Should you find yourself wanting to relax on super dazed and chill long stretch of white sand beach in the Philippines and you don’t want to go through the hassle of booking a flight then Calaguas is one of the best bet.
Calaguas is not just one island it is actually a group of islands in the Pacific at the town of Vinzons, Province of Camarines Norte. Just a two (2) hour boat ride from the town will take you to this powder perfect white sand beach, azure blue waters and unspoiled (YET). Although, due to private unregistered booky organizers influx social media it has become one of the go-to beach camp destinations. I will tell a few angles of my experience in the very essence of the beauty of the island.
The Halabang Baybay/Mahabang Buhangin (long sand) by the locals, is a cove located in the Tinaga Island, it is a picture perfect paradise with its long stretch of fine white sand, dotted with volcanic rocks on its both ends, the place is the most frequented camping and swimming site by tourists.
How to Get There:
Daet, the capital of Camarines Norte is the jump off point to Calaguas Islands if you are going there via Vinzons. From there catch a jeepney to Vinzons and get off at the fish port (Pandawan). There’s a boat going to Barangay Banocboc daily, it departs the fish port at 11 AM, from Banocboc you can hire a boat to take you to Calaguas Islands for as low as 500php (10USD) or even lower depending on your haggling skill. The return trip to Vinzons fish port leaves Banocboc at 6 AM the next day.
Alternatively, you can hire a boat from Vinzons fish port to Calaguas Islands, price depends on the capacity of the boat. For a small boat that can fit four to five people, the lowest rate is at 2,500php (50USD)- 3,00ophp (60USD)
Going to Daet from Manila, you have two options:
- Philtranco, Amihan, DLTB and Superlines buses terminals are in Cubao and Pasay City to Daet. Fare cost ranges from 500php (10USD)-750hph (17USD). Travel time is 7-8 hours.
Recommendation: Superlines has a direct trip to Paracale/Panganiban (515php (10 USD)/pax, one-way Get off at Paracale and make your way to the fish port. Alternatively, you can ride a bus to Daet, get off at Barangay Talobatib in the town of Labo and ride another bus for less than an hour to get to Paracale town and walk to the fish port. Get a boat going to Halabang Baybay (Mahabang Buhangin), Calaguas for as low as 3,000php (60USD) and that is good for five to six persons, overnight.
- Naga in Camarines Sur is the closest airport with regular commercial flights via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. From Naga, Daet is around two hours drive. There are vans to Daet located in Naga Van Terminal, the earliest departs at 5 AM and the last trip is around 7 PM.
Where to Stay
The beach is popular for beach camping. It was held as a good perfect spot to pitch your tent and enjoy its pristine white sand and perfect sunset. Nowadays there are plenty of cottages and pseudo-resort. A room with A/C will cost you 3,500php (60USD) per night or a fan room for as low as 500php (10USD)
For happy campers like us, the entrance fee per person is 150php (3USD)
2200H: Departure at Superlines Cubao (Cubao to Paracale – P515/person)
0600H: Arrival in Paracale
0500H – 0800H: Arrival in Paracale/Find Boat/Shop for other needed items (ice, meat, fruits, fish, drinking water, etc)
0800H – 1030H: Paracale to Mahabang Buhangin, Tinaga Island, Calaguas by boat
1030H – 1300H: Set-up Camp / Lunch/ Socials
1300H – 1800H: WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO
1800H – 1930H: Dinner Preparation/Wash-up/Fix-up
1930H – 2030H: Dinner, Socials
0600H – 0700H: Breakfast
0700H – 1000H: WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO
1000H – 1100H: Break camp, wash-up
1100H – 1330H: Calaguas to Paracale by boat
1330H – 1500H: Arrival in Paracale/wash-up/fix-up/late lunch
1500H – 1630H: Paracale to Daet by van
1630H – 1730H: Waiting time/snacks/rest
1730H: Departure from Daet to Manila
0230H – Arrival in Manila
Estimated Budget: 2,500php – 3,000php
Beautiful, clean, perfect white sand that doesn’t get too hot even during mid afternoon. Azure blue waters cascades lightly on its shorelines. You can see on the photo how the colours blue and white marry well together in unison. The water is perfect for swimming and just float lazily or read a good book while waiting for the sunset.
The best part of the day was when we watched the sun set slowly. The entire island turns into Sepia colour and will make you make sappy and look for your old 90’s rock-ballad music on your playlist. Find a good spot under a nice branched tree and just wait.
Due to a growing number private organizers who bring in large number of people to the island it can get quite crowded most especially during summer season. There’s no problem with a lot of people coming in as it provides the locals good economy, what I am not a fan of are these organizers bringing in mobile bars and large-loud speakers that plays pretty bad eDM music after 9pm that appears to be a cheap copy of al laboracay weekend w/c disrupts the serenity of the place and other campers who went to Calaguas to enjoy nature. Calaguas is known, or WAS know as a perfect beach camping destination for people who go there to see its beauty and enjoy a muted night. We’re hoping that that those kind of incidents only happened during our stay. Our group had a hard time sleeping well that night due to the rowdy crowd and bad music that we ended up moving our tent away from nearer the shoreines. Nevertheless, we woke up to a perfefct beach framed sight and enjoyed our breakfast the next day.
Insights and Recommendations:
- a DIY trip is almost the same cost as when you hire a a private group of tour organizers. So it really depends on what you want. I suggest you get yourself a tour group, but if you want to the whole nine yard experience then do as suggested above. Expected cost 2,500php-3,00php
- Travel time: 8 hours by land + 2 hours by boat
- Boat ride going to Calaguas during September can be a little rough since it is already part of the pacific ocean.
- Bring plenty of ice, water and other refreshements. You are going to a virgin island. Hence, limited resources and extra jacked up prizes.
- Bring the arsenal: Powerbanks, sunscreen, wet wipes, dry bags/ziplocks, a good playlist.
- NEVER MISS THE SUNSET.
As we always say. Go forth and wander and become your own storyteller.
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