We were almost left by our group in Paracale Bay (Check : Paracale Bay) and we were also greeted by rain. I thought it was not a good start for our trip and for someone like me who never been to a long boat ride, I’m starting to freak out (seriously) but of course, I’m trying not to show it to my fellow travelers haha. Anyway, the boat went back to pick us up and so our journey to Calaguas Island began!
It was a two hour boat ride from the port of Paracale to Tinaga Island. Although often referred as the Calaguas Island, Calaguas is actually a term given to a group of Islands in Camarines Norte. Tinaga is one of their major and possibly the most popular islands of all. It is known for the famous Mahabang Buhangin (which literally translates to “Long Beach”).
Tinaga Island is one of the major islands in Calaguas which stretches up to eight kilometer long. The island has become very popular to travelers due to the powdery white sand and crystal clear water of the Mahabang Buhangin resort. It was truly a nerve wracking ride. Although the rain stopped, the waves were still killing me. We clashed against a seemingly endless huge waves and it felt like I was in an amusement ride. It was scary yet surprisingly amusing ride but I can tell you that I never moved any muscle during that two hour long ride and my butt is aching like hell hahaha.
My fear was completely replaced with glee when we started to see islets along the way. Honestly, that was my first time to see an island and you know what’s the first thing that came to my mind during that ride….. Minecraft! It feels like we spotted various biomes along our way. The views are absolutely magnificent and the islands are seemingly unspoiled at all!
We were welcomed by different islets and each seemingly has their own characteristics. Some are adorned with luscious greens while others are complimented by some awesome rock formation.
One of the rock formation we spotted along the way
The closer we get to the island of Tinaga, the clearer the water becomes. It was so clear that I can even see those corals below.
It’s weekend so we were also greeted by many travelers but the place is not really that crowded at all. I’m happy that the pictures we saw online are not manipulated or anything because what we really saw is what we actually got and I can’t help but to marvel the beauty of this wonderful paradise. We were greeted by the powdery white sand. The sand is so fine and it feels like walking on top of my mom’s homemade pulvoron hahaha
Boats unloading the passengers
The first thing we did when we arrived in the island is to set up our tent and guess what, that was my first time too! I was so thrilled by this trip that I forgot to ask more details about the island but I learned that the Mahabang Buhangin is divided into different resorts owned by different parties. Bert’s Resort is the budget friendly one while the those in the other side offer higher rates but with a much more traveler-friendly accommodations.
There’s no hotel in Calaguas and I am really hoping that it would stay that way. I really appreciate how unspoiled this island is and despite of the slowly growing crowd and increasing popularity of the place, you can still embrace the serenity of this paradise.
If you’re looking for accommodation, you only have few options to choose from. There are open and close type nipa huts but you can also set up your tent around the shore. I have heard that there are fully furnished rooms too but I can’t find any sources to confirm such.
Check out how those fine sand merge with the crystal water of Calaguas
What makes Calaguas Island (Tinaga Island) an ideal place to unwind? Well, this place will define what an Island life looks like. It is way too far from the city and in fact, I would like to note that there is NO SIGNAL in Calaguas Island. Your cellphones and smartphones will be useless here (except for taking pictures or streaming music).
It’s completely an ideal way to relax and to isolate yourself from the stressing atmosphere of the city.
Aside from embracing the turquoise water and marveling the beauty of this paradise, you can also engage yourself in some island activities such as sports, kayaking and even ATV riding. A resort was offering such special package in Calaguas.
A kayak resting on the shore
What a paradise indeed!
You can also spot the neighboring island of Tinaga from the shore, the Balagbag Island which was actually part of our Island hopping tour the next day
I’m not going to lie but I can confidently list Calaguas Island as one of my top most summer destinations. It’s the best island I have seen so far and I just can’t help but to admire its unspoiled beauty
In case you are wondering about our food and water source, you can actually coordinate with the people in-charge in the resort. They can actually set everything for you if you contact them ahead of time (there are people in Paracale who you can talk to and they will coordinate with the locals in Calaguas to arrange your stay). In our case, our travel agency, coordinated with the handlers of the resort ahead. They bought all the things we need from lunch, dinner and breakfast. For solo travelers, it is interesting to note that there are canteens and restaurants available on the island and there are stores too where you can buy something you can eat or drink but expect that they could be really pricey too
That’s just me attempting to make dramatic shots hahaha
My friend Maria having fun with the locals
Electricity in the island is limited too. The only electricity source they got are from generators and solar panels and these are only operational by night. So it would be very ideal to bring powerbank to charge your gadgets.
The sun is starting to set
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)
►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!
We didn’t do much activities on our first day other than swimming and exploring around. I enjoyed everything on this island and the sunset is even more stunning! I share you some pictures of the stunning sunset in Calaguas in my next #CalaguasIslandAdventure entry.
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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