Vinzons, Camarines Norte
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Turquoise and blue gradient waters, fine white sand, breathtaking views and most of all, tranquility and peace--Calaguas Island is an over-the-top paradise! I've never been to Maldives but looking at photos for comparison, it will definitely pass off as our version here in the Philippines. I am not exaggerating things, go and see it for yourself.
Unplanned trips are indeed the best. I went to Bicol with a friend to explore the place riding our bikes (which was the original plan) then a family friend of theirs gave us an invite to come over their place. We never realized that the place they were talking about was Calaguas Island. Yes, folks they live in a small community that is situated few steps away from the island itself. Calaguas is home to them. Feeling envy yet?
Since the trip was all impromptu, we had made no cottage or boat reservations. From Paracale, we had no other choice but to ride a passenger boat just to get there. The boat ride normally costs 50 pesos, but due to the low number of passengers to board, we all paid 100 pesos just so we can leave ASAP. Passenger boat means no life vests, no other lifeguards but the locals, only PURE ADVENTURE. The boat ride was unexpected. The experience was purely thrilling, if you don't know how to swim you will absolutely pray for your life. No kidding, according to the locals the waves we were experiencing that day is the normal state of the sea. We were actually sailing against the current of the water. I was so tensed during the whole journey. But what is adventure without a hint of fear, right? The trip lasted for an hour and a half. We saw several color transitions of the sea water fom the lightest of blue to dark blue, and bluish black. There are several drop off points depending on where you are coming from. Ours was in another island where the small community is located, and then walked few kilometers to get to Calaguas. As we reach the island, we can't contain our excitement to go and dip ourselves into the water. We arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon but never minding the sun, we went straight to the beach. It's stunning. It's beyond beautiful.
Though our trip may be impromptu, we had the chance to bring some food but it's actually not a big deal if you can't because several stores are lined up in the beach. The locals aka tourguides also offer packages which include everything--boat transfers, cottage, tent, food (and I'm talking about freshly-caught seafoods) and of course, tourist-friendly service. That's what our friends, Kuya Ryan and Ate Angelica do for a living. You may want look for them if you happen to go there unplanned.
At night, you can either sleep in tents or opt to rent a cottage. Friendly tip: the best time to go there is between Monday to Friday, because the tent areas are crowded during weekends. We were lucky enough to experience Calaguas almost all by ourselves on a Friday afternoon. The next day, we woke up early to accomplish our photo op session and it was like we owned the island for a moment.
As per the other activities, there is a hilltop climbing experience that they offer. It costs only 20 pesos (environmental fee) and it will give you a bird's eye view of the whole island. It's the perfect spot for a panoramic shot. Aside from karaoke machines and occassional poi dancing acts, there are no other festivities at night, and I guess that's what separates the island from any other. It is truly an escape from the chaotic city life. There is no network service, no internet connection, no stress, no hassle, yet you get the chance to experience life like no other.
From Manila to Bicol, we rode a bus headed to Paracale in Cubao, Quezon City. The fare costs 500 pesos and discounts apply to students as long as you have your ID with you. Then we got off in Batobalani, from there we rode a tricycle (20 pesos each) to get to the boat terminal in Paracale. I cannot tell you exactly how much we spent during our 2 days and 2 nights stay but I guess it is just safe to prepare 3,000-5,000 pesos depending on your spending techniques and how many are you going on the trip.
Aside from being financially ready, you must also prepare for an extraordinary adventure of your lifetime. #PhilippineBeaches #CamarinesNorte #TravelPH #Pinasmuna #Halloolooween2016
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Sa lahat ng beach na napuntahan ko, ito ang pinaka nagustuhan ko. Kung lang mga tatlong oras lang from Manila to babalik balikan ko eh kaso ang layo.
Pero sulit ang byahe! Para kang nasa pool lang tapos infinite! 🏼🏝🏖
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Who wouldn't love this turquoise water and fine white sand? Will definitely go back to this paradise. Take me back....
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tatlong bibe in paradise ♥️♥️♥️
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First beach destination ko this year. The 9 hours zigzag pa more bus travel plus 2 1/2 boat alon pa more na byahe is totally worth it.
I'm with my friend potpot.. breakhearted pa si ate. Kaya travel pa more. Hehe
One of the best island I've been to. Di lang sya swimming eh, may nature tripping, island hopping, then syempre party sa gabi. Thank you to Calaguas iAdventure for accomodating us. Met new friends, ang saya!
