- 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
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:
- 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.
- can’t survive one night of sleeping without air conditioning — camping = no bedrooms = sleeping in tents
- can’t survive one night of sleeping without a comfortable bed — same as #2
- can’t survive at least 2 days of no mobile phone signal
- are not willing to try bathing from a makeshift pump (in Tagalog, poso) 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
He has other websites, too!