Calaguas; an overnight stay that became an overstay for several nights
Calaguas Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
Calaguas was a great experience. The place was beautiful, there was no doubt about it, but the truly rewarding piece of my solo journey was the group of people I met along the way; the kindness of strangers goes a long long way and I am testament from the supposed overnight stay that I originally planned (tried) to the extended five days of paradise that I truly experienced.
And I am paying this forward; to the kind hearted people that made my lone journey a worthwhile experience and this definitely will be one never to be forgotten in my book.
I learned about Calaguas from Ish just about three weeks or so ago.
The trip was more of a light bulb moment but instead of a bulb, there appeared an imaginary neon light on top of my head after the eureka sound, and those lights spelled CALAGUAS with some letters flickering as if it were a cheap sign from a red light district in some dark part of Manila.
I digress... I arrived at Daet, Cam Norte at around 10:30 am (an hour and a half of FX ride from Naga City) and took a jeep to Vinzons where I needed to look for a boat ride to Calaguas.
A lady inside the jeepney was already asking me a lot of questions, It was a first of many where people were puzzled that I was on my own traveling with just my soul and a big backpack clueless of where I'm going. She was interrogating me; where are you headed?, what part of town? Do you know people there? and I can only give her one answer: Calaguas, Calaguas, Calaguas!!!
To her credit though, I found out that Calaguas is a group of Islands that consisted of 3 Baranggays.
I was part of the regular barrio commuter in the boat together with locals and merchants that brought with them they're sacks of rice, sugar, blocks of ice and what have you that they need for everyday use. The boat fare was P50 (yes! I did not miss a zero), however that's to a different island (Bgy. Sugod) and I had to rent another boat to get to Halabang Baybay (Long Beach). Fortunately the boatmen offered to take me there for P500; I haggled and we agreed to P400, which was not bad considering the amount you had to produce to rent out the whole boat.
I reached my island destination after two baranggays, a hundred chitchat moments with an old local and four hours of sea travel. The trip would normally take more or less an hour and a half to two hours if you rented a private boat from the port direct to the beach, but it wil cost you P3k to 6k depending on the size of the boat. So it would definitely be to your benefit if you came with a bunch of people to share the boat expenses, as for small or lone travelers like myself, we're stuck with the long and winding boat ride, :-)âï¿½¦
Alas, Island paradise! You can see the vast and gorgeous fine sand of the island's facade that engulfs the shore from east to west.
I'm sold! Take off my tag, bag me and take me home! All the hassle in da muscle was well worth the trip to this true Island Paradise!
There were group of families that were already in the island, about 12 of them, they arrived two hours before me; they were brought there by an Outfit aptly called Calaguas Fever with a three person team that took care of the families (food, tents and getting to and from the island). They had the I guess; because I was told that they wanted to extend their stay the moment they saw the stretch of white beach sand from the boat.
With their befuddled looks I think they were curious just like me on how and why I got me, myself and my backpack on the island, right after I got off my boat.
Why: I'm always tempted to say that I'm recovering from a bad divorce.
After speaking with Mang Bert (the beach caretaker) and the two guys from the Outfit (Jerome and Ryan) right after my landing, I looked for a shaded spot to park my tent. I set up camp and took my banig, Sky Flakes and book, lounged at the beach and started devouring my beach book, "White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga-- a totally interesting and entertaining read.
By nightfall Mang Bert invited me in his two storey Nipa hut for dinner since I asked him whether there's a place where I can buy rice or cook my canned stuff, I told him earlier that I didnâï¿½ï¿½t have any cooking provisions.
I was thanking my lucky stars.
Speaking of which; I returned to the beachfront and star gazed for hours. It was a sight to behold. You zone out and hear the waves gently brushing and pounding the beach shore; it's like being in the planetarium... but only a gazillion times better. I was wishing I had known at least one or two constellations so I'd appreciate the moment more, while I marvel at the glorious bright sky that was staring back at me just before my slumber.
The following morning I was invited for breakfast. It was the Outfit's turn; Jerome motioned his hand to his mouth prodding me to come over and eat breakfast with them. Again... errr... I hesitated but I gradually complied. It was fried rice and eggs, hotdogs, mixed vegetables and a local serving of kinunot (ginataang page or manta ray)--more than anyone could ask for I tell you. I'm on a roll, I was tempted to ask Mang Bert if there's a lotto terminal on the island.
I asked the beach caretaker if I can rent a boat to the mainland around late morning.
I was having a grand time bumming on the beach, snorkeling and spear-fishing (apparels care of the Outfit), and taking pictures while constantly being invited for lunch and dinner (I mostly hesitated but still I gradually complied ;-p). It was a blast and I was enjoying the beautiful island where time has no real relevance and worth, and believe me, the meal would be as close to fit a beach king.
It was my last day in paradise, and the loading of stuff and peeps on the boat was scheduled at about 10/11 am, and before they loaded stuff I went ahead and asked Jerome what my damage was for everything (three grand meals, a boat ride back to town and the awesome hospitality). He answered You're good, you don't have to pay us anything. I was dumbfounded; I really wanted to search the island for a lotto terminal. Considering that each guest pay them P1800 for transport and meals for 2 days. I guess they thought one hitch hiker won't give them much headache.
I stayed there for three, three I tell you! 3! tres! trois! tatlong araw!!!
I truly am grateful.
We arrived at Daet, Cam Norte just right after lunch, about an hour or two of boat ride. I told the Outfit I'd at least have to buy them a drink for my appreciation, and this time they were the ones who gradually complied :D Over drinks they invited me to Calaguas again--"the following day! (they had another outfit for a different group). I really hesitated this time but of course again, I gradually complied. I had a back to back trip to Calaguas; who in his sane mind would decline an invitation to that island paradise, but then again I don't consider myself sane, as if that mattered...
I spent the following two days in Calaguas again this time as a friend and guest treated with beach royalty.
A thought or phrase keeps coming back to my mind and this would truly apply to most of my solo trips and this is definitely one aptly branded for this journey: Traveling alone is never lonely.
added link on details going there