Calaguas (again) for Holy Week

March 20, 2010 Beach Camping

Coming from a conservative Catholic family, Lents are typically spent at home and inside churches for prayer. However, last year, I decided to break with tradition and join my friends on a beach camping holiday in Calaguas. It marked my first time going out during Holy Week.

I can't recall what convinced me to join, but I'm glad I went with friends from the Outdoor Addicts and SABIT Mountaineering Club.

Calaguas Island is a group of islands in Camarines Norte, including Tinaga Island, Guintinua Island, Maculabo Islands, and other islets. The beach we usually visit is Mahabang Buhangin, located on the island of Tinaga.

To get to Camarines Norte, it takes about 8 hours of land travel from Manila. From Vinzons, Camarines Norte, the journey to Mahabang Buhangin is a 2-and-a-half-hour boat ride, while from Paracale, it takes less than 2 hours.

Pure Paradise!

I won't be tempted to label it as the Boracay of Camarines Norte, as many beaches in the country are often branded. The powdery sand of Mahabang Buhangin has a pinkish tone, elevating it a notch higher in my list. Nestled in a lush cove with azure waters and a cerulean sky, the scenery is breathtaking.

Mahabang Buhangin has no resorts, so the adventurous spirit must kick in. However, there's a comfort room. I've heard there are now cottages, but I'll confirm that next week. The island has no electricity, but the caretaker has a generator for pumping water and charging cell phones. I recall there's only a Smart signal there, by the way.

We spent three days and two nights there, enjoying lambanog (liquor) made from sasa, playing frisbee, attempting to be human espasol, perfecting our jump shots, riding a boat, swimming, and savoring delicious meals.

And about sunsets... yes! Calaguas sunsets are the perfect way to cap off a great day spent with friends.

How to Get There:

To reach Calaguas, take a bus to Daet from Cubao. Boats are available in Paracale and Vinzons. Although there are no established rates, haggling is common. Alternatively, it's easier to gather in a group or join organized trips, many of which are posted on social networking sites like Multiply or Facebook.

The usual rate is Php 3,500.00 per person, covering transportation, meals, camp fees, and tent rentals. Our tour is organized by Mike Abanes of Outdoor Addicts (contact: 0917-8146453) and Jon Paolo Sobrecaray (contact: 0917-6303927).

For a daily trip to Brgy. Banocboc, rent a boat to take you to Mahabang Buhangin. Boats may also be available at Bagasbas Beach, another popular surfing destination in the country.

What to Bring:

As there are no resorts on the island, bring everything you need for your stay, including your bed (sleeping bag, tent, or hammock, earth pad), food (stove, cookset, ingredients), water, and any other essentials for the entire duration of your stay.

(Photos by Joseph Albert Francia)

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  1. nice , Ill be there on April 4-6, 2014

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