TRAVEL

THRIFTY TRAVELLER’S GUIDE TO CALAGUAS ISLAND

travel calaguas island
Travelling to Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte is one hell of an experience. As previously mentioned in my Quick Guide (here), getting there will ultimately test your patience and energy but if you're infected with the travel bug, then there's nothing can stop you from going and seeing this wonderful place. We left for Bicol at around 10pm at Starmall, Shaw. This trip was full of surprises (in a negative way) because the travel and tours we booked did not even know what they're doing and was not prepared at all. Let me list it down:
  1. They did gave us itinerary and inclusions (We somehow realised they must have copied it from other travel and tours' packages, shame!)  for the trip and when we got there, nothing happened, yes they provided tents, cooking and eating utensils, boat ride, and last but not the least, the van (UrVan for god's sake? How are you going to survive an 8-9hr drive with that kind of vehicle?). We were promised that it would be van suited for travelling. What's worse was that they did not tell us the change of vehicle ahead of time. If it were the case, then we might have rescheduled the trip and refunded our deposit.
  2. The driver was so reckless that we were nervous the whole trip because when you reach Quezon province, the road seems to meander like forever. Imagine you're trying to sleep but the driving is so freaking fast, you'll be afraid of what will happen if something go wrong (God forbid). Tip: If you can, and you should, talk to the travel and tours representative or the driver to be careful when you're passing on the zigzag road. 
  3. We were 10 in the group plus 4 (It should only be the driver, right and at least 1 representative but there are two additional persons- One girl, friend of the girl whom we are in contact with and one guy- which aren't supposed to be there!)
  4. Late market/grocery shopping. We left Paracale port at around 9-10am. We thought we'd just have breakfast and then wait for at least 30mins or so for the boat ride.
  5. No activities were done vs the one that they sent us (mountain trek, snorkel, side trip to bagasbas beach et al) and we paid 3,500 knowing we will avail a few of those, but no, none of those happened. wtf, right?
  6. They even asked our friend if its' okay if we could cook the meals for us. (!!!) We paid 3,500 pesos only for us to worry about the meals? That is not fair at all.
If we only knew this would transpire, then we just settled for a DIY trip or looked out for a more popular travel and tours out there. You might ask how the hell we ended up choosing them, well a friend (who is also part of our group) referred them to us. Never again, Kala and Klarin  Anyhoo, enough about the rants and let me share you our 2 days 1 night trip to the island. Going to Bicol by land requires passing through Quezon Province. We never thought it would take most of the hours just travelling the province. We would wake up from time to time in the course of the trip, check our google map only to find out we're still there, just in another town. Que horror! hahaha We reached Paracale port sometime between 6-6:30am, we managed to have breakfast at around 7am (There are lots of eateries there). We paid 30-45 pesos for a meal (rice, egg and hotdog). We left the port around 9-10 am and sailed to Tinaga Island (Calaguas) for 2 hours. You might retreat on the idea of such amount of time you'd have to endure but since we're still tired from the overnight road trip, you can take a nap and you'd wake up just before the boat docks on the island. You can also enjoy the view and take photos just make sure your devices are protected from the waves. calaguas island, camarines norte By 12 noon, we were welcomed by a white stretch of white sand and blue green water inviting and tempting us to take a dip and enjoy the island has to offer. calaguas island, sunnies and style travel This little spot was transformed into a mini bar + DJ area at night. We pitched our tent near the place and we didn't mind the people partying, dancing and the loud music  before sleeping as we were so tired haha! There was also a fire dance performance that entertained the beach goers. There are also people that would try to sell ice cream, ice candies and halo-halo to you. It's over priced (Ice candy for 20 pesos) but who cares! We all know how difficult it is bring/produce those kind of stuff in a virgin and non commercialised island like Tinaga. Public rest rooms are available too for those who are not staying in the eco-village. You must pay a fee after using. This requires a lot patience. You have to queue in line to get a bucket of water (Getting water is from a poso, the old school style) then wait for another queue to go to the bathroom. I suggest you go with a friend for assistance. Looking for a place to eat around the island is easy peasy. There are rows of cottages to choose from but I think you have to pay. As for me and my friends, we decided to eat near the beach and beside our tents. calaguas island sunset Sari-sari store is ubiquitous. Then again, prices are high than the usual. We bought some beers and watched the sunset with friends. calaguas island triangl poppy mesh, paradise palms, sunnies and style, We had our breakfast at 8-9am and left at around 10am for Paracale port.  Yes, another 2 hour boat ride. We did not took a bath before leaving the island as we know we would get wet again with sea water. We plan to do it before going home though. As we were walking and finding our way to the house were we stayed before our boat ride the other day, a girl approached us if we wanted to take a bath in their house but there's a fee of 25 pesos. Apparently, that is common for them to offer their bathrooms/Comfort rooms to travellers. The experience going to Calaguas was worth it despite all the mishaps. The island itself is so beautiful, peaceful and serene to look and swim into. And if you have an awesome company of friends or loved ones, nothing can ruin your trip. ever. We promise to go back here in a few years time and we hope that somehow more accommodations and establishments would be built and boat parking would be handled with ease so that beach bums can swim without hassle especially during peak season. Calaguas, you are truly an amazing island. See you soon x

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