Calaguas Island-Another Jewel of Bicol Region

From the stunning white sand beaches of Caramoan in Camarines Sur, Tikling Island in Sorsogon and Burias Island in Masbate; Bicol, my hometown has another island to be proud of. Calaguas in Camarines Norte is another beach paradise that will inspire you to go out on a sunny day to reward yourself of a refreshing getaway you will surely enjoy. I thank my friend Sam Casuncad for showing me his picture of the island where I was awe-stricken by its beauty. I vowed myself; I will visit this soon. Now, I am on my way for an exciting beach escapade in this pristine island.

as we set foot to the white powdery sand of Calaguas Island

as we set foot to the white powdery sand of Calaguas Island

Calaguas Island is a group of islands located in the province of Camarines Norte. It is composed of three major islands: Tinaga, Guintinua and Maculabo.

kulitan and beauty rest upon our arrival in the island

kulitan and beauty rest upon our arrival in the island

Our destination is in Tinaga Island which is famous for its long stretch of white powdery sand called “Mahabang Buhangin” or long beach or Halabang Baybay in local. Because of its unspoiled beauty, it is now a focal point of interest of beach lovers and campers from Manila.

my group as we waded on the water of Mahabang Buhangin

my group as we waded on the water of Mahabang Buhangin

I joined a group of Ms. Elaine of Elbyahera Travel Agency for P2,800, a 2-Day, 1-night beach getaway with my colleagues, Cyrhine, Nica, Lovely and new friends Rob and Sarah.

Inclusions:

  • 3 sets of meal – Lunch, Dinner and Breakfast
  • Tent
  • Island hopping to Balagbag Island
  • Island Trekking
  • Mineral Water
  • Surfing in Bagasbas, Daet

Our call time is 10:00pm and meeting place is in SM Mall of Asia. By 10:20pm we head off to our night trip. By 6:30am we arrived at Vinzons Port. We had a breakfast and waited for the water to rise so the boat can pass the mangrove area. By 8:30am we set out for the water trip.

the glistening crystal clear waters as we are approaching Tinaga Island

the glistening crystal clear waters as we are approaching Tinaga Island

I heard stories from dear friends that water ride in getting to the island was rough. Well, I found out, it was true. From 9:00am onward, it was a crazy but happy ride. We arrived by 10:43am in Tinaga Island.

at Vinzons Port

at Vinzons Port

While approaching the island, I can’t help but gasp in amazement. The water was glistening. When we hopped out from the boat, I removed my sandals to see my feet in the crystal clear water.  It was so nice to walk barefooted in the powdery sand with no rocks and seaweeds. It was amazingly beautiful!

Nika and Me after a peaceful night sleep

Nika and Me after a peaceful night sleep

Boracay has whiter sand than this especially in the area of Willy’s Rock but their texture was almost the same. This has close resemblance to Pagudpud of Ilocos Norte, Bantayan Island in Cebu and Panglao in Bohol. But for me, Calaguas Island is more pristine especially in the afternoon where there are certain spots in the beach where we owned it exclusively for us. This is another beach paradise that took my breath away.

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It was flickering hot so we opted to stay inside the kubo and rest. It can fit 13 to 15 people. Our designated tents were pitched near our kubo. Later we had a hearty lunch of rice, adobong pork, rebosadong shrimp and gatang santol. Our dessert was pineapple. Water was provided by the travel agency. It was a yummy meal and I had a heavy tummy afterwards.

Balagbag Island

By 2:20 pm we set off to Balagbag Island for trekking. The beach island wasn’t as pristine as that of Tinaga Island but it is a good spot for photo shoot. Later we went to the snorkeling area and swim. There was nothing much to see under the water except for some unknown fish. We just enjoyed the hot afternoon immersing ourselves into the water.

just a short trail in getting to the top of Balagbag Island

just a short trail in getting to the top of Balagbag Island

We waded on the water again when we went back to Mahabang Buhangin. With the soothing view of the shore and less people in the area, we had a perfect time as we chill off.  We ate snack on the shore and waited for the glorious sunset. Oh, the sunset was breathtaking!

the amazing sunset in Calaguas Island

the amazing sunset in Calaguas Island

Dinner is another tummy filler appetite. We feasted on one big grilled yellow fin tuna, laing (Bicol’s famous food), rice and watermelon for dessert. After that, some preferred to rest while the majority went for swapping stories over a bottle of ladies wine. This is what I like in joining a group tour, we are bound to make new friends. I just asked for San Mig light apple so I can sleep fast. Though I was the oldest, I enjoyed this so-called “social time” with these cheerful beach lovers.

