Thursday, April 17, 2014

Calaguas Islands of Camarines Norte [featuring Tinaga Island]

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Situated in the northern most part of the Bicol Region, lies the picturesque paradise of Calaguas. If Camarines Sur is known for Wakeboarding and Surfing, Camarines Norte is known for its unspoiled, turquoise water and white sand beaches. Calaguas is a term used to define a group of islands in the province of Camarines Norte which includes Guintinua Island, Maculabo Island, the famous Tinaga Island and other minor islands and islets.

As for this blog post, I'll be featuring the Tinaga Island also known as the "Mahabang Buhangin" which translates as long sand.

How to get there?
One way to go there is by bus. There are several bus lines which serves transport route going to Paracale. Superlines in Cubao, Quezon City is one of those bus lines. They have a direct route to Paracale but the last bus trip is only until 7:45 PM. If you miss the trip to Paracale (which happened to us), do not worry because you may take a bus going to Daet. Last trip of air conditioned bus is until 10:45 PM. The fare is 515 pesos per head and travel time is about 8 to 9 hours. Just inform the bus conductor to drop you at Talobatib at the town of Labo.  Alight at Talobatib, there are buses passing through it with a signboard of Paracale. Ride one of those buses. Fare is 25 pesos and it will take another 1 hour of bus ride.  As you reach Paracale, you need to hire a tricycle to take you at Paracale Port. It is only 10-15 minutes ride. Fare is 15 pesos per head. There's a wet market near Paracale Port so if you need to buy something like meat or fish as your food on the island, you may ask your tricycle driver if you can passed by the market first before going to the Port. From the port, boatmen of Paracale awaits that can take you to islands of Calaguas.

If you are not fond of super long travel by bus, another way is you can book a flight to Naga City and then take a bus going to Daet. It is approximately 2 hours of travel. Then from Daet take another bus going to Paracale and then follow the instructions above.

Boat ride going to Tinaga Island of Calaguas!

As we landed on Paracale Port, we were stopped by locals to go to the island of Calaguas. I believe they were officials of Paracale. It is because they established an association for the boatmen wherein rules are being implemented.The said association is just a week old and they facilitate the ratings of boat rental in the area:

Paracale Tourist Boat Operator Assn (PTBOA) Overnight Rating:
  • 4 Persons below > 3,000 PhP
  • 5-7 Persons > 4,000 PhP
  • 8-10 Persons > 6,000 PhP
  • 11-15 Persons > 8,000 PhP
  • 16-20 Persons > 12,000 PhP
  • 21 Persons > 15,000 PhP

We already contracted/hired a local boatman 3 weeks before our said trip and agreed to get his service at the price of 4,000 PhP for our group of 9 persons. The reason why they stopped us is because for a group of 9 persons we did got a boat in a low-ball (based on the new ratings stated above). But they can't blame us, we had an agreement before even before they've established their association. So in the end, they let us passed through and sail to Calaguas! Our contact person is Kuya Nelson (0909 525 9821) and the name of the boatman who toured us was Kuya Rolly. Well, I am not really in favor of the new established association. The price is too high compared to the old ratings but what else can I do? Good thing we had booked a boat earlier.

If you think that the long ride ends at the bus, well sorry to say but its not. In order to reach the Tinaga Island (Calaguas Islands most popular destination) you'll be spending 2 hours of boat ride. Hep Hep Hep... but you'll be entertained by the islands and islets along the way. Splash of water will also wake you up if ever you'll fall asleep. Yes, the boat ride tends to be bumpy and wavy so be ready to get wet along the way and wear a life vest for safety precaution.

An island along the way
HEAVEN on earth!

Every body were exhausted due to the lack of sleep and long travel but all of it were paid off and gone instantly as we come near Calaguas' Tinaga Island. We were all smiling and just stunned on its beauty. Now I know why it is called "Mahabang Buhangin" or long sand. It is because Tinaga Island's beach shore is a long stretch of fine white sand. It is actually a powdery white sand (they say, it is comparable to the sand of Boracay). I find the place perfect for beach bumming and camping.

