Discovering Mahabang Buhangin of Calaguas
The first time I saw Calaguas online, I was eager to go there and explore it with myself. So after months of planning and looking for perfect dates, finally the long wait is over! It’s time for me to uncover the beautiful beaches of Camarines Norte.
Calaguas is a group of islands in the Philippine province of Camarines Norte. It includes the following islands: Tinaga Island, Guintinua Island, Maculabo Island and several other minor islands. Most of the islands are under the administrative jurisdiction of Vinzons, Camarines Norte while the minor island of Maculabo is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Paracale, Camarines Norte. The famous long beach called Mahabang Buhangin is located in Tinaga Island. There are no accomodations available so better bring a camping tent and experience its powdery white sands.
Going to Calaguas from Manila
Since our trip is during the Holy Week, we expected bus companies to be fully booked. We booked our tickets 1 week prior to our travel date, good thing Amihan Busline had still available seats for us, the bus ticket cost PHP 580 per person one way. (TIP: Better buy tickets as early as 2 weeks prior to your departure date). We left Manila at 8:30 PM, and it took us 8 hours to get to Daet.
Since we didn’t have tickets yet going to Manila, we went to Daet first and see if we can buy ticket back to Manila. Unfortunately, the office is still closed (Oo nga naman, 5AM pa lang!). So we went to Daet Centro / Market and buy some goodies and foods for our trip. Once were done, we took our breakfast first at the nearby eatery. The minimum tricycle fee in Daet is PHP 8.00 per person.
At 7:00 AM, from Daet we rode a tricycle going to the bus terminal bound to Paracale. It was a slow bus ride to Paracale, expect to have numerous stop overs. We arrived at Paracale at 9:00 AM and called Mang Nelson (09203179315). While waiting for Mang Nelson, we contacted Amihan Bus Line to ask if there are still available seats back to Manila tomorrow and asked to reserve it for us. The person from Amihan Busline told us to call us tomorrow to check if there are still available seats.
Moving on, when I contacted Mang Nelson few days prior to our trip, he told us that he had no more available boat that can take us to Calaguas so I asked him if he can help us look for a boat that can accommodate our trip. Thanks to Mang Nelson, such a good man! He fetched us at the market and took us to the docking area / port. The port is more of a fish port. 🙂
The boat fee costs PHP 3,000, round trip with a side trip to Kumalasag and Makulabo Island. We didn’t haggle the price anymore since it’s Holy Week (some boatmen I contacted charged us PHP 3,500 and PHP 4,000). By the way, there are already life vests provided. Mang Mario was our boatman plus 5 local young ones, whose seems to be the boatman’s assistants.
Thanks to my officemate and ex-officemates, if it wasn’t because of them I will not be able to experience Calaguas (sila lang kasi sumakay sa trip ko sa Calaguas and most of my friends have worked during Holy week). I also brought my best friend during the trip. 🙂
Boat Ride to Calaguas
No boat canvas (tarpaulin) to cover us, no sunblock yet = sunburn! It was a long boat ride to Mahabang Buhangin, the waves are somehow scary but it was nothing compared to the waves when I went island hopping in Guimaras. The boat ride took us 2 hours going to Mahabang Buhangin. We were amazed of how the water was, it’s turquoise. Parang toothpaste lang sabi ng kasama ko!
We got excited as we approached the shore of Mahabang Buhangin. As expected, there are numerous campers but it was OK! When the boat docked, the baranggay officer and caretakers approached us. They discussed us the fee and so forth. An environmental fee for PHP 120.00 per guest (which will go to the baranggay) and a parking fee for the boat (PHP 50.00 – cost of the boatman).
At the left side of the island (fronting the shore) are travelers from Melvic Tour package while us on the middle and others on the right side (fronting the shore) are DIY travelers. There are group of travelers set to leave that day, which means only us and the other small group will be left in the mid part, which is a good thing! Plus we have a very accommodating and kind care taker, Ate Rose!
There are shelter, tables, poso and wash room available in the area but don’t expect too much from the washroom. There’s a fee of PHP 10.00 per pale of water, as well as for tables and shelter but I forgot how much. By the way, if you have plans to cook your food here, better bring charcoal and find woods. There is also a sari-sari store nearby but not everything is in there. By the way, here’s where the washrooms are, we called it The Ruins. 🙂
It was already 2:00 PM and we haven’t had our lunch yet so we placed our things first at the shelter since the group who will leave that day is not yet leaving. It’s Holy Week so no meat for the entire trip. We had fruits, eggplant, ensalada, canned tuna and fish to grill.
After an hour, our food are set. We ate, and it was a satisfying late lunch for us. Afterwards, when the second batch of rice has been cooked, we asked the boatman and his assistants to eat.
When the group left the island, we set our camping tent and placed our bags inside. We rented the table near our tent and had our foods placed there.
When everything was set, we washed and had sunblock on (too late, sunblock!).
At 4:00 PM, we roamed the entire shore of Mahabang Buhangin. The sand is white and powdery. I can’t compare it to Boracay since I’ve never been there yet. But this, it was paradise! A beautiful beach, indeed!
It felt good walking barefoot on the shore, the sand is fine. It doesn’t hurt my feet at all.
At the left end of the shore (facing the shore), there are rock formation or group of rocks. Another picturesque part of the island. So what are we waiting, time for photo ops! Good thing I brought tripod!
And here’s another view of Mahabang Buhangin.
It was already 6:00 PM so we decided to go to other side of the shore. As we walked back, I was enlightened with people enjoying such moments, having fun and playing games with their family and friends. And so I promised to myself, I will come back here and bring my family and more friends as well.
After a short roam of the other side of Mahabang Buhangin, we went back to our area and had a swim! The water is already cold but it was tolerable (lamigin kasi ako). I love the sands, the feeling when you stepped into the shore is the same as the seabed, or even better! It is fine and powdery. The water is very clear and amazing. Gusto ko pang magswimming! This place is truly outstanding, the best beach I ever had so far.
Before it went dark, I took another shot of the sunset by the beach.
At 7:00 PM, the tide was getting higher so we went back to our camp area and washed up. Afterwards, we cooked rice and heated our grilled fish. Then ate! We planned to have bonfire but we were already tired so we just had our marshmallows burnt in the burning charcoal. At 9:00 PM, Meme decided to take a rest and slept early while the rest of us tried to do light trail. And here’s our take to light trail! 🙂
It wasn’t bad at all. It was fun doing the light trail! Afterwards, it was lights off! Time to rest and sleep… Good night Calaguas!
- Check if it is advisable to go to Calaguas first, as waves are notorious sometimes. But the best time to go to Calaguas is during summer, where the wave is normal.
- There are 2 entry points going to Calaguas, Vinzons and Paracale. If you choose Vinzons, then from Daet, ride a tricycle and to Vinzons Port, then from there ride a boat going to Calaguas. But if you choose Paracale, from Manila, you can alight at the Talobatib Junction and ride a bus bound to Paracale, from there, there are boatmen that offer their boat to Calaguas.
- There are no accommodations available so camping is the only option.
- Plan what to bring during the camping / travel.
- There are no drinking water in the island, so better bring gallons of water.
- Bring water proof bags, ziplock or plastic bags to protect things from getting wet during the boatride.
- Make bus reservations prior to the trip.
- Had fun and enjoy the beach!