Calaguas Island Adventure : The Balagbag Island
So after that minor trek in Tinago Hills (Check : Tinago Hills), we had our breakfast and I spent my remaining time in Tinaga Island walking around the shore. I initially intended to go for a quick swim but I was told that we will have longer swimming activity in the next island so i settled myself walking around the beach. It was our second and last day in Calaguas and we concluded this wonderful escapade with an island hopping activity. Unlike what we had in Burias, Masbate, we are not going to drop by from one island to another. We will just hop over the neighboring island of Tinaga, the Balagbag Island!
We started to pack our things and we also had our early lunch before heading to Balagbag Island.
Luckily, the weather is in our favor that day. The waves are not raging and is just perfect time to sail!
Our boat picking us up
Sandboarding is also a thing in Calaguas! I spotted kids playing with their own improvised surfboards and having fun with it!
And so it is time for us to leave the wonderful island of Tinaga
Heading to Balagbag Island. Balagbag Island is not really that far from Tinaga. It’s just a neighboring island and you can even spot the place on top of the Tinago Hills (Check : Tinago Hills). I can’t find any details on where exactly the term “Balagbag” came from and where the island get such name. In Tagalog, Balagbag means “something that is incorrectly positioned”, “not correctly aligned”. It could make a perfect sense but this island is in Bicol region so there might be another meaning of Balagbag in Bicolano.
Regardless of the origin of its name, Balagbag Island is special on its own right. The characteristic of this island is different from what we have seen from its sister island of Tinaga. It’s different indeed but is equally stunning.
Balagbag is notable for that man-made trail on one of its hills which is visible even from afar.
Our team finally arrived in Balagbag and to my surprise, the island is indeed very different from what we have seen in Tinaga. If we were greeted with powdery white sand of Mahabang Buhangin in Tinaga, Balagbag welcomed us with very coarse sand.
The rough and granule sand were mixed with corals of various sizes.
Some open air cottages can be found in the island. They got comfort rooms here too. Unlike the Tinago Hills in Tinaga island, trekking the hills of Balagbag can be done for free. You can also spot some interesting rock formations nearby.
I thought we can finally go for a swim but it seems like swimming along the shore is quite tricky. The sand is too coarse in composition and it feels like the sand is swallowing us below. Just few walks from the shore and the water will suddenly go deep and we’re worried because there’s just too many sharp corals underneath.
Our group decided to move few meters away from the shore. We went into a deeper part of the sea and somewhere I am not really comfortable with. I don’t know how to swim…. that’s the problem! Yet, this is another fear to be conquered. I have life vest after all and I am surrounded with people who knows how to swim so if something went wrong, I’m sure somebody is capable enough to save me haha.
And so I finally made it. I was able to jump out of our boat and dive into the water that is possibly three to five times deeper than my height. I was silently freaking out but then I realized that it was not that terrifying at all. I am still haunted by the thoughts that there are still huge marine creatures beneath me though but knowing that I am accompanied by many people, my fear was somehow lessened. I refrain myself from moving too far from our boat though. Look at me strongly holding the “katig” (outrigger) and barely move a muscle hahaha.
You know what i realized about this trip? I started as a solo traveler and I actually thought I will prefer all my travels that way. I travel alone and every time I join a group, I never get the chance to talk to someone else unless I really need to. This adventure in Calaguas , however, changed everything and my perspective in traveling. I made friends and that’s something beyond my expectations. I am surprised when I found myself laughing and chatting with people I barely even know and it was fun! It feels like I left my anxiety at home and embraces a new me in Calaguas. If there is one thing I really appreciate the most in this adventure, it’s not the breathtaking atmosphere but the friendship I made with these lovely fellows! So shout out to Jhoy Marie, Maria Benz, Joshua Puriza and Cedie Esguerra for making this trip a lot more meaningful to me!
I left the Balagbag Island with full of new and wonderful experiences and we all headed back to the port of Paracale to finally have our lunch and to grab some time to buy souvenirs. I, however, spotted a site to visit while everybody is busy shopping. I decided to take a quick peak to an old church dedicated to Our Lady of Candelaria.
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