13 years ago, around June of 2010, our family went to Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte. We knew by then that the island did not have any resorts or any sort of accommodations yet. That time, we brought our own tents and camping tools, looked for a boatman that could bring us to the island, and cooked our own food. Since there wasn’t anyone living on the island, we also knew that there were no comfort rooms and we had to fetch our water from a ‘poso’ or water pump. Though undeveloped, its beauty and adventure left a huge impact and it had been our most favorite beach of all time.
Yes, since then, ‘Calaguas’ had been the title holder of the best beach, the best island, the best place with the freshest fish, etc. I am not exaggerating, but Mahabang Buhangin of Calaguas Island had captivated the whole fam with its untouched beauty and unspoiled super-duper powdery white sands.
Fast forward to today, imagine how thrilled everyone was when we spontaneously decided to go back to Calaguas.
First things first, we googled if it is still safe and okay to go to Calaguas during this season. IMHO, there aren’t a lot of updated travel guides out there on the web (reason why I promised myself I am gonna write one). FYI: The best months to go to Calaguas would be from January to August; it is not advisable to go there from September to December due to unpredictable weather hence bigger waves too during boatride.
How to Get There
Here are the different ways to go to Calaguas Island:
Where to Stay in Paracale or Vinzons
After that long drive from Manila, we spent a night in Daet, Camarines Norte and stayed at Paolo’s Guesthouse.
Hands down for this small bed and breakfast! Why?
- It is right along Vinzon’s Avenue – So if you are going to Calaguas via Vinzon’s Port, this inn is the ideal place. The port is just about 5 to 6 minutes drive.
- It is literally at a Petron Gas Station – No need to worry if you need to gas up before heading back to Manila. This also means that you do not have to worry if there is parking or not
- It is in a Prime Location – Paolo’s Guesthouse is strategically located in the heart of Daet. This make it convenient for the travelers to go to market, church, convenience store, restaurants, etc – all are just a few steps away
- It is Decent & Affordable – we were all surprised that for its price of Php1,000 per night (good for 2 to 3 pax), the whole place is pretty decent and clean. The bed and beddings are comfortable too! CR is also clean and includes hot&cold shower.
On the other hand, if your group is planning to take the boat via Paracale Port, you may opt to stay in one of the newest resorts in Paracale – the Gumaus Bay Resort.
Off to Calaguas Island, Baby!
In our 2010 Calaguas Trip, we boarded our boat via Paracale Port. This time, we decided to try Vinzon’s. So our verdict? Though boatride via Vinzon’s Port is longer, the boats are larger and safer. Not to mention, that this time, our Mom had a chill ride and did not panic too. Unlike during our 1st trip to Calaguas, she got too anxious when all of a sudden our small banca got stranded in the middle of nowhere while we were on our way to Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Island.
Where to Stay in Calaguas
Unlike in 2010, there are already commercialized accommodations in Calaguas Island. As of writing, here are the different active beach resorts:
I Love Calaguas Island Resort – the most popular beach resort in Calaguas. They have open & closed cabanas, airconditioned, and family rooms. Travelers may also pitch tent for Php350. Entrance fee per person is Php250.00. They have 2Day-1Night and 3Day-2Night packages which you may inquire for via their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ILoveCalaguasIslandResort/. Pros: Instagrammable; the cabanas looked really good in photos Cons: Since it is the most popular resort, expect an influx of travelers; comfort/shower rooms get too dirty during peak season/weekends
Calaguas White Sand Resort – quite a high-end beach resort in Calaguas. Accommodation rate is always computed per pax. You may visit their website for complete list of their rooms and amenities https://www.calaguaswhitesandresort.com/rooms.
Calaguas Paradise Resort – the most affordable beach resort in the island. They have open & closed cabanas, bamboo cottages, and glamping set up too. You may visit their Facebook Page for more details: https://www.facebook.com/calaguasparadiseresort/
Where to Eat in Calaguas
You may avail Calaguas Tour Packages which already include 3 meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You may also buy seafoods and have it cooked for a minimal fee. Another option is to bring your own food.
What to Do in Calaguas
- Unli-swimming! Woohoo!
- Island Hopping
- Sunrise Viewing/Trekking at Balagbag Island
- Star Gazing
- Drone Flying (no fee)
- Crystal Kayak (Php300 for 30 mins)
- Get a 1 hour full body massage (Php500)
- There is no electricity in the island; resorts usually have generators turned on from 6PM to 6AM only
- Bring Powerbanks; small sari-sari stores offer gadget charging for a minimal fee. 1 Full Charge for Phone is Php50, while 1 Full Charge for Powerbank is Php80
- There is NO MOBILE PHONE SIGNAL in Calaguas. Totally none. For communication or socmed purposes, you may get and connect to WIFI for Php80 for 1 hour
- Since sari-sari stores have proliferated the area, there is actually no need to bring a lot of things. Unlike in 2010, when camping would still feel camping and survival mode – food, chips, etc are now readily available. Stores are open 24 hours too
- If traveling via private car, there are pay parking lots in Vinzons with usual fee of Php250 for an overnight parking. You may opt to safely park your car just right beside the Vinzons Port. Look for the local named, John Lloyd 🙂
- Dont forget to put sunblock before going for a swim and even way before riding the boat to Calaguas
- For better Calaguas experience, visit the island during weekdays. Avoid visiting the island during long weekends and holidays
SAMPLE CALAGUAS ITINERARY and BUDGET
Calaguas 2010 vs Calaguas 2023
As I have mentioned in the first part of this blog post, we were able to visit Calaguas back in the days when there were no commercial establishments yet and when there were no need for travel tours/agencies yet. We can never forget that magical feeling when we were all mesmerized as we set foot on Mahabang Buhangin Beach back then – the water was so clear and definitely did not need neither filter nor edit. Our Calaguas Trip this year was not that good – probably because we are all 13 years older and no longer that adventurous or maybe because somehow we are saddened by the big changes that have occurred since our last visit. Calaguas Island has understandably gained popularity and attracted visitors seeking its unspoiled beauty. However, while it is heartwarming to see this hidden paradise appreciated over the years, our whole fam yearns for the untouched paradise of yesteryears. While the island has evolved, the memories of that legit unspoiled Calaguas will forever hold a special place in our hearts.