The Pink Villa Juliana Inn and Other Budget Accommodations in Caramoan Town

Before surprising my boys with our super summer trip to Caramoan, I’ve been reading and searching for affordable accommodation options around town. There were several to choose from but we settled for the cheapest decent one as reviewed by travel bloggers.

Villa Juliana Inn

Among the different blogs posts I’ve read about Caramoan, Villa Juliana Inn seemed like the best choice for us. It was swatted in pink and has a unique homey feel. The reception lobby is filled with tables and chairs so you’d think you’re in a restaurant. However, they don’t serve meals here. The rooms are located at the back. We were given a room with three beds with colorful beddings and curtains.

It looks clean but if you will really check, the room is dusty and moldy. The bathroom is so-so and we have to call in someone to fix the faucet on our first night. This inn is really not for the choosy but it sufficed. The beds are comfortable enough to nurse our weary backs after a day of exploring.

Villa Juliana Inn is smacked in the middle of Tawog so you won’t have any issues finding places to eat or things to buy.

Other Accommodation Options

La Casa Roa

This hotel is along the same street as Villa Jualiana. It looks a lot nicer and as we pass by it, we noticed that they have a lot of guests. They even have a party on the roof deck one night with a karaoke blasting out.

Istaraan Hotel

This is one of those new buildings located on the same street as La Casa Roa and Villa Juliana. This is also where we had our meals. We ordered our take out lunch and snacks for our island hopping around Caramoan’s paraside-like islands! The staff are accommodating so guests can easily feel welcome like they are part of the family.

Golden Hub Tourist Inn

Just down the bend, another budget accommodation in Tawog, Caramoan. It sure doens’t look very welcoming especially with those group of men loitering just outside the inn.

Caramoan Bed and Dine

This is located along the main road, on the far end of the market. They have a restaurant were we dined on our first day.

I’ve heard of other accommodations options in Caramoan, There’s the Riverside Inn, Wow na Wow Tourist Inn,  Rex Tourist Inn, West Peninsula Villas and a lot more. Travelers and tourist can choose to stay in town or in Paniman Beach where there are also a number of beach front accommodations.

The Oriental Hotel Legazpi: One Fine Staycation Experience

It was a couple of weeks before Baba’s birthday and I had been scouring online booking sites for somewhere special (and nearby) that we can go and celebrate for the weekend. I fortunately found this rare treat from Oriental Hotel Legazpi, hesitated a bit and then pushed the reservation on.

Considered as the only 5-Star Hotel in the City of Legazpi, a staycation here really is a treat! The Oriental has 115 rooms and have minimalist design. It is located in Taysan Hills so it offers guest a great view of the majestic Mayon Volcano.

We got a deluxe mountain room which offered plush interior design in white, silver and black. It has modern amenities such as a 32-inch cable ready LCD television perfect for my boys, wifi and a work desk perfect for me!

The hotel also offers refreshing view of the city and Mayon at their infinity pool. We decided to spend the afternoon swimming until it rained! So we went back to our room and spend the rest of the afternoon watching TV and writing.

Before going down for dinner, we went to the pool area just to see a panoramic view of the city with Mt. Mayon silhouetted at the backdrop, however it rained once again so we just proceeded to Jasmine Restaurant. We ordered some ribs and pork skewers. Teloy loved the bread that was served while waiting for dinner. After dining, we just hurried back to our room so that I can resume writing my articles while Baba and Teloy, bond over movies and our “baon” beers.

Our reservation included buffet breakfast for two, for Teloy we paid half for his buffet breakfast fee. Though we all think it was a lot more than the cost of what Teloyskie ate there. After several months of moving back here in Bicol, I kinda miss this kind of breakfast banquet. They have a complete line of Filipino breakfast variants such as tuyo, longganisa, daing and tocino. But they also have sausages and bacon and a selection of cereals, yogurt, breads and pastries, juices.

After filling up, I secretly talked with some of the restaurant crew for a surprise birthday cupcake for Baba. Several minutes later, the crept up behind him and gave a birthday song which blew him away! Baba almost hated me there for surprising him and he seemed so conscious of the other people in the restaurant who are looking our way.  After a while, he thanked me profusely for giving him one of the best birthdays ever!

Before checking out, we once again spent time swimming at the hotel’s infinity pool. It was still raining so Mt. Mayon was not in sight though the view in the pool area could have been truly amazing if the weather was cooperative.

The Oriental Hotel Legazpi City

  1. Address: Taysan Hill, Sto. Niño Village, Legazpi City, Albay, Legazpi City 4500, Philippines

Eastern Visayas Side Trip(Guide) to Biliran Island

When asked if I want to extend my stay in Region 8 (Tacloban) after completing our tasks in the regional office, I eagerly said yes and my return trip was scheduled Sunday instead of Friday. After the conclusion of our tasks on Thursday and visits around Tacloban and nearby towns on Friday, I was left to decide whether I stay in Tacloban or jump into an open invitation of a colleague to visit their province – Biliran. After series of consultation with the team and my friend who was supposed to be my host in Tacloban, I went for the latter, yes, Biliran!

Samar and Leyte provinces including the island province of Biliran are part of the country that is usually frequented by typhoons thus visiting during the rainy season seemed like a big risk. Still my last minute Googling results convinced me to jump to my colleague’s offer.

Travelling to Biliran via public vans takes 2 hours and costs only Php 136.00. We arrived at my colleague’s home in Biliran town. Hesitant to abuse their hospitality, I requested to be brought to downtown Naval so that I can just stay in an inn or lodge soon after we made arrangement for next day. 
How to go to Biliran:

sandbar at higatangan island
  • Manila to Tacloban to Biliran (By Air/Land)
Most airlines have trips to Tacloban daily. From San Jose Airport in Tacloba, you can take a jeepney downtown and choose among van operators Van Vans, Duptours and Grand Tours. I was able to ride Duptours from their terminal in Burgos St.
  • Roro and Shipping Lines to Naval (by Sea/Land)
Buses and Shipping lines also serve passengers from Cebu City direct to Naval port.
There are also buses from Manila to Naval. 
Accommodation Options in Biliran
There are many accommodation options in and around Biliran. Searching online yielded resorts including the Higatangan Beach resort in Higatangan Island. Price ranges from Php700 to 1500. My top choices for accommodation in town are:
  • TJ Inn
Room ranges Php350 to Php900 for aircon rooms. They have free wi-fi and the place looks well managed. Unfortunately, it was fullybooked when we arrived at 11Pm. The staff suggested we inquire at the inn across the street. 
  • El Pensionne Inn
Room ranges from Php 200 but I got a Php 700 twin for my first night and a Php600 single air con room for the second night. The building and the rooms are quite old but still comfortable. (namahay lang ako ng first night, seeing an empty bed made me think “creepy” thoughts)
Tinago Falls, Caibiran, Biliran
All in all, my experience in Biliran was full of roller coaster adventures and emotions. I stepped on my first sandbar in Higatangan Island (part of Leyte) and was able to visit their Tinago Falls.

My (side) trip to Biliran was only a day and a half. According to my impromptu guides consisted of my colleague and his childhood friends and his cousins, I must stay for a week in Biliran to really explore all the hidden wonders of their place.