Summer’s here and Holy Week is coming so we decided to go to my dad’s hometown in Camarines Norte, Bicol Region. It was a five-day vacation but we only had an overnight stay to one of the best beaches (probably the best) I’ve gone so far in the Philippines. It was raining the entire week so family friends have been saying that it is not the right time for us to go to Calaguas.
We had two options going to Calaguas, one is from my dad’s home situated in Jose Panganiban but it’ll take more time to get there, the second is from the fish port in Paracale. We did not have an organized group tour but when you get to the port you can park at any available space and people will be willing to guide you and offer you transportation going to Calaguas. Cost of transfer is by group (min. of 5pax from what I heard from my aunt). Be sure that you get the lowest offer though because some people put additional charges.
To get there, motorized fishermen’s boat are used. It took us about two hours to get there but some boats could take almost 2 and 1/2 hours.
I really thought that we’d have to spend the stay in a gloomy disposition because of the weather but when we were near the island the sun was there ready to welcome us. Calaguas is a group of islands under the jurisdiction of Vinzons, Camarines Norte.
We were dropped off at the Halabang Baybay (Mahabang Buhangin or Long Beach) in Tinaga Island. Calaguas is actually a virgin island and is also called the ‘Happy Beach’ but when I saw the long stretch of sand and turquoise water, I wanted to cry. It is tremendously breathtaking. It can match Boracay with its beach. Maybe it is like Boracay minus the establishments, electricity, water, and plus more sand.
Yes, you have to be prepared because there are no commercial establishments in the island. Make sure to bring a tent, enough food and drinking water, toiletries, emergency light or flashlights because the electricity is only run by generator. There is also no free water to use for washing utensils or to rinse after taking a swim. You’ll have to pay Php 10.00 per pail for that and you might also have to pump the water deep-well by yourselves.
There are also tents and cottages for rent though. There’s this one place with nice cottages called Waling-Waling Eco-Village, you should try that if you aren’t cut out for sleeping in tents.
Sari-sari stores are available in the area selling snacks and some booze. They also sell Halo-Halo, Mais con Hielo and Saba con Hielo to help beat the heat. Activities like trekking, camping, banana boat ride, kayak, etc. are also offered in the island. Lifeguards and medic are also there so there’s no worries.
There are also bigger boats available for transportation, I just don’t know where they came from.
Both ends of the beach are beautiful rock formations where you can take more pictures. The sand beyond this area though is not as powdery as the one in the main beach.
With this kind of sand and water I didn’t care if I had sunburn afterwards. But of course I had my sunblock ready though it didn’t help me fight avoiding darker skin. You’ll definitely enjoy swimming in Calaguas because it’s all sand! I didn’t get to reach the coral area because it’s too far and deep.
What I love about beaches is seeing the sun set. It always captivates me and calms me in some way like all you need in life is the beach, sun, music, and a good book. A good life, indeed. I definitely recommend having your me-time in places like this. Oh! There’s no signal in this area so better be ready. My me-time involved walking from end-to-end of the beach with my headphones in place and upbeat music. I also sat down the middle of the beach, did some drawings and just observed people. I also read a book while up on a tree.
It was actually my first time rinsing off out in the open but I don’t care because it’s night and I have my cousins with me. There are also restrooms in the area (limited tho) but I guess no one will notice if you want to pee or poo someplace else (I didn’t do that btw!). By night there are a few camps setting up their own party. It is a nice opportunity to meet new people. We had a little chat with a vendor and she said that events are also held in the island but they have to provide gasoline for the generator.
Calaguas Islands is definitely on my top list of beaches here in the Philippines. I wouldn’t mind the boat ride and the lack of electricity and water. This for me is a great place to clear the mind, take a break, and isolate oneself to civilization.