The Stress-Free Calaguas Beach Getaway

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Step 1: Join a package tour group. DIY trips are for responsible people who do their homework. For the rest of us people who wouldn’t be bothered, get a tour operator. Harhar!

Step 2: Endure the 8-hour land trip and the 2-hour boat ride.

Step 3: Swim, eat, drink, sleep to your heart’s content! Relax and enjoy!

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My friends and I booked the Calaguas package of Sandtoes Travel for 2 days and 1 night for PhP3,500 per person.

The package includes:
–  All Camp Meals
        * 3 meals for 2d/1n
        * Day 2 (for 2d/1n guest) lunch is optional. Should you want to include meal package just add PhP100.
– Tent Accommodation
– Jeep pick-up from drop-off point to port of  Vinzons and vice versa
– Roundtrip boat transfers
– Guide fee
– Entrance fee at Mahabang Buhangin
– Environmental fee P20/person

Itinerary:

Day 0
Assembly at Cubao bus terminal before 9:00pm. Other pick-up points are at Pasay, Alabang, and Turbina. Just coordinate with the tour operator.

DAY 0
9:00pm ETD from Cubao, Quezon City to Daet, Camarines Norte

DAY 1
6:00am ETA in Daet, Camarines Norte
7:00am Breakfast (customer’s own account)
8:00am Go to Vinzons port, ride a boat to Calaguas Island
10:00am ETA Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Island
12:00nn  Lunch (camping meal 1)
02:00pm Swimming, free time
7:00pm Dinner (camping meal 2)
9:00pm Mobile Bar: drink all you can! (No extra fee; it’s part of the package but not advertised as such.)
12:00am Lights Out

DAY 2
7:00am Breakfast (camping meal 3)
11:00 am ETD at Calaguas Island
1:00pm ETA Vinzons port, ride jeep to Bagasbas
2:00pm ETA Bagasbas, free time, late lunch (meal 4 –we got this for free)
Optional: Surfing (different charges for the instructor and  rentals)
8:00pm ETD Daet to Manila
5:00am ETA Manila

Travel dates: May 22-24, 2015

Tips:

1. If you have motion sickness, drink Bonamine — not for the boat ride, but for the bus ride. I was warned that the boat ride would be hell, but thank goodness, the sea was very calm on the day of our trip. I wasn’t expecting the bus ride before that to be so horrible. What you have to prepare for are the winding roads leading up to Daet. I was clammy and woosy by the time we arrived in Daet.

2. Upon arrival in Daet, you’ll be dropped off to have breakfast at a hotel (on your account, not part of the package). A meal of 1 cup rice, fried egg, 3-in-1 instant coffee, and 1 kind of meat (tocino, longganisa, beef tapa, hotdog, fried chicken, or pork chop) costs PhP100. You don’t have to eat at this hotel. If you fancy McDonalds, there’s one a short walking distance from the hotel. McDonalds has pancakes and brewed coffee at a fraction of the hotel food’s cost.

3. An hour or so after dinner on Day 1, they will open the bar. Gather around and take advantage of the free cocktails. Enjoy!

4. On the island, there are public bathrooms/toilets. Lots of water, thanks to the deep wells. You’ll surely put your upper body strength to good use. Taking a bath could be a challenge because of the cramped space, so bring a large plastic bag which you could sling or hook onto the door and where you could keep your towel and your change of clothes.

5. There’s a beginner’s hiking trail on a hill very near the campsite. It’s private property so they do charge an entrance fee of PhP50. It’s a nice way to see Mahabang Buhangin from a different perspective. Plus, the hike burns calories.

6. Best Experience: Deep into the night, open up the top part of your tent. Ours had a zipper and hood on top. It was 2:00am, the entire island was dark and quiet, and the stars in the sky were AMAZING. I’ve never seen so many bright  stars. It was absolutely breathtaking.

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