Tag Archives: adventure

reminiscing Calaguas

reminiscing Calaguas

For those who are interested to know, here’s a summary of our camping trip (c/o Mr. Melvic Brinas) to Calaguas:

  • caught the 2100 (Friday night) bus ride from Manila to Daet via Amihan Bus Lines
  • arrived in Daet at around 0700-0800 (Saturday); the entire group met with Mr. Brinas in Jollibee (I think there’s only one in Daet)
  • 30-minute van ride to the port
  • 2-hour boat ride to Calaguas (with a quick side trip to Makulabo Island)
  • 1030–arrival at Calaguas campsite
  • 1200–buffet lunch for all (this is included in the camping package)
  • once done eating, go and enjoy the island!
  • 1900–buffet dinner for all (included in the camping package); also, we were lucky enough to be provided by Mr. Brinas bottles of The Bar Apple Vodka during our trip–whee!
  • 1000 (Sunday)–left the island for some surfing fun at Bagasbas
  • 2100–departure from Bagasbas back to Manila

the sand here is blindingly white, i'm not kidding

Here’s a little disclaimer, though. Calaguas is not for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because this island is exclusive, or anything–it’s just that certain types of tourists who have a set of “standards” might not enjoy the island as others do. As a piece of advice from one traveler to another, do not go to Calaguas if you:

  1. are faint of heart (or in Tagalog, nerbyoso/nerbyosa) — The 2-hour boat ride to and from the mainland can get really bumpy; if you still wish to go, avoid the summer months and postpone your trip until around July when the waves are calmer.
  2. can’t survive one night of sleeping without air conditioning — camping = no bedrooms = sleeping in tents
  3. can’t survive one night of sleeping without a comfortable bed — same as #2
  4. can’t survive at least 2 days of no mobile phone signal
  5. are not willing to try bathing from a makeshift pump (in Tagalog, poso)聽outdoors, potentially with strangers — since it’s a remote island, there’s no running power there to light the (ruins of a former decent) bathroom

Bottom line is, Calaguas is an adventure in the most natural sense. It doesn’t offer the thrill that mainstream water sports/activities do; instead, it challenges travelers to let go of their tired old notions of what a weekend beach getaway should be, and to just suck in the experiences that nature has to offer–both the beautiful and the not-so-convenient.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I left Manila that Friday evening March of last year not knowing what to expect from that trip to Camarines Norte. Today, I remember myself sitting in that bus going home just overflowing with awe of what I have seen and experienced there. Actually, until now (as I type) I get chills recalling the most pleasantly surprising place I have ever been my entire life! Calaguas is by far the most exquisite of all the beautiful beaches I have visited here in the Philippines. Forget Boracay–it’s already way past its prime. Hee :p

Behind an excellent camping trip is an excellent organizer/host. Melvic Brinas can be found in Facebook, where his contact numbers are posted:聽http://www.facebook.com/calaguas4ever

He has other websites, too!

imma touch the sky!


this is where the airstrip is located

aboard the MicroLite before takeoff

…up, up, and away!

15 mins of flying at 100mph 2000ft above sea level! woo-hoo!!

if i could just paint this view from up in the air

view from the ground
touching down
I know the few photos posted in here aren’t enough to share completely this exhilarating experience with you, my dear reader. All I can say is that a trip to Bukidnon would absolutely suck if you won’t try flying in the MicroLite.
  • fee: Php 1275.00/person
  • contact Carl Frias at 0916-5937034



After riding the Micro Lite, we headed off to our last destination in Bukidnon: Dahilayan Adventure Park, where the “longest zipline in Asia” can be found. Unfortunately, the road going up to the park was wet (the road wasn’t paved yet) due to the rain from the night before, so we had to do a little hiking to get there. It was a helluva long uphill walk but, man, it was also a helluva view! Layers upon layers of mountains, pine trees lining the road, even pretty flowers scattered around… I never imagined Bukidnon to be this picturesque. Pleasant surprise!

