Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Exploring Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas, Camarines Norte

This is not a blog.
This is a photo album!
Kidding aside, a regular blog contains 8-10 pictures but this one has 67 pictures!
Yup, 67 pictures! Why 67 pictures?
It was Red Chuca's 25th birthday celebration in Calaguas and I promised myself that this will be the last time I will be going to Calaguas. Please do not get me wrong.
Calaguas is one of the best white-beach, crystal-clear water island destinations in the Philippines. But it's my third time to step on this island and I felt like I need to explore the other 7.100 islands in the Philippines. Next year (2016), part of my travel bucket list are the sandbars (Bohol, Iloilo, and Leyte) in the Philippines, the islands in the extreme north (Babuyan, Calayan, and Camiguin), and the islands of Palawan (Onuk, Balabac, Port Barton, and San Vicente).   

crystal-clear water of Calaguas
Anyway, again it was Red Chuca's birthday bash in Calaguas! Last year was in Jomalig and we had 44 participants and this year, we had only 20 participants. The numbers did not matter. Because both tours were extremely entertaining, fun, and full of surprises! Quoting my tour mate Ryan, "it was definitely a blast!" 

I tried my best to convince Red to have a part two of Jomalig. We even talked about placing it in Babuyan islands! But Calaguas turned out to be the best alternative. 


Red set the meeting place and time at EDSA-Buendia MRT station near Shell station at exactly 8:30 pm but we left past 9:30 pm since it was a Friday.

Paracale Port

How to get there (CALAGUAS)

By BUS
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 

BY VAN

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
Satisfaction Guaranteed! =)


Some tourists hire a van from Manila directly to Paracale.

Where to alight (in case of bus travel)? 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. 



BY PLANE
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have regular direct flights to Naga. 
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.


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
Donna - 0909-217-9966

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)

DAY 1


Going back to my photo album. 


After our death-defying and nerve wracking van travel to Paracale for almost 7 hours, we reached Paracale Port way ahead of the designated time (6 am). After our breakfast, Red, Francis, Rico and I headed to the market and bought the necessary supplies for the trip. We boarded the boat going to Calaguas past 6 am. 



Along the voyage, we passed the mining area in Paracale. They say gold can be mined in this place.



The boat ride was one of the best rides I've had this summer. The sea was calm, the sun was scorching hot and sky was painted blue.



Rico was excited!
I felt the excitement along the way. Even though it was my third time (second time this summer), every trip was memorable. 




After 30 minutes, some of my tour mates were already dozing off and were heading to dreamland. The last night's van travel was definitely felt and was making its repercussions.





On the other hand, at the end of the boat, Robz, AJ, Francis and I were busy consuming our leftover brandy from last night's drinking spree inside the van. It was 7 am and getting intoxicated early that day was not part of the plan. But what the heck! It was Red's birthday! =)





After nearly 2 hours, we arrived in Mahabang Buhangin. The sting of the brandy was felt by Robz, Francis and I when we were dragging the supplies and equipment along the shoreline towards our cottage.





Calaguas is a sight for a sore eyes! I will miss this place!





Calaguas has definitely changed! It has now cottages, comfort rooms and other amenities.



Red chose the part away from the beach since there were so many tourists that day so that we could have our peace and quiet atmosphere.



First part of the agenda was to cook our lunch and we helped in preparing our lunch.



Some of my tour mates chose to rejuvenate and relax for the long day ahead.


Exactly 12 noon, we were ready for our lunch! A rare event indeed. Usually, we will have our lunch around 1 pm. Hooray for our concerted efforts that day!




Before our first boodle fight, pictures/selfies please!





And the boodle fight started, concentrate muna sa food!


Red, standing

Red was greeted by everybody for his birthday that day. 



Adobo Journey (Red), Lakwatserong Kusinero (Francis) and Smart Backpacker (Jun)

Finally, I met Francis a.k.a. "Lakwatserong Kusinero".



The aftermath

After 20 minutes, the fight was over!





We let digestion take its normal course and after 25 minutes, we headed back to the beach!





Karinini Zee and MaCherie D'amour were kind enough to give me their jump shots along the stroll. 


Mahabang Buhangin



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





We tried our best! We took several jump shots and this shot was the best shot.





We were enjoying the waters of Calaguas!





How about an underwater shot!





A group shot!




After taking a dip in the beach, we took our merienda, pasta!
Buti na lang at birthday ni Red! =)
At this juncture, Angela and Kevin joined the tour.


Rico at the top of the mountain in Calaguas
Later that day, past 5 pm, Rico and I trekked and ascended on the upper part of Calaguas. A must-try adventure while you are in Calaguas. Guide fee was P100.




We waited for the sunset and enjoyed the scenery at the top of the mountain. Entrance fee was P20.





The tourists were definitely enjoying the scenery and landscapes of Calaguas.





Past 5:30 pm, sunset was unfolding.





But the clouds were also there to witness the sunset and it was not a good one after all. Fair enough.




We headed back to the beach and then went back to our cottages. Past 7 pm, Boodle Fight No. 2 erupted! Let's get it on guys! 





Dinner was enjoyed by everyone! Smiles were written in everybody's face!





But the finale that day was the most awaited! The drinking spree and socials.





Fruit punch was prepared by Red for his guests!





While the others were drinking, the others were swimming. Past 11 pm, I hit the sack.





DAY 2


I chose not to get drunk that night. Part of my plan was to trek the following day. I woke up 4:30 am, fixed myself, and took a light breakfast courtesy of Francis. I hired a guide (P200) for my trek that day. I also chose not to join any group because I know for a fact that my trek will be long, tiring, muscle-straining, and bone-breaking.





