Thursday, May 14, 2015

Backpackers' Bicol Escapade 2015

Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Island

The plan was to go only to Calaguas. 
But because of typhoon Dodong, we had to change our plan. 
We are supposed to be 12 persons going to Calaguas.
But we ended up only four in our escapade.
Nothing will stop us but we had to wait.
And our patience was rewarded!


Day 0

The planning for the trip started 2 weeks earlier. Our group was excited that the next destination was Calaguas. We engage in this yearly travel during summer and if my memory serves me right, this was our 4th year of traveling as a group. Last year's destination was El Nido, Palawan. Since our destination was only Bicol, we got the numbers that we needed for the tour. 

Unfortunately, to make the story short, we ended up with only 4 persons. But we still decided to go to our destination. It was due to the fact that Typhoon Dodong was already in the Philippine area of responsibility.

How to get there (CALAGUAS)

A. From Buendia, Pasay, or Cubao ride a bus (preferably DLTB, or Superlines) going either to Daet or Naga City. Travel time is 8-9 hours depending on the traffic in San Pablo City and Sariaya. Fare is around P513.00 (ordinary aircon) or P650 (Executive class). You have two options were to alight. 

Terminal in Buendia is in LRT-Taft station.

Terminal in Pasay is near Winston Hotel or Sogo Hotel.

Terminal in Pasay is near Ali Mall or Farmer's.

The best terminal is in Pasay since both the DLTB buses in Buendia and Cubao pass through the Pasay Terminal.


Daily trips to Bicol (Pasay Terminal)

First trip - 9:00 am - Legazpi - Regular Aircon 
3:30 pm - Matnog / Bulan - Regular Aircon
6:00 pm - Naga / Lepazpi - Regular Aircon (P810)
7:00 pm - Tabaco - Regular Aircon
7:30 pm - Naga/Iriga/Nabua - Deluxe bus with CR (P1,100) 
8:00 om - Naga - Regular Aircon (P650)
8:30 pm - Legazpi - Deluxe bus with CR (P1,100)
Last trip - 9:00 pm - Legazpi - Regular Aircon

Daet trips
8:30 pm - Regular Aircon (P516)
9:30 pm Deluxe (P650)
During peak season, they have a 9:00 pm trip 

Where to alight? You have two options.

Option 1 - Daet - Take the van going to Paracale. The terminal of the van is in the Daet market near the church and the cost is P180.00. Travel time is approximately 1 hour (there is another port in Vinzons).

Option 2 - Alight at Talubatibo, Labo (crossing going to Paracale), hire a tricyle for P300 OR wait for the bus going to Paracale (every 30-40 minutes). Travel time is 30 minutes only.

If you are traveling alone, it's better to go to Daet and pay the P180 or wait for the bus.



But if you are traveling with your friends, it's better to hire the tricycle and divide the amount of fare with your friends. 

Some tourists hire a van from Manila directly to Paracale.

RAV Transportation Services
Van for Hire
Derick Villegas
0998-545-0016
0917-504-0770
(043) 778-4657
(043) 703-0435
Facebook: RAV Electronic Services
Address: 938 Brgy. Darasa, Tanauan City, Batangas 4232

Transportation / Tour services to any point of Luzon
Brand New Foton Traveller vehicles available
Equipped with GPS, wifi, videoke, RFID, Sky TV
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B. From Naga City (in case you opted using the plane) or in case you are coming from CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC), go to LCC Mall terminal for the van going to Daet. From Naga City to Daet is 2 hours and the fare is P180.00. First trip is 5 am and the last trip to Date is 8 pm. Then reaching Daet, take the van going to Paracale. Travel time to the port is 1 hour.

From Daet,  board the van going to Paracale. 

What port? There are two choices!

There are two ports going to Calaguas Island, namely the Paracale Port and the Vinzons Port. Travel time in Paracale port to Calaguas Island is 1.5 hours. Travel time from Vinzons to Calaguas Island is 2-3 hours.

Better choice is the Paracale Port.  But if you are traveling in a big group (i.e 10-20 pax), Vinzons port is the better choice.

Suppose you are traveling alone, the boat ride in the public transport boat (not the boat rent) in Vinzons is only P500.

Hire a boat going to Calaguas Island (the fee includes the island hopping).

PARACALE PORT Contact pax and nos. -
Mang Boy - 0908-546-0683
Sam - 0920-803-1510
Rizza - 0948-362-4616 / 0910684-3649

Small boat (1-3 pax) P1,200 - 1, 500
Big boat (5-10 pax) P2,500 - P3,000
Bigger boat (20-25 pax) - P5,000 - P6000

VINZONS PORT
Kagawad Biboy - 0947-533-6543 / 0999 585 6560

Smaller boats are available in Paracale.
Bigger boats are available in Vinzons.

