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Camarines Sur Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

The largest amongst the six provinces in the Bicol Region, Camarines Sur is a Spanish-founded settlement. Located in the central part of the Bicol Peninsula and known as Tierra de Camarines during the olden times, the named “Camarines Sur” was derived from the Spanish word “camaronchones” or ‘camarines’, a Spanish word for ‘kamalig’, a small nipa hut of the natives. Naga used to be the capital city of the province, but in 1955, Pili was declared as the new capital and it continues to serve as the provincial capital up to this day. Camarines Sur’s economy is mostly based on agriculture. Handicrafts also play a major source of income in the rural areas. Spoken languages in the province are the Coastal Bikol and Rinconada Bikol. The province is also considered as the center of religious festivities in Bicolandia, with the feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia as the biggest religious festival in the province celebrated every third Sunday of September.

Where to go in Camarines Sur

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Amang Hinulid

Calabanga, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, 4405, Philippines

Bag-ing beach

Peninsula, Camarines Sur, 4429 Brgy. Colongcogong, Caramoan Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, 4429, Philippines

Bicol Shell Museum

Minalabac, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, 4414, Philippines

How to Get Here

By air
Airline companies flying to Naga Airport are the following:

Cebu Pacific – flies 3 to 4 times a day
PAL Express – flies 2 times a day
Air Philippines – flies 2 times a day
Zest Air – flies once a day

Travel time from Manila airport to Naga Airport takes 45 minutes. Air fare starts from Php 3,000.00 to Php 6,000.00 depending on the time of travel.
By land
There are several buses serving the province of Camarines Sur which leaves Manila on a daily basis. Travel time is around 9-12 hours with bus fare of Php 600.00 – Php 1, 300.00. There are ordinary and air-conditioned buses to choose from; and some of these buses offer lazy boy seats, comfort room and WIFI for a more comfortable travel.

Buses plying the route of Manila-Naga have terminals in Cubao, Quezon City and in Pasay City:

DLTB
Isarog Lines
Penafrancia Tours
Gold Line Tours
Philtranco

Popular Food

This is a type of noodle dish that originated in Bato, a municipality in CamSur. This pancit is cooked in the same manner as the ordinary pancit canton but slightly differ in ingredients – pancit bato uses fresh shrimps and pechay and usually eaten with hot pandesal or rice.

(c) @iamrafaelcaballero / instagram.com

One of Bicol’s prides, pili nut is a tasty and crunchy nut loaded with calcium, potassium, good fats and amino acids. Pili trees are indigenous to Bicol Region and its fruits are cooked in different ways. But the most popular variety is the honey-glazed pili which is a favourite dessert of every Filipino; it is also one of the much loved pasalubongs from this province.

(c) @rosalie.maranan / instagram.com

Home of the world’s smallest commercially-harvested fish in the world, Bicol Region is truly proud of sinarapan fish. Endemic in Lake Buhi, sinarapan is the world’s smallest edible fish with a size of 12mm-long. Usually sold in the markets in dried, pressed sheets, sinarapan is then fried and paired with spicy vinegar.

(c) @deirdreleong / instagram.com

Considered as a staple food in Bicolano homes, laing is mainly made of dried taro or gabi leaves and cooked slowly in coconut milk or gata and then garnished with chilli pepper (siling labuyo).

(c) @lloydclarito / instagram.com

A must try cold dessert when in this province, chili or sili ice cream is made from fiery hot chili. It is a delicious contrast in taste, with different levels of spiciness from 1 to 3 - an exciting and challenging delightful dessert.

(c) @missreisha / instagram.com

Best Time to Go

BEST TIME TO GO
Slowly gaining a niche in the tourism industry, Camarines Sur gets its share of visitors all year round. Aside from the summer months of March to May, and long weekends, CamSur packs hordes of visitors in the month of September when the famous Penafrancia Festival is held.

November to December are also good months to explore the province as the weather is cold and chances of heavy rains are minimal. Put on sunblock, bring bottled water and wear light clothing. Flip flops or sandals are great for outdoor activities especially on warm weather.

What to Do

Indulge in action-packed adventures
There’s the CWS or the CamSur Watersports Complex or the ATV Adventure in Mt. Isarog National Park that equates with adrenaline rush; CamSur is home to such exciting activities for all the thrill-seeking visitors.
Sample the local food
Bicolandia offers gastronomic treat like no other. From the peculiar chilli ice cream, to sinarapan, to a number of other tasty coconut-and-chilli based eats, Bicol’s cuisine is intriguing and exciting to discover in every bite.
Relax on the beaches
Just like the many parts of the country, Camarines Sur offers stunning and untouched beaches with with stretches of fine sand, gorgeous coral formations and rock formations and home to a wide numbers of marine life. Besides the Caramoan Peninsula National Park, there are other beaches worth visiting like the Atulayan Island (a setting of the French-Italian movie “Mutiny in the Sea”), Bagolatao Beach, Balogo beaches, to name a few.
Discover scenic bike trails
If you’re into biking, CamSur is a good place to practise it. Explore the bike trails of Mt. Isarog Natural Park using an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle or MTB (mountain bike). Mt. Isarog is one of the most grand mountains in Bicol and has dense rainforest that have grown around it, making the area a perfect ground for a quiet “bike in the woods” moment.

Estimated Costs

Getting around
Naga City is the center of business industries and functions as the embarkation point of the whole Bicol Region. From here, one can wander around the area by walking. But of course, there are cabs, jeepneys and tricycles as the main transportation in the area. There are also buses and vans for going to another town/s. Minimum fare rate for a jeepney ride is Php 8.00.00.
Accommodation
Budget – Php 599.00 – Php 700.00
Reasonable – Php 1,000.00 – Php 1,300.00
Expensive – Php 3,000.00
Food
Php 120.00 – Php 300.00
Tourist Attraction Entrance Fee
Starts at Php 10.00
Average price per day
Php 1,500.00 – Php 1,800.00

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