old cream-colored art deco-ish structure right in the middle of the town.
Surrounding it are public tricycles that can fit seven persons comfortably. Besides the habal-habal motorbikes available for rent, it is the main mode of transportation in the area. There are also jeepneys here but their passing seemed few and far between.
Another interesting feature of the town is the Manapot River that runs adjacent to the road. Walk a few minutes southwards from the center, past the brick church, and you’d find yourself on some sort of causeway, dubbed by the locals as Riverview.
From here, you can descend down to river itself and ply its shallow shores. We tried shooting the sunrise here but the water is littered with plastic wrappers and what-nots; too bad, as this could’ve been a beautiful spot for photo enthusiasts.
As we were finishing off our evening ice cream over stories of the day’s adventure, a procession of carriages carrying icons of the Virgin Mary swept past us. It was the midst of Holy Week and the people of Caramoan were still practicing the traditional processions I vividly remember when I was still a kid in Malabon.
After the prayers were done and the throngs of faithful moved on, my cousins called it a day and headed back to our homestead. I still needed a cup of coffee to cap my day and found a steaming 3-in-1 mix coffee at the nearby cafeteria for PHP8.00. After a few sips, it’s my turn to call it a night.