Place to stay in Vinzons - Mac Resort (0919 400 2659)


ATV Ride in Albay
But instead of going to Calaguas, we agreed to go to Legazpi. The bus in Pasay left 10 pm and Nikko, Lester and Jen waited in DLTB Terminal in Turbina, Calamba for about an hour before the bus arrived. They boarded the DLTB bus and we arrived in Daet around 6 am. Upon arrival, we went to the van terminal, boarded the van and went to Naga. We traveled for almost 2 hours and the fare was P180. Reaching Naga, we took our breakfast and boarded another van going to Legazpi. Travel time from Naga to Legazpi was 1 hour 45 minutes but the fare was only P140.

Day 1

We alighted in Daraga, Albay. We had three choices for our accommodation, namely: Goldcrest, Rosewood and Avia Inn. We chose the latter. The prices of the room for the 3 hostels are almost the same. The cheapest rate for a single person is 300 (non-aircon) and P500 (aircon). But we rented an  aircon room good for  4 pax for P1,100 (with extra bed).


How to get there (LEGAZPI / ALBAY)

OPTION 1 - BY BUS
From Buendia, Pasay, or Cubao ride a bus (preferably DLTB or Superlines) going  to Legazpi. Travel time is 9-10 hours Fare is around P810.00 (ordinary aircon) or P1,100 (Deluxe). 


Daily DLTB trips to Legazpi (Pasay Terminal)

First trip - 9:00 am - Legazpi - Regular Aircon 
6:00 pm - Naga / Lepazpi - Regular Aircon (P810)
8:30 pm - Legazpi - Deluxe bus with CR (P1,100)
Last trip - 9:00 pm - Legazpi - Regular Aircon

OPTION 2 - BY PLANE
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have regular direct flights to Legazpi.


BUT It was raining! Signal number one was in Legazpi!
Nothing can stop us from having this tour! But we waited for the rain to subside.

We hired a tricycle for three destinations.

Mang Paul (0921 658 5434)
Cagsawa Ruins - P200
Hoyop-hoyopan Cave - P300
Lignon Hill - P50




There are two ways to go to Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave.
Option # 1 - Hire a tricycle for P600-700 and see the Hoyop-hoyopan and the Bat Cave.
Option # 2 - Ride a jeep to Camalig (P20.00) and then rent a tricycle to the cave (P250.00) 


While in Legazpi or Albay, try to visit the century-old churches. But due to lack of time, we were not able visit the churches.


Daraga Church

Due to bad weather and bad road conditions. The spelunking was canceled and we went to Cagsawa Ruins. Upon arrival, we hired the ATV Ride to Mt. Mayon.

Rates
3 hours (20 kilometers) - P1,800
1 hour ( 5 kilometers) - P700

We chose the Black Lava Tour of 3 hours. 





We were given quick instructions on how to handle the ATV and after 5 minutes, we found ourselves cruising towards Mt. Mayon. Everybody was excited!


The best part of the atv ride was the long, winding and heart-pumping river crossings!


There was Typhoon Dodong in the area but still decided to have fun! Along the route I was wondering if there would be a flash flood since we were crossing rivers. I just told myself that they (organizers) were in the better position to know.

  
 And out of nowhere, IT RAINED!
The trail was a bit slippery but it added the thrill to the ride!

Nikko catching up with trek
After 1 hour and 15 minutes, we reached the base and paid P50 for the environmental fee. We immediately trekked the top of the black lava.

Less than 10 minutes of trekking, we arrived at the helipad at the top of black lava.


We took our souvenir pictures and after 15 minutes, we decided to descend.


This ATV Ride is a must when you are in Albay!



After the ATV ride, we went to Cagsawa Ruins. The typhoon affected our view of Mt. Mayon. But we were still excited to see Mt. Mayon!




Under normal days, this how Mt. Mayon looks like from Cagsawa Ruins.


Nikko, Jen and Lester were all smiles at the Cagsawa Ruins.


We hired a trike ride to Legazpi for P150 to see the Lignon Hill. Entrance fee is P20 and the trek to the top was good for 15 minutes. 



We stayed only at the top for 5 minutes and we descended. We were able to find an eat-all-you-can resto in Legazpi for only P199. We went back to Daraga and called it a night.


