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    Monday, February 23, 2015

    Calaguas Island


    Calaguas Island, Whitesand beach, UnspoiledBeach, Boracay of the North, Powdery Sand

    The powdery white sand, the long stretch of unspoiled shoreline, and the turquoise blue water - these are just few of the enchanting ways to describe Calaguas.  It has the similar fine sands of Boracay, but without the crowd and establishments. It serves as a backpacking haven for those who are not into bars or nightclubs, and just want to be close to nature.

    Calaguas Island, Whitesand beach, UnspoiledBeach, Boracay of the North, Powdery Sand

    The beach is widely known as Calaguas Island, but it is actually called 'Mahabang Buhangin' or 'Long stretch of sand' for the locals. The shoreline is 1.2 kilometers long, and is probably the longest of all the islands in Calaguas.

    We went there in February and April of 2014 and noticed that there were already some cottages and a diving center being built to attract more tourists.

    We're hoping that it won't get overly developed, like Boracay, and just maintain its raw and charming beauty.

    It is best to go there during summer to avoid the harsh sea waves, but not the peak season, like during the holy week or holidays, to escape from the crowd.

    GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION

    Country: Philippines

    Region: Bicol (Region V)

    Province: Camarines Norte

    MAJOR JUMP OFF

    There are two major jump-offs - from Paracale or Vinzons Port. Travel time from Vinzons takes more time though. From Paracale, it only takes about 2 hours unlike the latter which usually takes 3 to 4 hours.

    HOW TO GET THERE

    By Land

    From Manila, take a bus bound to Daet. You can take the DLTB or Superlines bus. They have bus terminals in Pasay and Cubao. Travel time is around 7 to 8 hours.

    Superlines also has a direct route to Paracale. You can take the trip in the morning or the one at night. We suggest taking the night trip to avoid the heavy traffic and to arrive in the morning, just in time to start your itinerary.

    By Air

    Take a flight going to Naga City in Camarines Sur. Air travel takes around an hour. Then, go to the van terminal in front of SM Naga and take the van bound to Daet. Travel time from Naga to Daet is only around 2 hours.

    From Daet, just ask a tricycle driver to take you to the van terminal. From there, you can choose to get either one that goes to Paracale or to Vinzons. The trip only takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

    BACKPACKER'S PARADIGM


    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches

    Since 2011, it has always been our plan to visit Calaguas. That's 3 years in the making! However, since we couldn't get everyone to go to a place that far, the two of us decided to finally push through with the plan. Besides, it was Valentine's Day. We thought the beach would be perfect.

    We took the 10 PM trip of DLTB in their bus terminal in Cubao and arrived around 5:30 in the morning in Talobatib, Daet.

    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches

    At the van terminal, we had to wait for the first trip at 6 AM. We took the one bound to Paracale. At the terminal, you can also meet some locals that arrange a boat trip going to Calaguas. However, it's still best if you already have made arrangements before the trip to avoid the hassle. You might also bump into other tourists bound in the same destination. Funny enough, we heard them talking to the phone and mentioned the name of Mang Boy, who was also our boatman.

    After around 45 minutes, we reached the town of Paracale. We would meet our boatman there, but while waiting, we decided to buy some food supplies. If you have more time, you can still go the market, or you can also opt to buy from the talipapa (temporary market) along the road.

    We met Mang Boy, and followed him to his house, where we prepared our stuff while waiting for the boat. He is one of the boatmen in his town that offer cheaper rates. What he does is he combines some small groups who can share on a boat and just divide the fees among them. It was probably why we saw lots of people in his house. His family is very kind and hospitable. You can borrow some cooking utensils from them and even charge the batteries of your gadgets! Also, before our trip going back to Daet, they let us use their bathroom for washing.

    Unfortunately, all of Mang Boy's boats were in use by other groups by the time we got there, hence we had to wait for 2 more hours for it to come back. He is one of the popular boatmen for tourists (probably because he's always been blogged about) that his boats are always busy! During our trip in February 2014, it was still okay to make arrangements with any boatman that you like. However, when we came back in April the same year, there was already a policy being implemented where boatmen line up their boats and tourists have to make arrangements to the boatman who is next in line. It was a good action for the locals so all of them will have their fair share of income.

    It was already 10:30 AM when we left the Paracale Port. The weather was fine during the first 30 minutes of our boat ride. After that, the next 2 hours was the roughest ride of our lives!

    The waves became fierce and pounded the right side of the boat. Then, the drama of the sea has grown to its climax and the rain started to fall. We were all wet because of the big waves that slammed us. When the water is calm, the trip only takes about 1.5 hours, but it took us longer since the boat had to move slower due to the harsh waves.

    The locals who were with us said that there was no history of a sinking boat in their town, and that served as our tiniest spark of hope in surviving that boat ride.

    After roughly 2.5 hours, we finally got a glimpse of paradise. All of a sudden, the weather was perfect again. It was like this island's got its own sun that brightens it and keeps it warm.

    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches

    We reached the island at around 1:30 PM.  Indeed, the sand was absolutely powdery that our feet were sinking with every step.

    Kelty Zenith 2, Calaguas Island, Whitesand Beach, Unspoiled Beach

    Things got more perfect when we realized that there were only a few people staying on the island that day. We pitched our tent at the furthermost side of the beach.

    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches

    Here, you can forget the time and just enjoy yourself.

    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches, romantic beach

    The next day, we had our simple breakfast (batchoy flavored cup noodles!) by the sea shore. When you are alone with nature, you get to appreciate those little things more.

    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches, hmh

    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches

    Some of the cottages on the other side of the beach.

    We saw some establishments being constructed on the island. We are not sure about this, but some locals say that a businessman who has a resort in Boracay, is also wanting to develop this place.

    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches
    Calaguas, Whitesand beach, Calaguas Island,
    A diving center being built.
    Just walk through the other end of the island and you'll see a trail going up the hill. It is marked by a small nipa hut, where the registration is. There is a fee of Php 20 each. The trail will lead you up onto this stunning view of the island.

    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches

    We spent all morning swimming in the clearest blue water of Calaguas.


    Calaguas, Whitesand beach, Calaguas Island,


    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches

    In this beautiful paradise, we can only wish that the time would stop. Definitely a picture-perfect moment.

    Calaguas island, unspoiled beach, white sand beach, daet, camarines norte, philippine beaches


    BUDGET

    Php 800 - roundtrip bus fare from Manila to Daet

    Php 10 - each, tricycle fare from Daet DLTB terminal to van terminal going to Paracale

    Php 200 - roundtrip van fare from Daet to Paracale

    Php 1000 - each, share for the boat rental (if you were joined in another group)

    Php 500 - food and other miscellaneous expenses

    ---------------------------------

    Total - Php 2,510 each

    DID YOU KNOW...?

    Calaguas is a group of islands in the province of Camarines Norte, and not the actual name of the famous beach. It is actually called 'Mahabang Buhangin' beach, which is located in Tinaga Island- just one of the major islands of Calaguas.

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