Camarines Norte: Calaguas Chilling and Bagasbas Surfing

The first (and probably the only) tropa beach trip for summer 2012 was already decided a couple months ago.

The destination: Calaguas Islands in Camarines Norte.

Calaguas boasts of its powdery white sands and the feeling of being one with nature.


With the absence of the typical resorts/accommodations, people visiting Calaguas need to prepare for the ultimate camping experience: live in tents, bring and cook your food, limited power and water supply and no cellphone signal.


Because of this reason, the group decided to avail of a package tour and let them worry about the tents, food, etc while we relax throughout our stay. At the end of day, the intent of the vacation is to unwind so we were willing to spend a few extra bucks for a package tour.

The tour was handled by Melvic Brinas’ group. They had a scheduled trip on the weekend of May 12-13 and it was perfect for everyone’s schedule. The itinerary was as follows:

09:00PM- ETD- Manila-Daet

07:00AM - ETA Daet/ Breakfast
08:00AM - ETD for Calaguas Island
10:00AM - ETA Calaguas Island/ set camp explore
12:00 NN- Lunch
01:00PM - Siesta/ swimming/ explore/ picture happy campers
06:00PM - Dinner
07:00PM - Socials
10:00PM - Lights out

06:00AM - Wakeup call
07:00AM - Breakfast
09:00AM - Break Camp
10:00AM - ETD Calaguas - Daet
12:00NN - ETA Daet
01:00PM - Late Lunch
02:00PM - Surfing @ Bagasbas05:00 PM- Rest
06:00 PM- Dinner
08:00 PM- ETD Daet-Manila

In addition to having a hassle-free, relaxing time in Calaguas, there is also a side trip to Bagasbas for surfing. Majority of the group haven’t tried surfing yet so it was something everyone was looking forward to.

We left Manila around 9:30PM of Friday and started the ~10-hour road trip. We had a couple of stopovers for snacks/drinks in SLEX and a couple rounds of Taboo inside the van to keep us entertained but the rest of the trip was spent sleeping (at least for those who had comfortable seats in the van. haha).

Around 2:30AM, we stopped by Quezon province and had a quick midnight snack/breakfast at Lita’s Carinderia. Most of us went down and gave in to the hunger while a couple of folks stayed in the van and chose to sleep instead. After a couple dishes of squids and bangus and a generous amount of rice (and extra rice), we were back on the road.

lita's carinderia

We had one last stop around 7AM in Daet for the other folks to have their breakfast in Jollibee before we arrived at the “port” (I’m not even sure if it’s technically a port) where we transfer to the boat that will take us to the Calaguas Islands.

The boat ride was approximately 2 hours. The first hour was still tolerable but people were starting to become restless during the second hour.

The remedy: a game which requires people to think of something under a specific category that starts with the ending letter of the answer of the preceding person (typing this made the game sound complicated. haha. if only I knew what the game was called). Okay, don’t bother understanding that. Basta, we played a game.

It kept us awake until the moment the powdery sands of Calaguas greeted our eyes.

As soon as we reached the island, we set up camp. Although most tents were already setup when we arrived, we had to pitch two more tents for us to stay near each other (putting our scouting skills to good use. =D). We arranged our things inside and settled down. The only scheduled activity for the day was the Socials at 7PM. The whole day was really for us to relax and enjoy.

calaguas tents

Buffet lunch at 11:30AM. A couple of Monopoly Deal games. Setting up a “picnic” place to relax. Slept under a tree. Swimming. More Monopoly Deal games. Watched the sunset. Explored the shore. This pretty much summarized our day in the beach.


As soon as the sun set, everyone decided to freshen up. People were lining up for the shower rooms where you’d have to pay P10 for each pail of water you need to use (someone will fetch water for you unless you decide to fetch water for yourself).

After the buffet dinner, the Socials event was starting. A minibar was setup in front of the beach where shots were free and socializing was encouraged.

calaguas minibar

We were moderately taking our shots going back and forth to the bar. We visited the other beach fronts of other tour groups (where we saw people having their pictures taken with fire dancers behind them).


One of us though, and I will protect his identity by naming him “Willy”, took socializing to a whole new level. It was after we have settled down back at our beach front where things got a bit crazy, at least for “Willy”.

Without being too specific, let me just say that girls (yes, plural) introduced themselves to “Willy”, pictures were taken, information were exchanged and the rest was history.

A couple of minutes before lights out, we went back to the cottage to heat up some marshmallows (a camping cliché that we can’t afford to miss).

The problem: there was no bonfire.

So we had to improvise and create our own mini-bonfire using twigs, dried leaves, newspaper and the ultimate fire-starter – nacho chips (again, putting our scouting skills to good use). We had a good round of marshmallows before we were reprimanded for starting our own fire.


The lesson: Starting a fire, however small, is prohibited. If you really have to, make sure you don’t get caught! Haha!

The original plan was to watch Paranormal Activity 1, 2 and 3 as soon as the lights were out but because some of us had too much to drink and it started drizzling, we had to call it a night.

DAY 2, we woke up early. After a few Monopoly Deal games and the buffet breakfast, we packed up our things, broke camp and boarded the boat back to Daet. We arrived in Daet around 11:30AM.

We took the van going to Bagasbas. We had our lunch to prepare ourselves for the surfing in the afternoon. On top of the inclusive lunch, we ordered extra Bicol Express (since we’re in Bicol) and halo-halo (since it’s so hot), while waiting for the results of the NBA Playoffs 2012 LAL-DEN Game 7 (which LAL won).

Around 1:30PM, we started the surfing orientation. Listened to the instructions and reminders. Did a few practice pull-ups on the board while still on shore. Tied the board to our ankles. And we were all set.

It was drizzling when we started surfing and the rain poured at the tail-end of our 1-hour surf but it was all good. It turned out to be a good experience to surf in the rain.

*Surfing photos courtesy of Joyce Ignacio.

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We hit the showers. Packed up. Rested a few. Monopoly Deal galore. Then we headed back to Manila around 5PM.

We stopped by Lolo Ompo in Quezon province on our way home for dinner. Bulalo. Seafood. Liempo. Stuffing ourselves in preparation for the long drive ahead.

We were back on the road en route to Manila and arrived around 4AM of Monday, just enough time to get some rest before going back to the employee life.

The package tour was at P2000 per person. For the transportation, we rented a private van at ~P1,625 per person. You can also take the bus from Manila-Daet (and v.v.) from designated bus stations for P1,200 instead. Other expenses we had outside the package included the snacks/drinks we brought to the island, cottage rental, meals during road trip stopovers, and the surfing instructor/surfboard rental.

For more details on the Calaguas Island Tour that we availed, visit



  1. next time, please do not create a bonfire in the beach, khit maitatakas ninyo. alam nyo bang nakakasira kayo ng kalinisan ng beach? sa hilig nyo pa naman mag travel, sana alam nyo ang basic concepts of LNT (leave no trace)... i hope that when you travel, you don't just think about your selves and your current happiness. think that others would want to experience the same beauty of the places that you've visited, just the way you found it.