Monday, March 31, 2008

The Dream Islands of Calagua

I have travelled to so many beaches in the Philippines, and I still keep looking for the perfect one. Every time I experience what I thought was perfect, I stumble upon a better one. I love our country. It is indeed beautiful. I have seen a lot of beaches as well in South East Asia, and I must say that we are tops in this category. We are a land of heavenly beaches.

Last Holy Week, we decided to go to Camarines Norte after seeing a feature of an isolated group of islands off the CN coast into the Pacific Ocean. I was so intrigued, since I never knew there was something worth visiting in my mom's hometown. So, my siblings and I packed our bags and went straight to CN, to see the Calagua Islands with our very own eyes.

Our trip to the Calaguas began in a river port in Vinzons, where we snaked our way out to the open sea. You can again take a trike to Vinzons from Daet. From Vinzons, take another trike to the river (just tell them that). The river ride was also a delight, seeing sunken coconut trees and mangroves that resembled a Vietnamese landscape. We then hit the strong waves of the Pacific, and rode the wildest ocean I have ever experienced. It was a bit frightening after hard rain fell upon us. It was like a scene from the perfect storm. Fortunately, the rain stopped and the ocean calmed a bit. But still it was a very rough ride of more than an hour to our destination. Finally, I could see the Calaguas from a distance.

We were nearing the islands and the ocean was loosening up. Suddenly, it feels like you were entering a portal, when everything shifted into heaven. Rolling hills, white isolated beaches, gorgeous rock formations greeted us as we passed through the first set of islands. The water was getting bluer and bluer. It left me speechless and even stunned to take pictures. I was just in awe at what I saw.

Then, we approached Mahabang Buhangin (Long Beach). The water was smooth and as blue as the sky. The fine white sand was luring us. I immediately jumped off the boat and got barefoot. Was I in Boracay 20 years ago? We were not alone in the beach. Apparently, around 5 big boats were there as well. But the beach was so wide that you still get a huge space all on your own. We set up a makeshift tent as the sun was extremely hot. The water was refreshing and the sand was cool. It was perfect. I was in paradise.

Honestly, I don't know what to write about the Calaguas. I am truly speechless. I just want to say that it went way beyond my expectations. We stayed at Long Beach for lunch, and then explored the surroundings. We were met with new beaches to the right of Long Beach with unique rock formations on their shore. There was one part that had platforms of orange clay colored rocks that made the water cascade on their surfaces.

(These kids live nearby, so when you visit Mahabang Buhangin, I hope you recognize them.)

The other beaches were isolated as well, with an amazing backdrop of the other islands' green hills and pristine beaches. There are more than 20 islands, and we were just in one. I could see beautiful beaches and landscapes in the nearby islands, but had no time to go to them. We headed back early to Vinzons at 330PM, as the boatman instructed to avoid the strong waves back in the mainland.

The Calaguas are a dream come true. I went to Caramoan in Camarines Sur last January and discovered the wonderful sights of Bicol that can rival the Visayas and Palawan. The Calaguas were different from Caramoan and probably the other beaches I have been to, and so, I will stop comparing and saying it was better. Mahabang Buhangin actually reminded me of "The Beach" beach in Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, without the limestone rocks. But I love the Calaguas more, because I found everything I was looking for in a beach. Seclusion, serenity, amazing landscapes, the azure of waters, the cool fine white sand. Most of all, it felt like home. It was indeed a dream come true. Come to the Calaguas!

TO GO TO THE CALAGUAS, hire a boat in Vinzons or in Mercedez near Daet. You need big boats to brave the rough waters, so it can cost a lot. We paid 4k and that was considered cheap. Though they told me that the ocean becomes flat and smooth from July to September, and it becomes so easy to go to the Calaguas. It will only take an hour. So, if there's no typhoon, this will be the best season to go to these gems in the Pacific. There are still no resorts, so one must camp out. There are inhabitants in the other islands, as three baranggays make up the group. it may not seem that a thousand people live in these islands, because they look so deserted. So, it's best to plan and pack everything like food and drinks before going there. Believe me, this is a trip that you never forget.

This is probably one of the best beach shots I have ever taken. Perfect paradise.


  1. This is such a treat! Seeing these pics are surprising..who'd ever think that such a beach existed (and it's not in Bora, ha!?).

    My dad is from Camarines Sur and he has mentioned this island to me before. I just didnt think it would be this pretty.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. how long does the drive take from manila to daet and where can you stay there?

  3. It takes around 6 to 8 hours, passing through Quezon and the long zigzag road of Cam Norte before reaching Daet. No accommodations on the island yet, but you can camp there, or have a day trip. There are few basic hotels in Daet, which is just 15 minutes away from Vinzons, one of the places where you can get a boat (that's what we did).

  4. Thanks for your information. It was great to read.

    I will go there in January. I would like to go camping on the island for 2 or 3 nights. But how do I make sure that the boath will pick us up after that time? Is it possible to use a cellphone on the islane?

  5. The boat usually stays with you. Just a note, the waves are high on January, and sometimes, you won't be able to go to the islands.

  6. Thanks RJ Samson :-)

    Hope the waves won't be to high then.

  7. how are the waves in 0ct. + nov. there

  8. It will be rougher beginning end Nov to Dec so try to go early oct.

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  41. heard calaguas now has a resort with bar and videoke at night...shame :(



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