Calaguas is a paradise.
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The Instagram Friendly, Calaguas
It started as a joke. Yes a joke.
Time is something that is so hard to give especially when you and your friends have different priorities to focus on.
From Quezon City to Bicol, almost half a day travel by land and sea, Calaguas is a bucket list must be.
I've been to so many beaches and I can say that calaguas has its own charm. From its white pure sand to its bluish green waters.. I bet it makes you want to lay your body by the beach all day long.
Before hitting Calaguas, we went first to an island called "Maculabo" and its a heaven! The island is isolated. When we get there, we were the only visitors and what happens next was all fun!
The only problem with Calaguas Island is that, the spot where people are usually swimming is also where most boats are docked - so you need to be extra careful! But it can be shrruged off. Being a long island theres a lot of places where you can relax and soak your body under the salty water.
After we pitched our tent its time to sleep,
it amazes me until now that you can sleep outside your tent safely! Yes, you can sleep outside if you want with assurance that the next day you are still okay.
The next morning, we greet sunshine
on top of a hill! We did a little trekking too, if you're a hiker it'll take you 10-15 minutes to get there with an entrance fee of 20 pesos per gate as environmental fee. You could also set up your tent and spent the night on the hill to have that mountain camping vibe.
I love its simplicity and
its instagram friendly sights to see,
Calaguas is worth the wait.
There's no stopping people from finding happiness no matter the distance and the road they may face.
Have you been to Calaguas?
When do you plan to go to?
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Calaguas @ 7am... So beautiful...
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Calaguas group of islands specifically Mahabang Buhangin is a place to be for beach lovers. A perfect place to chill, relax and enjoy it's beauty by walking along it's powdery sand, swim on it's torquise clear water and sit and enjoy your Halo-halo with friends while watching the sunset. This trip is a valid reason to be happy and thank God for this beautiful creation.
Thank you to my trip buddy, Hilda, for making this trip possible for us via Pilipinas Roadtrip. The tour package costs 2850 php that includes van transfers, boat rides, fees and 3 meals in the island; add about 500-1000 php for another 3 meals for breakfast upon arrival at Camarines Norte, lunch & dinner on the way home and for pasalubongs.
I highly recommend to visit Calaguas by weekdays. The island is too crowded by weekends because most travel agencies only offer weekend tours.
Our journey started at 10pm Friday night. It's a 9 hour ride by land so don't forget to bring a pillow. We arrived at Vinzons, Camarines by 6 am then had our breakfast at the port. We left by around 7-8am but got stucked on a water traffic jam. The port was too narrow with lotsa boat parked on it which made impossible for our boat to pass by. A problem should be addressed by marines or whatsoever department running the place.
After an hour of wasted time for that shitty thing, our 2 hour splashy boat ride started. The sun is up, the sky is bluer than blue, the sea is calm and it's gonna be a wonderful day. We were seated in front of the boat eventhough the sea was calm, it didn't stop us from getting wet. Now I know what the plastic bags for our things were for.
We arrived at Mahabang Buhangin by 11am and I'm totally in awe of the beauty of the island. We set up our tents besides our cottages at the back. Our place was a bit near the comfort room so it's very convenient if you want take a bath or go to the CR. Our lunch was served at 12 noon and it was really good.
We went to the beach by 1:30 pm. The scorching heat didn't stop us from enjoying the water.
We availed the Island hopping for 100 php each. We were kinda hesitated at first but I'm glad we went for it. Our first stop was the Little Batanes of Calaguas Island. We trek for 10-15 minutes to reach the top. Above you can enjoy the scenic view, a strech of grassland and nearby islands. After a couple of minutes of taking pictures we went to a place where the Pacific Ocean and Philippine Sea meets. The current was a bit strong here but we still went for a swim. Some did a cliff jumping nearby.
At 5pm we arrived at Mahabang Buhangin, just on time for the sunset. We seated at the shore and enjoyed the view while having our halo-halo. The feeling was surreal. Haha Being away from work, traffic and social media was all we need at that time. Too bad too many boats were in front of the beach. We stayed by the beach until the dinner was about to serve. Our dinner was perfect.
We took a bath after dinner. The comfort room is within my comfort zone and I'm happy about it. A toilet to seat on and source of water. You need pay 10php per 1 large bucket of water.
