Calaguas Island is located in Camarines Norte, one of the provinces in the Bicol Region, Philippines. It is one of nature’s gift to mankind. To date, it is still considered as one of those “virgin beaches” in the country. No electricity, no buildings, no anything (except for a bunch of cottages on the northern part of the stretch, which I later on discovered as Waling-waling beach resort).
It has been three months since I went to Calaguas and fortunately, after overcoming the critical phase of my previous project (yes, work) and being currently “off” from work, I am happy to finally swim through my memories of Calaguas!
Weeks prior to the so-called trip, a friend of mine extended an invite to us by my would-be friend to join a group for a weekend getaway in Calaguas. All we had to do was to pay, bring our bags and show on-time. Quite frankly, I was hesitant upto the last minute to confirm. Not because I didn’t want to. But because I was afraid that it would be “jinxed” or something.
And fortunately, it happened. Calaguas happened. For us.
Getting there, we had to overcome roughly 10 hours of night drive from the metro, inclusive of 2 meal stops and 1 toilet break to reach Vinzons, the starting point of the boats heading to Calaguas.
The scene was really easy to take in during the boat ride. Quite surreal to see what nature has to offer. So it wasn’t really a surprise to witness the fine white sand of the beach.
After a wet 2 hour boatride…
What surprised me though is the number of boats that had settled along the beach. Ideally, this paradise should’ve been empty. But truth be told, given the distance from the city proper (Vinzons), boatmen who bring visitors to this island often stay overnight and wait for their guests to depart with them the day after. And given that it is still a yet-to-be-developed beach, there is till no proper boat docks except for the beach front itself. And mind you, it is not as empty as one could have imagined. With Calaguas gaining more popularity, it’s only a matter of time for the tourists and weekenders to geometrically progress.
Nevertheless, nothing beats the summer heat except the beach! 🙂 We decided to settle first at our campsite upon arrival. Be warned. The heat in this island seemed a lot hotter than that of the metro! I actually love the sun, but for some reason, it felt like a 10-minute exposure during midday will give you a nice tan, and an hour would give you a sunburn. So yes, we decided to cool it off and walk the stretch by late afternoon. And even then, it was still extremely hot.
And as one would suspect, the sunset in this part of the island is just as amazing.
At dusk, there wasn’t really much to see due to the lack of electricity. We had an early night.
The morning after.
Part of our itinerary was to catch the sunrise by doing a 30-minute trek uphill. At around 5 in the morning, we were off to witness the sunrise. Only then was I able to realize how physically unfit (I blame my almost 6 hours of sitting kind-of-job/day) I was with the palpitation. And blame my poor balance to my titanium back and no-grip flip-flops (I know!!!).. But hey, the challenge is worth it.
At the top, the clouds seemed reachable (at least by photos) and the other islands appeared like they were just a few meters away.
Failed attempt to capture the “jump-shot”. Wonderful!
The trek down was relatively easier, except for my personal flip-flops challenge. At some point, I walked barefoot just to have more control.
Look at the view behind me. Yes, that’s where we stayed!
Even the view on ground was lovely. I just love how a tree has been perfectly setup from a distance. Whether it was intentional or an act of nature, Kudos!
The rest of the morning went by, wherein we, by culture (NOT!) took a lot of photos like as if we were there on a photo shoot. I’m quite embarrassed to display it here, so maybe just look it up at my instagram 🙂
One cannot deny that although Calaguas is still undeveloped, its popularity has somehow made it “touristy.” And yes, I was one of them, tourists. I could only imagine how it appeared years ago, when it was still a hidden gem, a big undiscovered secret. But hey, it’s still wonderful and yes, the surroundings haven’t been tarnished (yet) by its visitors.
Good to know stuff:
For those who intend to sleep overnight, a good way to experience Calaguas is to setup a camp and settle in your tents.
There are no shops for food and water. Well, there’s a tiny store that could probably accommodate a small amount of unprepared customers. Do come prepared.
Ice cream sticks and ice candy are available at the seller’s discretion. Meaning, you have to wait until they pass by.
There are public baths and toilets for your special needs, roughly 10 pesos per go. Do note that for the most part, you’d have to use your own torch at night–even in the toilet. No electricity, okay? 🙂 And also note that these public toilets are not fancy at all. The exact opposite, actually. Built for practical use. Better than digging, right?
And did I mention that there’s no electricity? Ok. There’s no electricity. Bring a torch/flashlight.
Love nature. Clean your area, make sure your trash is properly thrown.
Love your skin. Bring sunblock. Love your body. Bring an insect repellent.
The boat ride was an adventure itself. Precisely packed open boat with roof, free seating and a life vest, nothing could go wrong while being in the middle of deep water except to get really wet. And by wet, I mean soaked! Waterproof your bags during the boat ride. And, wear your life vest. Relax, the waves can cause the ride to be “bumpy.” If you don’t want to get wet, waterproof yourselves! But hey, it’s fun to get soaked in saltwater anyway:P
I can’t actually say that this is one of those spontaneous trips, because it wasn’t. We actually joined a group who planned everything, inclusive of the transportation, tent rental, and a whole set of lunch-dinner-breakfast meals prepared by them (on-site), and a trip to Bagasbas. Even though it was pre-planned by someone, the whole Calaguas trip was still far fetch from me at that time. I didn’t really know what to expect (except the beach, of course!). So if I must say, just go with the flow. It doesn’t hurt to just live in the moment, be open, and just go with it! No expectations.
I am grateful for having a friend extend the invite to us. And I’m even more grateful that it really pushed through! And really, this trip is one for the books. Yes!
And lastly, enjoy your time with friends. Swim. Laugh. And capture memories! By taking them, you’re actually creating more memories (behind the photos) as well. Get it?:)
Shout out to the group that organized this: Travel Explorer. I am amazed by how kind and accommodating they are. Seriously. The connection with them was instantaneous and really, I felt like I was with a bunch of my “more organized” college buddies going off for a weekend excursion. Plus, it’s pretty affordable! Check out their page for upcoming trips that you might want to join.
Trip cost: 2950
Extra cash: 1000 (for meals which were not included, and “pasalubong” shopping).
Extra from extra cash: Another 1000, perhaps? For those who wants to rent some gear for kayaking and snorkeling. And surfing at Bagasbas.
Want to surf? Continue your journey to Bagasbas, a surfing paradise in Daet, Camarines Norte. It’s just a few hours away from Calaguas and Vinzons, a perfect place to play with the waves. 😉
**This post is a part of my Life’s a Beach! beach-lovin’ series.**