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 for 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 on this pristine 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.
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.
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.
- 3 sets of meal – Lunch, Dinner, and Breakfast
- Island hopping to Balagbag Island
- Island Trekking
- Mineral Water
- Surfing in Bagasbas, Daet
Our call time is 10:00 pm and the meeting place is in SM Mall of Asia. By 10:20 pm we head off to our night trip. By 6:30 am we arrived at Vinzons Port. We had breakfast and waited for the water to rise so the boat can pass the mangrove area. At 8:30 am we set out for the water trip.
I heard stories from dear friends that water ride in getting to the island was rough. Well, I found out, it was true. From 9:00 am onward, it was a crazy but happy ride. We arrived by 10:43 am in Tinaga Island.
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!
Boracay has whiter sand than this especially in the area of Willy’s Rock but their texture was almost the same. This has a 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 on the beach where we owned it exclusively for us. This is another beach paradise that took my breath away.
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 afterward.
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 a photoshoot. 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.
We waded on the water again when we went back to Mahabang Buhangin. With the soothing view of the shore and fewer people in the area, we had a perfect time as we chill off. We ate a snack on the shore and waited for the breathtaking sunset.
Dinner is another tummy filler appetite. We feasted on one big grilled yellowfin 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 about 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.
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 by a serene wide area on 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 a tent. Good night starry Calaguas!
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 by 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.
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 tents were pitched on the long stretch. There are beautiful nipa cottages, some are enclosed with the air-conditioned facility. There are many people here.
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.
The Island’s Charm
I was fascinated by 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 Calaguas 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 a memorable stay on the island.
The 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:
- Small pillow
- Hygiene kits
- Sun block
- Mosquito repellent
- Snorkeling gears
- Big plastic to secure your bag from the water while on a boat trip
- Strictly no luggage allowed.
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
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:
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. 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.
1) Pray for your safety and for everyone in the group.
2) November to January – rough seas
3) There is no signal on 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. The 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 outlets in the nipa huts.
7) Follow the rule “Leave no Trace Policy.”
For joiners kindly contact Ms. Elaine Quiroga of Elbyahera
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