The Hidden Gems of CamSur and Naga – A Collection of Stories

Board on hand, Noah walks across a small parchment of green turf as water sprays on the surface. He dips his feet on the lake – a ceremonial introduction between man and nature as they are about to dance to the tune of flat wood and rolling cables.

A tense grip on the handle, a long gaze and synched body waiting for the pull that is about to come. Driver signals and he acknowledges. As he propels through the water our self-proclaimed “amateur” friend was going barefoot. A more challenging version to the convention. Eyes wide open, smiling to our cameras and thoroughly enjoying the moment.

Fun times at the CWC Wake Park. The very destination for aqua-adrenaline seekers that enjoy riding water into a whole new level.

Up in the mountains of Concosep the same skill set and concentration is being practiced by Mang Rogelio. Inside his man made work space a methodical and instinctive practice comes to play.

Sheaths of abaca are lined up for extraction. Raw material comes in contact with hard surface and sharp blade. With arms tensed he puts everything into it. One big swoop pulls out the precious fiber and lines them up to a mini hanger right next to him. Everything looked effortless. His face smiling at us as he gutses out another batch like clockwork. He urged as to try it out. Saying “it was easy to do”. Of course our efforts were futile compared to his.

These are the many personalities that make Camarines Sur diverse, interesting and amazing says our friend Kyie Tripulcapublic servant, law student, ballerina, born and raised in Naga.

“When people hear CamSur the wake park / wakeboarding comes into mind right away. We want to show everyone that this part of the region has a lot more to offer”.

She was right.

The road to Barangay Cagsao, town of Calabanga in Camarines Sur is wide, filled with greenery and narrows down to fields that lead you to their coastal villages. As you begin your hike, clean sea breeze brushes your face as it accompanies you to the marvel that awaits at the end of the trail. Their Mangrove Plantation is huge, vast and fascinating.

The symbol of how man and nature coexists. Walking through their elevated boardwalk is like entering into a different realm. A gateway to a dwarfing dose of reality on how small we are compared to the forces of mother nature. They were as tall as two story buildings meshed together into a thick maze of what seemed like endless catacombs that spread for an entire stretch.

Created by necessity, this was constructed through the efforts of both the private and public sector in order to protect the coastal barangays from storm surges. With the mangroves came biodiversity. The healthy ecosystem it created brought back krill, mud crabs and other forms of marine life. This not only provides added income for the community but also educated them of how taking care of their environment has a net positive in terms of uplifting their way of living.

Our journey continues to Brgy. Sta. Cruz up in Mt. Isarog. Reaching the gates of Ocampo Deer Farm seemed meek until your eyes start to wander and you are mesmerized by what this place has to offer. The place reaches far and wide. As wide as your eyes can see. The best surprise are the grazing wild deer freely roaming around eating grass, tending to their young or just simply lying around enjoying the chilly mountain air.

Visitors can definitely pet them, feed them long grass stalks and take photos alongside these Christmas postcard creatures. A project by the local government this converted land is a must destination for visitors to this region.

For a more scenic return trip you can opt to take the bike route downward to see the wonderful mountain ranges and their man made terraces muck like the ones you see in the ifugao province.

The next day we find ourselves on a boat going to Aguirangan Island. A small patch of beauty that isolates you from the chaos and allows you to bask in the tranquility of its shores. Sun above our heads and sand on our feet we venture around its clear waters and untouched flora.

Kylie fondly recollects happy times spent roaming around neighboring islands. She narrates of the potential these untapped resources can do to bring awareness to the region she grew up in. The passion in her stories resonate in each word as we continue walking around the island while clouds cleared up as Mayon Volcano revealed her elegantly shaped cone – a magnificent sight indeed.

As we leave our homey abodes of the CWC wake resort we head on to the beautiful city of Naga. A town full of life, vibrant flavors and bicolandia charm.

The “heart of Bicol” is a place of warmth, delightful sights and awesome flavors. Walking around the bustling streets is a journey across the evolution of influences that shaped culture and community. Remnants of colonial settlers and conquerors deeply rooted in street signs, town plazas and architectural design scattered everywhere gives Naga the identity that roots them in the present and will pave the way for their future. Old plaza structures are very much alive. Utilized for other purposes but their fine lines are mirrors to history of what was it like during times not too long ago.

Your need for self-induced food coma is all too easy in this part of town. Bob Marlin’s restaurant is a must destination for all Pinoy dishes with that Naga twist.


Their take on dinuguan and crispy pata will leave you floored and wanting for more. Chase it down with some nice sili ice cream – choose the danger levels based on hotness and tongue burn to compliment your afternoon delight before continuing to your next destination (perhaps a nap is more suitable but our team had to march on).

Afternoon snacks are practiced and very much welcome. Kinalas from Aling Cely’s is your hearty broth and noodle dish that warms the heart and fills the belly.

Partnered with deep fried baduya (breaded sweet banana) for a contrast of textures that plays within the confines of your mouth grinding pleasure.

Another tasty option is Naga Garden Restaurant for their splendid toasted siopao.

As night falls the city comes alive. Bright lights illuminate establishments and side streets. People are everywhere. Stories passed around, laughter thriving and the joyful chaos comes together in this city like no other. Smokey fumes of grilled meat catches your attention at every corner. Hot and cold beverages lined up ready to be poured in stacks of paper cups as the sea of humanity grows thicker deep into the night.

Our dinner of choice is Bigg’s Diner and Que Pasa restaurant – loud and proud, a community loved chain that’s been serving bicolanos for ages. With local favorites and classic dishes that visitors must not miss!

“Camarines Sur and Naga is an adventure waiting to happen. All you have to do is go here. So come south, CamSur” says Kylie.

We couldn’t agree more.

Even better now that Cebu Pacific Air makes it easier to reach these destinations with their direct flights to Naga. Also, for hassle-free vacations, book Visit CamSur for expert tour and travel services for #CamSur!

Tick off those wakeboarding plans at  CWC Wake Park and maximize your Naga adventure with Avenue Plaza Hotel for a convenient (location wise) and comfortable stay!

To best guide you on your CamSur and Naga adventure here’s our 4D3N CAMARINES SUR Itinerary: http://www.discovermnl.com/4d3n-camarines-sur-itinerary/

Don’t forget to follow the visual stories at #DiscoverMNLxCebuPacific #CEBTravels!

Special thanks to Nick Pahati of NickAstig and the Visit CamSur team and for re-introducing Camarines Sur to us!

Words by Franco Rulloda

Photos by Walter Siy

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