The Philippine Department of Tourism welcomes once more the cast and crew of “Survivor Israel,” the Israeli franchise of the hit American TV reality game show “Survivor” in the Caramoan Peninsula in the province of Camarines Sur.
After filming one edition of Hisardot (Survivor) last year, the production outfit is back in the Gota Village Resort in Caramoan to film another edition of the tv show starting this February, with the program to be telecast in Israel until early June of this year.
Ace Durano, Secretary of Tourism, expressed his excitement over the fourth time that a Survivor media outfit is filming in Caramoan: “Survivor Israel has once more given the Philippines a one of a kind exposure, reinforcing what it has done last year, that is, promoting a sampling of the country through Caramoan, as one of the world’s top travel destinations.”
A virtually unknown site in the past especially in the international tourist communities, Caramoan first generated media attention in 2008 when the French Survivor, “Koh-Lanta Caramoan,” filmed in its pristine beaches and verdant trails. This was followed by the filming of Survivor Bulgaria in the island in the latter part of the same year, and last year’s first filming of Survivor Israel.
“More than the international promotion being generated by the tv show, we see it as the Israelis’ vote of confidence for not only Caramoan Island, but the entire Philippines, as a destination,” said Durano.
Survivor Israel airs weekly on a primetime spot over Israel’s leading television station and had about 1 million viewers, covering a 40-percent share of the TV audience.
According to the show’s producer Gregory Bekerman, “Caramoan has this ‘wild paradise’ charm. It is virtually untouched and yet it has enough facilities to accommodate the show.”
“The Philippine beaches are a refreshing view. It’s an overwhelming location and I’m sure it will be very tempting for our audience to go see it themselves” said Guy Hameiri, CEO of the production outfit Reif Hameiri.
Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque, Jr., said, “We support all the Survivor exposure that the country has been getting by facilitating tour packages with our partners in and outside the Philippines and other promotional events on the ground.”
As testimony to its success, the DOT has received several bookings through one of the largest tour operators in Israel, Mona Tours. Minerva Bruner, Travel Consultant for the company, was in the country recently to meet with some of the country’s premier hotels.
“We are expecting big tour groups from Tel Aviv through MonaTours. Aside from these, the crew of Survivor Israel is also slated to visit some of our top sites,” said Verna Buensuceso, Head of Team Europe.
The DOT, together with the local government of Camsur, helped bring the show’s production outfit to Caramoan. The show also edited an 8-minute breathtaking video featuring various Philippine destinations. Taken from the show’s opening credits, the video is part of DOT’s presentation during its travel missions and exhibitions abroad.
Aside from its white sands and unexplored trails, Caramoan is fast gaining popularity for its 45 coves and islets, each with different charms. Gota Beach, the jump-off point to other islands and venue of the show’s entire season, is just one of the captivating destinations in the Caramoan Peninsula. At present, it has foldaway cabanas ready for use.
Offering varied attractions like diving, snorkeling and spelunking, other islands on the Caramoan Peninsula such as Lahuy, Lahus, Matukad, Hunongan, Cotivas, Pitogo, Sabitang Laya, Tinago and Tayak have long been favorite haunts of seasoned backpackers. Caramoan beaches are famous for their picturesque view of the sunset, long shorelines, powdery white sands, limestone rock formations, crystal clear water, and abundant reefs.
Regular flights from Manila to Naga and Legaspi are available to reach the island. Or tourists can take an 8-hour bus ride from Manila-Naga, then take a boat from Naga to Sabang Port.