One of the provinces that is steadily gaining traction in terms of visitors is Camarines Norte in the Bicol region. Mention Daet to surfing enthusiasts and chances are they’d tell you all about Bagasbas Beach – a top destination for surfing greenhorns because of its sandy bottom and consistent waves whole-year round. The beach is recognized as the world’s 62nd spot in the surfing circuit and the first in the country to be included in the same.
No wonder the Department of Tourism is pulling out all stops to highlight the province in its Visit Philippines Again 2016 campaign in efforts to attract travelers to visit CamNorte again this year.
Governor Edgar Tallado enumerates a lot of reasons why the province is worth revisiting. For one, the province offers the irresistible triumvirate of culture, adventure and nature, and a mouth-watering cuisine which makes it a complete experience. Every year, guests and their families as well as friends are invited to “come again to CamNorte” to explore new sites and join new festivals and special events.
Calaguas Islands shot to prominence when it was named the top Tourism Gem in an online poll of Isla Lipana & Co. The heart of the Calaguas archipelago is Tinaga Island which is known for its mile-long powdery sand and crystalline water. Fine beaches are also a source of pride for the province, among them San Jose Beach (Talisay), Pulang Daga (Paracale), Cayucyucan (Mercedes), Mangcamagong (Basud) and Calalanay (Panganiban).
In Mercedes town, one of the popular locales is Siete Pecados consisting of the islands of Quinapaguian, Canton, Canimog, Apuao Grande, Apuao Pequena, Caringo and Malasugui, each with a distinct feature. Visitors can paddle around the islands aboard a kayak, while at the town’s Baybay Beach, one can ride the waves aboard a kayak.
Another activity worth exploring is kiteboarding which combines surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, and wakeboarding with flying a kite. Bagasbas beach has also become a haven of international kiteboarders due to presence of the Pacific wind.
Tallado noted that since making tourism one of his flagship programs, CamNorte has been one of the country’s most promising tourism getaways. According to data from the DOT Bicol regional office, the province registered 211,013 tourist arrivals in 2014.
CamNorte is blessed with enchanting cascades with tall drops, such as the 70-foot tall Colasi waterfalls in Mercedes, Nacali Falls in San Lorenzo Ruiz, and San Felipe Twin Falls in Basud. In Labo, three waterfalls stand out: Malatap, Binuang and Maligaya Falls. Mananap Falls in San Vicente is ideal because of its short hike, refreshing sights and cool waters.
Meanwhile, tucked in the bosom of Mt. Cadig in Labo town is Cadig Cave, a showpiece for those who want to be initiated to spelunking. Composed of several dark compartments of stalactites and stalagmites, this cave offers moderate difficulty in trekking and exploration.
Also in Labo are the caves of Mambuaya and Pintong Gubat which can heighten one’s craving for spelunking with the caves’ rich speleological properties.
Another must-see is the historic First Rizal Monument in Daet – a white stone obelisk built in 1898 and the first to be constructed in honor of Rizal, antedating the one at the Luneta by 13 years. Across the park is Daet Heritage Center, the former municipal hall, which serves as the town’s museum and socio-civic center. Bulawan Museum at the Provincial Capitol Complex showcases Cam Norte’s noble heroes, archaeological finds, a portrait by noted Filipino artist Fernando Amorsolo.
For the religious, Bicol’s 400-year-old religious heritage is best represented by the Nuestra Señora de Candelaria Church in Paracale, founded by Franciscan missionaries in 1581 and which became a parish in 1611. Other historic churches are St. John the Baptist in Daet, the St. Peter the Apostle in Vinzons, and Capalonga Church, home of the Black Nazarene.
For more on Camarines Norte, visit ww.camarinesnorte.gov.ph.