THROWBACK 2018: My Unexpected, Last-Minute Calaguas Island Escapade

Believe it or not, I am not a fan of travelling.

Don’t hate me, though, I just hate the feeling I get whenever I know I’d sit for long, tiring hours. Not to mention the fact that it would be so uncomfortable sleeping during the whole trip.

My travel to Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte was… let’s say, “Unexpected.” I was with a friend eating porridge at Biggs’ Diner, Albay when he asked me if I wanted to tag along. I was heartbroken back then, and he [my friend] thought that I should free my mind off my heartaches during the weekend. When I asked who were tagging along, he said they were his long-time friends. At first, I was a bit hesitant because I’m kind of introverted, I really wanted to sulk in my bed and cry over the weekend, and thought, I didn’t know these people, maybe I won’t get along with them. He was persistent then, but eventually, I did come to my senses and went with them last minute, thus meeting these new cool people.

It was the night of June 13th when we, along with these new friends, decided to have a night trip at 8 o’clock going to Paracale, Camarines Norte. It was fun – that was actually my very first road trip in my 22 years of existence. Aside from making new friends, I was able to experience a few firsts like learning how to play cards, “travelling” with a real tour guide, trekking, snorkeling, and many more.

We got there at the sea port around 2AM, which was quite early. We waited for a few hours for breakfast, rode a two and a half hour boat ride going to the island at 7AM, and settled at around 9AM.

Well, to be honest I slept it through the entire boat ride. LOL. But when I got up 30 minutes before we hit the island, I saw amazing rock formations, beautiful, small islands, and huge mountain tops.

Fast forward to the get-go, we arrived there at around 9AM. New friends gathered around to setup their tents, some went on to play cards, and me? I just took a good shower. LOL.

It was nearly lunch time and to tell you honestly, the food was amazing! It was kinda worth my Php 3,500 (that’s $70 in USD) except I really got sunburned thanks to my not-so stubborn mindset about sunblock lotions. I didn’t put on sunblock because I’ve always thought putting on will just cease the burning sensation, and still get tanned nonetheless (which I dislike). However, I got my skin color back just after two weeks, thanks to these products. You can also know how I was able to do that in this article.

Supposedly, it was a Php 2,500 ($50) trip including the gas contribution and fee, but we extended to stay for one more night making it the aforementioned.

Here are the cool things we did during our stay in the island, even if I’m not a fan of travelling myself:

Day One: Trekking

Day 2: Island hopping, snorkeling

Cool, right?

And since this island is one of the few gems the Bicol region is proud of, here’s how you can get there even if you’re travelling alone, far away from Bicol, Philippines, or just want some plain directions:

From Manila…

1. Book a bus (from Cubao or Pasay) or plane ticket going to Naga City. Travel time via bus is 8 hours, plane is more or less 30-45 minutes. The terminal going to Daet is just at the back of SM City Naga mall.

2. From Naga City, ride a UV Express Van going to Daet or take a bus. Since we were on a road trip back then, I suggest you just take a bus ride because there are Superlines which travels to Paracale directly. But if your bus or van is bound for Daet first, you can take a van going to Paracale after. That’s a 1-2 hour drive.

3. If you availed of a travel package, a chartered boat going to Calaguas is readied for you. However, if not, you may hire one. That’s another 2-3 hours boat ride.

From Legazpi…

1. Book a UV Express Van going to Naga City at the Legazpi Bus and Van Grand Terminal across SM City Legazpi mall. Travel time is 2-3 hours. Fare is Php 210.

2. Next, proceed to the terminal going to Daet that’s just at the back of SM City Naga mall.

3. Take step 2 from the Manila guide.

4. Take step 3 from the Manila guide.

If you’re outside of the Philippines wanting to experience this whole island adventure, just book a flight going to Manila and apply the same steps. Personally, I think it’s easier.

I could recommend to you the travel agency we booked from, but I wasn’t there during the negotiation so I’ll just update this article if I ever get that.

Heads up, either. There are going to be LOTS of “photo-bombers” out there called “boats” and “people” …to name drop a few. LOL. Also, there are no cellular signal and electricity there so you better charge your phones full-batt and text people that matter you won’t be able to keep in touch for how many days you’re staying. There’s a generator that costs Php 50 ($1) for mobile charging though, but that’s only available during the night.

Although the place was a bit crowded during the sunset, you can see folks of different skins and culture scattered around.

The scenery was amazing. Everything about the trip was amazing. If only I hadn’t gone there with a heavy heart, I could have really enjoyed it to the fullest.

Panoramic shots