I left my heart in CALAGUAS

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…And I have to come right back to come and get it, and intentionally leave it there again.

Calaguas captivated me. It was beyond breathtaking. It left me in a trance, in a dream.

Driven with immense spontaneity, with only our backpacks, our camping tent and our thirst for adventure, Pao and I did a Do-It-Yourself beach camping trip to Calaguas Island and we found ourselves in discovery of another slice of paradise here in the Philippines. Although different Calaguas group tours are sprouting out nowadays, we chose to take on the thrill and adventure of doing a Do-It-Yourself camping trip. And it was so worth it and very much fulfilling!

I personally think that Calaguas has just surpassed Boracay (or Boracay may just have to personally surrender). It is that untouched and it is that pure and I support that it should remain that way no matter what. Boracay may have been like that 20 years ago. Calaguas Island literally left our jaws hanging throughout the entire trip and yes, we were definitely left in awe and amazement.

The wheels on the bus go round and round!

We managed to endure an 8-hour road trip going to Daet, Camarines Norte. We chose Philtranco Bus Lines to take us to Daet, and it was a smooth ride (but with frequent stop-overs though) from 9pm to 5 in the morning the next day. We awoke to the cool provincial air of Daet, in Camarines Norte, Bicol Region. We then took a tricycle  to the town of Vinzons, which I think was overpriced at 100 pesos, but we just did not want to waste any time to savor the cool beaches of Calaguas so we rode it anyway.  We asked the tricycle driver to take us to the Vinzon’s Market  to equip ourselves with food and traveling essentials. After which, we rode another tricycle which took us to the Minaogan Fish Port, our gateway Calaguas Island, more popularly called as Mahabang Buhangin (Long Beach) by its locals.

Where’s our Boat?

At Minaogan Fish Port, with our boat man

Upon getting to Minaogan fish port around 6am, we took advantage of reveling in a brand new place with a spirit of adventure. We did not have any plans or fixed boat arrangement for us to be taken to Mahabang Buhangin. We were just spontaneous enough to ask some boat men in the fish port to take us to Mahabang Buhangin. One boat man offered to take the two of us there for a fee of Php 4,500.00 (with a small outrigger boat, without any life vests). We just knew we had to politely decline “Salamat po, mag-aabang nalang po kami ng iba para sa aming dalawa”. (Thank you, but we would just wait for other boats for the two of us). One boat man approached us and offered us to join a group of 20 individuals who rented his big boat. We bargained for the price and he said he would get back to us about the price. Minutes later, he informed us that he could not take us there anymore because his boss said we could not be accommodated in the big boat anymore.

7:00 in the morning was fast approaching, and we still could not get a boat to take us to Mahabang Buhangin. Until a group of nice boat men in their thirties approached us, “Dalawa lang kayo? Sumabay nalang kayo sa amin! May paparating kaming isang grupo. Makisabay nalang kayo, kunwari nalang pinsan ko kayong dalawa” (“There’s just two of you? Why don’t you join us. A big group rented our service and are on the way. Join us, just pretend you are my cousins”). And this nice Bicolano man was Kuya Joseph. He was gracious enough to accommodate us in the spirit of good will and tourism. God bless the nice Bicolanos! (Bicolanos are one of the nicest people I’ve ever met!) And we were just charged for Php 750.00 per head, or Php 1,500.00 for the two of us! That’s a big bargain from the previous Php 4,500.00 boat offer! And yes, God blessed us with a great day for adventure!

All set, and ready to go! 2 hour boat ride, we're ready!

At 8 am, the group of 8 friends arrived and our boat was ready to go and head to Mahabang Buhangin. At 9:30 AM,  two hours after our departure from the fish port, we arrived in Mahabang Buhangin and my jaw was literally hanging at the exquisite beauty of the island! It was sooooooooooooooooooooo beautiful! I am greatly overwhelmed by the reality of the beauty that I was seeing! It was just soooo surreal, it was like a very vivid and beautiful dream! All I can say over and over and over again, “Grabe, ang ganda!” (It’s so beautiful!!!!).