Day 2

The following morning we woke up 3 am in order to catch up the 4 am bus ride back to Naga. This time the plan was to go to Caramoan and catch the 7 am trip.


How to get there (CARAMOAN)

From Manila, by bus
Take a bus in Buendia, Pasay or Cubao (preferably DLTB, near Superlines) going to Naga City, Bicol. Travel time is 9-10 hours. Once you are in Naga City, go to SM Naga City terminal of Sabang and board a van going to Sabang Port.

First trip of van is 4:00 am. Travel time to Sabang is 1.5 hours. Last trip is 7 pm. Fare is P100.00 only. Van will not depart unless they have the complete number of passengers. 

From Manila, by plane
Once you are in Naga City, go to SM Naga City terminal of Sabang and board a van going to Sabang Port.

From CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) in Pili, take a habal-habal or tricycle ride to SM Naga City. Then, follow the procedure stated at SM Naga City. Fare is P100.00 and travel time is 10 minutes from CWC to SM Naga City.

Along the way, you will pass Tigaon, San Jose and then, Sabang. From Tigaon to Sabang port, travel time is 30 minutes.

There are two options on how to go to Caramoan.

Option 1 - SABANG PORT
At Sabang Port, first trip going to Caramoan is 5:30 am and the last trip going to Caramoan is around 1-2 pm.

Fare in the boat is P120.00 and travel time is 2 hours.

There is another port called the Nato Port. But this port is for Ro-Ro ships while Sabang is for pumpboats. Pumpboats are faster than Ro-Ro.

Last trip from Caramoan port to Sabang port is 1 pm.

After 2 hours, you will dock at the Caramoan Port. Hire either a habal-habal (1-2 pax only) or a tricycle (4-6 pax). Fare in the habal-habal is P150.00. While the tricycle fare is P300 for the trip itself.

OPTION 2 - BY LAND VIA RAYMOND BUS

Travel time is 4 hours and the fare is P300. The Raymon bus terminal is in Naga Bus Terminal near SM Naga.


NAGA TERMINAL
7 am - aircon - P300
1 pm  - aircon - P300
2 pm - ordinary - P250
1 and 1:30 pm - aircon - P300

CARAMOAN TERMINAL
5 am - aircon - P300
7 am - ordinary - P250
11 am - Cubao/Alabang - P250
12 noon - aircon - P300

Van terminal to Caramoan at the back of SM Naga near St. Joseph College 
We missed the bus! 

We arrived in Naga 7:30 am and we had to change our plan.




We hired a trike ride to CWC (CamSur Watersports Complex) for P200. This time the plan was ti experience wake boarding! Wake boarding fee is P125 per hour, P50 for the gear and deposit of P500.

Lester's first attempt
 And they enjoyed the wake boarding for 2 hours.


They definitely enjoyed it! =)


Past 1 pm, we went back to Daet. Fare back from Naga to Daet was P180. After 1 hour and 30 minutes, we reached Daet. We were in dilemma on what port are we going to use for our Calaguas  adventure, Paracale or Vinzons?

We decided to go to Vinzons. From the Daet van terminal, we hired a trike ride to Vinzons. Travel time was 18 minutes and the fare was P150.



We immediately hired our ride. Normally, the public boat transport is P500/pax and the first trip is slated to leave 9 am. But we did not have the luxury of time to wait. We hired a big boat. 


Rates of the big boat
P5,500 - Calaguas
P1,000 - with island hopping
P6,500 - total 
( we were given a discount of P500)


VINZONS PORT
Kagawad Biboy - 0947-533-6543 / 0999 585 6560


Smaller boats are available in Paracale.

Bigger boats are available in Vinzons.




Place to stay in Vinzons - Mac Resort (0919 400 2659)


Tata Midoy (owner of Mac Resort), was kind enough to treat us for dinner and a couple of cold beers.

Previous to the drinking spree, we had to go to the marketplace and buy our food  for our trip to Calaguas.

Day 3 

The following morning, we woke up 4 am and past 5 am we were already on board the boat and cruising our way to Calaguas Island.



We were passing the Vinsons river and the sun was about to rise.


Along the route in Sabang, we witnessed the sunrise.


After 1 hour and 45 minutes, we reached Mahabang Buhangin. Normally, the travel time is 2-3 hours. Burt since we used a big boat, we arrived ahead of time. We took our breakfast aboard the boat.


Typhoon Dodong created a miracle. There was only 1 boat in the island. And there were no tourists in the island. We were the only tourists on the island. Calaguas was ours that day!

