I said I’d go back.
Calaguas Island was not just a place that you would visit only once. It’s a paradise that once was not enough. Last April 2016 was the first time I set foot in this beautiful island. It was where I first saw a milky way. It was my first time camping. And it had one of the most beautiful sunrise and sunset. Who wouldn’t love to see those again?
This time, it was June 2017 and I went there with my co-officemates/friends. And I knew, I’d enjoy it much better than the first time.
Nica and I made sure that everything was set before the date of the trip. The food, the accommodation, the transportation and of course, the weather. After all, June was the start of rainy season. Yikes.
So, first off: the preparation.
We wanted our trip to be as smooth as it could, so I read lots of blogs about diy-ing Calaguas just to search for the right kind of package upon arriving at the place. I found one of the most recommended, ate Baby. The package she offered to us was cheap and truly music to our ears. It included the boat, meals on the island, tent accommodation and unlimited access to toilet. She’s located at Paracale which most blogs told that had expensive boat rides, so they preffered Vinzons more.
: the travel
Camarines Norte was no joke when it came to travel time. It’s an 8-10 hour ride and to tell you honestly, it could be butt numbing. The good thing about it was how smooth it was, probably because the driver was already familiar with the road. Though somewhere in Quezon it rained, hard. We feared that upon arriving in Paracale, it would be the same.
We’re an hour away from arriving when we encountered a little problem along the way. There was a traffic that made us think that maybe, the road was closed or worse. Since it rained most of the nights, we couldn’t help but think that this was going to go down the drain just because we couldn’t go to the island.
After almost ten minutes, the car ahead of us started again and we sighed in relief as we went closer to our destination.
When we’re finally at Paracale, we met up with ate Baby and informed her that we would be having breakfast first since the travel exhausted us (even though all of us were asleep). She mentioned that another group was with us in the boat so we had to hurry since we’re also following a schedule.
By the time we were done, the other group was already in the boat.
: the island
The boat ride was much shorter than the first time I went there. Compared to my first experience, it was a smooth sail and all my worries that we would get truly wet disappeared.
Since it was raining all evening, the weather at the island seemed a bit low. No sunshine and gloomy skies, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the weekend.
Of course after settling in our area, we changed and hit the beach.
Regardless of how gloomy the weather was, we still enjoyed each other’s company while swimming and laughing. We chit chat about random things and just didn’t mind that it might started raining again.
There was this kid swimming near us and he was holding this cup with water. We approached him and asked what was in it and saw that it’s something like a crab and a starfish.
The first few hours were just all about swimming, really.
When lunch came around, we headed back to our kubo and waited for our food. We saw the food that ate Baby’s team were serving in the other group, and it’s making us starve. It was a full meal and our stomachs couldn’t be any happier.
After getting our stomachs’ full, it’s time for… siesta time!!!
It could also mean, more time to explore the island, swim some more or just lie around and enjoy the place. For us, we just had to sleep, in any kind of position. Sleep took over quick and by the time, we woke up, it’s already time for island hopping.
It took us at least 5 to 10 minutes before actually setting foot in Balagbag Island. The reason was that there were boats in front of ours and we couldn’t squished in. The landing area was a bit small that we had to wait until the others were done.
The first time I saw Balagbag Island, we were dropped off on the other side so we got to explore all of it. And it didn’t have those locals selling something and the almost finish nipa huts. It was really virgin at the time, just nothing but pure green and land.
We took some photos as we went up. Here and there and everywhere. It was fun, seeing that most of us were first-timers. FYI, the weather was still gloomy.
If you’re planning to take a photo upon reaching the top, you have to actually wait before it gets people-free. Weather might had been gloomy, but the sky was clear, indicating that no rain would ever come.
We didn’t have much time to explore the whole island. We only had 30 minutes to roam around, which was not enough. We could’ve been to the other side and it offered a lovely view as well. Regardless, we pretty much enjoyed what we’d seen.
Next thing we did was snorkeling.
It was past 4 pm and I was wishing that somehow the sun would show up for the sunset. But as we kept on swimming and watching fishes, I realized that there would be no sunset for the trip, which was kind of a letdown since I was looking for it again.
When we returned to the island, some of us decided to get change and just relax for the evening. Ruby, Nica and I decided otherwise. We headed back to the beach and enjoyed night swimming.
By the time we got back to our kubo, they had finished eating. Like what we had for lunch, we had a bunch of food served for us.
Everyone was exhausted and called it a night too early, while some of us drank the night away.
Day 2 called for sunrise watching and more swimming before we headed back to the mainland.
Though, funny thing was, we didn’t get to catch sunrise since we all woke up a little late. I wanted to see it again but again, it’s a letdown that upon arriving at the top of the mountain, it was already up in the sky.
All in all, it was still a fun and enjoyable trip. I was still waiting for that perfect visit where everything was just in perfect place. Maybe third visit’s the charm?
Some tips and reminders when visiting Calaguas Island:
- There is no signal, so make sure to tell that to your loved ones. We don’t want them worrying, right?
- Electricity is limited.
- Be ready to sleep in a tent.
- Some CRs have unlimited use of water (like what we had), while you have to pay for Php 10-20 per bucket for some.
- Make sure you catch sunrise and sunset, they’re truly beautiful.
- Try to wake up as early as 4 am, maybe you’ll get to see starry sky.
- Enjoy what the island has to offer.
Calaguas video here.