Boat Ride from Paracale to Vinzons

Traveling to a beautiful tourist destination in the Philippines is not that easy. Most of the precious, amazing, and unspoiled islands in the archipelago are far away from the town. And Calaguas Group of Island is not an exception.

Two hours ride is not good for other people, especially if the waters are hasty and the waves are high. And if you have a problem being seasick, you have to think twice. And most of the time, the hardest journey ever is the most satisfying of all.
Our jump-off area is the fishing port of Paracale, one town away from Vinzons. Sometimes the problem would be how big is the boat. In our case, since it was owned by a fisherman, the banca was not convenient for passengers. Since tourism had boosted in the fishing port, most of the fishermen’s boat is rented to accommodate travelers like us. And yes we had to endure it for two hours.

While traveling the best way to enjoy the boat ride is to look around. Since it is a group of islands, there will be nearby islands or islets that are just around the corner. We were able to see the Maculabo Island from the left side going to Tinaga along Paracale Bay.

The boat ride is almost straight and just a little left towards the island. Upon reaching the tip of Tinaga island, rocks are visible in the shorelines.
Tinaga Island is the most traveled by visitors because of the long and wide sand bar of Mahabang Buhangin. There is a barangay called Mangkawayan where the local fishermen live with their family. The hillside of Tinaga is also accessible if you want to see the long beach from the top.

We only rented the boat for a one-way trip. The following day, the usual passenger boat from Vinzons arrived after lunch. And we availed the service with other tourists who were going back to the town.
From Tinaga island, we then saw Guintinua Island and some small islets. The water was rough, but because we had a bigger boat this time, the two hours ride was okay. And yes, I didn’t wear any life jacket, even if the waves where a little rough going to Vinzons.

Or maybe because I’d been to different long boat rides in the country that I don’t get seasick or get bored and sometimes it also helps to get excited first to your travel destination and the rest will follow.

For more information about Calaguas you can check the post here: Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte

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Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte

Our 5th Quezon – Bicol Escapade is in Calaguas Islands, Vinzon, Camarines Norte. Calaguas is a group of islands including the famous Tinaga, Maculabo, Guintinua islands and other islets, included in the town of Vinzons in Camarines Norte. The seaboard of Calaguas is rough during the rainy season as it is located along the Pacific Ocean. The best time to explore to Calaguas is during summer.

As we often do, we stayed in Cam’s house in Calauag on our first night. We packed our things, this time with a tent, food and water. The following day, we rode a bus towards Paracale. Along the bus stop, we rode another bus towards Paracale town. We headed to the fishing port of Paracale and bought some other stuff while we waited for a boat for a two-hour boat ride. We were excited to see the picturesque paradise from afar. Sighting the pristine white sand of Mahabang Buhangin or Long Beach, the unparalleled green mountainous area of Tinaga Island, turquoise water, the island was a real beauty.
There were no resorts on the island during the time of our visit. But I remembered there were Nipa Huts being constructed at the center of Mahabang Buhangin, and we were told that the owner has a resort in Boracay. Upon setting foot on the island in the afternoon, we were sun-kissed already by the sun’s heat. We looked for a good camping site in the left part of the island.

The island was divided into different owners because there were caretakers in the area. We found a nice spot, near a Nipa hut of the caretaker, with so many coconut trees that shaded our area. At our back, was the caretaker’s source of water, public bathrooms and a small house with a sari-sari store. They have food, drinks, and water supplies.
We set up our tent, mingled with the caretaker where we bought our coconuts. We took a nap to enjoy the tranquillity of the island. There was a set up of volleyball net near us, so Butchick and Cam played beach volleyball, as were able to get a ball from our caretaker.
The beach was fronting a very romantic sunset, as many tourists like us, started lining up to witness the orange colored sun going down the horizon.

Although it’s camper’s site, the phone signal is high and there’s electricity on the island. We had a few drinks with our caretaker and jammed with them because they had a guitar. We watched the stars while in the sand.

Early in the morning, Butchick and I played with the water in the beachfront because there were few boats along the coastline. We stayed on the beach for a long time until the time we had to leave the island.

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Mercedes Group of Islands, Camarines Norte

Mercedes is a town after Daet in Camarines Norte. The town is known for the siete pecados or seven islands around the Pacific along the coastline of Daet which was called Mercedes Group of Islands. The seven islands where Canimog, Apuao Grande, Quinapaguian Island, Malasugui, Apuao Pequeṅa, Canron and Caringo. For me, Mercedes islands where unadulterated and quiet beauties, that provides tranquillity from the crowded Bagasbas Beach.

From my previous post, we spent a night in Daet, within the vicinity of Bagasbas beach because we weren’t able to get a tour package that would take us to Calaguas Island. The locals from Daet suggested we should go to Mercedes Island. The four of us decided again to take a different route from the original plan.
From Daet, we rode a tricycle to take us to Mercedes. From the Daet-Mercedes boundary, we rode another tricycle to get us to the town of Mercedes. When we reached Mercedes town proper, we saw a local restaurant called Graceland were we had our lunch. After which we rode another tricycle to take us to the Mercedes fish port. There was a tourism office in the port, and we inquired about places to stay in Cayucyucan and where to go to Mercedes.

