Sulong Capalonga: This Pilgrimage Town has a Lot to Offer

March 17, 2024 Travel

Without the Tourism Promotions Board's Domestic Tourism Invitational Program, I would have missed exploring many beautiful places, such as the charming coastal town of Capalonga in Camarines Norte.

Capalonga is located 76 kilometers from Daet, the capital town of Camarines Norte, and 331 km south of Manila.

Despite its lesser-known status, this town has been attracting busloads of pilgrims, particularly during its feast day, because of its revered image of the Black Nazarene. This centuries-old image, akin to the one in Quiapo, is believed to have been carved in Mexico and brought to the Philippines in the 1600s.


Our journey in Capalonga started at the Sibol Capalonga tourist view deck, where we had the pleasure of meeting tourism officer Rod Rawat. It was our third day in Bicolandia and our final day in Camarines Norte.

Capalonga is an adventure-packed destination. In addition to the Black Nazarene Shrine, it boasts numerous accessible waterfalls and the widest mangrove forest in Camarines Norte. Plus, it has Camarines Norte's longest sandbar.

During our conversation with Rod, he proudly mentioned that Capalonga offers the tastiest crabs and is just a two-hour boat ride away from Quezon Province's renowned island called Jomalig.


We then proceeded to the Parish of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, home to the Diocesan Shrine of Jesus, the Black Nazarene.


It's fascinating to note that the Black Nazarene image holds immense popularity among Chinese Filipinos. They flock from distant areas and neighboring towns, believing their prayers for good health, fortune, and longevity are answered through their devotion to the Black Nazarene. A Chinese chapel is next to the church, which mixes Catholicism and Buddhism rituals.


According to Rod, the municipality is constructing a new Black Nazarene shrine, specifically a hilltop shrine in Barangay Talagpukao. This shrine will overlook the sea beside the coastal road, just 3 kilometers before reaching the town center.


Adjacent to the church is the municipal hall, where we enjoyed a lunch highlighted by delicious crabs. It lived up to our expectations and was good. 


After lunch, we checked in at Selfie Beach Resort. The journey to the resort was a bit long and bumpy, with our bus facing difficulties on some parts of the road. Thus, it was a relief when we finally got to the resort.


But as we arrived at the resort, a large 'no pets allowed' sign caught our attention, juxtaposed with artworks of dogs on their walls. As a pet lover, I don't mind resorts that choose not to welcome pets, but having such a prominent sign as the first thing you see upon entering the resort was a bit disheartening.


Nonetheless, the sandbar was still on our itinerary, so I set aside my feelings and headed towards the jump-off point. 


Due to the low tide, we had to traverse the shores to reach our awaiting boat. Due to the low tide, we had to traverse the shores to reach our awaiting boat. The distinct outline of the sand bar called Pulong Guianlo Sandbar was already visible from the beachfront.  

The boat ride lasted only about 30 minutes, and due to the low tide, we had to walk to reach the sandbar. One of the boatmen assisted me, turning it into an excellent little adventure.


The sand bar, showcasing a narrow stretch of pristine white sand, is surrounded by clear waters. We took many photos and soaked up the peaceful vibe, enjoying the beauty of Camarines Norte's natural wonders.


Afterward, we boarded our boats again and then took tricycles back to Selfie Resort.


This time, I got to see more of Selfie Resort. The place has modern and stylish interiors, especially in the two-story Selfie Hotel where we stayed. Our room was big and well-designed, with a balcony.


Its spacious grounds have landscaped gardens, cabanas, and a restaurant.


Later on, I learned that the owners had to implement this rule due to irresponsible pet owners. If only they were more caring, we could have had a human paradise that also accommodates pets. Fur babies could have enjoyed Selfie Resort's beautiful grounds and found cozy comfort in their rooms.


Our dinner took place at the restaurant, and we were treated to a beautiful performance by Camarines Norte’s Cultural Group.

It was a fantastic way to wrap up the first part of the three-province Domestic Tourism Invitational Program tour. Masbate was next on our itinerary.


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