road up to Dahilayan Adventure Park
I may be called a killjoy for not trying out the famous 840 meter-long zipline, but hey, to each her own, right? Instead, I went for the ATV ride around the park which is an adventure in itself, too. The trail was excellent, complete with uphill and downhill parts, sharp curves, and muddy/rocky ground, so better be ready to get dirty if you wish to try this out! Aside from that, the trail also offers an amazing view of the entire park and the woods and mountains that surround it. I say the Php 500 that this ride cost me was very well worth its value. Find out more about this park in their website.

the ATV trail

view from the trail

(Come Again) Camiguin

  • our taxi service (c/o Kuya Amet, the taxi driver we met in the airport–he gave us a discount!) picked us up from the hotel at 6am; got to Balingoan Port at 7:30am
  • took the 8:00am ferry to Camiguin; ticket price is Php 150 + a terminal fee of Php 2.25; there’s a student discount, so don’t forget to bring your student ID!
  • arrived at Benoni Port, Camiguin at 9:00 am

The multicab service c/o Paguia’s Cottages was already waiting for us at Benoni Port when we arrived. To maximize our time on the island of Mantigue, our group decided to go to there first before checking in to Paguia’s Cottages. We left our luggage in the multicab, leaving no money and valuables there, of course.

The boat ride from Mahinog to Mantigue took about 20-30 minutes. From afar we could already see the white sand beach that surrounds the island! I have seen a number of white sand beaches around the country, and I must say that this one should be on my top 20 of the best. Aside from its sand, what makes Mantigue beautiful is the lush greenery at its center, where the picnic tables are located. The various trees of the greenery provide the island’s guests with excellent shade and fresh air.



The marine sanctuary in Mantigue is no Balicasag, but try it anyway. Snorkeling there will let you see a variety of tropical fish as well as giant clams.

If you’re looking for beach activities (i.e. banana boat, jet skiing, fly fish-ing, etc) like those found in Boracay, you’ll get bored in this island for sure. But if you’re looking for a place where you could just relax and take in the beauty of nature, Mantigue Island is for you.

We decided to leave the island at around 1:30pm as we have a few more stops to make around Camiguin. Next on our IT was Katibawasan Falls. At 250 feet high, Katibawasan Falls is a sight to behold. Watching the white water cascade down a gigantic cliff made me feel like I was in a postcard or a calendar photo of the falls. It was so beautiful there, it felt unreal. Don’t forget to bring your DSLR when visiting this park! The water was clear and very cool. If I were badly sunburned in Mantigue, the cold water from the pool would have soothed every inch of my burned skin.

  • entrance fee: Php 15 (adults), Php 6 (kids 7 years and below)
  • souvenir shops and sari-sari stores are lined up just outside the park’s gate



After a quick check-in and shower, our group rushed to catch a view of the sunken cemetery with the sunset as its background:


Whitewater Rafting Down Cagayan River


路 Left MNL 0840, arrived at CGY 1015 via Airphil Express

路 Took airport taxi to Victoria Suites located at Divisoria (not to be confused with the one in Manila); fare at Php 350

路 Victoria Suites offers quality but affordable accommodation. Staff was nice, very helpful to guests at all times. Each room has cable and hot & cold shower and there’s Wi-Fi in the lobby. There’s no elevator in this hotel, though, because it only has five floors. I recommend this hotel for those who want quality service but are on a budget. Check out their website!聽www.victoriasuitesonline.com

路 After a little rest, we headed out at around 12:30 in order to catch the 2:00pm rafting schedule. We took the Advance Course (21 rapids), which took about 4-5 hours. The weather for most of the ride was good, with the sun not being too harsh. There was a bit of a shower, though, in the middle of the ride, which made the experience even more fun for us! If you’re looking for adventure in Cagayan de Oro, DO NOT MISS THIS!聽To get your money’s worth, go with the pioneer:聽www.extremeraftingphilippines.com/

路 Looking for a place to have dinner during that night was not difficult at all because there was a night market going on right across the street of our hotel! Just like Banchetto in Metro Manila, this night market is held every Friday and Saturday. Most of the food stalls there offer barbecue with rice, while drinks range from bottled water to canned soda to beer. Further along the market was a long line of聽ukay-ukaystalls. Being an聽ukay-ukay聽shopper myself, I would’ve wanted to check all of the stalls out; however, we were just too tired and the place was too crowded to stay. After scoping out the place, we decided to just go back to our hotel and sleep the night off because we had another early day ahead.