Summer is almost here, and I envy the people at home who are getting ready and planning for their beach escapades for summer. I’ve been to other asian countries mostly for cultural and historical landmarks, but for beaches, I’d rather go to the many different islands of the Philippines. So far, I’ve been to 5 different beach destinations, and this post is about the most recent beach escapade I had when I was still in my country.
The Calaguas is a group of islands in the Philippine province of Camarines Norte. It includes the following islands such as Tinaga Island, Guintinua Island, Maculabo Island and several other minor islands. Munting Buhangin is part of the Tinaga Island where nowadays are getting famous for tourists despite the lack of fancy accommodations.
We got to avail the Calaguas Island Tour Package from Melvic Brinas (tour coordinator) for 2D/1N package with mla-daet-mla bus ticket for PhP 3200 per person (see http://calaguas-melvic.blogspot.com/). Since we’re only 3 persons going, we decided to avail of a package, nevermind that we have to be with other groups.
We went to Calaguas on the 2nd weekend of July 2011. Unfortunately, one of my travel buddies got sent to Jordan, so only two of us were left to go. After work, me and my travel partner went to the pickup point (Shell gas station in Magallanes) to wait for our bus. Before we even reached the gas station, we were already wet since it was raining and we were not able to flag down a taxi. The bus ride to Daet took almost 8 hours (overnight) and by the time we arrived in Daet, we were quite hungry. At the bus station where they dropped us off, a van picked us up then we were taken to Jollibee for breakfast. There we met Melvic, the mastermind who conducts tour packages to Calaguas. He gave us an armband with the words Calaguas Hullabaloo printed on it (maybe so we won’t get lost while on the island). 😀
After breakfast we were taken to Vinzons, where we took a boat ride for two hours to finally reach our destination. Fortunately for us, the sun continued shining during the boat ride and til we were in Calaguas beach.
The sand was so pristine, and the water was very clear that I can’t help but marvel at the beautiful place and declare it as paradise. The best thing about this whole trip was that while on the island, there was no cellphone reception! Only Smart has a signal in that area during that time so we weren’t able to use our phones for 2 days. It was a blessing in disguise for me, since I wanted to go away from the city and find a peaceful place to rest.
While Melvic’s team was busy preparing the camp site as well as food for lunch, we changed our clothes and rest for a bit in the nipa hut. After lunch, the long travel took its toll on me and made me took a nap under the coconut tree while my friend was reading from her Ipod. After that refreshing nap, we took our time to enjoy the beach. Our fellow campmates were playing a game of frisbee while me and my friend were threading the cool waters of the beach. Sometime while enjoying the beach there was a heavy outpouring of rain. We can see the dark clouds with heavy rains coming towards our island. When the rain reached us, the raindrops were so hard its like being thrown with ice cubes instead of water. We returned to the campsite while waiting for the rain to pass over the island. Afterwards, while we were watching the game of frisbee, someone took out a skimboard, and one of the organizers taught some of us how to do it. It’s like surfing, but with a smaller board, and done on the shore. My friend and I had our chance to try, but I gave up because it was hard to balance myself in the board, I came down for a couple of times, butt first. 🙂 When we finally had our fill of the beach, we decided to wash off. Washing was only done through a water pump, wherein we had to pay the person pumping the water, and we had to soap and rinse ourselves in front of them! It was quite embarrassing actually, but still a good experience.
The dinner they prepared was very good and they also provided beers for those who would want to drink. The other group from our group of campers brought their own drinks, and while they were busy around the bonfire, me and my friend mixed our own drinks. After drinking a bit, we went to the shore to just walk for a while and enjoy the breeze. Since we were a bit anti-social, and I was quite tired already, we went inside our tent and retired for the night. This was the first time that I slept on the sand, and the next morning, I was feeling quite good despite the lack of bed or foam. There is something satisfying with falling asleep on the sand and waking up to the beauty of the beach and fresh air around you. Plus, there was no phones or internet connection! It was really a very refreshing experience. After breakfast we walked again on the shore, this time we walked to the other end and just alternating talking and enjoying the serenity. I got to swim again while my friend just rested in the tent. After the sumptuous lunch, we packed our things in preparation for going back to the city.
The boat ride back to Vinzons was very wet, for lack of better term. We were going against the wind, there was no roof (for fear that we might get blown by the strong winds). My friend was already feeling kinda disappointed because according to Melvic, we might not be able to surf in Bagasbas due to the absence of waves. To think that this was the reason why she came back and accompany me in the first place.
We were transported to a surfer inn in Bagasbas so we can rest for a bit before our long bus ride home. There we were able to take a bath and eat dinner. My friend got the chance to talk to the french group we were with, which I hoped make up for her disappointment of not being able to surf. All in all, it was a very relaxing vacation. Nevermind the long hours of travel, I’ll definitely do it again if I could. 🙂