I have been itching to go to Calaguas ever since I read Chyng Reyes’ personal list of best beaches in the Philippines. Calaguas was first on the list. I looked for other blogs and pictures of Calaguas and I slowly fell in love with the place. The crystal clear blue waters and the white sand were calling for me. I originally planned to go last January for my birthday but it was moved and re-scheduled several times until I lost almost all hope of going there. Thankfully I had friends who were not daunted by the 10-hour travel to Calaguas and were not afraid to live without cellphone signal for 24 hours. Of the handful of people who expressed interest in going to Calaguas, only 3 of us actually experienced the place. We decided on a DIY approach and to make it the best adventure ever!
Shiela and Rhan were my travel companions. We all helped with planning our DIY Calaguas escapade. I created a Google spreadsheet where all the important details were stored, and we added and edited each others’ entries until we were satisfied with our plans. I love teamwork 🙂
The road to Calaguas:
We chose Superlines to take us to Paracale, Camarines Norte. Paracale was our jump off point going to Calaguas Island. We called the office a day before to confirm the schedules and we were advised to purchase our tickets as soon as possible. There were several schedules bound for Paracale, but almost all of them were fully booked. The 9:15 PM bus was the only one which had open seats left. On the morning of our departure date, I went to their Cubao Terminal on the southbound side to buy tickets. There were less than 10 seats available when I got there. I paid Php 515.00 for each ticket.
The seat numbers are strictly implemented by Superlines, so you don’t have to get there early to be assured of a seat. Just make sure to arrive before the departure time indicated on the ticket! I arrived just before 9 PM and I really appreciated the different waiting areas reserved for the passengers. When a bus arrives, the staff will immediately inform the passengers via megaphone where it is headed and what time it will leave so there is no confusion. We left a few minutes later than the original schedule, but it was our fault. Hehehe. Rhan was running late because of payday Friday traffic and I nicely asked the driver to wait a little longer.
It was a 9-hour drive so I got comfortable and immediately went to sleep. My 2 companions passed the time by talking about topics that ranged from K-Pop to politics. We stopped by around 2 AM at the Superlines terminal in Atimonan, Quezon. Rhan and Shiela alighted for a few minutes to eat lugaw. At around 5 AM, they ate again for an early breakfast. I had no idea all this was happening because I was happily sleeping. Hahaha!
I woke up around 6 AM just as we arrived in Paracale. We hailed a tricycle going to the market and looked for the R. Gomez meat stall where we were going to meet our boatman. While waiting, the 3 of us bought food and supplies that we would be needing for our overnight stay in Calaguas.
Mang Nelson (0909 525 9821) was our contact for our boat going to Calaguas. He introduced us to Mang Ruben (0912 978 4528) who became our boatman and guide. The standard rate for a boat for 3 passengers is Php 3,000. This was the biggest expense of our trip. We walked from the market to the port where Mang Ruben left us for a few minutes to get his supplies. I learned that the boatmen stay with their guests in Calaguas, so they can look after the guests and to save on gas. We ate breakfast in a carinderia while we waited for Mang Ruben. Other tourists were slowly arriving at the port but we were among the first to leave.
It is a 2-hour boat ride from Paracale port to Calaguas. You are left with nothing to do but savor the wind, water, sun and the views. The ride can get a little tiring but I promise you, the fatigue from the 9-hour bus and 2-hour boat ride will be forgotten once you get a glimpse of Calaguas. It really is a sight to behold. Continue reading