At night time, together with the other guest ,we had couple of drinks for socialization. There's an electricity until 5am and there's an extension wire on every cottages and you can charge your phones and cameras. We hit the sack by 10pm..
We woke up at 6am but didn't go for a trek. We had our breakfast, took a bath and explored the beach area. We left the area by 9am and I'm feeling sad about leaving. I wanted to stay another day because wasn't able to enjoy the crystal clear water that much. Really sad. Haha
We arrived at the port, had our lunch somewhere, bought our pasalubong and went home.
Definitely I'm going back here on weekdays and will spend 2 nights in the island.
I hope our pictures is enough for you guys to come and visit Calaguas Island.
Again, I hope they set limits on how many people could visit Calaguas in a day. I think the Island is being abuse by the large crowd going there specifically during weekends. I'm glad Pilipinas Roadtrip brought the garbages with us back to Vinzons. 🏻
Some pictures were taken on Hilda and Mary's camera!
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8 hours (by land) away from manila plus a 2-hour boat ride to go to Calaguas but it's so worth it. Calaguas Island is my current favorite island. It had the most beautiful beach. It has white fine sand from the shore up to the ocean. It was not crowded. Tranquility was the best word to describe the place. My favorite part was when I can't decide where to take a picture because the view was breathtaking 360 degrees.🏻
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Although people have flocked to Calaguas this summer, I was still beyond amazed with the beach. The creamy fine sands and crystal clear waters did not fail me. It was the most beautiful thing that touched the sole of my feet.
For the accommodation, there’s Waling-waling Eco Village for those who want a comfortable stay. For shoestring travelers, camping is the best option. Pitching your tent costs Php 100/night. Rental of tent good for 3-4 pax is Php 350/night.
WHAT TO DO IN CALAGUAS
So you planned for a 2-day stay in the island – you camped, swam, and took gazillions of photos. Now what?
Aside from beach bumming, swimming and camping, the beauty of Calaguas can be truly appreciated by trying following activities:
skimboarding (via Waling-Waling Eco Village)
snorkeling (bring your own equipment)
kayaking (via Waling-Waling Eco Village)
watch fire dancing show (at night)
Trekking to Calaguas hilltop was one of the memorable adventures we had in the island. The environmental/entrance fee to trek is Php 20 per person. It only took less than 30 minutes to get to the top.
You can take a look at our itinerary and budget breakdown in my blog: http://sheslouisse.com/2016-mahabang-buhangin-calaguas-islands-camarines-norte/
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I am essentially an offspring of nature. I love it so much that sometimes I prefer living with nature than with people.
Some people are loyal to beaches, others to the mountains. But me, I love both...although I sometimes can't hide my fascination when I'm touched by the gentle, cool breeze of the mountains.
When it comes to beaches, I don't just swoon over any beach. I have my preferences and usually, it impresses me if it's clear, blue, virgin, and uncrowded. I am not very particular with the sand so long as it won't cut the bottom of my feet when I walk.
On top of my list is Coron and most of its islands. When I first went there, I totally fell in love with its utter tranquility and freshness. So, every time I go somewhere, my benchmark is Coron. Boracay on the other hand is likable by default. Basically, from all the beaches I've been, for me the best ones are Coron, Boracay, Bohol, and Little Subic in Sorsogon... until I set foot in probably the clearest, bluest, beach I have ever been --- CALAGUAS.
I was fortunately invited by some friends and their group to join them. Vans C. , our designated organizer scheduled a trip to Calaguas and asked the help of Dreams and Destinations travel agency to fix our itinerary and trip (more on the trip and where we stayed on my next review).
We travelled by land on a commuter van. From Manila to Camarines Norte, it's about 6-8 hours of travel, then another 2 hours by boat from Paracale in Camarines Norte going to the island. Our trip was handled by the agency so they also took care of all our modes of transportation. While in Paracale, you can opt to buy your essentials or go to the market and buy the freshest catch of the day. I was the designated market person so I went and enjoyed my day at the palengke -- one of my most favorite places. We also ate breakfast first before leaving. The carinderias in the pier are decent enough and cheap. I had a big tortang talong, rice and a cup of tea and I think I only paid Php50 or thereabouts.
As the boat chugged on, we passed by a few other islands that have different characteristics but all mouth-agaping. When we came near Mahabang Buhangin, all we could do was heave a heavy sigh and say either "ahhhhhhh!!" or "wooowww!". It was a paradise. A beach lover's Utopia. One that would not make you miss civilization -- at least for a few days.
