Captivating Caramoan…

15 10 2008

…On the Cusp of Commercial Development

Instead of turning to Boracay or Palawan as a model for tourism development, I suggest Caramoan look toward Sagada, a success story of community tourism management with a notable absence of Manila and foreign capitalists. And I guess the best way to do this is to keep it inaccessible from mass tourists. Construct an airport and things will go downhill. Considering that an airport is planned in 2010, we have a year and a half more before that happens at least.

Caramoan’s charms lie not really on its wonderful karst landscapes nor on its powder-fine beaches nor on its clear, emerald waters, but on its unique marriage of nature, people, food and culture. A town deeply steeped in Catholicism (we saw several processions venerating the Virgin Mary) and rurality, Caramoan has a laid-back atmosphere where people go about with their everyday lives as they have for decades, and where you still become the object of curious stares from locals. When we hopped from one island to the next, we found ourselves totally alone (and this was on a weekend), except maybe for a solitary, persistent cat in Sabitang Laya (the island’s own Isadora). All these are bound to change with the town’s inevitable transition from its nascent version of tourism. If this happens, there will always be Casiguran.

More photos here.