Roughing it out in Calaguas (Part 1)
|A magnificent view of Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Group of Islands|
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|
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 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.
|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!|
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.
Special thanks to:
Mayor Agnes Diezmo-Ang (Vinzons, Camarines Norte)
Noli Pajarin (Vinzons Tourism Office)