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My Unexpected, Last-Minute Calaguas Island Escapade: The Cool Things We Did On The Island

Believe it or not, I’m not a fan of traveling… although I’m a huge fan of oceans.

Don’t hate me, though. I just hate the feeling I get whenever I know I’d be sitting back for long, tiring hours. Not to mention the fact that it would be so uncomfortable to sleep around during the whole trip.

My travel to Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte was… let’s say, “Unexpected.” I was with a friend eating porridge at Biggs’ Diner, Albay when he asked me if I wanted to tag along. I was heartbroken back then, and he [my friend] thought that I should free my mind off my heartaches during the weekend. When I asked who was tagging along, he said they were his long-time friends. At first, I was a bit hesitant about joining because I’m kind of introverted. I was shy, plus I really wanted to just sulk in my bed and cry over the weekend.

He was persistent then. But eventually, I did come to my senses and went with him last minute, thus meeting these new cool people.

Hooray for new friends!

calaguas island vacation

Photo credits to my friend, Shanti. The reason I was actually part of this island trip. LOL.

It was the night of June 13th when we, along with these new friends, decided to have a night trip at 8 o’clock going to Paracale, Camarines Norte. It was fun. That was actually my very first road trip in my 22 years of existence. Aside from making new friends, I was able to experience a few firsts like learning how to play cards, “traveling” with a real tour guide, trekking, snorkeling, and many more.

We got there at the seaport around 2 AM, which was quite early. We waited for a few more hours to have breakfast, rode a 2-3 hour boat ride going to the island at 7 AM, and settled around 9 AM.

calaguas island travel

Paracale, Camarines Norte Seaport

Well, to be honest, I slept it through the entire boat ride. LOL. But when I got up 30 minutes before we hit the island, I saw amazing rock formations, beautiful, small islands, and huge mountain tops.

calaguas island vacation

This picture’s supposed to be “LIVE,” but oh well. LOL.

Fast forward to the get-go of the vacation, we arrived there at Calaguas Island around 9-10 AM. New friends gathered around to set up their tents, some went on to play some card games, and me?

Well, I just took a good shower. LOL.

calaguas island

Photo credits to Shanti.

It was nearly lunch time and to tell you honestly, the food was amazing!

Here are some of the foods we had… to specify some.

calaguas island

Well, this one’s our Day 3 lunch: Chicken curry, Calamari rings, and Gulay na Santol (Bicolano cuisine).

calaguas island

This is called, Gulay na Santol. One of the most prominent Bicolano cuisine where the Sandor/wild mangosteen/cotton fruit (Sandoricum koetjape) is minced and cooked in coconut cream with pork and chili.

I think this photo was taken during our first-day lunch. Haha. ?

Without further adieu, here are the cool things we did during our stay on the island, even if I’m not a fan of traveling myself:

Day One: Trekking

calaguas island

Believe it or not, I was complaining how exhausted and bummed I was back there with my shorts wet while trekking.

That pose? Stolen.

calaguas island

And so… before we hit the top part of the hill, there’s that cute little waiting shed that looks like a house… or so I think.

calaguas island

And there I was… with the amazing view as my background… never thinking how AMAZING this whole trekking thing was. Like, how wasn’t I fan of traveling and all these stuff?! LOL!

calaguas island

And, of course… my “victory” pose. LOL. Look how wet that short is!

Overall, if you’re a fan of nature, the crystalline waters, and the soothing waves of the sea, then Calaguas Island is for you.

calaguas island

Day Two: Island hopping, Snorkeling

Before we headed to our next activity the next morning (i.e. island hopping), we rode on a boat first at around 9 AM going to this island that’s just as stunning as its view!

calaguas island hopping

And yeah, we took pictures…

calaguas island hopping

The island was just amazing, even I was REALLY FASCINATED with what mother nature has offered!

calaguas island travel

Afterward, we just went snorkeling. Funny story, we were told not to do this anymore due to high tide. Our tour guide thought it would be risky, but meh, new friends were daredevils! Haha.

