Where: Mahabang Buhangin Beach, Calaguas Islands, Vinzons Camarines Norte, Bicol Region, PH
Who: Mr & Mrs Wanderlust with Team Spada (swordfish) - Yob, Ella, Emma, JC & Redentor
When: March 2015
What: Enjoy the pristine beach, powder white sand beach and crystal clear topaz shade water.
Calaguas is a group of islands in the province of Camarines Norte, and its administrative jurisdiction is under the municipality of Vinzons. In the recent years, it has been experiencing influx of tourists from backpackers and campers to experience the pristine and quiet beach, its powdery white sands and crystal clear waters.
It is an unspoiled and undeveloped destination that awaits you if you dare to make the long and uncomfortable journey. The beach is often thought of as the Boracay of several decades ago, before it became what it is now. With white sand just as fine as Boracay’s and water that’s as clear and but with its own personal shade of topaz, it’s easy to see why.
Not trying to offend anybody but there are no old white men burning to a crisp while wearing skimpy trunks, no peddlers who have learned a bit of foreign language offering to take you helmet diving, parasailing or even massage. No sand castles built by locals who stand nearby waiting for a mandatory tip after you take a photo with the tourist traps they created. No marketers handing out sample of a celebrity endorsed product. There are no bars, and most especially, no 'party' music reverberating from oversized speakers at 3 am, shaking the walls of the resort you’re staying in. Actually, there are NO resorts of any kind in Calaguas. There’s neither electricity nor running water, not even a cellphone signal.
Truly the best way to enjoy a quality fine white sand beach with a peaceful retreat.
Daily flights for 1 hour travel time from Manila to Naga in Camarines sur is the closest airport to the province, then another 2 hour ride land travel from Naga to Daet or maybe direct to Vinzons / Paracale port then another 2 hour boat ride from port to Calaguas Islands.
Coming from Manila, there are several bus lines in Cubao and Pasay such as DLTB co., Superlines, and Philtranco., serve the Manila to Daet route with a couple of daily and night trips.
Takes 8-10 hours depending on traffic and other factors. We took the night trip 7:30 pm - 5:00 am.
Then from Daet, another few minutes of travel to the municipality of Vinzons, then off to Coast Guard's station to meet with our local organizer who pre-arranged the boat ride complete with our tents, food & water supplies, etc.
For the DIY adventurers out there, you can also try looking for the port of the said municipalities, Vinzons and Paracale. Try to look for local boat men that can bring you to Mahabang Buhangin in Calaguas. But take note that smaller boat rental is no less than 2,000 pesos for 5-6 persons, and maybe more expensive for a bigger boat, and would evidently be cheaper to share a boat and win a friend ;) .
**PROTIP: The boat ride will be passing through the open seas of the Pacific, making the waves bigger even on a normal day, and boats are not as big as a ferry, so expect to be splashed with saltwater on the ride. Make sure you waterproof your bag and inside it. Or you can wrap the whole bag with a waterproof plastic which boatmen usually provide. And as for you, suggest wearing boardshorts and poncho to avoid getting wet and cold.
There are no formal resort, hotels, or accommodation in the island of Calaguas, however there are a few nippa huts and makeshift toilet that the locals built, but it is not for free and they may ask you for certain fees to use them. There is no running water in the island, but there is a manual water pump from a deep well to use if you need to take a bath.
As mentioned there are no accommodations so please bring necessary things to bring such as drinking water enough for the duration of your stay, and also a head lamp since there is no electricity not much light at night.
Also do not expect to have any commercial establishments in the island, although there is a mini sari-sari store and a barangay community on the other side of the island, but don't expect much.
However if you plan to have a hassle free trip, you can go with the local group tours, shoutout to friend Barry "Yob" Red who organized the trip. Tours include the boat ride for your group, inclusive of drinking water, food for the duration of stay, cooked on the island by locals. So all you have to bring is your swim suit, toiletries and maybe your favorite snacks and or booze.
1. Chill out and enjoy the BEACH - This is probably one of the things we are good at, just appreciate the white powdery sand beach, calm waves, crystal clear water, vivid colors of your view. We can, in our honest opinion compare the quality of the beach, sand, water & view to the world famous Boracay beach in Aklan, but minus all the development, crowd, and noise. Just pure pristine beach destination. And we all like it that way, so PLEASE always practice Leave No Trace* principle.
2. Walk the Mahabang Buhangin beach - Also known as Halabang Baybay in Bicolano, almost a mile long walk of the unspoiled beach, and you'd immediately feel recharged after seeing the crystal clear water and breathe the clean air away from urban pollution. At night you may even see fireflies.
3. Island hopping around Calaguas - If time is permitting, you can explore the nearby islands around. Almost all are unspoiled beaches with same qualities of white sand and clear water, but locals say each island has their own characteristics of the 'fine-ness' of the sand.
4. Snorkeling / SCUBA diving / Free Diving - Calaguas is excellent for snorkeling and other diving activities that appreciate natural beauty. There are lots of nearby corals, and fishes, and if lucky enough you'd suddenly feel a big group (school) of fish just a few meters away from the beach.
PROTIP: The sand in Calaguas is very fine and nice to swim, but one DO exercise caution as it quickly gets deep and would suddenly plunge to 10ft then continues to get deeper as you go far.
5. Hiking Tinago Hill - The view from the beach is already spectacular, but the view of the island from the hills makes it a lot more awe-inspiring. The best time to go up is before sunrise as locals always insist that it is the best seat in the house if you want to witness the sunrise.
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