Camarines Norte: Chillin’ in Calaguas
Travel dates: March 19 – 20, 2016
Heaven on Earth, my dear. Heaven on Earth.
Summer came early for the “Chillers” this year to avoid being in a vacation mode for the Holy Week. A friend set up this trip by booking with a travel agent. Apparently we didn’t have a nice experience with the agency, but luckily, the place itself made up for that. I will discuss about the agency later. First, let’s take a peek with this group of islands in the northern part of Bicol: Calaguas.
We departed from SM North Edsa at around 11pm of March 18 to 12 midnight of March 19. The original schedule was 10pm, but then the drivers were initially late. We arrive at Paracale around 8am. Before going to the port, we ate our brunch in a carinderia at Paracale. The trip was very tiring, and I must warn you, you should have a lot of patience during the trip and have an anti-vertigo medication at hand, drank is an hour before the trip, if you are prone to dizziness during travels. You will go through Quezon which has a lot of zigzag lanes, bordering the mountain side. And of course, there will be sleepless trip especially if you are going to be panicky about those zipping headlights of incoming vehicles. So yup, I must warn you, that there are setbacks in this kind of life, being a wanderlust, a traveler, of trying to go out of the comfort zone.
Going back to the Port, we rode the boat going to Tinaga Island, where the famous “Halabang Baybay” or in Filipino, “Mahabang Buhangin” is located. If translated in English it means “Long Beach”. Technically “buhangin” means “sand”, but if the phrases are translated as a whole it does mean “Long Beach”.
It was nerve-wracking, falling asleep aboard a boat and trying not to plunge in the water and get caught up in the propeller (my imagination is getting better). The waves are lulling us to go on, sleep, instead of being awfully dizzy. It must be we were too tired being nauseous since we all came from work, so a 2-hour trip via “bangka” is a blessing. Or maybe not?
After napping and getting pictures of the incoming waves and approaching islands and selfies and eating and some snippets of stories, at last, we were at the beach! And I will put a lot of exclamations because the place is BEAUTIFUL! The beach has a fine sand! No I’ve never been to Boracay but my companions said it is comparable and as I stepped on the sand I was giggling! We were giggling! (Or maybe it’s just me?) I couldn’t say it was peaceful because it was crowded since it was an early summer and personally I guess the Fiipinos especially the millenials are very keen on travelling but I still can’t get over that the place is so clean and very refreshing in my eyes! Also, do you know that smell you usually sniffed when in the seaside? That fishy smell? It doesn’t have that smell! It was perfect, we had a perfect weather, we also had a perfect lunch comprising of Bicolano cuisine like Bicol express and laing.
After lunch, we went on island hopping. Our stop is in Balagbag island, the nearest island in Tinaga Island.
The island is reminiscent to a head full of hair, an island full of greens, just the way it should be. This is the place where you could cliff dive and just gaze beyond the Pacific, feel the waves smashing against the rocks.
Afterwards, we transferred to the other side of Balagbag, to be able to reach the top of the island and see horizon. Instead of climbing, we swam around using the snorkels I brought for the trip. We just wanted to enjoy the water and try to view what is under the water.
As we finished the island hopping, we came back to Tinaga and waited for the sunset.
After witnessing the sunset, we went back to our tent and hut, took a bath and ate dinner. Afterwards we strolled the beach in the dark, sat down, exchange some stories while gazing through the boats dillydallying along the shore, and counting out the stars that shoots through the sky.
The next day, we woke up early to witness the sunset in the hills of Tinaga. It took 15 – 20 minutes to hike the said hills, and you must pay 10 pesos for the entrance.
The view is magnificent, and the meadow reminds me of the movie “The Sound of Music”.
After we went down to have our breakfast, we packed-up to go on our last island before going back to Paracale.
The last island we’ve been to was the Pinagcastillohan Island, which is more of a sand bar than an actual island!
Two days is not enough for a getaway here in Calaguas. Might as well go back to these beautiful group of islands and again feel these fine sand and the silence away from the bustling crowd. Amidst the not-so-good service of the travel agency, which became a lesson, we had a great day plunging in the cold water and look forward for better days ahead.