Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Camarines Norte: Calaguas Islands

Summer comes quite early in the year for countries here in the tropics. It has been getting a little bit hotter now, especially in the daytime, rising up 32 to 34 degrees. Quite warm. This is precisely the cue city-dwellers take to start planning trips to the many famous beaches the Philippines is known for. Not us though. We went to the beach, yes. But not to one famous.

Calaguas, Camarines Norte

The Calaguas Islands are a group of several islands located two hours from the eastern coast of Camarines Norte, right within the Philippine Sea. One of the two major islands in the group, Tinaga, has this long stretch of untouched beach with blindingly white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Locals simply refer to it as Mahabang Buhangin (Tagalog for "Long Sand").

Calaguas, Camarines Norte

Mahabang Buhangin occupies about two-thirds of the western coast of this eight-kilometer island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches I have set foot in, easily comparable to those of Panglao in Bohol and Coron in Palawan. The beach is wide and long. And have I mentioned it has powdery-white sand and clear blue-green waters?

Calaguas, Camarines Norte

Calaguas, Camarines Norte

Calaguas, Camarines Norte

The thing I appreciated most about the place was that it was untouched. And when I say untouched, I mean undeveloped, virgin, remote. There are no resorts, no hotels, and no towns, save for a small group of families sustaining a small fishing village on the other side of the island. I almost did not want to post pictures of the place nor blog about it. I want the island to stay the way it is.

Calaguas, Camarines Norte

Coming here was a bit of a challenge. We left Manila around 11 p.m. Friday and got to our jump-off point in Paracale, Camarines Norte around 8 a.m. Saturday. A drive longer than our butts would bother sitting through. Weather was a bit drizzly and windy, too. But hey, that's Bicol weather for you. It prompted other groups of tourists to turn back. Not us though. We pushed on, braving 8-foot waves, our stomachs twisting and turning, nauseating in that three-hour roller coaster ride. It was all worth it. Most definitely worth it. You are rewarded with a slice of heaven all your own.

Calaguas, Camarines Norte

Calaguas, Camarines Norte

Fortunately, when we reached the island, the sun was up. The bold and the daring (sometimes, the foolhardy) do get rewarded. And since the beach faces west, the view of the setting sun would be the perfect end to your long, tiring day. It was to mine.

Calaguas, Camarines Norte


To see more photos in this set, please visit my Flickr page: Camarines Norte: Calaguas Islands.

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