calaguas island snorkelling

Now, I hate and refuse to admit this, but I was the only one there who didn’t know how to swim! ? Unlike my new friends who were actually good at it, there’s me, always appreciating the seashore and the white sand beach.

calaguas island white sand

Meanwhile, I took the risk either and joined them in this snorkeling activity that made me dive deep into the waters at about 50,000 feet (exaggeratingly)! I deserve a slow clap. LOL! Haha

calaguas island snorkeling

Since this island is one of the few gems of the Bicol region, here’s how you can get here even if you’re traveling alone, far away from Bicol, Philippines, or just want some plain directions:

From Manila…

  1. Book a bus (from Cubao or Pasay) or plane ticket going to Naga City. Travel time via bus is 8 hours, the plane is more or less 30-45 minutes. The terminal going to Daet is just at the back of SM City Naga mall.
  2. From Naga City, ride a UV Express Van going to Daet or take a bus. Since we were on a road trip back then, I suggest you just take a bus ride because there are Superlines which travels to Paracale directly. But if your bus or van is bound for Daet first, you can take a van going to Paracale after. That’s a 1-2 hour drive.
  3. If you availed of a travel package, a chartered boat going to Calaguas is readied for you. However, if not, you may hire one. That’s another 2-3 hours boat ride.

From Legazpi…

  1. Book a UV Express Van going to Naga City at the Legazpi Bus and Van Grand Terminal across SM City Legazpi mall. Travel time is 2-3 hours. The fare is Php 210.
  2. Next, proceed to the terminal going to Daet that’s just at the back of SM City Naga mall.
  3. Take step 2 from the Manila guide.
  4. Take step 3 from the Manila guide.

If you’re outside of the Philippines, wanting to experience this whole island adventure thing, just book a flight going to Manila and apply the same steps. Personally, I think it’s easier.

I could recommend you the travel agency they booked from, but I wasn’t there during the negotiation so I’ll just update this article if I ever get that.

Heads up, by the way!

There are going to be LOTS of “photo-bombers” out there called “boats” and “people” …to name drop a few. LOL. Also, there are no cellular signal and electricity on the island so you better charge your phones full-batt and text people that matter you won’t be able to keep in touch for how many days you’re staying.

There’s a generator that costs Php 50 ($1) for mobile charging though, but that’s only available during the night.

Here are some of my panoramic shots taken during our 3-days-2-nights vacation:

At the seashore…

calaguas island seashore

Trekking in the hills…

calaguas island hills

Sunset from the hilltop…

calaguas island sunset

Dusk at the beach…

calaguas island dusk

Day 2 Island Hopping…

calaguas island hopping

…although I kinda ruined the panorama shot here. LOL.

In conclusion, the scenery was amazing. Although the place was a bit crowded during the sunset, you can see folks of different skins and cultures scattered around, having the time of their lives too!

The whole trip all-in-all was worth Php 3,500 (that’s $70 in USD). Supposedly, it should be Php 2,500 ($50) including the gas contribution and fee, but we extended one more night hence the aforementioned.

Personally, my stay on the island was amazing except I really got sunburned. Thanks to my not-so stubborn mindset about sunblock lotions, I didn’t put on one because I’ve always thought to put on will just cease the burning sensation, and still get tanned nonetheless (which I dislike).

When I got burned, everything was awful! But I was able to get my skin color back in just two weeks using these new products I tried and tested. You can also read how I was able to do that in this article.

Overall, everything about this trip was amazing. For someone who has never traveled this far for an adventure and loved it, I think this kind of experience was worth it.

If only I hadn’t gone there with a heavy heart, I could have really enjoyed the trip to the fullest. Perhaps, next time with my main squad? Or maybe, with my new favorite person and/or family?

I’d really die for that!

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Party For A Cause: This Is Why You Shouldn’t Miss The Comeback Of #GetSoaked2018!

Party to save the ocean! Celebrate Legazpi City’s Ibalong Festival 2018’s fight against ocean pollution. Are you ready to #GetSoaked this August 18, 2018?