Some places are overrated. And some can surprise you the good way you just want to tell the whole world about them. Like Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur. I’ve been to these remote islands twice—first in 2013, and then the much-needed comeback in 2015—and I could not ask for anything more.
One critical piece of a great Caramoan experience is accommodation. There are many options, but you’ll want something that won’t strip you off your money while still getting the best customer service. That’s exactly why I’ve always booked at Residencia de Salvacion (RDS) during my two visits. No, there’s actually more.
1. Home away from home
This is truly what sets RDS apart from others. The owners, Myrna and Edgar, are well-traveled abroad and have learned the art of impeccable customer service. Myrna checks on her guests on their way to Caramoan and gives instructions until they’ve reached the villa safely. And, as if you haven’t left home, everybody treats you like you’re a family member who just came home and needed pampering. They make sure everything is taken care of for a worry-free vacation—from meals to rooms, to transportation and itinerary.
2. The food!
The RDS kitchen is that one place where you’d love to hangout often, next to the islands. The sight of fresh seafood, vegetables, and spices from their small kitchen window will make you want to join Lapo, their cook, in preparing your food. RDS cooks authentic Bicol cuisine, especially those with gata (coconut milk). Their laing is best for lunch. Crabs, fresh prawns, fish and seafood are cooked to perfection to make your meal unforgettable. Lapo will also will prepare your packed lunch in a native bamboo basket. And if you totally snob meat, RDS will do their best not to make you grumpy over meals.
3. Scenic location
The original RDS was in Barangay Salvacion (thus the name), which was several kilometers away from the beach. In 2014, RDS moved to their new location, the shores of Paniman right where the island hopping action starts. It’s easy to fall in love with the place, which is seated close to the rockwall where the ocean and river meet. To enjoy the view, you can also hangout and take your selfies on the roofdeck.
If you want to get a little more adventurous you can visit Omang Cave by kayaking down to the end of the river. These kayaks are free for RDS guests.
4. Affordable accommodation
Why take a really expensive vacation just to suffer later? RDS offers reasonable packages that don’t rip you off your hard-earned money. They have different options to suit your needs for a fun and worry-free vacation.
5. Comfortable rooms
RDS has 8 regular rooms, four facing the sea and four facing Paniman village, two small cabanas, and two medium cabanas. Each room has two double beds, toilet and bathroom, air conditioning, hot shower, and a smart LED TV (except in the cabanas). Each room also has access to a shared terrace where you can spend great coffee moments in the morning or a long chat before you hit the sack.
6. Easy and fast transaction
No sweat to inquire and book. When you send them messages through Facebook, Edgar promptly responds and honestly discusses with you the options. No fine prints and hidden agenda. In fact, during my second trip, Edgar informed me that I overpaid them by a few hundreds of pesos. He asked for my bank details and a few days after, the amount was credited back to my account.
7. Multi-awarded business
RDS is a consistent winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for the past four years, and was Traveler’s Choice for 2014, 2015, and 2017. So far, it is also the most-reviewed accommodation in Caramoan, receiving an Excellent rating for about 90% of its reviews. So, you know you’re in good hands.
8. Free Videoke
After a long day’s adventure from one island to another, the best way to cap the night is socialize with friends and other guests while drinking some beer and belting out your favorite jukebox piece. It’s not a disco bar scene, but a friendly videoke gig for family and friends. You can also watch a movie on the big screen if you get everybody’s vote to skip Tom Jones or Justin Bieber session.
9. Multi-purpose activity hall
The dining area can also function as an activity hall, great for those who wanted some island-hopping after a strenuous business planning or conference.
10. Parking and wifi
Parking space good for more than 10 cars is available. The resort also has wifi, good enough for checking email and posting your travel photos on Facebook..
Quite a lot, huh! A stay in RDS will definitely make you grab their guestbook before you leave. Caramoan surely remains to be a top choice for travel, so plan your trip now and book at RDS, the best—bar none—in providing accommodation in these remote islands.