After leaving the Balagbag Island (Check : Balagbag Island), we headed back to the port of Paracale. There’s an overwhelming amount of comfort rooms in Paracale for us to wash up. I think almost all residents who live near the Paracale bay allow the tourists to use their comfort rooms. The fees will vary from Php10-20 and I guess the rate is fairly reasonable. After washing up , we looked for a place to eat and there’s a bunch of “carinderia” near the port to choose from.
Of course, our adventure in Calaguas will not be completed without buying any souvenirs. We drove our way down to the town proper of Paracale to buy some souvenirs. I forgot the name of the store but it’s a one-stop shop where you can buy a wide range of items from signature shirts, keychains and a bunch of popular goodies from Bicol. It didn’t take that long for me to buy my stuffs and while everybody is busy shopping for goods, i spotted an interesting place nearby! I saw an old church just in front of the Paracale Municipal building. An old church dedicated to Our Lady of Candelaria.
Interestingly, the town of Paracale was discovered in 1571 by Captain Juan De Salcedo along with the Augustinian Priest Fray Diego de Espinar who introduced the Christianism in the said place. The church of Our Lady of Candelaria was actually was of the first churches to ever built in Camarines Norte. The place initially served as the headquarters of Franciscan missionaries until it officially became a parish in 1611 under the patronage of Our Lady of Candles (Nuestra Señora de Candelaria).
The church is also under the patronage of San Antonio Abad (1572) and Santo Niño Jesus (1853) by the Franciscans. The church underwent reconstruction in the 18th century with coral stones as its main materials. The facade of the church was restored in 1888. The two retablo of this church actually reminds me of those in San Sebastian Church in Quiapo (Check : San Sebastian church)
The main retablo (altar) of Our Lady of Candelaria Church
The 400 year old church was already declared as the Diocesan Marian Shrine while the miraculous image of “Inay Candi” (Nuestra Señora De Candelaria) was canonically crowned on May 2011 under the order of Pope Benedict XVI.
The seemingly untouched facade of Our Lady of Candelaria in Paracale
The statue of Inay Candi on top of the church’s facade
I Love Paracale standees in front of Paracale Municipal building
A statue of Andres Bonifacio can also be seen nearby the building but I just can’t find any details or information if the town of Paracale is connected to the history of Andres Bonifacio.
A historical marker can be found under the statue of Bonifacio stating the rich historical significant of the town of Paracale.
After a quick visit to the church of Paracale , I headed back to my group and we go straight back to Manila. I really had a blast and my Calaguas Island adventure is truly a game changer for me. I learned so many things about myself and guess what, I learned to embrace the sea….. it calls me (hahaha).
Things You Should Know Before Going to Calaguas Island
►Boat rates from Paracale to Tinaga Island (Calaguas Island) can go from Php6000 to Php8000 (good for 10-15px or even more depending on the boat size)
►Passenger tourist Boats that can take you from Paracale to Calaguas are available every Fri-Sat-Sun and will leave the port exactly at 8am (be there on time)/ They pick up from Calaguas every Sat-Sun-Mon around 6am/ The fare per head is Php250 for a one way trip
►It’s going to be a two hour long boat ride and expect to clash against huge waves.
►Buy big plastic bag to cover your things and prevent them from being wet (bags can be bought for Php30)
►The Entrance fee to Calaguas is Php120 (Bert’s Resort)
►Environmental Fee is Php25
►There is NO Signal in Calaguas (except on top of Tinago Hills)
►Electricity is LIMITED in the island and the locals only use generators or solar panelss and are often only operational by night
►Some resorts offer ATV ride packages
►No hotels in the island only nipa huts (open and close type), cavanas and small rooms
►The rates of the cottages can range from Php500 to Php3000 depending on the size and type
►Airconditioned and non airconditioned rooms were also available but only limited
►Restrooms are available but you have to pay Php10-20 per usage (only if you are using the water, otherwise, its free)
How to get to Calaguas Island
►If you are going to travel by Air, you can book a flight to either Camarines Sur (Naga Airport) or Albay (Legazpi City Airport). Either which, you need to charter a van that can take you either to Daet or straight to Paracale (or Vinzons Port).
►From the Paracale Port, you can rent a boat (refer to the details above) that will take you directly to Tinaga Island (Mahabang Buhangin Beach Resort)
Additional Note: The travel tour package that we availed includes everything including the environmental fees so I am not really aware how they split the cost to all our groups but upon doing a research they said that LGU’s are charging tourists of Php25 per head but it could be higher if you decided to stay to those privately-owned parts of the island (the entrance fee could go high up to Php150).
TIPS: I find it more practical when you just availed a tour package than conducting your own DIY tour in Calaguas. The boat rental, the food, and the miscellaneous fees can all be divided in your group and that makes the trip in Calaguas more affordable and budget-friendly. Most of all, it would be a hassle free tour considering that you don’t have to think of anything but to enjoy your vacation.
Where To Stay in Calaguas Island
►One thing I am so happy about the Calaguas Island is the fact that this remote Island in Camarines Norte is still unspoiled and I would love it to stay this way. Cottages are available in the island. There are areas that offer decent and air conditioned rooms, there are resorts that offer simple nipa hut cottages, some offers small rooms with bed or better yet you can set your own tent along the shore for Free!
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Just in Case you missed an entry, feel free to visit the links below
Calaguas Island Adventure:
►Calaguas Island Adventure : Prologue
►The Paracale Bay
►Our First Day in Calaguas : Mahabang Buhangin Beach of Tinaga Island
►Sunset in Calaguas
►The Tinago Hills
►The Balagbag Island
►Nuestra Señora De Candelaria Parish in Paracale
►What To Buy When Visiting Camarines Norte