January 7, 2018

Calaguas Travel Diary 2017: Balagbag Beach

Ever since I heard and read about Calaguas Group of Islands back in 2010, I've been wanting to go there. I was enticed by the idea of a long stretch of fine powdery white sand beach with turquoise blue waters; just like Boracay, sans the establishments, large crowds and loud music coming from bars. When I think of the beach, I see it as a sanctuary, a place where I can rest all my worries, watch the sunrise and sunset, my feet playing with the sand and just be carefree. I go to the beach for serenity that's why I would rather choose a beach that is chill rather than where I could party. I mean, I can always party here in Manila if I wanted to. 




I've made a couple of attempts to go to Calaguas for years but continuously failed to do so. Earlier this year my officemates planned this trip and we excitedly looked forward to Thanksgiving Day for the realization of the trip. It was a long journey by land but we made each moments to be remembered. Just like what one of my friends said, one scene equated/amounted to 50 laughter. We encountered lots of adventures and adversaries. I can't even find where to start relating the stories, likely that I'll mention some as I write the memoirs of this trip. 




But before anything else, here's a background to Calaguas. The Calaguas is located in the Philippine province of Camarines Norte. It includes the major islands of Tinaga Island and Guintinua Island, the minor Maculabo Island, as well as several other minor islands. Most of the islands are under the administrative jurisdiction of Vinzons, while the minor island of Maculabo is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Paracale. Recently, the island of Tinaga where the well-known long beach called Mahabang Buhangin is located is experiencing an influx of tourists despite the absence of accommodation. Campers and backpackers visit Mahabang Buhangin to experience its powdery white sands.




But before anything else, here's a background to Calaguas. The Calaguas is located in the Philippine province of Camarines Norte. It includes the major islands of Tinaga Island and Guintinua Island, the minor Maculabo Island, as well as several other minor islands. Most of the islands are under the administrative jurisdiction of Vinzons, while the minor island of Maculabo is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Paracale. Recently, the island of Tinaga where the well-known long beach called Mahabang Buhangin is located is experiencing an influx of tourists despite the absence of accommodation. Campers and backpackers visit Mahabang Buhangin to experience its powdery white sands.

I won't write about our itineraries or how much we spent for this trip because we availed of an exclusive trip going to this place. We saved every payday for this 3 days and 2 nights trip for a few months. You can look up Facebook or Google for companies that offers group tours to the island and I'm pretty sure you'll find a lot. Just been keen with the feedbacks and package inclusions, so as to get the most out of what you'll pay for.




Since it was November in the Philippines, rain ain't an unusual thing but we were hopeful and positive that we will be blessed with good weather. It was drizzling the whole time that we were driving to Paracale. The rain would stop and would turn up again. There was no storm looming but an LPA was alive somewhere in the Pacific near the Philippines causing strong winds and rain. 

We got held up in Paracale for a day because the Coast Guard dropped a no-sail advisory due to bad sea conditions; but that didn’t stop us from enjoying our well-deserved vacation. (You can read about it here: Calaguas Island Travel Diary 2017: Pulang Daga Beach, Paracale). By 10am the next morning, we received a go signal from the Coast Guard allowing people to sail to Calaguas. 




After braving the 2-hour waves and slowly approaching the island, I was filled with awe. A slice of paradise is within reach. The waves hitting the beach was still strong but the beach had fine powdery white sand, it was fantastic! Mahabang Buhangin Beach is really like Boracay, it is 3 km long but none of the huge crowds and noisy establishments. Maybe in the summer there's more people out there but we were fortunate that we went during lean season. You can check out the full feature here: as this post will be all about Balagbag Island.




On our last day in Calaguas, we left by noon and did a side trip to Balagbag Island before heading back to Paracale. Balagbag is an island just next to Tinaga which was about a 5-10 minute boat ride but has a completely different atmosphere and scenery than Mahabang Buhangin. 




For one, the beach is very pebbly or the sand is not fine at all. The beach has more broken corals and stones than sand which I personally, I don't like in a beach. You can actually stay here because there are nipa huts available for people to rent. And for a while, we also did some snorkeling off the shore.




BUT, the hills are a complete story. You can trek up its hills and the scenery will surely leave you in awe. Its rolling hills looks like Batanes and the view is just simply amazing! Super Instagram-worthy, if I can say so myself. I like the view from the hills here than the ones we trekked up in Tinaga Island. The scenery here is just breath taking. I wish we could have stayed longer but we have to go back to Paracale before it gets dark so we just spent a good 30 minutes to an hour here, trekking and taking photos.



Read more of my Calaguas 2017 trip: 
Calaguas Travel Diary 2017: Pulang Daga Beach, Paracale 
Calaguas Travel Diary 2017: Mahabang Buhangin Beach, Tinaga Island
- Calaguas Travel Diary 2017: Balagbag Beach


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