Travel Guide: 2.5K Calaguas Challenge (Updated)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Calaguas is not a single island. What most people know as Calaguas is the 1.2 km long stretched white beach of Mahabang Buhangin located in Tinaga Island. 

Calaguas is a group of Islands and islets in the province of Camarines Norte, Philippines. Tinaga Island is among the major ones along with Guintinua Island. Maculabo Island  is among the minor ones. Mahabang Buhangin was completely deserted back then, but because of its growing popularity, more and more tourists are being attracted despite the absence of accommodation.
Mahabang Buhangin
How to get to Calaguas
By land
Via Paracale
Probably the easiest and the cheapest way to get to Calaguas is via Paracale. If you are coming from Manila, Superlines has daily trips to Paracale/Panganiban. Get off at Paracale and walk towards the fish port. One way air con bus fare is 515 PHP (as of February 2015). Travel time is approximately 8-9 hours. It is best to contact a boatman prior to your trip. I highly recommend Mang Boy (09085460683) and Mang Joseph (09302464352). Alternatively, you can go directly to the fish port where tons of fishing boats can be rented. It is a two hour boat ride from the port.

Via Vinzons
Ride a bus from Cubao/Pasay to Daet. Superlines, Philtranco, Amihan, and DLTB offer daily trips to Daet. Travel time is approximately 7-8 hours. From Daet, catch a jeepney to Vinzons and get off at the fish port. You can hire a boat from there to Calaguas. The thing is, you will battle the mad waves of the pacific for about 3-4 hours.
waiting for the sunset at 'station 3' :)
Go Camping!
You're free to pitch a tent and stay the night. If you don't have a tent, most boatmen are now renting out for about 300 php per night. Alternatively, you can stay in one of the little beach-side cottages for a minimal fee of 350 php per day. 
our perfect spot :)
Sample Itinerary
This is a 2D/1N itinerary if you are coming from Manila. Length of time to travel by boat may vary depending on weather conditions. 
Day 0
7:45 PMETD Paracale via Superlines Bus (Cubao Station)
Day 1
5:00 AMETA Paracale/ Breakfast/Buy Supplies from the Market
7:00 AMETD Paracale fish port to Calaguas
9:00 AMETA Calaguas / set camp/ cook lunch
12:00 PMLunch
1:00 PMSiesta/ swimming/ explore/ picture taking
4:00 PMCook Dinner
6:00 PMDinner
7:00 PMSocials/drinking session
10:00 PMLights out for those who want to sleep
Day 2
5:00 AMWakeup call / Walk by the seashore/ Early swim
7:00 AMPrepare breakfast
8:00 AMBreakfast
9:00 AMSwimming/ explore/ picture taking
11:00 AMCook lunch
12:00 PMLunch
2:00 PMBreak camp
3:00 PMETD Calaguas to Paracale
5:00 PMETA Paracale
6:00 PMDinner
8:00 PMETD Paracale to Manila

It's like a big swimming pool!
Budget Breakdown 
Good thing about Calaguas is that, you don't have to spend lots of money to find a private patch of paradise. Check out our budget breakdown. This is good for 9 pax and we spent 2,500 php each. (This could have been lower than that if we did not indulge so much for food and drinks. )

ExpenseCostCost per person
BUSManila - Paracale4635515
Paracale - Daet54060
Tricycle Superlines Terminal9010
Daet - Manila4185465
BOATParacale - Calaguas5000556
Barangay fee18020
Entrance fee1350150
Food and Misc.5820647

Travel Notes:
- The drop off point of Superlines in Paracale is the Malayan Tourist Inn. It has a mini store and a mini Karinderya. It is open 24 hours a day so don't be afraid if you arrive early. 
- Boat rentals depend on the number of people. We paid 5,000 php for the boat which can accommodate 10 pax. The boat rental can also include island hopping. 
- Mang Boy is a boatman but currently, he acts as a contact person. If you are availing his service, don't be surprised if you will be introduced to another boatman usually his relatives.
- There is no electricity in the island. Some areas use generator which is only available from 6 PM to 10 PM. Don't forget to bring head lamps, flash lights and gas lamps.
- The first time we went to Calaguas (May 2013), we stayed at the far right corner of the island. The entrance fee back then is 150 php per pax. According to Mang Baste, brother of Mang Boy, the entrance fee is still the same. The best thing in that area is the unli water!
- In May 2014 and February 2015, we stayed at LGU which is centrally located in the island. The entrance fee is 80 php per pax. The nipa hut fee is 350 php which is the same with other area. The water cost 10 php per timba. The best part is the nipa hut light is switched on all night. You can also charge your gadgets for a minimal fee of 30 php per hour. I highly recommend staying in this part because the view of the beach is spectacular! Not that staying elsewhere is not a good choice, but it's just a matter of personal taste I guess :)
- The 20 php barangay fee is now being collected at the fish port. 
- The best time to go to Calaguas is during summer months (March-May). Expect the influx of tourists during weekend, so better schedule your trip on weekdays.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the metro or take a break from the office, Calaguas is the perfect choice. Without a doubt, it is one of the finest beaches in the Philippines.  It's kind of hard to get, but surely worth it. With great effort comes privacy. Agree? :)

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