9.11.2014

To Dream of Calaguas

This is the second of a three-part Calaguas article. For the first one, please read Calaguas - Travel Guide 2014.

Thumbs up from happy satisfied beach bummers.


Hailed as one of the Philippine's best beaches of 2013, listed by most bloggers as the sought after destination, Calaguas Island is a looming paradise I always dream of. So many times that I planned for a trip on this most northern part of Camarines, but so many times that it was halted as well. In fact last Holy Week, while working in front of my computer my phone alarmed stating that I should be in Calaguas that day, a proof of a failed travel plan in this alluring place.

With all odds in favor, me, Rose, and a couple of my friends (Ericka and Iris) sealed the date, got the tickets and Bicol Region bound. Our plan was to leave Manila at Saturday evening and return back Monday evening. By Friday morning I got reservations at Superlines Transit in Cubao for their direct Paracale bus that leaves at 7:45 PM. Iris already called Waling-waling Eco Village to be sure there are accommodations for us, since a few friends who've been in the island said that huts instantly get full on weekends. The Waling-Waling reservation officer said there's no need to worry as there would be enough for us, though kitchen staff may be limited so they advised as to bring our own foods and just walk-in at the Resort.

Mahabang Buhangin, Tinaga Island, Calaguas
Saturday evening, 6 pm we were already at Coastal Road coming from Cavite already on a bus bound to Cubao, we thought we still have plenty of time. But I don't know whom's cursed it was, MMDA decided to try their one lane truck policy along Roxas Blvd that day, and what would be a 10-minute ride from Coastal Road to EDSA became a full hour. With just less than an hour we need to cruise along EDSA to be able to get to Cubao station, we knew it was impossible to get there before 7:45 PM. Iris and Ericka were already at Superlines station (coming from Manila and Makati respectively) updating us with the status of the bus. The conductor gave us a grace period until 8:30PM, but with traffic jam building along EDSA, we still don't know if it's do-able. 8:45PM we were already at Superline Bus Terminal but the bus just left five minutes ago. We reimbursed our reservation tickets and decided to take a Daet bound bus and just meet Iris and Ericka at Paracale.

[What we should have done is to just alite at Ayala or Boni MRT station and asked Superlines bus to fetch us there.]

Next is the eight long hour ride to Talobatib junction, actually I just slept trough the course of travel and only woke up on stop over. The bus conductor awaken us when we're at Talobatib. It's around 5 am in the morning and we were waiting for a bus that will take us to Paracale. Iris and Ericka called us that time telling they were already at Paracale.  They suggested that they'll pass by the market to buy our provisions while waiting for us. After another hour we reached Paracale. From here we took a chartered tricycle to bring us to Paracale Port. The Port does not looks like a port at all but rather a place where boat owners dock their boat.



As per the travel guides I referred to, there used to be an organized association here that regulate dispatching of boats to Calaguas but after a disagreement between them and the boatmen, it was abolished. We talked to local boatmen in Paracale Port and secured Kuya Mario's service for Php2500 back and forth for the four of us. Before heading to Calaguas we need to finalize our provisions, we don't have a drinking water yet so we returned to the town proper to secure one. Ericka on the other hand was exploring every corners of the town to find a store that will sell her an SD card, since she forgot to bring her's, but since the town is a bit far from urban civilization getting one is next to impossible. So I just lend her the one in my digicam since I also brought my action cam.

Everything's ready. We got our bags loaded on the boat and we're heading Calaguas, Tinaga Island to be specific. It's another one and a half hour from Paracale, and just before we lost contact with rest of the Philippines I shout one last status update. "Calaguas here we come!"



We reached heaven as our feet sunk into an ankle high clear blue waters with the white fine sand still visible. Then "Welcome to Calaguas Island" greeted by the owner of Calaguas Island Adventure, what could be more perfect? Though we spoke with people in Waling-Waling EcoVillage we were sill undecided where to stay. So we checked each of the resort in the beach, and in the end decided to stay at Waling-Waling. When we got in the island we estimated that there were only three groups staying in Calaguas that day excluding us. And the two groups who's staying at Waling-Waling are all set up to leave the island that day as well. So to sum it up, it's almost we have the whole Waling-Waling Eco Village and the island just for ourselves for two days.