It was only a five minutes ride to Cayucyucan, another barangay in Mercedes. The port is located in Manguisoc wharf. From the wharf, we rode a tricycle and went to Palms Farm Resort. We booked for an overnight stay, and we talked to the staff for an island tour in the Mercedes islands.
The staff got a boatman to tour us in the islands around. And we were all set to tour the quiet beauties of Mercedes, in which way back then was not really known tourist destination. We were able to see 3 out of 7 islands because some islands From Cayucyucan, the first island in our itinerary is Canimog Island. I love the island, because of the long sand bar, white powdery sands and crystal clear water. We stayed here longer for about an hour to swim and explore the island.

From Quinapaguain, we went to Apuao Grande and Apuao Pequena, two islands connected by the sandbar.
Apuao Grande Island used to be a private resort and a golf course area. But due to some problems and was in the state of disrepair, the island stopped accepting tourist but remained open to the public that was managed by the caretaker. The island has a long sand bar, pristine white sand and clear blue waters.

After Apuao Grande, we went to Caringo, a barangay where most locals live. It is also near a coral sanctuary, and the sands were white sands with shells. We were accompanied by our boatman to go to the barrios and bought freshly caught fishes from the fisherman.

From Caringo, we were able to see Malasugui and Quinapagan Island before going back to our resort. Going back to Cayucyucan, we encountered a problem with our boat. For almost 20 minutes were stuck along the shores of Cayucyucan and Quinapagan. But we were not disheartened as we were able to see the beauty of the sunset on the horizon.

We asked for the staff of Palms Farm resort to for us, what we bought from Caringo. During the night, we stayed outside and enjoyed the sound of the water and each other’s company. There were rattan swings, hammocks and wooden chairs and tables within the resort. The beach area of Palms Beach Resort was also good for swimming, and there is a net for beach volleyball fanatics to enjoy the sun.

We went back to Mercedes town in the morning and went to Baybay Beach where there was an event for kayaking and skimming. John tried kayaking and we were grateful of the locals of the tourism department of Mercedes who accompanied us.

For more information about Camarines Norte, please check this posts: Bagasbas Beach, Daet, Camarines Norte Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte

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Bagasbas Beach, Daet, Camarines Norte

Bagasbas Beach is in Daet, Camarines Norte and one of the top surfing destination in the Philippines. The 4 kilometers stretch of fine, gray and powdery sands is also a surfer’s haven. It is one of the top surfing destinations in the Philippines as big waves from the Pacific Ocean makes it an ideal spot for surfers.

Cam and I started the trip in 2007. In 2012, there were four of us who explored Camarines Norte. We were joined by John and Butchick. John and I came from Manila, while Cam and Butchick were from Calauag and we joined them in Calauag.

We left in the morning and rode a bus from Calauag to Daet. The plan was to go to Calaguas and find a travel package for the four of us that includes a tent since we were not prepared for the camping. When we reached Daet, we rode a tricycle and went to Bagasbas Beach. And because the beach was dragging our itchy feet to enjoy the sand and the water, we opted to stay for a night here.

We then look for a place to stay and found a guest house called Zenaida’s Palace. The place seemed to be a residential house which was turned into a hostel. It was just a few minutes away from the beach, with nearby sari-sari stores. After resting for a while we decided to explore Bagasbas Beach.

It was already low tide when we got there. And because it was not the surfing season, only small waves roll in the ocean. There were surfing lessons being offered. It was a public destination but the beach was very clean. The unadulterated wide stretch of sand bar took us far from the Bagasbas Promenade.

We ate at Surfer’s Dine Inn. Hostels, inns, resorts and restaurants lined up the Promenade. Make sure to book early or you might not find a place to stay especially during the summer season and surfing season.

Bagasbas is facing the east of the Pacific Ocean. We were up early and we were amazed by the view of the beautiful sunrise. Early morning, there are surfers on the beach.

For more information about Camarines Norte, please check the posts: Mercedes Group of Islands, Camarines Norte Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte

Dampalitan Island, Padre Burgos, Quezon

Dampalitan Island is one of the three islands which is a popular destination along the Tayabas Bay. It is across Borawan in the coastline of Padre Burgos in Quezon.

Dampalitan Beach has the widest bed off-white sand bar and crystal clear water with a backdrop of the Agoho trees and coconut trees. The Bondoc Peninsula and the rest of Quezon are abundant of coconut trees. The trees added a tropical and laid back feeling, while we explore the island.

Dampalitan is also a camper’s site. There are cottages for rent, a common toilet and a store of the caretaker. We took a rest in the white sand beach and enjoyed the clear blue sky.

