Looking for a white sand beach in Philippines? Look no more, Calaguas or “Mahabang Buhangin” (long beach) is the best beach in the Philippines in my opinion. It’s located in the Bicol Region of Luzon, Camarines Norte. It’s 9-10 hours away from Manila by land and sea, approximately 5 hours by air. Long travel yes, but it’s worth it trust me. It is better than Boracay yes. Bora is just too touristy and too commercialized. Don’t get me wrong, I like Boracay but I like Calaguas better. It’s so pretty and pure unadulterated paradise! It has pristine beach, turquoise sea, unspoiled natural resources and no cellphone signal. Yup you read that right! If you don’t want to be bothered by your boss, your nagger girlfriend or any annoying person in your life, this is the perfect getaway for you! Well not for life, just for 2 days. Haha! 🙂 How to get to Calaguas from Manila? By Air: 1. Book a flight to Naga, Camarines Sur. There are regular commercial flights via Cebu Pacific, PAL or Zest Air. The travel time is approximately 50 minutes from Ninoy Aquino Airport to Naga Airport. 2. From Naga City, look for the van terminal going to Daet, it’s 2 hours drive. Servicing trips are from 5AM (earliest) to 7PM (latest). 3. From Daet, take a jeepney ride to Vinzons fish port. You can hire a boat (banca) to Calaguas Islands for Php2500- 3000 ($57-68). Use your haggling skills. It would take approximately 2 hours from the fish port to Calaguas.
By Land: 1. Take a bus from Pasay or Cubao. Philtranco, Superlines and DLTB. Bus fare ranges from P500-800 ($12-18). Approximately 8-10 hours away depending on the service you take. 2. Follow the steps 2 and 3 from “By Air”. We booked through a travel agency called Calaguas Local (firstname.lastname@example.org) and paid Php3100 ($71) All-in. It’s a promo package, normally they charge for Php3600 ($83) Here’s the suggested itinerary from them: Day 1
6pm-9pm – pick-up time in Manila
9:00 pm – departure Manila-Daet/Paracale, Camarines Norte
06:00 am – (ETA) arrival and breakfast in Daet/Paracale
07:00 am – Boat ride to Calaguas from Vinzons/Paracale port, Cam Norte
10:00 am – Island arrival (set-up camp)
12:00 nn – Island Lunch
06:00 pm – Island Dinner
07:00 pm – Socials
07:30 am – Breakfast
08:30 am – clean camp
09:00 am – leave Calaguas
12:00 nn – (ETA) Daet
12:30 pm – Bagasbas beach lunch
1-3 pm – guests may opt to do basic surf lessons
03:00 pm – departure to Manila
11:00 pm – Manila arrival
Where to stay in Calaguas? Like I said, it’s a virgin island so there is no fancy hotel or any accommodation in the island. The travel agency brought big tents for us. One tent is big enough for 2-3 persons. They also set up a hammock between two trees but you can always lay in the sand using your beach towel or beach cover-up like what we did.
Things to do in Calaguas
- island hopping
- play frisbee or flying disc
- sun bathing
- star gazing
- surfing in Bagasbas beach
- explore other islands in Camarines Norte:
- Mercedes Group
- check out some water falls in Labo
- visit old churches:
- St Peter Apostle in Vinzons
- St John the Baptist in Paracale
- Spelunking in Mt. Cadig Cave in Labo
- Head south and explore Caramoan’s wake park (CWC)
- Peak season is from March-June. The best time to go is during summer.
- Bring a waterproof bag coz you will get wet from the boat ride from the fish port to Calaguas.
- Since there is no electricity in the island, I recommend that you charge your music player, camera, cellphone, tablet and other gadgets before you go to the island. You’re not gonna use your phone anyways coz there’s no signal but you can use it to take pictures.
- There’s a restroom in the island but no flush. You have to fetch a pail of water if you’re gonna use it.
- There are fireflies in Calaguas, please don’t take pictures with flash coz it would blind or kill them
- You can relax in the cottages but be sure to bring insect repellent lotion or spray coz there are some bugs there.
- Come in a weekday if you want the island for yourselves
- first aid kit
- insect repellent lotion or spray
- volleyball, frisbee or playing cards
- camera and extra batteries
- sunglasses and hat
- board shorts and rash guard for surfing
- drinking water coz the one the travel agency provided taste different
- powerbank and speaker