Waling-Waling EcoVillage Calaguas
Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Island, Vinzons, Camarines Norte
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We took a Philtranco bus from Pasay bus bound for Paracale at 8pm on a Friday night. We arrived at 6am the next day. From Paracale, we took a tricycle, then a 2-hour boat ride to Calaguas. Unfortunately, it had rained an hour earlier so the sea was raging. The boatmen had to take down the sail, so for a whole two hours we were exposed to the elements. We were prepared for the salty water to splash on our faces and for the boat ride to be uncomfortable, but we were not prepared for the nasty sunburns we incurred during this part of the trip.
The beach was beautiful and pristine. The sand was powdery and smooth while the water had a fantastic aquamarine gradient. It’s a postcard beach, for lack of a better term. The beach was shallow for about 15 steps. Kudos to Waling-Waling for maintaining it as well as they have. We noticed that there were other resorts beginning to crop up a few kilometers away. Hopefully, they do a job as good as Waling-Waling did at taking care of the shoreline. Generally, the beach was calm and a good place to chill out in, but on our last day, it was too wild and the waves were massive so the boat that was supposed to take us back to the Paracale Port couldn’t get near the shore. Our bags were already in the boat, so we had to swim to reach it, yes- SWIM. Everybody swam in their travel clothes. LOL.
We stayed at one of the eco village’s Kubols, which is a two-storey nipa hut that can fit up to six people. On the first floor is the bathroom and living area. The second floor is a spacious open-air bedroom with a double bed containing two mattresses.
It felt wonderful seeing the night sky and sleeping in the open air. The Kubol is a good investment if you want to be one with nature yet aren’t comfortable camping outside. It’s the more expensive option though, and people on a budget can opt to rent one of their cabanas instead. It’s basically a Kubol but without the private bathroom and living area.
Since all the accommodations are open-air, it’s inevitable that there might be slight nuances in privacy. You might hear rock tunes being blasted as early as 6 in the morning or hear mothers call out to their kids during your mid-day siesta. It’s not too bad, but if you’re a light sleeper, it might cause problems.
Do I have 35 mosquito bites? Do I have 20 ant bites? Did a lizard fall on me while I was in bed? Is our ceiling fan broken? Is it part of the experience? Yes.
Now, because of the open-air nature of the Kubol, there aren’t any locks or vaults, so valuables must always be kept with caution at all times. Even if didn’t notice any security personnel roaming around, we never had a problem with thieves during our stay, and even after a full day at the beach all our items remained untouched.
The bathroom is basic: sink, toilet bowl, and shower. It is worth mentioning though, that the bathroom walls are made of bamboo. While it matches the beach theme, it’s not the most practical choice when it comes to privacy. Between each bamboo are gaps where people can easily (and I mean easily) look through. You could actually see the people outside while you were taking a shower or peeing. This problem could’ve been slightly alleviated if our shower had a curtain, but it didn’t. All we could do was sit and pray that no one would decide to take a peep while we did our business.
Aside from a few setbacks, all in all, the accommodations were pleasant. The resort was packed while we were there, but we were afforded some much needed privacy. The other guests were also very kind and respectful during our stay.
This is where the resort missed the mark. From the get-go we were expecting copious amounts of seafood since we were by the sea after all. To be fair, the food they served wasn’t bad, but we just wanted to go into a food coma caused by buttered shrimp, boiled crab, and grilled squid. We were served mostly chicken and pork (fried and grilled), all things we regularly have access to back in Manila. I found it very annoying that I had to pay for 400PHP per meal and got served sweet longganisa for breakfast. Where’s the Danggit? What about Dried Pusit? Isn’t there some dilis? I was also disappointed at that the food wasn’t even that creative. They served us fried Tanigue- which is so much better grilled. They served us Yellow Fin Tuna in cubes and breaded, how I wish they would have cooked that in tamarind broth. Yellow Fin Tuna Sinigang would have been much much more delicious. I feel bad for the fish.
The only time we had crab was when I specifically requested and bought a kilo off some fishermen. Unless you bring or buy your own, the food in Waling-Waling is very underwhelming. I should have requested for the menu before agreeing to the package inclusive of food.
While the food may have been nothing to shout about, the service definitely was. The staff in Waling-Waling are lovely and warm yet incredibly efficient. After a few days, we had already known most of them by name. They will smile and try to cater to every request the best that they can. However, given that the resort is a bit far from civilization, expect that some simple requests like ice and water may be delayed due to deliveries coming from the mainland.
I booked this through Bernice, she was very nice and accommodating.
Now the ultimate question is, would I come back?
Just thinking about the two-hour boat ride stresses me out. And paying 1200PHP a day for mediocre food just makes me cringe. The ant and mosquito bites doesn’t make it all that inviting either. The beach is not something I have not seen before.
So the answer is no, I wouldn’t come back.
Thanks Calaguas, been there, done that.
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