Monday, March 12, 2012

Calaguas, Camarines Norte: The Road Ahead

Halabang Baybay (Mahabang Buhangin), Calaguas Islands
Vinzons, Camarines Norte
January 29, 2011

Left My Heart in Paradise

Calaguas will always melt my heart with memories...

... turquoise water
... mad waves
... powdery grains of sand
... rugged rocks

And like any true born wanderer, my heart remembers more than what my eyes have seen... and my eyes have seen more than what my heart remembers..


Like every story and every trip, everything starts from something...
With Calaguas, it started with that longing to find ourselves in some exotic paradise that most people would only dream about.

In time for a friend’s birthday, we finally found enough reason to push ourselves and go on with this trip. Armed with ample information, we headed straight to Cubao Terminal. I remember all eyes were on me when I arrived there (I was late). It was 10 pm and we just missed the 10 pm bus bound to Daet (well, I was hehe guilty as the sin itself ... =)


          It  wasn’t peak season and so there were limited number of buses going to Daet. After what looked to be a major deliberation, the group finally opted for a non-aircon bus heading for Naga.... Yes a NON-AIRCON BUS! (the next trip to Daet was at 1am). I must say, it was one of the worst choices we’ve made.

          Minutes past 10 pm, we got trapped in the traffic in EDSA.  It was hot and humid and we were stuck in a non-air-conditioned bus. I can’t seemed to breathe for the most part of it (got suffocated by the smoke and smell of traffic). In frustration, I just closed my eyes and hoped sleep would take over. I remembered a stopover somewhere in the province of Lucena. 


          The whole night trip was filled with sharing moments among friends (lovelife then career then lovelife then lovelife, then lovelife... in that order). I noticed that for most of our trips, we only really get to talk about personal stuffs when we are in the road. I’m not certain why, but road trips really make people open up and share, even their most intimate and personal thoughts.

          We woke up around 7 am and I looked around me. Everyone else was waking up. But it was almost 2 hours more before we reached the intersection (one headed for Naga and the other headed for Daet). We looked around us as we get off from the bus. We were all shaking our heads as waited for any vehicle departing for Daet. We were way beyond our schedule.

          Luckily, a jeepney passed by and it took us in a terminal where a bus heading for Daet was waiting. After one and half hour more of nauseous but liberating road experience, we finally reached Daet, Camarines Norte. After riding a tricycle for almost 20 minutes, we arrived at the small fishing port in the town of Vinzons. It was almost 11 am and we were all pumped up with excitement....

We were not aware that the true adventure (and danger) was all just beginning...

 (to be continued.)


Land Trip: 

         Via Daet --> There are buses (Philtranco/Superlines) heading directly to Daet in Cubao/Pasay Terminal Station. Travel time is approximately 6-8 hours. From Daet, rent a tricycle to the small fishing port (Minaogan) in the town of Vinzons where you can haggle for boats to Calaguas.

          Via Naga --> If you missed the buses going to Daet (like what happened to us), ride any bus heading for Naga. You can either get off in the intersection in Sta Elena (ask the driver beforehand) or you can opt to go all the way to Naga and go directly to the terminal where vans heading for Daet are waiting. Travel time from Naga to Daet = 2-3 hours.

          Via Naga --> The nearest airport to Camarines Norte is the one in Naga. There are regular flights in the area (Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Zest Air). From the airport go straight to the terminal and look for Vans headed for Daet.

          Via Paracale --> Most blogs point out that this route to Calaguas is way easier but I can't say for certain since I haven't tried this route before. But in case you might want to consider, the town of Paracale (famous for gold), can be accessed by a public van in Daet for about 1.5-2 hours travel time. Or better yet, opt for buses going to Daet and get off directly at Paracale. From there, the fishing port is not difficult to trace.
Boat Ride:
          Via Vinzons --> A regular public boat heading for Brgy Banocboc in Calaguas departs at 11 am. From Brgy Bonocbc, Mahabang Buhangin can be accessed by a small boat (which you can rent for a cheaper price) or you can try to walk to the beach with a local guide.  Another option is renting a boat in Vinzon's port ( price range: 5k-7k) which is what we did. 

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
Robert Louis Stevenson



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