Beach bumming at the hammock.

After a quick-lunch we changed to our swimwear and explored the beach. The fine creamy white sand just became whiter as the sun shines above it. The calming water was just a scenery I only saw from postcards. "Parang gawa sa Alaska Powedered Milk." as described by Iris or "Kasing puti ni Anne Curtis" as I exaggerate.

After capturing the scenery and swimming at the sea, we visited the near rock formations. From here we had a better view of Mahabang Buhangin. There were also children who live in the island playing at the beach to whom we spoke with. For two days we just lay on the sand, took a dip in the clear waters, kill time at the hammock, pig out on our meals, clicking shutters and had a conversation with the locals who live and tend the island. It is really a great escape to the noisy, polluted city.

Group pic at our Open Cavana.

Kuya Danny the care taker of Waling-Waling Eco Village said that normally food and drinks cannot be brought inside the resort, but since we were advised thru phone that they were short on staff and we were the only ones staying at the resort that day, they would let us bring and cook our own meal without corkage fee. We just paid the fees for the use of LPG gas and Kuya Danny even suggested we can use anything on their small pantry. He was very accommodating to their guests and enjoys to share stories regarding the island. He even offered to ask an errand boy to buy ice, coke, and rhum for us in a nearby barrio. He also suggested that we can use the other cavanas if we want to relax on the hammocks since it's just us here in the resort.

There are other activities that were offered to us such as a trekking the hills of Calaguas, snorkeling/diving in a nearby reef, kayaking, island hopping and skimboarding. I did bring my own skimboard but the tides are just too calm to skim. We refused any other activities and just got contented in dipping and relaxing on its blue clear water.

View from our Cavana

The next day, around lunch time we were fetched by Kuya Mario's boat. After packing our things we hopped into the boat and returned to Paracale. In the middle of the sea it started to rain very hard but the tides remain calm and safe. After an hour and a half we're back at Paracale. We waited for Kuya Jun, our tricycle driver to fetch us from the port. When he returned he offered to stay at his place since direct bus bound to Manila are only available at Paracale at 6:00PM, it was 2:00PM that time. We asked him if there were any way that we could leave early as we want to get back to Manila before midnight. He drove us to the buses bound to Daet that would bring us to Talobatib.

Jumpshot

At Talobatib we waited for an air-conditioned bus that are heading to either Pasay or Cubao. After thirty minutes an ordinary, non-air-conditioned bus going to Cubao passed by, we asked the driver when would an air-conditioned bus pass, and he said that the next bus would be but it will only take us up to Alabang, and explained that no air-conditioned bus bound to Cubao or Pasay are available that day. After an hour the bus bound to Alabang came and we load unto it, it was already 4:00PM.

Island feast


So it's another agonizing 8 hour travel to Alabang. This time fully recharged from a relaxing trip to the island, I barely slept on the bus and felt that travel time took forever. By nine in the evening, we we're already in Lucena. We reached Alabang at exactly 12 midnight. From here there were no available buses that are bound to Manila. So this was when we decided to part ways with Ericka and Iris. Me and Rose decided to take a jeep up to Zapote, Las Pinas where we can get a bus to Cavite even if it's  already 1AM. Iris and Ericka opted to take a cab that will take them up to Makati.

Bound to Talobatib.

Calaguas Island is still unexploited. If you want a total separation from digital stresses of the metro this would be the great escape. Though the hours of travel to get to and from the island is agonizing, its pristine scenery of white creamy sand and clear blue waters are all worth it. Calaguas is a dream come true.

Credits to my good friend Ericka for the photos used in this post. Ganda ng mga kuha sa cam!

1 comment:

  1. Pictures that wouldn't exist without your SD card! Salamat din! Apir!

    ReplyDelete