Presenting, the Mahabang Buhangin Beach of Tinaga Island - Calaguas

After we've unloaded our things off the boat, we looked for the person who's in-charge in the nipa huts in the beach front. Then we met Tatay Bert of Bert's Calaguas Island Resort. He is the owner of one of the resort in the island, he owns nipa huts and provides tent rentals. There is also a Comfort room and a small convenient store in his area. There is no hotel yet in the islands of Calaguas. Visitors can either rent a hut (open-type or closed-type nipa hut),stay in tent, or just beach bum under the sun and moon!

Bert's Calaguas Island Resort Rating:
  • Open type nipa hut > 500 PhP
  • Closed type nipa hut (with 1 elevated room like) > 500 PhP
  • Tent (2-3 persons) > 300 PhP
  • Tent (4-5 persons) > 400 PhP
  • Tent Corkage > 100 PhP per tent
  • Comfort Room > 10 PhP per basin
  • Ihawan > 50 PhP
  • Entrance fee > 100 PhP per pax
Since we only have 1 tent, we planned to rent 2 more tents when we reach the island. But since the price of a Closed-type nipa hut is close enough if we rent a 4 persons tent, we decided to get the Closed-type nipa hut instead. It is more spacious and can accommodate our group very well. We also rented an "ihawan" as we bought raw liempo and hotdogs.

The Open-type and Closed-type nipa huts at Bert's Calaguas Resort

So after we changed on our beach attire (whut?), we started to cooked our food, prepared our lunch, we ate together, then rest just a little. What's next? Well of course, get ourselves wet and enjoyed this whole island experience!

Kulitan moment in the island :)
Trying to do something out of that sand :)

If I were to to describe the place, it is plain yet captivating. Plain in a way that you can only see nipa huts, few cottages, no electricity, trees, plants, mountains on both ends of the island, white sand and clear water. Captivating at the same time because of the same reasons. Who wouldn't fall in love with this place where one can enjoy splashing into the turquoise beach water, walk on that long stretch of fine white sand, and sit back while watching the sunset? Now tell me!!!

Time to relax
The long and white parking lot of Tinaga Island
Calm water and a great weather
Beachfront of Tinaga

By the way, there were no signal in the island (well, for Globe users like us. Smart? I don't know) but who needs signal? Why do I spend my time on my phone and surfing the net with all the view in front me, right? I'm in paradise! By having said that, with all the good stuff around me, of course I also took this chance to have a photoshoot with my modelesque friends :)

Survivor campaign ad Jing
Pola and her perfectly sun kissed skin
Still looking sharp here Anna :)

We've enjoyed too much swimming on the beach and taking group photos and selfies when we realized it's already getting dark. So some of us decided to get-off of the water to prepare our dinner. We had "Adobong Manok" and cooked another batch of liempo for dinner. Swimming makes us all tired and hungry so it was a chaos. Most of us ate using our hands to feel the back-to-basic vibes of this island vacation.

Sunset at Calaguas is priceless

After the war dinner, we had some chat while others took a shower. Then all went to sleep as we need to charge up. It has been a long, tiring yet super fun day. Plus, we still had another day at Calaguas ahead of us.

I set my alarm clock at 6 AM because I want to explore the other side of the island before we leave. Along with Mae and Edward, we went on one of the hill at the end part of the island. There is a 25 pesos fee if you want to trek up to the hill. The trek is pretty easy and would only take 5-10 minutes in order to reach its top. On top of it, you'll see the Mahabang Buhangin in bird's eye view. You'll surely appreciate more the beauty of this island. This is definitely a must try activity.

Other resort in the Island
He only used spoon to do this...
Mahabang Buhangin Beach on Bird's eye view
Neighboring island of Tinaga

When we went back to our hut, breakfast is already being served. So we jump along with the others and took our breakfast. It was already 8am when we bid farewell to the beautiful Tinaga Island of Calaguas as we will be heading next to Maculabo Island - another major island of Calaguas. But before that, we had a photo op with Tatay Bert and his family. They were so nice and hospitable, and treats all their guest with respect.