The left side of the stretch is neatly constructed with different huts of different resorts, the other side was occupied by open huts that were erected for those who chooses to camp. Some are owned by private individuals, on the farther side, one of the locals told me that it's owned by the LGU. The tents are propped on the far right side of the island.
We mostly stayed on the left side because that's where our resort was.
The island is not that big. My friend and I, because of an unforeseen event, was able to walk through some parts of the island by foot. Some locals helped us go to their small village at the back of the area where the resorts were. The place is very provincial. So rural that there is only one place you can probably get a decent signal, and they call it "Signalan". It's the specific area where you can find some sort of proof that there is an outside world. Lol. It was quite obvious where it was because a number of phones were tied to the tree. Probably stuck there to continually receive messages from the outside world. Heh.
There are a number of activities you can do. Of course, swimming. Also snorkelling, hiking, island hopping, etc. And since we don't have enough time to do everything, we opted to just go to one island. I forgot the name but there were a couple of small mountains that can easily be hiked even if you're only wearing beach slippers.
I hiked along with my group and as we reached the middle, I was speechless. It was breathtaking! Felt like I was reliving the opening scene in the Sound of Music. Lol. And it also reminded me of some of the photos I've seen of Batanes. It was extremely beautiful!
When we climbed up to the top, we were able to experience the 360-degree view of Calaguas. I tried to capture the experience through my phone lens but i'm pretty sure it hardly gave the place justice.
We went back to Mahabang Buhangin at dusk and the sunset was amazing! I literally stopped and my heart skipped a beat because of the colors I saw. It was like falling in love with someone and you just want to make that moment eternal. #cheesy
Come nighttime, after dinner, my friend and I decided to stay on the beach and marvel at the grandiose, starlit sky. It was literally heavenly. So there was no other way but to try and capture it the best I can.
Most of our stay was spent swimming and drinking and eating and it truly felt like a vacation we all needed. Far from the city, far from the technology, far from civilization... and only pure, unadulaterated beauty of nature. :)
Our designated guide, Kuya Durant, as we fondly called him because of his constant sporting of Kevin Durant's jersey, was very amiable and gracious. The locals were all nice and you won't have a hard time communicating with them because they speak both bicolano and tagalog fluently.
I can confidently say that it bumped off Coron on top of my list -- except for the jelly bugs that tried to eat me alive... slight lang. :D
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Straight outta lovely nature postcard! (Pardon me for I will later give meaning to the photo, first the review )
Have you ever read the meme "isang malaking achievement kapag natuloy ang summer outing ng barkada nyo " with matching emoji of a girl with a raised hand? Well I'm proud to share that in our barkada's case, the materialization of that meme is fulfilled in Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte! Yey! Congrats to us haha!
With the rampant tour packages offered online nowadays, we were able to avail a budget friendly trip amounting to 3500php, which includes transpo back and forth Manila, 2days worth of food (yes they will cook for you) and other extra fees for island hopping and trekking. Kudos and shout out to Kuya Alex and Raymond and Kuya Japeth the driver who made all these things possible. Last May 20-22,2016, my workmates and I were able to embark a zigzag-y nauseous almost puke-inducing journey to Calaguas (yes it's true so be guided if ever you fancy drinking booze on the trip but it will be tolerable if you'll just sleep thru the whole drive haha ). As you all know (if you take time to read reviews) Manila to Daet Camarines Norte will be for a whopping 12hour trip, taking into consideration all the 7/11 stops we had and the unfortunate snaking road we had to go thru. We went off around 6:30pm May 19 and woke up 6:30am May 20 at Daet where we've had our breakfast at Jollibee. If I were you this will be the time to indulge in the luxuries of the civilized life e.g. phone signal wifi fast food, before you become off the grid haha . Because once there, you'll have to make up for no signal no wifi minimal electricity and soft mattresses. And if you're that beach bummed this can also be the time to change into those swimming gears so at the first sight of water, you can readily swim your hearts out! After Daet, we went to Vinzon's a port like place where you can get boats going to the secluded island. Vinzon's to Calaguas took around 2hours so we've touched down around 10:30 in the morning.
