Roughing it out in Calaguas (Part 1)

A magnificent view of Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Group of Islands

We were blessed to have visited the breathtaking Calaguas Group of Islands on a bright sunny day. The waves were calm at 1.8 - 1.9m, and the sun was scorching hot! From Vinzons, it took us around 2.5 hours to get to Mahabang Buhangin, the usual base camp in Calaguas. The boat ride may appear too dragging, but with the stunning land- and seascape on the way, we surely did not have a single dull moment. Our cameras went busy when we started to see the lush rolling hills and amazing rock formations en route to Mahabang Buhangin.

Halfway to Mahabang Buhangin, Sir Noli, Tourism Officer of Vinzons (09206611018), pointed at one island from afar. Maculabo Island is actually within the jurisdiction of Vinzons' neighboring town, Paracale, but tourists usually add this as a sidetrip especially if they are plying the Paracale-Calaguas route. I have also seen photos of Maculabo Island on Google and it looks beautiful, too! While we did not dock at Maculabo Island during this trip, we promised ourselves to go back in April.

Maculabo Island from afar
Unlike Palawan, Caramoan and Islas de Gigantes, there are no limestone karts in Calaguas. Rather, there are rolling hills covered in verdant trees. There are some parts  of it that are inhabited, too, but when I asked one of the locals, they said public boat rides to Brgy. Mangcawayan are on a rather erratic schdule.


We saw this stretch of white sand thinking that it is Mahabang Buhangin. But we were wrong. It is just one of the beaches in Calaguas Group of Islands that is yet to be explored. If you want to have a serene and quiet vacation, you may pitch your tent here, but there is no bathroom/CR and other basic comforts here. Just sand, sea and sun...oh..and stars at night!




Cumalasag Island is also part of the Calaguas Group of Islands, but you'll have to go inside the loops of the islands and islets to get there. We were suppose to go there but the waves are going against that direction, so we decided not to go. Instead, we headed straight to Mahabang Buhangin.


A beautiful rock formation covers a secret paradise
And just before we arrived at our destination, we saw another strip of white sand. Again, we thought it was Mahabang Buhangin, but turned out it was just one of the beaches in Tinaga Island. To avoid confusion, Tinaga Island is a huge island composed of several coves and beaches, and Mahabang Buhagin is one of those.




And when our boat maneuvered to the right, we saw a glimpse of sky blue waters that began to become more vivid as we went nearer. The team was quiet. We all stood in awe. Seeing the spectacular beach of Mahabang Buhangin with my own eyes validates all the claims I had read online. This place is divine.

Approaching Mahabang Buhangin

There were around five boats parked at the beach when we docked in Calaguas. The water is surreal. Clear is an understatement. We can see how clear it is from our boat all the way to the other side of the island. It's jaw-dropping.

Our boat docking at Calaguas

And across Calaguas we  can also see another island with a glistening strip of white sand. I wonder why there are no campers there.

Across Mahabang Buhangin

So you'll ask how does the sand in Calaguas look  like. It is powdery. Seriously. As in no trace of shells or stones. Just plain powdery sand. You won't need your aqua shoes here. As in forget it! You can walk barefoot even from end to end. In Boracay, I can walk barefoot infront of Discovery Shores, until Willy's Rock. Beyond that, I could already see trash, shells, stones, seaweeds and more. I need not mention about Station 2. I'm sure you'll agree how terrible the sand there is. The closest I can compare to Calaguas is Malacapuya Island in Coron (which will soon become Malcapuya Regency). I actually like Malcapuya Island more in the sense that it appears richer in marine life -- walk a meter away from the shore and you'll see a baby stingray, or a school of fish, or jellyfish! Haha! We haven't seen a single fish in Calaguas. So, our snorkeling gears were also useless.


In Calaguas, there are no resorts as of the moment. But soon to rise is a resort at the other end of the island. It has been allegedly purchased by the owner of Waling Waling Resort in Boracay, who also allegedly bought Bulog Dos Island adjacent to Malaroyroy Island (now Two Seasons Coron). Hmm. As long as the resort will be responsible in preserving the beauty and serenity of Mahabang Buhangin, then I have no objections. But, if we are seeing another Puerto Galera or Boracay in the making, then that's a big problem. I hope they will also maintain a certain distance from the shore, so that the beach will remain pristine as it is.

The local government unit is also putting up five rooms made of indigenous materials on Mahabang Buhangin. These rooms have their own toilet and bath, as well as a bed for added comfort. These rooms weren't finished yet when we were there.

For the meantime, tourists can pitch a tent or sleep in native cabanas overnight. Tents can be rented from Php 100 depending on the size.

When we arrived, Sir Noli lead us to our cabana which will serve as our base camp. Since it was already past noon, our friends Uly and Sherwin started cooking our lunch. Tip: It will be better if you can bring your cooking utensils with you. Remember, you are camping and you're not in a hotel, so that means you'll have to cook your own food. You can borrow pots and pans from the locals but that will consume time just waiting for your turn.

Our cabana
While "masterchefs" Uly and Sherwin prepares our lunch, we took time to roam around and explore the island.
A peek at paradise
I need not repeat that the beach is divine.

The side of the beach in front of our cabana




I rarely put my photos in my blog, but Calaguas is an exception!
After lunch, we had our afternoon siesta at the cabana and woke up at around 4:00 pm. By that time, it was already sunset and we decided to have a dip into the pristine beach while waiting for the sun to set.

Here are some of my sunset photos:

When God created the sunset, he must be in his best mood!





The sunset took our breath away. It was so dramatic. Needless to say it was spectacular!

More of our Calaguas trip...up next.

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Special thanks to:
Mayor Agnes Diezmo-Ang (Vinzons, Camarines Norte)
Noli Pajarin (Vinzons Tourism Office)
http://www.calaguasislands.com/


Comments

  1. parang andun din ako sa luagr habang binabasa ko ang post na to prang kakacocomment ko lang sa una may next agad na ... hanep! u look sexy madam ..

    grabe gnda ng calaguas talaga! sulit na sulit!

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