Discovering Paradise: A Journey Through the Enchanting Isles of Mercedes, Camarines Norte

October 15, 2014 Travel

I have always wanted to visit the 7 islands of Mercedes, Camarines Norte. The islands have been a favorite among backpackers, campers and mountaineers.  

The Mercedes seven islands, composed of Caringo, Canimog, Apuao Grande, Apuao Pequeña, Canton, Quinapaguian, and Malasugui Islands, are all known for their white-sand beaches.

There are two points from where to start island-hopping -- first is via the Mercedes Port and the other is from Cayucyucan, Mercedes. Since our objective for visiting the islands was to recon for our outreach group, Trails to Empower Kids, we decided to take the latter, which is closer to Quinapaguian Island.

Quinapaguian Island is one of the three islands in the cluster which has a community and an elementary school.  The others are Apuao and Caringo.

Quinapaguian Island

After a boat ride of more than 30 minutes through rough seas, we arrived the day after Typhoon Glenda had ravaged the country, leaving us a bit panicky. However, the calming scene that greeted us after the journey was a welcome contrast.

Despite the scorching heat and the wind carrying sands like a natural diamond peel, we couldn't resist the temptation to join the kids playing on the beach. We took advantage of the stunning sand bar for some memorable photos. Afterward, we proceeded with our main objective – surveying a school.

Apuao Island

After our visit to Quinapaguian Island, our next destination was Apuao Island, just a 30-minute boat ride away. 

Following the school visit, we took the opportunity to explore the rest of the island. Apuao, among the seven islands, stands out as the most popular. In the past, it was a renowned beach destination, hosting a resort managed by a popular chain. Interestingly, it is now up for sale.

While the resort on Apuao Island is no longer operational, tourists still have the opportunity to visit and enjoy the serene surroundings. Cottages are available for rent, with the spacious big cottage accommodating large groups at a rate of P 2,500. It's important to note that water availability on the island is limited, and visitors are advised to purchase drinking water from the mainland.

Apuao Island, with its breathtaking beauty, is tinged with a bit of sadness due to the closure of the resort. The absence of tourists means a loss of income for the locals who depend on the island's charm. Our desire to explore Caringo was hindered by time constraints, prompting us to return to Cayucyucan and spend the night in Bagasbas, reflecting on the untapped potential of these enchanting destinations.

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