I always regard hitting the beach or hiking in the mountains as a form of pilgrimage. This is the reason why a short stay at the beach or hiking in the mountains is an essential part of my vacation. Most of the time, I am on the lookout for the less visited places. Beach and/or a mountain in this case. I just really drivel in the idea of setting foot on a place I have not seen yet and less touristy—always (“Why Bagolatao’s White Pebbles Beach is the Perfect Summer Destination in the Philippines“). There is a different kind of wonder about something new or a sparsely populated place (“Time Stands Still at Trinity Islands in Oas, Albay“).
Kaddlagan Outdoor Adventure Tour paved the way for that idea to happen once again—when I stumbled upon their post for a weekend summer getaway on Facebook talking up Camurawayan Cove located somewhere in Siruma. They got me with their disclaimer that the location is to be revealed on the actual meet-up day. The reason is the place is not yet open to the public. It is a relatively virgin tourist spot for beachineering and mountaineering; therefore, the people behind Kaddlagan Outdoor Adventure Tour are doing their best to keep it away from an impending overcrowd as we speak.
Siruma is a town in Camarines Sur’s fourth district which is still out of the public eye. Getting here entails conquering a two-hour drive from Naga City on a rough road. It is followed by a traverse hike for almost an hour from Brgy. San Antonio’s Mount Camurawayan (pseudonym), which is the key to actually reaching Camurawayan Cove (pseudonym). I and my silent travel buddy, along with different groups of people who also joined this nature trip, got there on the 30th of March 2019 amid the difficult roads that led us to this yet another beautiful place in the Bicol Region.
The main reason why I chose this place is because of the belief that my post-operative recovery will hasten if I immerse myself in nature. Truth is I was hesitant to go because of the physical requirements but that belief helped me through. I was barely three months, post-op, during that time (“Journey to the Other Side“).
The long hike made me see how secluded the place is other than the obvious. The rolling hills with lush vegetation and the seemingly free birds patrolling the area and a summer zephyr floating around are testaments to it.
During take 5s, my travel buddy and I made friends with the different groups we were with. Talking with them made the hike a lot easier, and the loads of stuff we were carrying…lighter.
When we reached that part where pine trees were already visible, my heart skipped a bit. It was a sure sign that we were nearing the beach cove. Subsequently, our group were looking at the azure waters next to the white powdery sand and a thicket of tall, vibrant pine trees, mangroves, and other tropical forms of vegetation.
I literally dropped everything I was carrying and removed my sandals as I was running to the shore that was then narrow.
I stopped when my tired feet felt the cold waters. “What a paradise!” I exclaimed while feeling all good with all these tangible abundance of nature right in my naked eyes.
I sat on the shaded part of the beach and buried my soles into the white sand and continued to feast on the natural wonders around me. It just felt so calm, so peaceful, so undisturbed…yet so invigorating at the same time.
We had our lunch at 2:00 PM. We filled up our sacs with lots of freshly cooked sea food. That short moment was definitely a gastronomical delight!
By late afternoon, the beach widened enormously; it gave us ample space to set up our tents.
I dipped in the waters again right after that. I was joined by new-found friends, and, of course, her this time around.
I could literally feel happiness radiating from all of us while we were frolicking in the waters. Happy “adults”!
Soon, dusk came without highlighting the sunset so I let the time just flew by wandering aimlessly.
Peregrinating around this cove is just pure bliss knowing you are detached from the rush of the everyday life, even just for a day.
The evening progressed and the inebriants took over. We gathered around a campfire and shared our respective short stories of bravado, conquests, dreams, expeditions, failures, even ghosts, and every other life under the sun.
It was such a fun night and we capped it off with stargazing.
I was able to head out early in the morning all for the glory that is sunrise, which is something I rarely do. Thank heavens I dodged the the kick of the Red Horse earlier that day. The color of the sky as painted by the sunrise was indescribable. All I know is that I marveled at it as with the chromatic sea beside where I was seated, on the soft, white sand.
After a few minutes, I went to the other side of the cove and found a whole new view that is equally impressive as the cove. Quite impressive…as I witnessed the entire sunrise moment from the time the sun appeared on the horizon with such a striking color to the time it is fully visible.
I got one word no matter how hackneyed to describe that intimate moment with the four elements: magical!
When I got back, breakfast boodle fight was all set on an improvised table. We all ate a lot because we were to do a traverse on Mount Camurawayan which is the very backdrop of our tents. Surviving the first hike from the barangay to the cove boosted my confidence in taking on that next challenge.
Up there, high in the mountains, the air is trophic and sweet to both the body and soul.
It also smelled of grass, wild flowers, and the few trees spouting like weeds.
Stumbling down a slope a couple of times was bruising but up the peak, a wide, green meadow opened the most frequented tourist destination and the northernmost province of the Philippines.
The views are a reminiscent of Batanes’ familiar breathtaking landscape wonders.
The hike was longer and more difficult especially getting past the mountain’s ridge zone with sharp rocks and slippery boulders all the way to the island on the other side.
It was not really a hard climb in spite of my case. I gladly faced all the hurdles that came my way with extra care.
I am so proud of making it to the endpoint unscathed.
At about 11:00 AM, we were already approaching the base camp. The smell of lunch turned us instantly into hungry Pandas. It was another merriful gathering and chitchat until we had to leave the place with only pictures and memories in our pockets and our footprints on the sand.
Truly, there is something about the beach or the mountains that lift our spirits and gets us to daydream of that warm summer zephyr osculating our skin; to bury our feet in that soft sand; to sit on those boulders; to breathe in the fresh sea air; to plunge into that turquoise water; or to conquer a summit…The day I learned to commune and find balance and healing with and from the four elements was the day I regarded hitting the beach or hiking in the mountains as a form of pilgrimage.
At this point, I am so grateful that I took up this, I may say, challenge of hitting the beach cove and hiking in Mount Camurawayan earlier than I should.
This particular spot in Siruma is a true gem in the making and definitely one for the books. I am fervently hoping that when it is already open to the public, people will take care of it too the way Kaddlagan Outdoor Adventure Tour’s organizers do.
Experiencing Camarines Sur: Trip to Siruma (mgalakwacherangdoktora.blogspot.com)
Siruma: Paradise Unlocked (windowseat.ph)
Beach Adventure at Siruma, Camarines Sur 2019 (youtube.com)
Siruma, CamSur – Bienvenue! (yvettegoesaway.wordpress.com)
Angelica Paradise Beach and Resort, Siruma (frenzies.blogspot.com)