Travel Blogger friends recommend Calaguas and more people are raving it, now it’s time for me to really check the island out. As I’m not a fan of tour packages, I did some research for a DIY trip to the famed Mahabang Buhangin.
I was glad when Joan of The Backpack Chronicles and Clara from Romania were with me on this trip. Made the terminal transfers, couple of waiting and long butt-numbing trip manageable and happy too!
If you are coming from Naga:
Take the van going to Daet (Php 188, 2:30 hours);
then take the tricycle to vans/bus going to Paracale (Php 50, 1 hour);
from Paracale look for the fish port and ask around the boat trip going to Brgy. Mangcawayan (Calaguas).
Take the passenger boat to Calaguas (Php100, 2-3 hours).
You will get off at Bgry. Mangcawayan (barrio), you can then walk towards Mahabang Buhangin (15-minute walk).
If you are coming from Manila, just get off at Talobatib or Labo, then take the bus going to Paracale (Php 35, 1 hour). Then follow the instructions above.
Important Note: Unless you want to pay Php 3000 (good for 10pax) for the boat rental from Paracale to Calaguas (round trip), it is best to do as locals do.
Go to the fishport at Paracale (walking distance from the van/bus terminal) and look for Kuya Allan, he is the only boatman that transports passengers to and from Calaguas. Sorry, Kuya Allan don’t use cellphone.
Schedule of passenger boat:
Paracale- Brgy. Mangcawayan: Between 1:00-2:00pm. Best if you are there by 12nn.
Brgy. Mangcawayan – Paracale: 7:00am or earlier.
There is only 1 boat the goes to and from Paracale, for the locals who will go to the market. Travel time 2:30-3:00 hours
Paracale – Bgry. Mangcawayan- Php 100
Beach Entrance- Php 100/head (per day)
Baranggay fee: Php 20
Travel Tips/ Notes:
1. There is small market in the island (barrio). Go to Brgy. Mangcawayan and look for the small fish store. I was able to buy assorted fish (talakitok, sword fish) for only Php50/kilo.
2. Bring mineral water and rice. Although there is a water source in the island (water pump) it is best to have your own drinking water. Rice is more expensive here because they import it from the mainland.
3. There are 3 signal sites in the island. Globe and Smart users need not worry to contact loved ones. There is no SUN signal, sorry.
4. Look for Mang/Tatay Digoy, he is the caretaker of the beach of Gary Gonzales. He looked after us and made sure we are well-supplied of dry woods and hot water for coffee. He even offered to accompany us when we went to Sitio Tinago. He also lent us some cooking materials (frying pan, casserole, grill, knife, plates, mugs, spoon and fork)
5. It is best to have someone who knows how to build fire, pitch a tent and cook using dry woods. I remember seeing other campers set the bush on fire and throw the fish on it. I hope they didn’t starve that night.
6. They have a restroom at Mahabang Buhangin (buhos-type), so don’t worry girls.
7. You can bring your tent/hammock if you don’t want to use the cottage.
8. If you want to have the beach all for yourself (like we did), go there on weekdays.
9. Stay for 2 nights to really enjoy the island. Don’t forget to look at the stars at night. The most stars I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
10. Flashlight/headlamp will become useful by 7:00pm as there is no electricity in Mahabang Buhangin.
Be a responsible camper. Don’t throw anything on the beach (no-no cigarette butts).
Please read everything before asking. I hope I wrote all pertinent information about Calaguas island.
All photos are from Joan of The Backpack Chronicles. Thanks again, Joan! Enjoyed tagging you and Clara along with me.