“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous
With an area of 109,964.9 square kilometres (42,457.7 sq mi), Luzon is the Philippines’ largest island and ranks as the 15th largest in the world, too.
This region houses the country’s eight regions. It is of no wonder that it also carries different Filipino traits, culture and food including that of Metro Manila, the country’s capital and center of commerce.
When I get the chance, I go on a road trip. Having already captured the North loop of Luzon, I have tried heading South for a change. This is so we can discover new and untapped places in this side of the country.
Recently, we braved an eight-hour road trip plus an hour and1/2 hour boat ride to the Island of Calaguas in Camarines Norte. Although we are used to road tripping, preparing for a trip over a short period of time can be challenging while exciting, especially since we travel with kids and an infant.
This means we will have to deal with frequent stop overs and side trips. While it is a blessing to travel using one’s own car because you can go anywhere, it is also important to have a big, spacious, comfortable and reliable SUV or van to be able to seat at least 5 passengers.
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Calaguas – Waling waling Eco-Village
There are two jump off point by boat going to the Island of Calaguas. These are the 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours travel from the town of Paracale and 2 to -2 and ½ hours travel from Vinzons. If you are on a road trip from Manila, Paracale will be the best jump off point but if want a plane travel to Naga, Vinzon will be near you. Some people who come from other towns in Bicol also travel by boat from Daet, although it will be a long, wavy boat ride.
A friendly reminder: Be sure to contact your travel tour guide for the weather forecast. There are websites that can provide you detailed weather forecasting of Calaguas. Be sure also that the boat that will take you to the island is registered and inspected by MARINA. It’s a good thing that Waling waling Eco Village where we stayed has its owned big and reliable pump boat that can carry 30 persons, such that big waves won’t pose problems. In addition, we were fetched by the experienced Captain Roy and his crew who always follow MARINA’s requirements and protocols. They even provided us with life vest for kids.
Waling Waling Eco Village’s Boat
Most tourists prefer to travel at night, leaving Metro Manila at around 10pm to 12 MN to avoid traffic. They usually arrive in Paracale before seven in the morning where usually at 7:30-8:00am, the boat leaves for Calaguas. While waiting for the boat, you still have time to munch on pancit and pandesal which we have discovered and loved in Paracale. If you have the luxury of time you can leave Metro Manila a day before so that you will have more time for stop overs and discover places on the way to Paracale.
Our initial plan was to drive first to Gumaca Quezon for 3-5 hours to see some old historical attractions there like “Kutang San Diego” or Fort San Diego, old churches and lighthouse. We wanted to leave Gumaca early in the morning since it’s just two to three hour drive going to Paracale.
You can also drive directly to Paracale and spend the night there or alternatively, to Daet where there are lots of hotels and inns to choose from. It is an hour away to Paracale. We spent a day in Daet where we stayed in Bagasbas Light House Resort before going back to Manila.
Possible Stop Overs:
. Expressway Gasoline Station
. Dahp’s in Gumaca
. Lolo Ompo
. Bagasbas Light House Daet
. Paliza del Rio
- Bring lots of power banks since electricity is available only from 5pm to 5am.
- Don’t bring your laptop or tablets minimize extra baggage weight
- Wear shorts or swimming gear as your feet may likely get wet during boat travel.
- It can be a challenge to find a good cellphone signal in Calaguas. Even on some areas with signal, it can be a challenge to send SMS messages. Be sure to have no pending cellphone transactions.
- Pack light and use plastic once on board to protect your stuff from wave splashes.
- Wear sun blocks/sun screens
- Bring spare change to buy affordable chichiria in the nearb stores
- Bring a good camera. Preferably, a DSLR or Action Camera because there are lots of beautiful things to capture in Calaguas island. In my next article I will be writing about some activities that you can do in Calaguas.
- Ice is gold so use sparingly (although Waling Waling always have it for their guests).
- Choose a nice play to stay in Calagaus; one that can provide you comfort and safety at the same time.
- Don’t forget to show your appreciation to resort staff through tipping.
- Enjoy your stay.
Waling Waling Eco Village Calaguas – A Detox in Paradise
More Photos here
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Waze was our constant companion during all of our road trips and it helped us a lot especially in avoiding the traffic bottlenecks.