The Sea

Welcome me back! I love the sea! Now, we’re going to be diving in a UNESCO dive site!

It’s my first time to scuba dive and I hope that it will be a fun experience!

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What You See, What You Get


Walking along the low tide shore this morning and we are treated to a foggy delight. The crowd has definitely subsided and the working people are, I suppose, already at work. 

We are left with students on summer break enjoying their much needed rest and relaxation (like me). And families enjoying bonding time. 

Playa Laiya Resort

 

It has been a busy first two months of the year and people needed to de-stress. My colleagues and I decided to go to the beach and just unwind.

The plan was to stay in our friend’s hometown in Lipa and drive down to Laiya for some much-needed R&R.

We went to Playa Laiya. Playa Laiya, based on their website, is an exclusive seaside residential community in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas. Built on a 128-hectare leisure-tourism estate, it showcases an extensive beachfront that offers the perfect setting for seaside living.

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Before you decide on visiting, make sure that you or someone you know owns a lot within the community. If not, you won’t be able to enjoy the amenities.

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I was actually looking forward to just taking a nap, by the sea, with the sun touching my skin, and the soft summer breeze lulling me to sleep.

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But what is the use of exerting effort to go here if I’m just going to sleep?

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They have a nice infinity pool. The water is warmer than that of the ocean. Plus, the sand was a bit uncomfortable for the feet. It’s like quicksand, not that I have experienced quicksand before.

There was also a beach volleyball court. Of course, would we let the opportunity pass?

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All in all, it was nice place. Too bad, there weren’t places you could really sleep in. The cabana by the beach is good for day tours but during overnights, you’d want a real bed for the complete relaxing experience.

Beach

Living in an archipelago, the Philippines is home to a lot of sand and beaches. It is also natural that most people prefer to spend their vacation on the beach.

I, too, am a very big on the beach thing. And my most loved beach of this country is Boracay. It is a bit cliche but the sand is so fine and the waters are clear. The atmosphere, too, is incomparable with other beaches in this country.

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Coming in second will be Calaguas. It is second on the list because of issues with accessibility. The view, shoreline, clear waters, and isolation of it are the most charming features of this island.

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Other beaches that complete my list are:

  1. White Beach in Boracay Island, Aklan
  2. Mahabang Buhangin in the Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte
  3. Sabang Beach in Baler, Aurora
  4. Saud Beach in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
  5. Anawangin Beach in Anawangin, Zambales

Other beaches on my to-go list are:

  1. El Nido, Palawan
  2. Sorsogon
  3. Bantayan Island, Cebu
  4. Catanduanes
  5. Siquijor

 

Calaguas Group of Islands

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:

  1. Ride a bus to Daet, Camarines Norte. Take a jeepney bound to Vinzons. Jump on a boat to Calaguas.
  2. Find a bus that stops by the town of Paracale. Jump on a boat to Calaguas.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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It was a beautiful sight above.

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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.

 

 

3 Beaches 1 Day

Borawan is a portmanteau of Boracay, for its white sand beach, and Palawan, for its rock formations. Borawan Beach is found in Chicas Island under the Pagbilao jurisdication in the province of Quezon.

To go there, follow these steps.

I was enticed to go here because I read it as one of the best virgin beaches of the Philippines. The opportunity came when a friend, who now works in Australia, suggested that we go there to reunite and rekindle friendships.

It’s hard making this post because I just came from Boracay. As you may well know, Boracay is this country’s most famous and, subjectively, best beach.

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Borawan is beautiful in it’s own way. Being compared to Boracay and its powdery white sand is a bit of a disservice to the latter. Borawan doesn’t have a lot of sea to swim in. It is noted that big parts of the sea is jellyfish territory. We actually saw some on the way to the resort restaurant – which, prompted us to not continue with our plan of going there.

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What Borawan does offer is a chance to be in touch with nature. You don’t have a lot of resorts and you will, most often, use a tent to stay the night. It’s nice to see the stars and feel the fresh air. The rocks are beautiful and I really hope that they maintain the integrity of the place.