Just before we leave the island

Breakdown of Expenses (For this whole trip. Tinaga Island + Maculabo Island):
Bus (Superline: Manila to Daet) - 515.00 Pesos per pax
Bus (Talobatib to Paracale) - 25.00 Pesos per pax
Tricycle (Paracale to Paracale Port) - 15.00 Pesos per pax
Environmental Fee - 10.00 Pesos per pax
Boat (Paracale Port to Calaguas - Tinaga Island, 2 way) - 4,000.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 445.00 Pesos
Sidetrip (Tinaga Island to Maculabo Island) - 500.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 56.00 Pesos
Closed type Nipa Hut - 500.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 56.00 Pesos
Tent Corkage - 100.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 12.00 Pesos
Entrance Fee (Bert's Calaguas Resort - 150.00 Pesos per pax
Ihawan - 50.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 6.00 Pesos
Trek on the other side of Calaguas - 25.00 Pesons per pax
CR - **.**
Food - **.**

Click here to read the 2nd part of my Calaguas Adventure featuring Maculabo Island

26 comments:

  1. Do you have the contact numbers of Tatay Bert's Calaguas Island Resort?

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  2. Wow! The beautiful Calaguas! :) Sana makarating na rin ako dito. :)

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  3. Hi there, thank you for this very helpful information. May I please have Tatay Bert's number?

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    Replies
    1. Sorry but I don't have tatay bert's number. Also, there is no signal in the island.

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  4. Hi we're planning to go there this coming May 23-25. Do you think same price pa din yung mga fees?

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    Replies
    1. My answer would be Yes, but except for the price of the boat rental. If the association is still there then mababago ng malaki yung rentahan ng boat which depends on the number of people per group.

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  5. what if 2pax lang? 3k?? pricey much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the association is still there, I'm afraid to say pero ganun nga yung magiging price ng tour nyo for 2pax

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    2. Ask ko lang din sana po if may tents for rent, this blogger kasi says wala daw, mejo magulo lang....

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    3. Yup meron po. nailagay ko na po dito sa blog yung price ng tent rental nina Tatay Bert (owner ng Bert's Calaguas Island Resort)

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    4. Yun nga ehh, naguluhan lang ako kung meron b talaga o wala. Thanks for clearing that up.

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  6. I visited this Island twice last year and i had the same experience! thanks for sharing this. May i addyou to my blogroll?

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  7. Hi, we're planning to got to Calaguas this July. I just have some questions:

    Is there a camping fee/head if we bring tents? Or is it 100/tent?
    I read somewhere that they paid for Brgy fee, did you also pay that?
    If we stay at Tatay Bert's, do they have their own restroom and do we need to pay to use the restroom or if we need freshwater?

    Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you'll be staying at tatay bert's and you have your own tent, you'll be paying 100 pesos per tent as a tent corkage. They also have their own restroom and payment is measured per "timba" or pail

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  8. Is that Anrie Sato, cosplayer? hahaha.

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  9. Hi, sir. Clarify ko lang, round trip (Paracale to Tinaga Island and vice versa) na ba yung boat fare rates per group of pax? Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yung 4k na boat rental, group rate na po un and two way na

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  10. Hi! Good photos you got there. Hope you don't mind me asking ano gamit mong camera? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Im using here my canon 60d.

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  11. UPDATED 2016 BOAT RENTAL GOING TO CALAGUAS ISLAND BEACH. VERY AFFORDABLE PRICE FOR INQUIRIES JUST CONTACT US @ 09486793920, 09471109451, 09186268547.or LOOK ATE NELDZ & BABY, TNX MUCH

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi! Sharing also our experience in Calaguas: http://frankcessroadtoinfinity.blogspot.com/2016/03/2d1n-calaguas-camarines-norte.html

    Sobrang ganda!

    ReplyDelete

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