 

Calaguas has changed. Three years ago there were no huts, cottages, accommodations or even toilets in the island. Now, it is slowly changing for which I express my disapproval. Three years from now and Calaguas will no longer be the paradise island I once dreamed of. I hope the development of the island will cease and let the island stay as it was.


About three years ago, there was only one public toilet that was shared by the tourists. Now, you have a modern toilet complete with tissues ad flush bowls.


While Nikko, Lester and Jen were busy frolicking under the sun and enjoying the clear green waters of  Calaguas, I hired a boy to guide me to the hill.



After 20 minutes of ascending, I reached the top of the hill and was mesmerized by the aerial view of the island.


 

The locals call it "malaking bato" (big rock) ans that is the perfect place for your souvenir picture of the entire island.



After staying for 20 minutes, I decided to descend. The hill is also the best part to watch the sunset and the sunrise according to mu guide. I gave the boy P100.

Nikko and Lester decided to buy a lobster and they enjoyed their sumptuous lunch.


After lunch, we started our island hopping! 



First stop - Balagbag Malaki


Second stop - Balagbag Maliit



We docked at this island and took our souvenir pictures! This is the best island!


 You will love the scenic views and landscapes in this island.
Its crystal-clear waters will surely entice you to swim.


Third stop - Pangkawayan



Fourth stop - Kagtalisay



Fifth stop - Pinagkastilyuhan


 

This is the best spot for your snorkeling needs.


Thereafter, we went back to Vinzons.

You can take your shower in the island or in Vinzons.



We took our shower in Vinzons, fixed ourselves, ate halo-halo in town and boarded the bus back to Manila.

Our Bicol Escapade 2015!
Simply AMAZING!!!! =)


Major Expenses
P1,700 - round trip fare Manila - Daet
P1,700 - ATV Ride
P1,500 - sharing sa boat


ABOUT CALAGUAS
There are already accommodations.
Tent is the cheapest (P300)
Better to bring your own tent, hammock or sleeping bag.
Better to bring and cook your own food.
Bring your own water, drinks and supplies.
It has toilets.
Try Makalubo Island.
No signal in  the island.
Go to the other side of the island called - Tinago Island



25 comments:

  1. Thank you for this informative entry Sir!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome Avi! Gala naman tayo minsan hahahaha

      Delete
    2. Very Nice.. You are amazing Jun!!!! Take Care...............

      Delete
  2. Anu po masa-suggest nyo for 2 to go to Calaguas?
    What to bring and also for food prepartion?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://junvillegas.blogspot.com/2015/06/exploring-mahabang-buhangin-calaguas.html

      Please read =)

      Delete
    2. http://junvillegas.blogspot.com/2013/03/calaguas-island.html

      Please read this also =)

      Delete
    3. Thank you po dito, Sir. Pwede ko po ba kayong maimbitahang maisulat ito sa magazine namin?

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello po. Question lang po, required po ba ung atv to reach cagsawa ruins? Group of hikers po kami so gusto sana nming ihike un. Thanks po. 😊

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello po. Question lang po, required po ba ung atv to reach cagsawa ruins? Group of hikers po kami so gusto sana nming ihike un. Thanks po. 😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pwede nyo hine, coordinate lang kayo sa local municipal office

      Delete
    2. You can simply ride a jeep and then walk

      Delete
  6. Hello. I'm from Albay po. Di mo na man po kailangang maghire ng ATV to reach cagsawa ruins. Jeep lang po and konting lakad, makakarating ka na,

    ReplyDelete
  7. hello.. may I know ano po ok na resort na pa stayan sa calaguas? yung CR na modern? san po yun? thank you! my fam plans to go there this May, kasama parents ko. di sila pede sa tent so I'm looking for a good resort? wala akong makita sa net ng list e.. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May mga cottages naman po kayo makikita sa island. You juts have to come early po or reserve it sa boat nyo the day prio to your arrival. Yung boatman po ang magpapareserve.

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  8. Informative..hoping to reach this place

    ReplyDelete
  9. Informative..hoping to reach this place

    ReplyDelete
  10. may I know if the 500 pesos boat fare is good for roundtrip?
    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hope we can visit the place this summer vacation. I love riding ATVs! Thanks for sharing your trip!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice informative and you got all the budget. thanks

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  14. CHEAP BOAT RENTAL TO CALAGUAS ISLAND AT MAHABANG BUHANGIN BEACH THIS SUMMER SEASON. PLEASE TEXT US 09186268547 OR 09468919996 & LOOK JEN. THANKS

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete