Cooling Down in Calaguas

All the 8-hour van ride and 2-hour boat trip were worth it. There may be no phone signals nor electricity, but it is still worth visiting Calaguas Islands in Vinzons, Camarines Norte. I’ve read and heard stories about the boat ride going to Calaguas, and most of the time, they will share how wild the waves are, since it is in the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, the weather was nice and the sea was calm, going to and back from Calaguas when we sailed out.

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Weekday in Calaguas

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DIY Calaguas Tour organized by Grezel aka Byaherang Barat (4th from left) along with friends who love to travel

I was on my 5-day leave, and I was supposed to go to Bali. However, my favorite travel buddy has work, and we have to adjust for his 2 days-off. He insisted that we go around the country instead. It was a choice of either Calaguas or Sagada, since his off was falling on a weekday, we almost had no chance of going to Calaguas. Calaguas trips are usally on weekends. Do it on a weekday, make sure that you’re bringing all your friends to share the expenses or you have the money to splurge for 2 people. I searched for DIY tours, and it usually falls on a weekend or a holiday. Fortunately, I chanced upon the post of Byaherang Barat on Facebook, and she was looking for joiners in her Calaguas Weekday Trip.

Without hesitations, I messaged her. She was very responsive and has answered all my inquiries. DIY tour that she organizes for Calaguas is good for 12 pax (we were only 9 in our tour though), and includes almost everything: Roundtrip van transfer from Manila to Vinzons port, roundtrip boat transfer from Vinzons port to Calaguas, environmental fees, island fees, tents, buffet meal for day 1 and 2 (2 lunches, dinner and breakfast), island hopping, trekking, snorkeling gears and kayak. There were no hidden charges. Our tour was charged at Php 3400/head. I was very satisfied and happy in joining her tour, Good thing that it was also a weekday, the whole stretch was almost ours. I highly recommend her if you want to join DIY tours, and she has plenty of places to visit.

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Meet Byaherang Barat

Calaguas Island in a glimpse 3 Nights and 2 Days (05.07.18-05.09.18) 

We met on May 7, 9pm at McDonald’s Shaw. We had dinner first (own account) before leaving at 10pm. Exactly 10pm, we left. We traveled for about 8 hours, with several stops in Laiya, Lucena, and Pagbilao. It was around 6am, when we got in Daet for breakfast (own account).

05.08.18- Calaguas Island

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Vinzons Port

At past 7am, we boarded our boat from Vinzons Port. It was a river port, then later on connecting to the Pacific Ocean. It was a smooth boat ride for 2 hours.

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Upon arrival, our tents have been assembled, and we get to choose our own.

DSC00699_1-01Since it was still early for lunch, we swam in the sea until noon. For lunch we were served with ginataang santol, tuna, shrimp, and watermelon. It was unlimited food for everyone.

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Lunch for everyone

We went back to the sea at 2pm, and didn’t mind the heat at all, and lasting until sunset. For dinner, we were served with bicol express, laing, seafoods and pineapples. Honestly, it was the sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted. Before the night ends, we had a little drinking session, and for everyone to have a chitchat.

 

 

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Tinaga Island of Calaguas Group of Islands

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Lovers in Calaguas

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Sunset in Calaguas

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05.09.18- Island Hopping, Trekking

We were up by 5am, because the sky was already bright. We walked along the shore for the nice morning breeze before having breakfast. Breakfast includes scrambled egg, sword fish, danggit, salted egg, and another type of fish which I forgot. After breakfast, we hopped into the boat and went to another island for trekking and picture taking. The other island has a cool view comparable to Batanes. Although, we went at the wrong time since Mr. sun was shining brightly already. It’s best to go trekking early in the morning or before sunset.

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Afterwards, we head for snorkeling. We had a good hour of snorkeling in the open sea. It was at 10am, when we got back in the main island. We still had a good time for swimming before having lunch. For lunch, we had lechon kawali, pork adobo, and seafoods. After lunch, we walked around to buy a souvenir, which I got for Php 75.

A little past 1pm we left Calaguas, and before heading home, we bought several goodies and pineapples.

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What’s not to love

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Nobody else in the shore but him

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Balagbag Island- where we trekked and had a little view of Batanes

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Budget for this trip:

Php 3400- DIY Tour all in/head

Php 900- 2 Dinners and Breakfast (own account for 2 pax)

Php 600- Souvenirs and other pasalubongs (2 bags of pili tart, 1 bottle of pili nuts, 1 bottle of laing and 1 bottle of bicol express)

Php 100- 10 pcs of pineapples (bought in the highway)

Php 75- ref magnet

Total: Php 8475 for 2 pax all in including souvenirs

 

Anawangin, 5 years ago

Pundaquit Shore, I have been visiting this place since the 90s, thanks to our cousin in law who hails from this beautiful place. Most of the time, I was just in the sand and playing because the waves were too high (which after several years becomes a surfing destination) and the oldies will always say that once you go far, the waves will throw you to the other island across, which happens to be Capones Island (which I got to visit only in 2013). However, I only got a chance to see Anawangin Cove in 2010 (I believe this is an Aeta Village). Thanks to my aunts and cousins who pushed for the island hopping tour.

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2010: Pundaquit Shore

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Anawangin 2010

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2010: with my aunt

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All to ourselves, Anawangin 2010

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Anawangin 2010

 

Take me back, 5 years ago.

2013

Not long ago, when I first visited the remote coves of Anawangin. It was in 2010, when I first stepped into this beautiful beach. This can be reached through boat (20 mins) or trekking (not sure how long though). We opted for the boat, because a cousin in law, happens to have an uncle with a boat. There were no phone signals nor electricity in the area, and only a single store to cater your basic needs. The whole stretch was ours, and it was crystal clear clean. After 3 years, I was back with my officemates. It was Holy Week, for sure there will be a lot of people to flock the place. Indeed, I was right. The camp site were full of tents, and full of people.

 

 

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Anawangin 2013

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Anawangin & Capones: 3 Days 2 Nights

For this trip, our good friend drove for us from Makati to Zambales. Our first stop was at Pundaquit Market in San Antonio, Zambales. We bought all our fresh food from here, which was good for 3 days. We shared 500/head for our food. It was more than enough for 5 people to share. After 20 mins., we were at Pundaquit shore to meet our boatman, who happened to be our tour guide too. We haggled and he gave us 5000 for 3 days 2 nights that includes boat transfer, island hopping tour, camping needs/tools, trekking and even offered his house to shower on the last day. 1000/head was a good deal! The whole trip cost us 2500/head, which was pretty good, since we didn’t share our trip with other tourists.

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Capones Island

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Spring at Anawangin

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Anawangin view from top

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Trekking

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The lone store

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Quite pricey for 50 bucks

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Fast-forward 2018

I’m not sure if the place remains to be the same, without any electricity or phone signal. I wonder if it is still the same that they set up tents and they do bonfire. Last thing I remember, goods from the store were pricey. A bottle of beer would cost you 50 bucks. Since it’s known to many now, I wonder if it is still peaceful like how it used to be.