For most people, the best time to schedule a vacation is during holy week. While it is always advised that you keep your holiday trip throughout the week holy, it’s also good to have some fun, especially if you’re with your family. So for my family, last year’s holy week, as well as this year’s, was spent at CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) in Camarines Sur, Bicol.
From Manila to CamSur
We left Manila around midnight on Holy Wednesday. It was always more convenient to travel at night because we expect less vehicles on the road, well, except for some buses and cargo trucks. Nevertheless, traffic was more bearable. We normally stopped by at a gas station in Laguna so Papa could catch some sleep. Then, at around 6am, we were already in Gumaca, Quezon, and had breakfast at a fastfood chain. Our next stop (for meal) would be in Sipocot. It was at the end of Andaya Highway, about an hour from CWC. Around 2pm, we finally reached our destination.
Normally, during holy week, accommodations are fully booked. Last year, we had two cottages reserved. We were able to book two weeks before our trip. This year’s holiday vacation was unplanned, but luckily my Papa’s officemate’s family canceled their trip to CWC. We got the one cottage they reserved.
With the welcoming view of the cabins, wouldn’t you want to come back every year?
Aquapark and Wakeboarding
Since it was our first visit to CWC last year, wakeboarding was the main goal. We arrived there on a Thursday. Thinking that we still got two more days before we leave, my siblings and I decided that we enjoy the aqua park first and save the best wakeboarding experience for last.
We went boating and swimming for nearly two hours. There were floating inflatable slides, climbing wall (that looks like an iceberg) and obstacle course in the aqua park. This year, they also added a floating water trampoline for the kids and kids-at-heart to enjoy.
There is no entrance fee to be paid upon entering CWC. You may watch wakeboarders in action, stroll around and check out food and souvenir stalls. Besides boating and wakeboarding, there are other enjoyable activities to try at CWC. You can have a look at their rates here.
Saving the best for last was not a very good idea last year. We decided to go wakeboarding on Saturday…night, only to find out that we need to wait in line. There was a long list of wakeboarders at the reception area. The number of helmets and life vests were not enough for the hundreds of people who want to try the sport every day. Some actually had their names listed as early as 7am and still had to wait for at least one hour for their turn. Unluckily, there we were, falling in line at 8pm. We were at the beginner’s park at 9pm. The park closed at 10pm, by the way. We literally had a few seconds of wakeboarding, after that we lost our balance and threw ourselves into the water. Still it was fun and most importantly, we learned a lesson: to have our names list early next time.
Another important thing, helmet and life vest rentals come at a very low price. The one that is expensive is the deposit for these gears. Also, one of the crew who assisted us suggested that next time we visit, we bring our own helmets and life vests. If we have our own gears, we would only need to pay for the entrance to the waterpark. There is no need to fall in line to have our names listed. We can go directly to the park and enjoy wakeboarding.
This year’s visit to CWC was very memorable. If last year it was memorable because of our first wakeboarding experience, this time it was unforgettable because of the family bonding and a holier feel of the lenten season.
Less time was spent at the aqua park. We did not even try our luck in wakeboarding. Most of the time we just stayed in our cottage and ate. When we didn’t swim, we bought souvenirs and literally just took a lot of rest.
We woke up late on Good Friday, but we were still able to catch the Seven Last Words sermon and the mass that followed. I had to say the church was so beautiful. We went to Penafrancia Cathedral in Naga. The facade would make you want to stay there even if there is no mass to be held. The Porta Mariae arch and the stained glass dome in the middle were also scenic spots.
The mass and Seven Last Words were said in Bicolano dialect. For someone who never learned to speak my father’s native vernacular, it was difficult to understand the mass. But I must say that one of the most effective ways to learn the native dialect is to attend Bicolano mass. Had I frequently attended Ilocano masses when I was living in Baguio, I would have learned to speak the dialect in no time.
Our Saturday was spent at the aqua park. We stayed there the whole afternoon, swimming ang playing volleyball. We normally woke up right before lunch during the entire vacation but not on Easter Sunday. At 5am, we were already at a church nearby to celebrate “Salubong”. It was great to actually wake up so early to attend mass with the whole family.
After the mass, we went back to Villa del Rey to pack our things and settle our bill. We had breakfast right after and already on our way back to Manila at 9am. I would consider this trip the “first”, in all holy weeks we’ve had together as a family, to be truly well-spent. It was definitely a holier lenten season ender that we will surely look forward to every year.