October 13, 2015
THE CALAGUAS is one of the best kept secret beach destinations in the Philippines, located in Camarines Norte, Bicol. "Cal" means lime and "aguas" translates to water in Spanish.
It's now famous for Mahabang Buhangin's 1.27 km powdery white sand on Tinaga Island, the biggest island in the Calaguas. Some people describe it as the perfect beach and a throwback to Boracay 25 years ago.
I've been to the Calaguas in 2008, when the beach was still wild and undiscovered. Backpackers and beach lovers soon found out about the island and set up tents in campsites along the beach. In 2012, the first Waling-Waling Resort was built and continues to be the only eco-resort on the island.
Here's a photo essay of the Waling-Waling Eco Resort experience...
It's best to go during the off-peak season (October to December) when you can have the entire white beach to yourself.
Mahabang Buhangin is 1.5 hours by boat from Paracale or 2 hours from Vinzons, Camarines Norte.
There's no mobile signal on the island, which adds to its off-the-grid appeal.
Waling-Waling has 14 open-air cabanas with 2 hammocks. There's a common restroom good for 4 persons.
It also has 8 kubols with a spacious 2nd-floor sitting room and can accommodate 6 persons. (Tip: get cabana #1 or #2)
The open-air living room is where you can hang out to eat and drink with your friends.
Most importantly, there is a clean private bathroom with a fresh water source and electricity provided by generator.
(Tip: Make sure to sync your toilet visits with the genset schedule--usually early in the morning and at night only)
WALING-WALING ECO VILLAGE
Mahabang Buhangin, Tinaga Island, Calaguas, Camarines Norte
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Mobile: +63 915 100-0000 (Globe), +63 912 600-0000 (Smart)
3 days 2 nights package:
For as low as P4,000 per head inclusive of breakfast, accommodations, boat for a group of 4 in a cabana.
P5,000 per head for a group of 6 in a kubol inclusive breakfast, boat transfers and accommodations.
(Note: There's no air-conditioning in the resort)
Home-cooked food is prepared fresh in the kitchen every time.
You'll be pampered with the fresh catch of fish and seafood throughout the day.
Food is simple. Best to bring your own meats and other ingredients in a cooler and then have them cooked.
Tip: Remember to buy Dalandan when in season from the Daet-Naga junction.
Don't miss to get a taste of their specialty, Bicol Laing--spicy gabi leaves in coconut milk.
You can also buy fresh squid from the market. Local fishermen can also have these stuffed then grilled.
Remember to ask for their other specialty, crab in papaya with coconut milk.
Breakfast is comfort Filipino fare of fried fish, tapa, corned beef, egg, and 3-in-1 coffee.
And don't forget to buy ice candy (P20) for dessert when available.
What to do in Calaguas?
Related Blog Post: Our Awesome Guide to Calaguas (soon)
Beach & Island Hopping
The pristine white sand beach and crystal clear water is irresistible (rain or shine).
Be prepared with beach activities: beach volleyball, frisbee, kayaking, sunbathing, and building sand castles.
We had fun jumping off the boat and being kids again. Took a lot of GoPro shots, too.
A drone shot of the waters of Calaguas.
For the more adventurous explorers, go on an island hopping tour of the caves of Tangob in Maculabo island.
Yes, I recommend going with your kids! Our boys--ages 10, 7, 5, and 1--loved playing on the beach, literally all day!
Tinaga Island has a short and scenic hiking route (less than 30 minutes trek) with a beautiful vantage point of the white beach cove.
I recommend hiking the Balagbag Maliit with a beautiful panorama of the Pacific Ocean.
A Filipino adventure is not complete without a selfie jump shot.
One morning, go on an early 4.30am hike to the sunrise viewpoint.
You'll be passing through a cemetery with black crows guarding it.
The sunrise point is located on the hill in the distance about less than 30 minutes hike.
Globe signal awaits the brave trekkers in the small hut overlooking the town.
A view of Brgy.Mangkawayan town at the back of Tinaga Island from the sunrise viewpoint.
It's a rural fishing village with rustic huts and clean & green surroundings.
The kids would make you feel right at home in the town. There's only one elementary school on the island and they would need to go to the mainland for higher education.
Replenish your snacks from the sari-sari store selling local bread and tsitseria.
There is an occasional 8 am Sunday mass when the priest is in town.
At the end of the day, sit down on the beach and you'll get front row seats to a romantic Calaguas sunset.
The resort glows at night while you hang out in a surprisingly mosquito-free environment.
Catch the fire dancer from Camp Hullabaloo and get a dancing fire photo souvenir.
Calaguas awaits those seeking for the surreal beach paradise experience....
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: Thank you to Bernice Palanca-Go for hosting us during our Calaguas Feature. We wrote this article with our biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. Here are the best practices and tips on How to go to Calaguas via road trip:
Go on a night road trip convoy and target to leave Manila at around 9 pm ...
(Download: Driving Directions to Calaguas via Paracale.)
... to reach Paracale, Camarines Norte before 8 am. (Note: The water is calmer and waves are relatively smaller in the morning)
We rode a spacious Nissan Urvan NV350 with a powerful 2.5L engine that can easily transport 2 families with a total of 4 adults, 5 kids, 2 yaya, and a driver with all our pieces of luggage.
It has a good air-conditioning system to keep you cool and fuel efficient throughout the road trip. The jump seats are not comfortable and there is less leg room in the cabin as a trade-off to maximize capacity.
You can leave your cars safely in the private parking slot in Paracale. (Parking fee of P200 per night)
Don't forget to try the Pancit Guisado from El Minero Snack house before you ride your boat.
The boat can accommodate a maximum of 30 persons. Before you travel, check out how high are the waves from the Wind guru forecast.
Your luggage will be kept safe and dry under the boat. Make sure to provide waterproof bags for your cameras and gadgets.
Trivia: Paracale is a small scale mining town and known for high-quality karat gold.
It is preferred to travel via Paracale than Vinzons because the travel time is scenic and shorter (only 1.5 hours).
Make sure that you wear your swimsuit already so that you can jump down to the beach!
P.P.S. I regret not buying a property here when I visited Calaguas with my dad during our Bicol road trip in 2008.