The Calaguas Islands (or Calaguas) is a group of islands under the jurisdiction of the town of Vinzons in Camarines Norte. Tinaga and Guintinua are two of the major islands in this group. And in Tinaga, there is Mahabang Buhangin (long beach) which houses most of the resorts in Calaguas.
There are a multiple ways to go to the islands:
- Ride a bus to Daet, Camarines Norte. Take a jeepney bound to Vinzons. Jump on a boat to Calaguas.
- Find a bus that stops by the town of Paracale. Jump on a boat to Calaguas.
- Take the plane to Naga, Camarines Sur. Take a bus back to Daet. Make your way to Paracale or Vinzons. Jump on a boat to Calaguas.
- Join a tour group specifically created to visit Calaguas.
We did the fourth option. When it’s a long land trip, it’s hard when you don’t know the availability of your transportation going from and back to Manila.
We joined several others in waiting for the van which arrived at 9:45 PM at EDSA Central. It was a bit of a long drive to Paracale. We arrived at the fish port at about 8:30 AM. We had stops at SLEX and Gumaca, Quezon.
We were asked to look for breakfast first before jumping on the boat to Calaguas.
It takes around 1.5 hours from the port in Paracale to the beach in Tinaga Island. For some who aren’t very patient, you have to be. It will be an endless sea on some sides and the Calaguas Islands on the horizon.
That’s part of Guintinua Islands. The moment I saw this, I was immediately awestruck. It is beautiful. It looks like New Zealand. It looks like Batanes. The rolling hills, the sea, and the cliffs are wonderful to me.
Add to that the fact that the sea looks like stained glass. It was even frustrating that when you go to the deep parts of the water, you can see the bottom but you can’t seem to reach it with your feet.
The water is beautiful. In this regard, I could say that these waters are better than Boracay’s. Boracay has a problem with algea at certain months of the year. This, in comparison, does not.
Calaguas doesn’t have a lot of electricity. Lights will turn on as soon as the sun goes down but will turn off the moment it hits 12 midnight. There are also parties around the island but they end at 12 midnight too. So, part of your kit should be flashlights. You can also make campfires if you can find enough wood to make it.
It is normal that most people who visit here will be living in tents. But there are also resorts that offer alternative means of accommodations like wooden houses with cushions. Or multiple story bungalows. But, none of these have any electrical outlets.
The beach also offers a pretty sunset.
Other amenities in the island are:
- Cooking area where you can use charcoal for fire
- Toilets which requires you to get water from the pumps
- Water pumps for your bathing needs
- A store that sells chips, instant noodles, coffee in sachets, alcoholic beverages, and some other basic necessities
Since the islands are made of hills and beaches, you can actually climb some of them. So, at around 5 AM of the next day, we decided to catch the sunrise atop one of the hills.
It was a beautiful sight above.
One thing I was surprised about Calaguas is the number of people there. I was expecting to see at most 100 something. But, it was like a small community or town. I hope, though, that it won’t be more commercialized than it is now – meaning, no fast food chains, no bars, no big hotels.
I just want it to stay simple and peaceful and quiet; like a sanctuary for those who want to escape their normal lives.
A trip to Calaugas is really energizing. But, you need a lot of patience especially if you’re doing land travel. In my assessment, I will rank it as second best beach in the Philippines – for all the beaches I’ve been to.
If only it is more accessible, then, I would rank it higher than Boracay.