Calaguas Island: Braving the Storm for Paradise | Camarines Norte

9 hours by land. 2 hours by sea. And a storm signal. This is not for the faint-hearted.

I was never a fan of long boat rides especially on small vessels that can accommdate only a maximum of 10-15 people. I hate big waves! And then there's the cliche... there’s always a first time for everything. True! Guess what? I've just experienced the most extreme, nerve-racking, heart-pumping boat ride of my life! Glad I survived!

We have been planning this Calaguas Island trip for quite a while only to find out that PAGASA (Philippines’ institution for monitoring weather, typhoon warnings, etc) raised a storm signal that same day. What?!? You know the feeling when you’re all set for something and then it suddenly gets cancelled. I guess we all felt the same so we decided to brave the storm and push through with our Calaguas escapade! 

It was a loooooooong 9-hour travel by land from Manila to Paracale, Camarines Norte. Paracale is where the port to Calaguas island is. When we reached the port, we found out that the local coast guard temporarily suspended boat travels going to the island because of the bad weather. We insisted! Never say never! We didn’t care how bad the weather was, we just wanted to get our asses off to paradise. After a few minutes of negotiations, the coast guard finally said yes! We were so happy, not knowing we signed up for the most thrilling boat ride of our lives!

The first few minutes of the ride was just okay. The waves were big but our strong desires to get to the island were bigger and stronger. Twenty minutes later, the port was already out of sight, and the waves started to get intense. It was wild. We thought of backing out. I started to feel my nerves. Wild, tragic scenarios started playing in my mind. For chrissake, I don't wanna die of drowning ugh! FYI, I can’t swim, so yeah, a lot of crazy Titanic-ish moments paralyzed my sanity. This heart-stopping cruise went on for about 2 hours. Finally, a small island popped out of the horizon. The view was surreal. The boatman said we’re only a few [big] waves away to reaching the island. It was a relief! We're alive!

And in that particular point in time, the island was ours. It was literally just us. Well, I guess we're the only brave souls who said yes to the challenge of the sphinx haha! The rest was history in paradise. ;)

By the way, we made a short music video featuring the beautiful Calaguas Island.

Credit: Marvin Cabutaje

Check out some of our photos. I have included a copy of our itinerary and expenses below. :)

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Detailed Itinerary:

March 22 (Saturday)
10:00pm Assembly BGC (Dinner/Buy Stuff etc.)
11:00pm ETD from BGC to Daet

March 23 (Sunday)
7:00am ETA in Daet
8:00am Breakfast
9:00am ETD Daet Market to Paracale
9:30am ETA in Paracale
10:00am ETD Paracale to Calaguas Island (1.5-2 hours boat ride)
12:00am ETA Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Island (Rest/Photoshoot/Swimming)
1:00pm Lunch
2:00pm Chill time
07:00pm Dinner
08:00pm Socials (Inom/Night Swimming/Chill)
11:00pm Lights Out

March 24 (Monday)
5:00am Wakeup call
6:00am Climb the Tinago Hills (Sunrise watching)
8:00am Breakfast
9:00am Chill (swim/Pictures)
12:00pm Lunch
1:00pm Chill time (Swim/Picture/Prepare)
4:00pm ETD Calaguas to Paracale
10:00pm ETD Daet to Manila

March 25 (Tuesday)
7:00am ETA Manila


Van-Rent (good for 10-12 pax) : P8000 (for 2 days)
Gas and Toll (estimate): P5000
Boat (good for 7-10 pax) P5000 - (good for 7-15 pax) 6000

Transpo / 10 (Confirmed peeps) = P1,800 per pax
Food (estimated); P500 per pax

Budget for the whole trip:
For 10 pax: P1,800 + P500 = P2,300 per pax