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.