And I shall let the pictures do the talking. FEAST YOUR EYES WITH DELIGHT!

On the way to the island, you will see different islands with lush pastures

Excitement to bask under the sun, on the white sand beach!

You may now close your jaw.

The Philippines is just awesome to explore!

Untouched

Because Calaguas is an untouched and an untainted island, a beach very much virgin in all aspects, there’s no man-made structure visible within its vicinity. Only a Nipa Hut owned by the island’s caretaker and tanod, Kuya Putoy. (And beside this nipa hut is where exactly we pitched our tent). Thus, beach camping would be the best way to go! There is also no public rest room where you could comfortably and conveniently do your Number 1 and Number 2. But in the spirit of adventure, and in exchange of a priceless experience that nobody could ever take away from you, I tell you, it is super worth it. In case of emergency, perhaps a capsule of Imodium to suppress bowel movement would do. 2 or 3 days away from civilization would not hurt. It could even harness your human and survival instincts.

Beach camping only! No accommodations here!

That's our tent, beside the island's caretaker's tent! Smart move, yes!

Life is short, take on an adventure!

…and be happy! If you visit Calaguas, happiness ecstasy shall be the most dominant emotion that you’ll be experiencing. With its turquoise blue waters, powdery white sand, exquisite sunset, and precious serenity, you will never ever go wrong. And you will find all life’s good reasons to be happy and bask in the priceless moments of tranquility!

Towards the far end of the island, you will find yourself enclosed by a multitude of volcanic rocks wading by the pristine blue waters of Calaguas. If you’re more adventurous, maybe you could stroll around the entire island just by walking through the volcanic rocks.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND everyone to personally have a taste of this slice of paradise. This is another beach haven that we could happily indulge in here in the Philippines. More than the exquisiteness of its pristine waters, a promise of thrill and adventure await all its visitors.

To cap off a great day, a beautiful sunset would embrace you!

And the best part is– we managed to do all these with a budget of around a measly 2000 pesos. Oha oha! Budget traveling never felt this fulfilling!

God was so good throughout the entire trip, we managed to enjoy the last remaining days of Mr. Sun, just before typhoon season.

And I shall be back again, Calaguas!

How to Go There:

BY LAND VIA VINZONS

  • Take a bus from Manila to Daet, Camarines Norte. Philtranco, Amihan and Superlines buses offer Cubao/ Pasay trips to Daet daily. It would be best if you have a ticket reserved earlier to avoid the hassle of queuing/ running out of tickets. We rode Philtranco, for the price of Php 580.00
  • Upon getting to the Daet terminal of the bus company, hail a tricycle or a jeepney to take you to Vinzons. Tell the driver to drop you off in Minaogan fish port.
  • Upon getting to Minaogan fish port, arrange for a personal boat ride/ group boat ride going to the island. You may also contact our boat man, Kuya Joseph at: 09282073155. Kuya Joseph’s big boat can accommodate 15-20 passengers.
  • You may bargain for the boat rides from other boat men. Normal rate for a boat for 4-5 people would be P2500-P3000.00.
BY AIR
  • Several airlines fly from Manila to Naga in Camarines Sur.
  • Naga is 2 hours away from Daet.
  • There are vans located in Naga Van Terminal heading to Daet, the earliest departs at 5AM and the last trip is around 7PM.

Best Time to Travel to Calaguas

  • I asked Kuya Joseph, our boat man, about the best time to visit Calaguas. He told me that the sun is up high during the months of January to May and October to December.
  • Since Calaguas is in Camarines Norte in the Bicol Region, it is mostly perturbed by regular typhoons. Thus, traveling to Calaguas during the wet months is highly discouraged.
Budget:
  • We survived with a budget below 2000 pesos! And we’re so proud of it! Tips and some meals included!🙂
  • There are required fees to pay while in the island. 100 pesos per head for the camping fee, and 50 pesos for the barangay fee. This wouldn’t hurt your wallet, if it’s for the maintenance of the beautiful island!🙂

