Ever since I started traveling; I’ve always wanted to challenge myself, to go out of my comfort zone and one of the things I wanted to try is going off the grid on a deserted island. I have my list of islands and Calaguas Islands in Camarines Norte is included in it. Camping? I have done it overnight and I loved it! But going off the grid for 3 days, I think is another story. So if you’re interested on going here, this is a guide on what to expect, bring and how to prepare yourself on journey to Calaguas Islands in Camarines Norte. The Broke Travelers’ way.
Calaguas islands are composed of Tinaga Island, Guintinua Island, Maculabo Island and as well as several other minor islands. To be able to go there you should able to endure a painful 10-hour ride from Manila to Vinzons. We traveled at night so it’s not that painful as it should be in the morning. I was able to sleep soundly (I am really good at sleeping at any types of road). From Vinzons, you’ll need to travel again by a boat for 2 hours.
For DIY trip, there is a bus line of Philtranco with terminals in Pasay and Cubao. For the schedule please check this link. (Philtranco Bus Schedule)
Bus to Daet: Php 551.10 (AC) & Php 450.90 (ORD)
Jeep to Vinzons: Php 12.00
Small Boat (6 pax): Php 2,500 – Php 3,000
Sari-Sari Store at the Port in front of Barangay Hall
What to bring from the City?
Since we got a tour package there from Zero Two Travel, which had our meals (except snacks) and water in the island included. This is really convenient to tell you the truth since, you wouldn’t need to think about and bring food you would eat on the island.
For DIY travelers:
|1. Meals for 3 days||There are no restaurants there. Buying canned goods will be more convenient.|
|2. Snacks||Though there are snacks available on the island. It’s always better to buy your own snack for it is more cheaper.|
|3. 6L of Water||Even if you have availed the tour package, it’s always better to bring your own water. Especially for people like me who has sensitive stomach.
Cold drinks like Sodas and sports drinks:
|4. Tent||I didn’t see any hotels there yet.|
|5. Decent blanket/Sarong||Since I don’t have any sleeping bag. I think a sarong is good for a makeshift blanket/pillow.|
|6. Liquor||Liquor is quite expensive there of course! But with a consideration that you’ll be drinking it warm. I think buying there is still better.
Red horse Stallion – Php 50.00
|7. Dry bag||Actually you’ll need a Plastic bag to secure your things while on the boat to Calaguas. Because we’re gonna be sailing to pacific ocean, waves going in the boat are to be expected. So to prevent your things getting wet, putting it in a plastic bag is advised. Be sure that you’re ready to get wet too on the boat ride to Calaguas. But if you’ll put all of your things on a dry bag then it wouldn’t be a problem. They’re selling big plastic bags there at Vinzons.
Big plastic bag: Php 16.00
|8. Sunblock||I think this one is obvious. Make sure to apply already before you ride the boat, the sun is unforgiving sometimes.|
|9. Snorkeling Gear||There are NO rentals available there. So bring your own.
Best time to go snorkeling is in the morning at the left part of the beach, where the corals are not too deep
|10. Cooking set||If you’re planning on cooking your own meals there.|
|11. Powerbank||There is no electricity on the Island, so I suggest for you to bring one.
Availability of Electricity: 7:00PM-6:00AM
You may charge your phones or gadgets during those times:
|12. Camping Flashlight/Lamp||There are no lights!|
This is our usual dinner! Freshly caught seafood!
There’s a paid and there’s the free toilet.
What’s the difference? The Free toilet has no running water so you’ll be paying the locals minimal amounts to fetch you some water. The paid one has water provided on each cubicle and has lights at night.
Paid CR/Shower room rate ranges from Php 10.00 – Php 20.00
This is the paid comfort room.
How much will be the Budget?
DIY is CHEAP! Like it’s less than Php 3000 only.
Since we took a tour package, we only paid Php 3,700.00 each (rate for 3-4pax). Yes! The more you are in a group the cheaper it will be. Actually I only have Php 500.00 to spend there (dinner on the way back to Manila and for souvenirs). But all in all the damage on my wallet was just around Php 4,000.00++.
For the breakdown for DIY (PDF)
Our campsite: our tent is the one with a lot of clothes above the entrance
It’s a 2-hour boat ride from Vinzons to Calaguas
We stayed in Tinaga Island in Mahabang Buhangin beach, which by the way looked like a BIG SWIMMING POOL. Because of that all we did in the said island was either to EAT, SWIM and SNORKEL.
Here’s the itinerary of our 3D2N trip in Calaguas:
2030H Assembly at pick up point
2100H ETD Manila to Vinzons (Jump off point)
0530H ETA Vinzons / Breakfast (client’s expense)
0615H ETD Vinzons to Mahabang Buhangin
0915H ETA Mahabang Buhangin
0930H Set camp
1000H Free time (beach bumming, swimming, snorkeling)
1300H Explore island / beach bumming / swimming / snorkeling
1400H Island Hop to Isla Balagbag
1600H Snorkeling at coral reefs
1700H ETA Mahabang Buhangin
0800H Free time (trek to hilltop, beach bumming, swimming)
1300H Beach Bumming
0830H Break camp
0900H ETD Mahabang Buhangin
1200H ETA Vinzons / Wash up / Lunch
1330H ETD Vinzons to Daet
1400H ETA Daet / Side trip to Bagaspas Beach (surfing spot)
1600H ETD Daet to Manila
1900H Stopover / Dinner
0100H ETA Manila
Here are some of our photos there:
Pink is the color of buko pandan ice candy Php 20.00
Balagbag island Hill Top (PC: Czarina Rodriguez)
The view of Tinaga island from Balagbag (PC: Czarina Rodriguez)