Haaaay what a wonderful sight to take in . We're still far off and we could already see their boast worthy clear waters. We've landed and felt the fine sand that could be at par with those from Boracay. Truly a praiseworthy place to celebrate our barkada's yearly outing. It was worth it!
The first day was a free day where you can do just whatever you want eat swim sunbathe or just plainly chill at the shore. Needless to say we're a bit tired so we just swam our hearts out and sleep early haha.
Second day we played volleyball and went island hopping at Balagbag Island. One of the nearby islands from Calaguas. That is where I've taken the photo above. Balagbag Islang had small mountaintops where you can trek and witness the beautiful sights they have to offer. It also had very cool rock formations at the mountain floor. Be careful here make sure your footwear is not slippery because it could spell accidents for you. After that we enjoyed snorkeling at another nearby island but I forgot it's name haha.
The third day we went to Bagasbas Beach for the supposed surfing lessons but we opted not to because we were tired. The night before we slept at almost midnight because we swam again from 6pm- 11:30pm haha. We had lunch at Catherine's Restaurant and went home full (try it here the buttered chicken sisig and halo2 are my most recommended, they're the bombs!) before going home we had a side trip to Atimonan at the Quezon Wildlife Park. We got to Manila around 1am of May 23, tired but nonetheless summer drunked vacation.
5stars is for the feel good ocean water they had. Not that cold and not that warm. Enough to soak your body for around 6hours even in the wee hours of the morning. Imagine that! Haha. Also It's not that they don't have electricity, it's timed and energy saving I think. We also had plentiful time to bond thru talking and goproing, where you can realize it's calming to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
trip. I hope it can maintain the balance of a simple and not that industrialized place. And please take care of our islands. Philippines is truly amazing! Find out for yourselves
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Tell me what else is more beautiful than this? 13hr travel from Manila. 10hr bus ride 1hr van from daet to paracale, 2 hrs boat ride but nearing the island shore, you'll get by virgin beach en the oh so fine white sand. Finer than those of bolinao 🏻 Well we're all in a tight budget en there are tons of packages avail thru the web. If you're dates are flexible,most of em are departing on Thursday or Friday night. It ranges from 2900-3900php/pax for 2D1N en 3D2N respectively inclusive of transport to en fro en meals plus side trips to Bagasbas where you can surf. On our case, we have limited vacation days. It was hard looking for a package for me en 3 of my friends because we're only available on weekdays. The tours I've mentioned a while ago can accommodate private tours but each would cause 6k for 4pax. Good thing one of my friends found this blog recommending kuya chito en ate baby's tour. For 3D2N they offer an all in package for 3k. Inclusive of 2 lunch breakfast en dinner. Oh they served us fresh seafoods with fruits on every meal. En that was on weekdays. Tbh, mas na enjoy namin kasi Kami Lang 4 ung passengers Nung boat plus 3 crews en walang masyadong Tao sa island unlike weekends daw andaming nag ccamp so goodluck sa photos na andaming bombers. Lol jk
1st night we slept on a tent, 2nd night on the kubo. For first timers... Masakit sa likod I swear. But overall experience was fun so di ko na siya masyado napansin. The night sky was spectacular. If you're good at photography this is a good place for a time lapse en taking pictures of the giant stars because they're just totally amazing. Lights off on the island is 11pm. No signal even at the top of the hill en on another island when you do hopping. It has been said there was a hanging bridge on the main island but we forgot to check, so pls don't when you decide to go there.
Sunset sky was beautiful en the people as well. Finally the morning dip before leaving completed it all.
P.S. There's a resort in the place if you're not comfortable sleeping in a tent or kubo. En oh, our package didn't include bus en van fare. Students, bring your ids. That's almost 450php Manila to daet en 70php for the van ride to paracale 🏼
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I have read in one of the articles online that Calaguas has been dubbed as the most beautiful island in the Philippines as of today and I have seen why. My friends and I went here after attending a friend’s wedding in Legaspi so we didn’t get the typical tours from Manila. We just rented a van from Legaspi going to Vinzons Port. It was still a 5 hour drive though since Legaspi is located far south of Bicol while Calaguas is just in Camarines Norte. From the port to the island, it took us an additional 2h boat ride (prepapred to get soaked on the way) but that long trip was so so worth it.