We then headed back to Villa Anita to check out. After which, we rode a jeep from Padre Burgos to Pagbilao. From Malicboy, Pagbilao we took a tricycle going to the jump-off point going to Kuwebang Lagpas.

We were supposed to go to Kuwebang Lampas and Puting Buhangin, but decided to take a different route near the jump-off point going there. We found a serene area without the usual campers and tourists who visit the beach area.

It was called, but there were rock formations, with small caves, and a rocky sand bar. It is near Pagbilao Power Station. Or maybe because we were actually lost that we found a different spot. Well, somehow it was a good thing, we were able to end our trip finding this gem along Pagbilao Grande.

For more information about Quezon Province, please check my posts: Gumaca, QuezonBorawan Island Beach, Quezon

Borawan Island Beach, Quezon

Our 3rd Quezon – Bicol Escapade was to explore Padre Burgos in Quezon. I went to Calauag first and stayed there overnight. In the morning, Cam and I took a bus going to Lucena from Calauag. I was able to take a picture of the view on the top while traversing the Bituka nang Manok road in Atimonan.

From Lucena, we rode a minivan to Padre Burgos. We rode a tricycle looking for a place to stay. We weren’t successful in Tamarind Tree Resort but found the Villa Anita Butterfly Garden and Resort, along the Padre Burgos – Andangan National Road. It was already past 1PM when we arrived in the resort.

The resort has a huge garden and a fish pond. There’s a restaurant inside but just across the resort was a Pavillion for a large number of visitors. There were portions that were under construction especially the bigger swimming pool. The cottages were Nipa Huts with aircon. The staff told us of the beachfront area of the resort which was a 10-minute ride from the resort. We were accompanied by the driver of the resort and drove us to the Villa Anita beach front. But as of posting, Villa Anita was permanently closed.

It was low tide that morning and we enjoyed taking pictures and walking around the rocky beach. There was a floating “balsa” in the area. And we stayed there and waited for the sunset.

The following morning we were fetched by the boatman on the beachfront of the resort to start our island tour. The boat ride was about 15 minutes going to Borawan, just across the beach in front of Villa Anita.

Borawan came from the combination of the words Boracay and Palawan and located at Pagbilao Chica Island. It is along the coastline of the Tayabas Bay. There are different rock formations along the way.

Borawan is a place for campers. As of writing, there’s a resort already and that the place is being maintained properly. When we visited the place, there were campers and a caretaker with their small store for your needs. Because it was the Labor day weekend at that time, tourists flocked the island, so we went to the other side in a quieter place, where we had the towering rocks all by ourselves.

But beware of the secluded place without the nets, I was stung by a jellyfish here. If you could zoom the picture below, you’ll see how big the jellyfish that I encountered, and it was painful and the black scar lasted a year.

But all in all, Borawan is a good place to go, it just depends on your expectation. But for me, every new place is worth to travel.

For more information about Quezon Province, please check my posts:  Gumaca, Quezon, Dampalitan Island, Padre Burgos, Quezon

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

The Caramoan peninsula is located at the eastern portion of Camarines Sur in front of Catanduanes.  It is the home of so many islands and islets and the scenic view of towering cliffs and lush green mountains with the perfect sunrise.

This was my 2nd Quezon – Bicol trip with Cam. Cam already resided in Calauag after a year when we went to Gumaca, Quezon

Mountain range in Lagunoy Gulf

We travel for 4 hours by bus from Calauag to Naga City.  From the terminal in Naga City, we rode a van to take us to Sabang Port in San Jose, Camarines Sur.  We took a boat and traversed the mountain ranges and the Lagonoy Gulf. After almost two hours we reached the port of Guijalo.

Upon reaching the port, we rode a motorcycle where we asked the driver to take us to a resort but he told us it because it was summer, the resorts were fully booked, so he suggested and bought us to the town where we stayed with the locals and rented a room for an overnight stay.

It was a long journey, so we went out at night and found a restaurant along the Paniman beach and had our dinner.  We went to and talked to the owner about Caramoan.  After which we stayed outside enjoying the beach until it was almost midnight.

The following morning we were referred to a boatman and toured us in the island.  We were welcomed by the perfect sunrise of Caramoan.  The first stopped was Minalahos island. An island in front of Gota Beach which is good for swimming. There’s also a table rock in front, a point of jump-off for diving.

Minalahos Island

Gota Beach was the resort where the crew and staff of Survivor stayed.

Gota Beach

Then we went to Hunongan Cove with a view of longer sandbar and coconut trees at the beach front.


Kagbalinad island is the front view of Hunongan Cove.

Kagbalinad Island

Going to Caramoan had been a challenge, and 2 days wasn’t enough to explore the islands.  We went there during those times the Survivor series was being shot in the different islands.  Most islands were being used for production. The tourists and locals were restricted on some island like the Gota Beach.

Because of time constraint, we weren’t able to explore the islands but we promised to go back to Caramoan for a longer stay. Other notable islands are Matukad, Lahus, Cotivas Island, Sabitayang Laya and many other islands.

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