Do-it-yourself : Experience Calaguas

Do-it-yourself Calaguas trip?  Why not?  Well, we really didn’t planned it that way but because we wanted to pursue going there we took all the chances of getting to this paradise. Why do I say all the chances? It’s because we traveled to Bicol with a storm signal raised within the region. For this reason, the tour operator had to cancel the trip. Despite this, we still found ourselves at the bus terminal waiting for the 10:00 pm trip to Daet, Camarines Norte.

Getting to Calaguas was such an ordeal, the weather, the waves, the transportaion and all that was not a smooth sailing experience.  But, it makes traveling more fun! Because no matter how you planned it, you really must expect the unexpected. And so, our journey started with pouring rain that night.

Several buses bound to Daet:

  • DLTBCo.
  • Amihan
  • Superlines
  • Philtranco

Bus fare approximately costs 700 pesos (Manila-Daet) depending on the bus company.

The 8 hour long ride took us down to the town proper of Daet, and now the adventure continues. We headed to Bagasbas Beach where we usually go for  surfing and decided to stay here and wait until the weather gets better. Bagasbas beach having its friendly waves is great for those who are starting to learn how to surf. From Daet centro, tryke ride costs 50 pesos and is about a 15 minutes ride. You can try surfing here before or after your trip to Calaguas.

At that time, we still find ways on how we can get to Calaguas, we asked some locals if there would be any boat heading the island, but unluckily coast guards aren’t allowing them to sail. So I guess, we really have to wait until the next day.

Staying in Bagasbas is not a problem, there are a lot of cheap accommodations starting from 350 pesos per night. Food? There are only  few restaurants within the beach but you can always go to Daet centro and choose from many restaurants there. Try Alvino’s Grill they serve a wide variety of Filipino and some Italian Dishes with a Pinoy twist. Price per meal costs from 70-200 pesos per person.

The next day came and guess what?! We still weren’t able to leave Bagabas, the weather was not cooperating, we haven’t even gotten the chance to go on surfing. Bad weather really ruined our trip, but hey! We never loose hope, we were determined to wait until boats are allowed to sail. While all this were happening we were already contacting some boatmen in Paracale. Our first plan was to take a boat from Vinzons but since there were less chances of hiring a boat there, in which more of the boats are for commercial use for Calaguas trip (bigger boats), we decided to take the boat ride in Paracale. Boats in Paracale going to Calguas are smaller usually passenger boats/boats used by the fishermen.

And yey!  The day came when we could finally go to Calaguas! And this is when our DIY trip to Calaguas starts.

Left Daet early and rode a shuttle going to Paracale.

  • Travel time : 45 minutes to 1 hour ride and there’s a shuttle leaving for Paracale every hour.
  • Van costs 50 pesos.

There are two routes on where you can take the boat ride, Vinzons route and Paracale route. Our original plan was to take the Vinzons route (nearer to Daet) that is why we took the bus going to Daet.   So if you plan to take the Paracale route, there are buses bound straight to Paracale.

We met Kuya Bayani (our boatmen) at the Paracale fish port,  we came just right in time because the coast guard just lifted the no sailing policy but only small boats are allowed.  So the boat that we actually had was from a local fisherman.  Because we don’t want to wait for the 2 pm  passenger boat going to Brgy. Mangcawayan (Calaguas), we rented Kuya Bayani’s boat.  If we weren’t concerned about the time, we would be more glad to take the passenger boat, because the fare costs just 100 pesos one way.  Nevertheless, it’s still a cheap ride for having kuya Bayani’s boat rented for only 1,200 pesos (two way) than 2,500-3,000 pesos boat rental in Vinzons.

Schedule of passenger boat:

  • Paracale– Brgy. Mangcawayan is 1:00-2:00pm.
  • Mangcawayan – Paracale is 7:00am or earlier.

It was a bit sunny when we left Paracale, didn’t imagined that we will be riding a small fishing boat going to Calaguas.  Only four of us were there  including Kuya Bayani and his assistant.  The ride was really different, I had once experienced going to Caramoan Island with a storm signal but this one was different, the boat is too small that I could really feel the current and waves of the Pacific.  It was the most quiet (I did not talk too much) boat ride of my life, I guess because  even our boatman is weighing the weather and the waves.  At the middle of the ride,  drizzles of rain welcomed us as we reached the group of islands, not sure though if it was a welcoming approach because Kuya Bayani said that waves could get bigger and higher.  True enough, it was a roller coaster, jungle-log-jam ride and  we weren’t able to get off the Mahabang Buhangin shore because our boat might just be carried away by the big waves.  So, he decided to get us off to Brgy. Mangcawayan.  It was such a relief seeing the barrio,  we survived!   We can finally set our feet on the island!