We arrive Saturday afternoon, and just as expected, the island was a bit crowded. I was kind of expecting that already since its a weekend (although the island has been known as one of the virgin islands in the country) and most people stay here only for a night - leave Manila Friday night, arrive Calaguas Saturday morning, leave for Manila Sunday morning. But for us, we stayed until Monday so we got to experience having the island ALL TO OURSELVES. Imagine how fun was that? :D
The island was a paradise, the water is so clear, and the sand is powdery white - of which is comparable to Boracay’s. Tinaga Island is one of the two major islands of the Calaguas Group of Islands, where you can find Mahabang Buhangin. That beach is basically where most campers and backpackers stay. The native inhabitants are the ones that takes care of the island which is pretty good. They built little nipa huts so that guests could stay and eat, then they provide sleeping tents for those who didn’t bring their own. Speaking of eat, I think most of the tour packages include the meals already so you don’t have to worry. You can just bring snacks or something if you like.
There is no internet connection, no electricity, nor mobile coverage anywhere in the island so its perfect for disconnecting and just to really make the most of what the island can offer. You can go hiking and watch the sunrise from the mountain part of the island, lie in the sand and bask in the sun, and of course swim through those clear waters. Island hopping is also an option - we were brought to 2 islands nearby, one is a rocky island (forgot the name) where you can go cliff diving and the other island is a sandbar with aquamarine waters surrounding it. Then at night, you can go stargazing! That was actually my favorite part since it was my first time to do it and I was so amazed by how many stars we can actually see if there’s just no light pollution blocking it! So so amazing. We even saw a few falling stars which was pretty much on my bucket list, so yay for a tick on my bucket list!
However, don’t expect any hint of modern comfort because there’s no shower rooms, and fancy restrooms in the area. But don’t worry because they have a toilet with a big bucket where you can fetch your own water from the deep well and use it for bathing and all your toilet needs
This adventure is not a luxury getaway, but it was a wonderful, one of a kind experience which I totally recommend to all Filipinos (and foreigners) to visit. BUT we should all be responsible in taking care of it and not litter anywhere else because of course, we wouldn’t wanna destroy such a beautiful island just by our carelessness.
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Ever tasted Main Con Yelo with mango puree? How about, Mango Iced Candy with Cheese cubes? It is perfect to try these here in Calaguas! Suuuuuper saaaaraaaaap
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Calguas, got me.
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The island is so isolated,theres no mobile signals (unless youd want to climb the hills). The not much people so you can relax all you want.
We went there under a package tour of 3D/2N where the transpo and food is already included. The food is served 3x a day, so no need to worry about breakfast, lunch and dinner. But bring extra water and snacks. Although there is a sari-sari store in the island where you can buy chips, soft drinks and beer but a little expensive.
It is a camping trip, you will sleep in a tent. Bring your own pillows and sleeping bag.
The comfort rooms are ok. You need to pay 10-30 pesos depending on the number of water buckets you will consume. Theres also a water pump (poso).
At around 10am there are vendors of ice candy for 20pesos. There are many flavors to choose from but ilk recommend the cheesy mango! Youll get addicted to it.
Lastly, dont forget to bring your sunblock and snorkling gears
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Crystal water, fine sand, back to basic.
Few phrases to describe Calaguas. A very nice place to spend the holy week keeping away from the hustle and bustle of the Manila life this surely gave me a break from all those.
Want I really love about this serene beach is their very very very fine sand, like it looks like a milk in the sea every time the waves are washing them off. The sun seems like not so hot (but the payback time for sunburns are awful). Few thing I think they need to work on is the way the bangkas are arranged because they're all over the sea sometimes you can no longer swim because they are too many, I wish they can assign a place where the bangkas can drop their passengers to give way to more swimming space. Also, the tents though its not much of an issue I think they should also find a way to arrange it more accordingly for it not to look like very crowded. (Maybe its just me being a little bit OC)
Nevertheless I really loved the place quiet and very beautiful surely one of the best beaches of the Philippines. Hope they can preserve its beauty for the next generation to enjoy.
PS. There's no signal in the island so better let your parents, lover or anybody who might be worried that you'll be out of reach in the Island, you don't want a angry/worried messages once you get back to Paracale.
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Getting here was unplanned at all! It was a last minute decision since we don't want to go home yet. I contacted kuya Alex,who owns a boat going to the island of Calaguas. First things first. Put your things in a big plastic bag, put your gadgets in a waterproof bag. There are so many stores at Vinzons Port for last minute buying. Make sure to buy all your necessities like Tissue, Canned goods, rice, drinking water and etc.
