Saturday, April 28, 2012

Calaguas: Unspoiled Beauty

Calaguas

The longer the journey, the bigger the reward. That's what I told myself when I joined another group of travelers to Calaguas, an unspoiled group of islands off the east coast of Camarines Norte. I always hear about this place from most of the travelers that I've met or traveled with but the common dilemma for them is the travel time. This is because you have to endure a 9-hour bus and a 2-hour boat ride before you get to see this hidden paradise of Bicol but once you reach the island, you'll simply forget everything and just give in to the inviting waters of this virgin beach. And did you know that we managed to budget our expenses for less than Php 2000? Who says you have to spend that much to enjoy?

Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite path

This trip was actually against all odds because the day of our departure falls within North Korea's five-day window to launch their Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite and Calaguas was included in the no-fly and no-sail zone. But even if it wasn't safe, most of us are still eager to push through with the trip. Some were already suggesting backup plans just in case the trip will be cancelled but the majority's decision prevailed: Calaguas or nothing! Oh and did I forget to mention that it was also Friday the 13th?

"Palpak ang nkor missile  launch. Suspended na ang no sailing no fishing policy. Calaguas na!:D" - this was the text message that I received from Art and oh boy this message just made my morning right. Calaguas is a go! And so I packed my bags, met the others at the Superlines bus station in Cubao and 9 hours later we were already in Paracale and already boarding the boat that would finally take us to Mahabang Buhangin. I could just feel everybody's excitement. Nobody bothered about the travel time, the extreme cold temperature at the bus and even the rough boat ride under the scorching heat of the sun. I guess everybody was just as excited as I am to finally set foot on this island that is touted to be the next Boracay.

Calaguas

Calaguas

And 2 hours later, this magnificent mountain range welcomed us as we approach the island. Yes we're finally in Calaguas. Everybody was all in a hurry to get off the boat and some were even off balanced because of the excitement including me. Good thing I handed over my bag to the boatman or else all of my stuff, including my phone and my camera, would have gone wet.

I had everything packed on my bag: clothes, toiletries, camera, extra food, utensils, a butane gas stove and money. However there was one essential that I never bothered to bring - a tent! You see Calaguas is still a virgin beach so there are no accommodations in the island which means there are no resorts or hotels. It's a good thing that the locals are already providing tents for rent at Php 300 which is already good for 8 people. Thank heavens I didn't had to sleep on the sand..(or did I?). More of that later.

lunch in Calaguas lunch in Calaguas
butane gas

The group's lunch was cooked and prepared by Ian, Ara and Art who happens to be a chef so imagine how scrumptious and tasteful the food was. And to top it off we decided to go on a boodle fight to satisfy our hunger. A boodle fight is actually military style of eating where everyone will use their hands to eat food which are laid out on banana leaves.

Pinoy Travel Addicts in Calaguas

Calaguas

Calaguas

After lunch, some of us decided to doze off while others enjoyed their siesta time playing cards. A few hours later we decided to explore the rocky east side of the coast which is really ideal to visit during low tide. This part of the island is actually a good contrast to the fine white sand that is very abundant at Mahabang Buhangin.

Calaguas

Calaguas

sunset in Calaguas

The afternoon was capped-off with a relaxing swim on the beach and then a moment of silence as everyone watches in awe at the array of colours in the sky as the sun sets on the horizon.

camping in Calaguas

starry night in Calaguas

starry night in Calaguas

Night time was spent with booze, chitchats, stargazing and 'spin the bottle' games and before we knew it, it was already past midnight. The original plan was for us to go on a little hike to the other side of the island to watch the sunrise but since most of us were knocked out by the unlimited number of tequila shots we had for the night, most of us ended up sleeping on the beach. Yes, I passed out and slept on the sand all night and never even got to use the tent that I paid for. Well, it wasn't actually that bad except that we all look wasted and everyone was taking photos of us while we were comfortably sleeping outside our tents.

breakfast in Calaguas breakfast in Calaguas

So I got up and noticed that Ian was still fast asleep and it would be cruel to wake him up. Good thing Art and Ara was already awake so the three of us decided to prepare our breakfast and oh boy I enjoyed cooking all sorts of food such as scrambled eggs, fried eggplants, tinapa, danggit, corned beef, tortang talong and voila, breakfast is ready.

Calaguas

After that heavenly breakfast I decided to go back to the rocky part of the island on my own and walked on the beach one last time before we finally head back to mainland. I just can't believe that I've finally been to one of the finest beaches in this country and best of all, I was able to see it while it's still unspoiled. Sure I may have been to different countries and have crossed out a few on my bucket list but being able to visit a dream destination in my own country still makes me more accomplished as a traveler.

Summary of expenses (courtesy of ninyarica):

515 bus fare Cubao to Paracale via Superlines
20 breakfast (pancit bato and milo)
448 boat rent, per person (19 persons)
167 contribution for the food and drinks
120 entrance and barangay fees
16 cottage (300/19 pax)
30 poso water for washing
60 van fare Paracale to Daet
65 lunch
360 bus fare Daet to Cubao via Superlines airconary bus (ac bus but ordinary fare)

Total:Php 1880

How to get there:
Take a bus bound for Paracale (Superlines). Once you reach the drop off point at Paracale, you can take a 10-minute walk or ride a tricycle to the port where you can hire a boat that will bring you directly to the islands of Calaguas.

11 comments:

  1. ang bakasyonista book 2 mo, hehehe !!

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  2. Must be a fun trip at ang dami nyo! Sarap ng food!

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  3. I love each photos of your Calaguas... all of them are beautifully captured from day to night!

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    1. thanks ian :) love your blog's new layout!

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  4. galing ng night shot. kita talaga yung stars!

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    1. thanks chyng. looks like you enjoyed your second trip to calaguas! :)

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  5. Great shots Alvin!
    I would love to go here soon.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Spent 2 nights there last March and now I want to go back! Just can't get enough of Calaguas :)

    Great shots lalo na ung madaming stars :))

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  7. calaguas is one of my dream destinations kaso maalon daw.for someone like me who cant swim,deterrent yun.

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