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Other beaches along the Pagbilao Islands are Puting Buhangin and Dampalitan Beach.

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Puting Buhangin was more crowded than Borawan Beach. Maybe it is because of the long weekend. But, their sand is better. Borawan’s sand is a bit coarse – as opposed to the comparison with Boracay’s powdery sand. Also, the sea is bigger and the sea clearer. I just hope that they can offer snorkeling services because I feel like the underwater world is enchanting.

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This rock formation is called Kwebang Lampas (in English, Extended Cave). There is a tunnel that passes through to the other side of the cliff. It is beautiful but there are a lot of vandalism on the walls. I hope that the local government can do something about this disrespect to Mother Nature.

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The most quiet of the three beaches is Dampalitan Beach. There’s a rock bar – a sand bar that is made of rocks. There’s more beach probably because there’s less people on it. But, the sea is very hard to swim in. Big and sharp rocks lie at the bottom so you should be careful in the water.

It was an enjoyable overnight stay on the islands. I just hope it was never right after Boracay because my expectations are high. Still, these beaches are beautiful in their own ways.

Boracay

I may have to eat my words. I said that I wanted to go to Boracay just for the heck of it and I have no plans of going back there.

I am totally wrong. I want to go back.

Boracay is beautiful. It is exciting. It is full of adventure. And not to mention, it’s a feast for the eyes.

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I heard a lot of rumors about the powdery white sand. They’re not joking about. Those are not false rumors. The sand is really as fine as powder. They’re good for the skin and really comfortable to walk in.

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It was great that we were there from Monday – Thursday. No weekend crowd. The people aren’t that many. But it was enough to merit a validation that Boracay is really the best beach this country has.

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I am a lover of adventure. Boracay offers a lot of these for you. There’s beach volleyball, beach frisbee, water activities (e.g. flying fish, banana boat, jetski rental, helmet diving). You will never run out of things to do.

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You can also tour the whole island because the stretch of white beach isn’t the only thing beautiful about this island. The parasailing adventure give you a bird’s eye view of the whole Boracay island. An island hopping tour via pump boat will give you beautiful scenery and a taste of the underwater world.

And if you’re really a thrill seeker, there’s the Magic Island which offers cliff diving at the height of 5, 7, 9, and 10 meters. It looks scary because of the height and the strength of the waves. But, you just have to go for it. One jump will make you want to jump a couple times more.

Boracay is beautiful. It is a place worth going to over and over again. Plus, this view is certainly to die for.

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If you haven’t been there, you should.

5D4N CDO-Camiguin-Iligan Itinerary

In 15 days, my friends and I are going on another adventure. This time, we’re going to the Land of Promise, the island of Mindanao. We’ve been to Davao before so we’re exploring the north this time.

Day 1

4:25 AM – ETD of flight via Cebu Pacific

6:00 AM – Arrival in Laguindingan Airport

Rest

12:00 NN – White Water Rafting Adventure

5:00 PM – Tour of CDO

7:00 PM – Dinner

Day 2

5:00 AM – Bus to Balingoan Port

7:00 AM – Ferry to Camiguin Island

8:00 AM – Camiguin Day Tour

5:00 PM – Rest and Dinner

Day 3

8:00 AM – Enjoy the beach of Camiguin

1:00 PM – Ferry to Balingoan Port

2:00 PM – Bus to CDO

4:00 PM – Tour of CDO

7:00 PM – Dinner

Day 4

7:00 AM – Bus to Iligan City

9:00 AM – Tour of Iligan City’s Falls (Tinago Falls / Maria Cristina Falls)

5:00 PM – Bus to CDO

7:00 PM – Dinner

Day 5

9:00 AM – Bus to Laguindingan Airport

11:25 AM – Flight back to Manila via Cebu Pacific

We’re looking for a lot of rest and relaxation so there isn’t a lot of items packed into the trip. We talked about where we want to go and this is the result of that brainstorming.

Do you have suggestions for us?