dinner with our new friends

dinner with our new friends

We tidied the table around 10:00 pm when the wine was consumed. Our group proceeded to the water pump and brushed our teeth. It was at the back of the nipa huts and I was surprised of a serene wide area in this island. Nobody was there, it was dark and quiet. It was a perfect place to stargaze. The night sky was beautiful. It was blanketed by many stars. After a while we went to our designated tents to sleep. Nica and I shared tent. Good night starry starry Calaguas!

atop the hill of Balagbag Island

atop the hill of Balagbag Island

Good morning Calaguas

We awoke so early for another trekking activity on a hill at the back of the beach. It was just a short trail and by the time the sun had risen to the horizon our eyes were feasting  a beautiful spot in Calaguas. I was mesmerized of the green verdant grasses that somehow resembled that of Batanes. After our fill of the view and picture taking, we went back to the cottage for breakfast.

a beautiful spot at the back of the island

a beautiful spot at the back of the island

Our food: rice, pansit bihon, scramble egg, dried fish, lumpiyang shanghai with hot delicious coffee. After a while, we bought souvenir goodies in the center part of the island. It was the crowded area in Tinaga Island. Lots of tent were pitched on the long stretch. There are beautiful nipa cottages, some are enclosed with air-conditioned facility. There are many people here.

our breakfast for the day

our breakfast for the day

I was thankful to the travel agency I joined because they chose to be away from this crowd. We did not swim anymore as our call time is at 9:05 am for we will go to Daet for surfing activity.

Getting back to the port was another bumpy ride again. It was much forceful than yesterday. I was half soaked by the water. It was a two hour trip, I was half bored and  awake. We arrived at 11:24 am at the port. We took a bath and ate our lunch. We bought pasalubong in the town center and went to Bagasbas for surfing.

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The Island’s Charm

I was fascinated of the beauty of the island but I haven’t savored much soaking my body to the water to my heart’s content. It was so bitin! The next time I will visit Calcaguas it would be three days and two nights so I can enjoy more the swimming activity. But with good friends (old and new), yummy food and amazing beach; definitely, I had memorable stay in the island.

IMG_20190316_104644The island is really a charm, clean and postcard-picture perfect. But with its increased popularity, the influx of tourists that are visiting Calaguas is already alarming. Remember, it is not only the local government and the locals are responsible for maintaining the natural beauty of our beaches, but us, the beach goers as well. We should be responsible for helping maintain the cleanliness of the beach that we are currently enjoying.

What to bring:

  • Swimwear
  • Malong/Sarong
  • Blankets
  • Small pillow
  • Hygiene kits
  • Shades
  • Sun block
  • Flashlight
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Powerbank
  • Snorkeling gears
  • Slippers
  • Big plastic to secure your bag from water while on boat trip
  • Strictly no luggage allowed.

ITINERARY:
10:20pm – Departure from SM Mall of Asia
06:30am – Arrival at Vinzons Port; breakfast
08:30am – Start of Boat trip to Calaguas Island
10:43am – Arrival in Tinaga Island
12:10pm – Lunch time; rest; bio breaks
02:20pm – Trekking at Balagbag Island
03:15pm – Snorkeling near Balagbag Island
04:15pm – Swimming at Tinaga Island; snack; sunset viewing
06:30pm – Wash-up
07:15pm – Dinner
08:00pm – Socials
10:00pm – Lights off/Sleeping Time

Day 2
05:30am – Trekking
07:30am – Breakfast
08:00am – Bought souvenirs, swimming
09:05am – Departure – going to Bagasbas Island
11:24am - Arrival at Vinzons port/Wash-up/Lunch
01:10pm – from Vinzons port to Town market-buy pasalubong
02:00pm – Surfing in Bagasbas
03:15pm – Departure from Daet to Manila

Group tour package: Php2,800

In getting there:

By bus:

Travel time in getting to Calaguas from Manila may take 10 to 12 hours by land. Ride a bus bound to Daet, the capital of Camarines Norte. From there there are two ports in getting to the island, Vinzons and Paracale. We were told, Vinzons is more accessible so if you choose this, from the terminal ride a jeepney in getting to the fish port. Ride a boat to Tinaga Island.

Tips:

1) Pray for your safety and for everyone in the group.
2) November to January – rough seas
3) There is no signal in the island. Sometimes it is best to stay away from the modern world and enjoy communing with nature.
4) Prepare to get tanned. There are no trees near the shoreline that will cover you from the sun.
5) For campers, brace yourselves for basic facilities. There are no running faucets in the comfort rooms. Water pump will be your best-friend for your wash-up. There are pail and dipper in the comfort room.
6) Bring powerbank. There are no electric outlet in nipa huts.
7) Follow the rule “Leave no Trace Policy.”

For joiners kindly contact Ms. Elaine Quiroga of Elbyahera

Call/Text:
Globe: 0956-864-5128/0917-145-3702
Smart: 0949-113-6242
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/elbyahera

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