From the barrio, it was about  15 minutes walk to the Mahabang Buhangin stretch of Calaguas.

Lush green surroundings leading us to the beautiful paradise!

The welcoming team!  😀 looks like I’m lost, and I’ m a complete stranger to them.

There is no electricity in the beach but in the whole island the locals of the baranggay enjoy only the 5 hours to half day electricity supply every day.  Water supply is available, there is a water pump within the area, but for drinking water bring enough bottles that you think you will have to consume during your stay.

Here are some tips : 

  • Bring enough water.
  • Bring rice : Rice is more expensive here than in mainland.
  • There is a “talipapa”  (small wet market) in the barrio, you can buy your food here.  But it’s always better to bring canned goods 🙂 just in case you might not find anything to eat there.
  • Bring lots of snacks!  Beach is best enjoyed when you have always something to eat and pull off from your bagahe.  But please, do not also forget to bring your own trash bag.
  • Fully charge your gadgets (cellphones, camera).  There is a weak cellular signal though.
  • Bring flashlight, support lighting for moonlight and stars at night 🙂
  • Bring your own tent, if you don’t want to pay 300-500 pesos a night for the tent.

Our determination to go to Calaguas was all worth it.  The experience was thrilling and was really an adventure.  Walking our way to the beach made me more excited!  As we get nearer, the sound of the waves is inviting us, telling us that all the waiting were worth it.

calaguas3

calaguas4

After spending so many hours on the road and sea, finally we are here!

Powdery white sand, unspoiled beach, beautiful and serene.  How would you name an island like this?!

Uncrowded and undisturbed.  The whole trip was strenuous and long, but as long as it was, having the chance to visit this place — a place with pure, refined and glittery white sands, crystal clear blue water and very friendly locals made the journey all worth taking the risk!

Delighted as we were, we didn’t wait for our tent to be set up.  We walked straight to the beach and enjoyed the majestic stretch of Mahabang Buhangin.

We had an early dinner (while the sun is still up) as we might have a hard time eating when everything is dark.  There are cottages that can be rented for 200 pesos.  Ate Ana, helped us set up our tent, we rented it for only 300 pesos which usually costs 500 pesos.  Since there was a typhoon at that time, the island was just for us to enjoy.  There were like only two groups and some locals other than us in the island.

We didn’t really had a hard time looking for a place to set up the tent, we can have the whole stretch of the island 🙂

During the night, this is the only light we have — THE MOONLIGHT

Ate Ana, was so good enough and she offered us to cook our rice since she saw that we didn’t bring any cooking materials (coz we packed our stuff with no cook de latas).

Kuya Ramon and his family is another local in Calaguas, he was tasked to be the care taker of the beach (a part of it).  They were our friends during our stay in the island.  We had a chit chat with Kuya Ramon that night, and he told us how blessed they were to be able to have and be living in the island.  He himself wants to keep the island unspoiled not like with other beaches in the country having so many hotels making the shore lines unhealthy.  This discussion with him was brought up because he said that there is a possibility that the island would eventually be so commercialized.

Who would want this beautiful place  be spoiled?

We also hope this place will stay as it is.

During summer, expect that there are times when this place is jampacked,  so if you wanted to feel like the whole island is yours, go when there’s a typhoon! Just kidding.  Off peak season is usually from July- December.

Wasn’t able to have a comfy sleep camping in Calaguas, it’s because all I can hear were the crashing waves and was so worried it would rain again.  But, luckily, it did not!  We were thankful the weather got better.

What greeted me the day after that terrrible boat ride?  That beautiful scene!

And so, early in the morning after having the breakfast (with this view), we walked along the beach and just enjoyed everything around us.

Time passed by so fast and we didn’t noticed it was time to go home, having this kind of beautiful place is really something should be kept the way it is.  It was a very challenging experience getting through this place but I should say, it was all worth it!  It’s all part of the Calaguas experience!

I’ll see you again soon Calaguas! (but not anymore with storm signal) 🙂

If you asked me how was the waves getting back to Paracale, it was terrible as ever!  Just as we thought after the weather got better, it would be a smooth sail back home, but no!  Waves were more scary, thank God, we survived! 🙂

I will definitely, surely comeback here!

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10 responses to “Do-it-yourself : Experience Calaguas

  1. This is really helpful! Being here twice already I know exactly how waves can get out of control which makes it more exciting. Your DIY tip is really going to help us as we are planning to go here again this May instead of getting a packaged trip. We are planning to do a 2k challenge. 😉

  2. Hi there! Thanks for posting this! This is one of the most recent posts about Calaguas making it reliable for news about the island :). I would like to ask your opinion as to what you think is better(or cheaper), find cellphone numbers of boatmen over the net or just find them at the paracale port? Thank you!

  3. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do think that you should write more about this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people
    don’t speak about these subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!

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