Just like what I always tell people, sometimes all you really need in life is a long bus ride and an empty beach – this is another one of those adventures. Not to mention realizing the fact that as it’s been a while since the last time that I randomly bought a bus ticket with my college travel buds. I knew this was the perfect time considering that one of my friends from Italy was having a vacation here in the Philippines, and another friend just got back from the US, there was no way I can say no to adventures.
(Some of us had late shifts at work before we left Manila, so me and my friends met at Cubao at around 1:00AM.) Please know that the last trip of air-con bus going to Bicol already left by 9:00PM, but we still went to Superlines Station anyway and the only bus that will drive to Daet was scheduled 3:00AM (other bus lines that will take you to Daet: Philtranco & DLTB) and that means we didn’t have choice; we needed to take the ordinary bus.
(We also considered going to Bolinao at that moment but we still chose to go for Calaguas so we bought tickets for the 3:00AM bus to seal the commitment for this trip because I know my friends’ spontaneity.)
I remember scratching my head when I knew that we were taking it. But I was honestly excited as well. 9 hours bus drive windows down? Never thought it was gonna be so much fun! So when my friends are in, that means I’m also in, I mean that’s all we ask for a travel squad, right?
After hours of traveling down south of Luzon, we got off the bus when we reached Talobatib at around 12 noon.
From there, you can ride a tricycle and another mini bus to Paracale. But since we were running out of time, we asked 2 tricycles to take us directly to Paracale. It was a little bit costly though but you can always haggle your way in. (And that’s why I’m thankful to have a friend who grew up in Divisoria for he mastered this skill and it always saves us chunks of money on the road!)
Upon reaching Paracale, we met our bangkero (kuya Melvin, sorry I don’t have his mobile number anymore!) that will take us to the interesting Calaguas Island. It’s up to your charm on how cheap you are going to bargain your fare to the island. In our case, we got it at P3,500 (back and forth trip, inclusive of tent, cooler and other essentials for island life) awesome right? We went to the market nearby and contributed money for the food, rice, water, ice, and other things that will keep us alive for 3 days 2 nights on the island.
The boat ride from Paracale to Calaguas island was roughly around 2 hours. Was it a bumpy boat ride? Not that I can remember because it was alright for me. I mean it was a fun ride, nothing’s like the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean teasing you when you’re on your way to somewhere you’ve never been before.
We touched down 1-hour before the sunset, and oh my gosh, the front beach was stunning. I’ve never seen a beach that has sands as close to Boracay and yes of course the landscape, talking as a whole picture, was different. But the water wasn’t any less crystal, it was so clear. The waves were pretty calm if you’re going to pay attention to it, but it was not a dead beach at all. A totally chill beach.
We were welcomed by ate Venus, who assisted us to where we were going to be setting up our tent. On the island, you’ll get to pay P100 for the entrance, and we also got one cottage for P350/day. It was nice because whenever we asked help for some cooking wares, ate Venus was always there to lend us the things we needed.
We set up our tent, prepared dinner, and as much as I want to just put down my backpack, take off my shirt, and go straight to the waters, my tummy was also screaming! So I stayed at our place and help my friends prepare the food instead.
I’ll say that we had a delicious dinner that night. That’s one of the things that I like about trips: you and your friends doing nothing, just enjoying the time and catching up with each other. Just good times.
By the way, we went there Friday, and I was glad that there were just a few campers during that time. Me and my friends did drink the whole night and swam when it was midnight. I was glad that I was drunk Friday night at this place rather than being drunk somewhere else back in the city. The island doesn’t have enough electricity at night so it was dark, and the only light we have was the moon. There wasn’t a loud club music as well, only the drunk voices of the people that we crossed paths on the very same night singing to the tune of the playing guitar.
And we went to sleep early and woke up early the next day. Me and Alex went to a morning walk since the rest of my friends were still sleeping. Had our tummies full with a simple yet wonderful breakfast. It was still early, 10:00AM, and there was nothing else to do. So we went to the other island!
The island that we went to was stunning as hell. Stayed there for the next 2 hours, went uphill under the bright and scorching sun (I think I’m still sunburned) Photo here, a photo there. My friends were crazed by the picture-perfect spots from left to right.
We went swimming for a bit when we got back, took an afternoon nap, and went back swimming again! Don’t you just love island life? Because I am a sucker for it and I keep on falling for it every time.
That night, I thought we were calling it an early night. But we got ourselves drunk again anyway besides the beach. I remember that night clearly, we were sitting on the sand, talking about life’s greatest mysteries. I don’t know, but the exact moment when I tilted my head to look up the night skies, there it was, bright and fast, a shooting star was falling right in front of me, it was happening right before my eyes! I was in awe. I was astounded. I can’t remember how many years I prayed for it to happen. I was very happy, I woke up that day without knowing that I’ll be checking off one thing from my bucket list. I know it wasn’t much but that will always be an interesting night for me.
So after drinking, we went straight to the beach to swim again. And with the drunk selves that were us, we just laid there. We were there for three days, no cellular data, no facebook notifications, we can’t post our snaps, but we were okay. It was nice to get away sometimes, you know.
We woke up early the next day to prepare breakfast before leaving the island. To be honest, we didn’t have anything to eat on the last day. But thank goodness I asked everyone to bring 2 canned goods each for emergency (we do this all the time, it saves lives!) so we were saved.
Watching other boats unloading people while us getting on our boat to go back to Paracale was a little bit blue. It was over. I knew it was going to be a long ride going back to Manila and of course, I cannot wait to sleep on my bed that night furnished with new adventures.
- Bus (back and forth) – P830
- Tricycle (back and forth) -P160
- Boat (back and forth with tent) – (P3,500/5pax) P700 each
- Food – P300
- Environmental Fee – P20
- Island Entrance Fee – P100
- Other expenses/pasalubongs – P600
- TOTAL: P2,710
- There are karinderyas on the island but of course, they are a bit pricey, so if you’re on a tight budget like us, list everything you’ll be needing while on a long bus drive and buy it from the market before sailing to Calaguas.
- Bring (at least 2) easy-open canned goods and 1 or 2 liters of water each. Believe me, it saves a lot!
- Be responsible with your trash, bring garbage bags.
- 2D1N trip stay in Calaguas is okay but I suggest you go for 3D2N because it’s good for your soul.
- There’s no cellular data signal in Calaguas.
- Bring power banks – there’s no unlimited power supply when you’re on the island
- And most importantly, enjoy your travel!