It took us two hours to get to the island. Due to long weekend, the island is full packed. Yeah! It was really crowded. Some were busy taking photo ops and videos, playing beach volleyball. We thought that it wasn't a good idea to visit this place because aside from the fact that it's crowded due to a long weekend there's also a typhoon warning Gale. Everyone was panicking when the coast guard announced that Gale might hit the island on following day and everyone must packed up and leave the place before 7AM. We're all tired that day because we climbed Mt. Isarog in Naga but because of the typhoon warning, we headed to our tents and got our swimming gears and outfit. Swimming time!
I'm running out of words to describe the beauty of Calaguas. From its white sand to the crystal clear water, oh wow! I'm speechless. I suggest to visit the island during weekdays like Monday if you want to get a nice picture of yourself without #photobomber.
We woke up at 5 AM and prepared breakfast before leaving the island. Oh man! We can hear the sound of the big waves from where we camped. We reached Vinzons Port at around 9AM. We're just so happy that we were all safe after a two hour boat ride with big waves that really scared us.
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The first destination for the year is Calaguas!
Bear with me as the review will be long & detail filled to give the place justice.
The drive is approximately 10 hours away from Manila, I suggest driving on day time as the provincial highways are more forgiving with daylight. We left Manila at night and took a nap in Paliza Del Rio in Paracale, which was parking spot for the time. It's Php150 a night. Food is pretty tough to find in Paracale except for Sari-Sari Stores, so buy your food ahead or buy them raw at the market and prepare them yourself in the island.
The boat ride is 1.5 hours away from Paracale. We booked our boat ahead in Manila with the round trip scheduled already. If you get seasick, drink your medication as you will cross open waters and it will get bumpy! We had a big boat probably good for at least 10-16 people but it still got crazy on the middle portions of the ride. Expect to get wet, do wrap your bags in plastic, be in your board shorts and swimwear and get your gadgets in a waterbag or waterbox. But man, was it worth it when you get to the island!
The entire Mahabang Bihangin has about 6 cuts which is distributed to camp sites, nipa huts sites aside from Waling. The island only has 2 stores which isn't really well stocked and understandably having a price premium as the good need to cross a good portion of the sea before getting there. The packages you get beforehand can give you the tents and cooking materials you'll need for campers but good to bring your own paper plates and utensils. Remember to bring your trash bags with you as you bring back your trash back to the town on the ride back, food waste is composted by the island locals. There's no electricity - unless you take our option.
Most folks camped but we opted to go to Waling-Waling Eco-village for our stay. They'll prepare the food for you, you'll stay in a cabana or kubol. The cabana is a roofed U bench with 2 rope hammocks and a table which can be moved for mattress foams. There is a common washroom, separate for men and women which was really clean, space for 4 showers and 4 toilets. The kubol is a 2 story structure with a sala below with a private washroom at the back. The 2F is a bench around the mattress. Electricity is available 6pm to 6am, charging of gadgets is only allowed in the main hut as it's the only place with the outlet and extension multi-outlet. So save your batteries and go to airplane mode since there's no reception in the entire island. (Early warning for those with social media separation anxiety like my wife.)
I guess it's now common knowledge that the water is crystal clear. Despite Mahabang Buhangin is a beach within a cove, the waves still get to the shore pretty rough. The sand isn't as white as Boracay but is close to being as fine as Boracay. You can tell that the beach is still unspoiled as it's really clean and the sand is a mix of fine sand and broken shells. Walking on the afternoon sun barefoot is easy and relaxing. Aside from the beach bumming method, the locals suggest trekking to the top of the hill which takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your pace. It offers a higher view of the entire beach and they say that it's good for taking sunset photos (but we opted to stay since we're still tired from the travel).
Remember to bring your book, charge your tablet and load it with the movies you want - as time goes by provincial style.
We went during non-peak season (January) so we practically had the entire place to ourselves. Only 10 guests in Waling and maybe around 20 campers in the entire island. You practically get the entire beach for yourself. The breeze is cool and they set-up the "kulambo" for your bed too so no mosquitos!
Try going while it's still in its raw and pristine state. The journey is long and unorthodox but the island makes up for it.
P.S. Be patient on the road and drive carefully. As what we've seen - too many crazies driving around, even if they're passing by Bitukang Manok.
P.P.S. How often do you see a full rainbow?
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