Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Calaguas = Paradise

I've heard so much about this paradise called Calaguas tucked in the islands of Camarines Norte. I explored the island with new travel buddies I met from my Palaui trip with TF. Of course, we joined TF's Calaguas trip.

UBBE Calaguas + SURFVIVOR Bagasbas
Camarines Norte, Philippines
P3,900 per person (ALL IN)

- Roundtrip air-con bus: Manila to Daet. Daet to Manila
- Overnight accommodation at Calaguas Island (1 Nipa hut with CR and fresh water + Camping Tents)
- Chartered boat service from port of Daet to Calaguas Island
- Camp meals at Calaguas Island (Day 1:lunch, dinner, Day 2 breakfast)
- Other meals: Day 1: Breakfast, Day 2: Lunch and Dinner
- Guide fees and Environmental fees at Calaguas Island
- Use of skimboards at Calaguas Island
- Half-day room accommodation at Bagasbas tourist inn (for rest & shower)
- Travel Insurance
- Travel Factor Souvenir: ID, Lanyard
Not included:
- Surf Lesson at Bagasbas Beach with surfboard rental and instructor (P400 per pax)
Day 0, May 21 Friday
07:00 PM Registration at McDonald’s, El Pueblo, ADB Ave., corner Julia Vargas Ave, Ortigas Center
07:30 PM Boarding of Passengers
08:00 PM Bus Departure from Ortigas
Day 1, May 22 Saturday
07:00 AM ETA Daet;
09:00 AM ETA Calaguas Island
Set Camp, BEACH BUMMING, Explore the Island
12:00 NN Lunch
more BEACH BUMMING and skimboarding
07:00 PM Dinner and Bonfire Night
Day 2, May 23 Sunday
08:00 AM Breakfast
09:00 AM Break camp
10:00 AM Depart camp
12:00 NN ETA Bagasbas, Daet. check-in at Tourist Inn. Lunch. Rest. Explore Bagasbas Beach.
02:00 – 4:00 PM Option to Surf or Skim c/o CamNorte Surfing Association
07:00 PM Check out. Dinner
09:30 PM ETD Daet to Manila via bus (travel time: 7 hours)
Day 3, May 24 Monday
3:30 AM ETA Manila

It was a 9-hour bus trip. We landed at the jumpoff point - Vinzon’s Port - around 5am. If you had to use restroom, you will have to knock on doors and strike a deal with the residents to use their bathrooms. Cool huh? But We ended up going to the (very) public restroom which charges a fee of Php 5.

The boats were not passenger boats, they were cargo boats. I was ready for a very bumpy roller-coaster level of boat ride. With the “training” I got from the boat ride in my Palaui trip, I was ready! But the waters were quite calm.

Oooohlalala! White sand!

Do you see what I see?

Calaguas is actually a group of islands in Camarines Norte. We camped in a beach called Mahabang Buhangin. Now kiss that sand.

We’ve landed. Smiled for the classic group pic. Check out those neon TF lifevests!

Now this is what more beachbumming means:

Sand as white as the clouds:

If there is a street vendor, there is a beach vendor!

Here comes the stereos and all other junk. I was surprised with all the brouhaha. It thought it was supposed to be a civilization-free island?

I thought the island had no electricity!!! Well, according to the manong hanging out with the beach vendor, some local wants to celebrate his birthday party in Calaguas. And they came with speakers and generators. We actually heard the party. *tugsh tugsh tugsh* I was kinda amusing and annoying at the same time.

Calaguas is a group of islands in Camarines Norte – and not just an island which I initially supposed. We were in Mahabang Buhangin – one of the longest beaches in that group of islands.

Sparkling shining waters. Beat that Bora!

Uh-oh. I see rainclouds coming.

The view on the other side – still low tide – around 2-3pm.

Walk further...

There’s another beach!

The Toilet. There are two toilets in the island. I guess with the island gaining more and more popularity, more tourists want some sort of civilization in the island .Like what happened to Anawangin. Huts were also built. It kinda takesaway the magic of the place because of all this improvements. But I’m not really complaining.

Poso. This is the source of freshwater in the island. To rinse all the saltiness and sandy-ness.

Farewell. I shall see you again. It definitely beat Boracay by leaps and bounds. It is THE best beach in the Philippines. It still remains at the top of my list to this day.

Off to Bagasbas to do some surfing. I initially planned to take some surfing lessons. But my exhaustion got the better part of me and I opted to bathe and rest.

We took a trike to Daet to do some pasalubong shopping and to explore the place. Provincial tricycles are the best! Fare was uber-cheap for that distance.

I was in Camrines Sur two weeks before so I did buy much since most pasalubong options were still Pili Nuts and Abaca bags. The heat inspired a halo-halo craving and a local suggested that we try the halo-halo of Graceland. Yummy! And yes, I ate all that with fries!

And that was Calaguas!
Calaguas is definitely the new benchmark in defining "the best beach".


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