My first destination was the community in Calaguas. It took me only 12 minutes of brisk-walking and I reached the community and the port in Calaguas.





The port in Calaguas 





I took a couple of pictures and headed to Tinago.




The mangrove spot is one of my favorite spots in the trek because it is the only shelter I have against the sun. 





The terrain of the hills and mountains in Calaguas reminded me of Batanes. I miss Batanes!





The sight along the trek relaxed my aching feet but I did not mind it. I was enjoying the view! 





After 40 minutes of walking, we reached Tinago. Tinago is the other side of Calaguas.




Then, we headed back to our next stop.





I placed several pictures in this blog for you to have a feel of the trek in Calaguas. An activity that you should not miss while you are in Calaguas. This spot by the way is the best spot to have your sunrise viewing. Best time to have the trek is from 5 am - 9 am only.






We headed to the highest peak in Calaguas, the Evacuation Center.





I was losing my strength while ascending, the ascent was tough! 





But once you are at the top, again, your effort and pain will be compensated.





We headed towards the other side of Calaguas and a different view of the beach was seen.



Even the breathtaking landscapes were totally rejuvenating. Out of my excitement for the day's trek, I forgot to bring any water or energy drink.

  




Another view of Mahabang Buhangin from a different perspective.





Around 8 am, I arrived back to our cottage and after several minutes, breakfast was served.





Boodle Fight No. 3!




Majority of the group went back to the beach and enjoyed their swim while the rest took a respite in their hammocks.





Past 11 am, lunch was served. But this time it was not a boodle fight. 





Past 1 pm, we were onboard the boat en route back to Paracale Port. While Angela and Kevin stayed in Calaguas.





We arrived 4 pm and boarded the van back to Manila. 





I thought my blog was over. But we had to take our dinner and we stopped in Barangay Tabugon, Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte. 





While taking our dinner, I felt a bit of sadness. I know our tour was about to end. 
Along the route, we exchanged ghost stories. Robz's and Cherie's stories were the best. I supplied the entertainment part of making everyone laugh along the way. 



Past 12 am, Rico and I alighted in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. 
I bid everyone goodbye.

photo by Angela Un Panganiban
Persons who joined the tour
Red Chuca
Nrhico Garcia
MaCherie D'amour
Karinini Zee
Angela Un Panganiban
Kevin
Robz Reyes
Francis Reyes
Ailene De Leon
Judy Bautista
Marianne Felix
Rozelle Cipres Villanueva
Mark Alvin Fernadez
Sherile Palmira Guinto
Cons
Mark Mahilum
Van Morial
Ajan Mercado Virrey
Rye Yan
Jun Villegas

photo by Angela Un Panganiban


Quotes from Facebook about the trip =)


Thank you, Red! Boodle fights, tequila fruit punch, good friends, new friends, sunset swim chitchats, drinking session eavesdrop, firedance , gopro hoarding, van ride suicide, tambay in paradise, crystal clear waters, killer weekend! 
- Karinini Zee

Sabi nila, malungkot daw magtravel mag isa! 
Paano ko daw nagagawang magtravel mag isa??
I joined several group tours. Lately, one in Apo Reef and another in Calaguas.

It's MORE PAINFUL when the tour ends, you bid everybody goodbyes, and you wait for the next travel or worst year to see, mingle, and be part of their lives again! 
- Jun Villegas

Welcoming my 25th year with "Espesial".
This gonna be my special and golden year with x2 prosperities.
Thanks to @mannyagapay and @smartbackpacker
 - Red Chuca

Happy happy birthday Rolando Enverzo Chuca Jr. Aka Red!! We really really enjoyed the trip and non stop kulitan, tawanan and kainan:) ahahaha ahahaha ahahaha
Up to our next trip!
- Marianne Felix

Yes, we had sooo much fun!!! Thank you, Red for bringing us together!
 - Van Morial

Happy happy birthday Rolando Enverzo Chuca Jr. Aka Red!! We really really enjoyed the trip and non stop kulitan, tawanan and kainan:) ahahaha ahahaha ahahaha Up to our next trip!
- Rozelle Cipres Villanueva

Calaguas island - a stunning beach with crystal clear water and bluish skies, perfect for escaping the city life.
- Robz Reyes

When you have the island all to yourselves, you also have the niknik bites all to yourselves. The perks of island living.
- Angela Un Panganiban

As I ended the summer vacation, I can say that I really had a blast.. 😀😍
From meeting new friends, exchanging stories, sharing their escapades, hiking, bonding and of course one to sawang swimming... 🏊🏊
Indeed it's one of my best summer vacation. And my huling hirit sa tag-init this year! 😍👙🌊🏊
 -Sherile Palmira Guinto



HAPPY BIRTHDAY RED CHUCA!!! =)



8 comments:

  1. may package deal po ba pag van? like ksma na ung foods,accomodations and magkano po per person? thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try nyo po hanapin sa fb si Byaherong kusinero, sya po may tour sa Calaguas

      Delete
  2. pag dalawa kami tas hindi magrerent ng boat, saan po dapat? vinzons or paracale?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Iam planning to travel alone, is there anything you can recommend for a cheap accommodation in Calaguas? Thanks. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. hi,

    ano po yung resort kung saan kayo nagstay?.. yung may kubo po..

    regards

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi! just want to ask saang resort po kayo sa mahabang buhangin nag stay?? thank you!

    ReplyDelete