Caramoan Series

Caramoan | Fun and Freedom at Hunongan Cove

Monday, December 10, 2012Ryan Mach

Getting free access to Gota Beach, known for its expensive cabanas and luxurious island-life accommodation, was not by all means accidental. I knew for sure that we'd get in despite it being temporarily off-limits to public and non-guests. (Technically, island hoppers can still drop by at Gota Beach as long as they pay an entrance, which is Php300 per head, and that's just for swimming on its beach.) The owner of the resort we stayed at in Caramoan has connections with big shot resort owners (of Gota Beach and Tugawe among others) so I pretty much surmised that it's just a matter of perfect timing and doing some calls before finding ourselves in one of the most expensive beaches in Caramoan.

True enough, as we were having fun time at Cagbalinad Island, a snorkeling site near Gota, Ivan (our tour guide) shared with us the good news: we're going in Gota Beach, which was just across from we were at that time. As much as we'd want spending a little more time at the island, we needed to jump at the opportunity before the governor, whom they personally called to ask permission, changed his mind. So we scurried back to the boat and cruised our way to the beach, feeling excited.

Turned out we didn't really get inside Gota Beach. Of course we didn't know this at the time. We were thinking that we just scored an awesome free deal and that we owned the entire beach (because no one was around that time). Gota Beach Resort and Village is actually nestled far inside (we were not informed!). Where we spent the rest of the afternoon is called Hunongan Cove. But it doesn't make any difference (hehe). We had excellent time at the cove and we didn't have any company - and that's all that matters.
Having the beach all by ourselves was simply liberating. It was the first time for all of us to stay on an island without other people around. There was no other island hoppers on sight. We saw one guard manning the beach and a crew, and that's about it.

They were not at all intrusive. Never questioned us or anything, they just let us be. We could probably have gotten inside one of the empty rooms and they would not have minded. That's how lenient they were! Hehe. But we mostly kept our distance from the cottages. Just the thought that a one-night stay on this beach can cost an arm and a leg turned us off.
The beach, compared to the previous ones we've been at, was less spectacular, if I were to be honest. We didn't see how clear the water was. It was a few hours to sundown when we got there and the whole stretch of beach was quite shaded. Its white-sand shore was soft and powdery but littered with a few trash (mostly leaves, seaweeds and twigs).  What the beach offered was complete seclusion and freedom. Like, you can swim in your birthday suit and prance around without anybody minding you. With the lush thick forest in the background and the limestone islands in front, Hunongan Cove felt like a well-guarded haven.
The place was too peaceful it almost felt like a ghost town (not the creepy type). The only sound that could be heard were the soft murmur of gentle waves and the quiet rustle of wind.
Even the noise emitted by boat engines sounded too distant. There were a few boats that tried to get near the beach, only to sail away a few minutes later, after being brushed off by the guard through hand gestures. We didn't quite understand why there were no guests at the resort.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the cove swimming, taking photographs, burying people in the sand and playing 'millipede.' We even skipped booze because we were too drunk from the island hopping experience. We all settled in one part of the beach and talked, fooled around and laughed till our backside hurt.
Some of our friends swam to the floating platform located around 200 meters from the shore.
We reckoned it's one of the props used by US Survivor during the filming of the back-to-back seasons a few months back.
The sun was already setting when we bade goodbye to the place.
Next up: Umang Cave

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