When in Camarines Norte: Calaguas Island




Typhoons may often brush through the lands of Camarines Norte, but once you catch that radiant summertime, the breathtaking sight of this blessed paradise is a must-see. Bicol region is not only about the perfect cone-shaped Mount Mayon or amazing wakeboard stunts in CamSur. There lies Camarines Norte which, slowly but surely, has become a perfect haven for people who are up to a sweet escape from the busy city.

In 2011, I went on a two-day vacation to Camarines Norte along with four friends. We took a package trip by Parana Tours. It costs P2,850/pax inclusive of: transportation services, 3 meals, tent usage, and tour guiding services to Calaguas Island and Bagasbas Beach. The package is good for 12 participants. Since we were only 4, the rest were group of friends of my high school pal.

Reaching Camarines Norte by land is undeniably tiring. This is why first of all, I suggest that you bring a lot of patience with you. Haha. For me, long road trips mean butt aches, motion sickness, and well, boredom. However, at the same time, it means bonding with friends, song appreciation on iPod and discovering more of the outdoors. For this trip, moreover, I bonded well with the tour guides. While on the road, I threw all the Camarines Norte questions I could ever think of. Being as experienced travelers, of course I got a lot from them. Aside from killing time, it was my simple way of getting to know more about Cam Norte.

DAY 1: Calaguas Island
So after passing by three provinces (Laguna, Quezon and Bicol) and a few stopovers for peeing and stretching out, we finally reached Daet, Camarines Norte. It took 10 hours! Anyway, we set foot in a town called Vinzons to then ride a motor boat (good for 19 people) to Calaguas Island. The ride took two lingering hours which brought a new definition of boredom. Haha.



To those who have motion sickness, you better bring your trusty Bonamine with you. I got dizzy at the middle of the trip. But gladly, as we got near, the ride slowly turned pain to gain. We passed by greenish mountains. Somehow the picturesque view reminded me of Lord of the Rings. Remember the Hobbits? They’re truly remarkable.



When we finally reached Calaguas, one word got into me: STUNNING. The beach is so beautiful! The island is so distant that there are no dwellers, just tourists. There’s no garbage, no noise, no buildings. Almost perfect.

I must say that to those who want to experience a Survivor-like getaway, try Calaguas. Why? First, there’s no electricity. Second, there’s no mobile phone signal. And lastly, there’s no comfort room. Well, there was a “room” to pee and poo but since it was only a makeshift, it wasn’t that comforting at all. Anyhow, it was a huge challenge for me to surpass all of these. Whoever said that one can’t be a Survivor contestant in her own ways? Haha!


So my group was provided with two tents. Our tour guides set up the tents and prepared our inclusive lunch. While waiting, we rushed to the bluish water while the sun was scorching hot. Oh yes, I said hello to major sun burn! I hardly cared about being nognog/ulikba/negra because the whole swimming-habang-tanghaling-tapat experience for me was so fun! My friends and I played with the water, built sand castles, and had tons of photos! One of my friends brought a bazooka-like camera and so our photos gave justice to the true beauty of the island.

After swimming, we filled our tummies with the inclusive lunch. We had sinigang na isda, pusit, and rice. The taste was just okay, not so good but not that bad. At least we need not to cook food since the tour guides did it for us. But oh, let me just say that the rice was crunchy! Since we ate on the sand, little portions got mixed up with the food! I never thought that sand goes well with rice! Hahaha.

We took a nap under the small trees afterwards. But since the black ants kept on biting me, I decided to just get up. I grabbed a bottle of Tanduay Ice and stared at the beach.  At sunset, we played beach volleyball which turned out as a buwis-buhay game! It really got intense because we chased and dived like a pro (though we aren’t). LOL. Nobody ever wanted to stop. I used to play volleyball back in high school. The experience reminded me of my not-so-distant teenage years. Apparently we called the day and the volleyball madness realizing that the moon was up.


We used flashlights to see at night. As mentioned, there’s no electricity in the island. Just imagine taking a bath, eating, and fixing stuffs with a little light. Hard isn’t it? But it was a fun and unique experience. For one, it was a good time to start with ghost stories! Haha. Also, it led me closer to the stars (well, not literally of course). How relaxing it was to just lie down staring at the twinkling stars. Sometimes, city dwellers forget that stars exist. Yes, we do. And I am guilty of it.

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