AMOUNT per person

580

Philtranco Bus Manila to Daet

150

Grocery (Food for Camping)

50

Tricycle going to Vinzons (100 for the whole tricycle)

25

Market (food for camping)

8

Tricycle to Minaogan Fish Port

130

2 kilos of freshly catched fish from the fishermen of Calaguas

100

Camping Fee

50

Barangay Fee

100

Tip to Kuya Putoy (for taking care of us)

750

Boat Ride (with Kuya Joseph)

250

Tip to Kuya Joseph

50

Tricycle to Daet

15

Tricycle to Superlines Bus Terminal

460

Superlines Bus from Daet toManila

1773

TOTAL

10 responses »

  1. Hi Mia! Am planning to go to Calaguas with a friend. Did you bring your own tent? Would you know if they rent out tents in the island? Also, is there anywhere there for people to take a bath?🙂

    • Hi Regine!

      Yes, we brought our own tent. We thought it was a good investment, considering that my boyfriend and I love to travel a lot. I’m not so sure if there are tents for rent on the island, however, I think there are group tours to Calaguas offering some of their tents up for rent. But considering group tours, I would still opt to travel DIY style, because that way, we don’t have to be forced to mingle or be forced to get along a large group of people on tour. The thrill and adventure of traveling on your own will always be priceless.🙂

      About the bath area, there’s an area on the inner part of the island where you could bathe in fresh mountain water chanelled through the locals’ homemade water pipe. But there aren’t any bathrooms available as far as I can remember.

  2. Hi Mia, I’m planning to go to Calaguas this June 7. I’m just wondering, is the PhP750-boat ride fee’s a roundtrip charge? Thanks!

    • Hi Kat!!!
      The boat man actually charged Php 1,500.00 for a round trip ride for both my boyfriend and I. So dividing it between the both of us, it’s technically Php 750 for a round trip ride. I hope the weather cooperates even at June!😀 Have a great time!!!

  3. Hi Mia! Ebbah here, we are planning our trip on august 10, tanong lang as in no comfort room? naku prang hindi pwede kami ni hubby dun…😦 pero i super love to go to CALAGUAS as in?!!! adviseable pa bang pumunta next month, with all the typhoon na laging dumadaan…sana naman…mag DIY kami with two of our friends. TIA. love your blog its so informative.🙂

    • Hi Ebbah! I regret to inform you na wala talagang comfort room sa Calaguas. Just you, the sand, the beach, and some trees!🙂 If you are planning to go next month, make sure walang bagyo. Kasi nasa Bicol region siya, sa Camarines Norte, na laging daanan ng bagyo. I suggest na if maulan o mabagyo, postpone niyo muna. Kasi Calaguas will be more appreciated if you experience the hot sunny weather, instead of the gloomy stormy weather.

      Thank you so much for visiting! I hope to hear your stories soon!😀

  4. Pingback: Exploring Northern Luzon: Palaui Island, Anguib Beach, Cape Engano Lighthouse and Crocodile Island « Teacher Mia Travels

  5. i wonder if they all have life vest for all passenger boat or sa mga package tour lang meron nun?safety first =)…………. also,since ung location ng calaguas eh nasa open sea na ( i find it super scary sa map) how was your boating?scary ba?maalon? we’ll be there dis weekend kc

  6. Hi Teacher Mia, Really appreciate you sharing this about Calaguas. re: “Calaguas has just surpassed Boracay… It is that untouched and it is that pure and I support that it should remain that way no matter what.”I Completely agree, I hope Calaguas will remain unspoiled and wish that Boracay did, too. The latter was supposed to be so beautiful until over-development came. Best wishes with your travels.

    • After 2 or 3 years of visiting Calaguas, and many beaches after, I would still refer to Calaguas as one of the best beaches here in the Philippines.

      Yes, I am really apprehensive about over-development and commercialization of our Philippine beaches. They become spoiled and tainted.😦 Just came from a trip from Cagbalete, they say it was like Calaguas before. But now, it could have been nicer if they just did not put up resorts anymore.

      Thank you for dropping by!🙂

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