One of the most informative websites I’ve come across when planning my own road trips (and plane and boat trips) around the Philippines is Charlie Fernandez and Paula Parajelo’s “Our Restless Feet” blog.
In this picture (they have lots more on their site, just click on the picture to get to the article), they are extolling the virtues of camping. For someone who loves to be in the outdoors but is loathe to do it in the Philippines for the many exotic bugs and not-so-clean campsites, the untouched Calaguas Islands seem to be the perfect answer. Forget the pain to get there (6-7 hours), and just keep your mind focused on 3.5 kilometers of powdery white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and vast swathes of green forests.
Apparently, for those who love to document birds, this is also the place to be. The lack of commercial establishments ensures the cleanliness of the area but there are open cottages that can be rented if you so choose not to sleep under a canopy of diamonds in the sky.
HOW TO GET THERE courtesy of “ourrestlessfeet.com” (prices are from year 2011):
1. Fly to Naga, Camarines Sur (45 mins flight)
2. Take a cab from the airport to the van terminal going to Daet (20 minutes, P250)
3. Take a van to Daet (2 hours, P145 each)
4. Take a tricycle to the jeep terminal going to Vinzons (5 minutes, P8.00 each)
5. Take a jeep to Vinzons Public Market (15-20 minutes, P16.00 each)
6. Take a tricycle to the boat area going to Calaguas (5 minutes, P8.00 each)
7. Charter a commuter boat going to Calaguas (2.5 hours, P4,000/ big boat/ overnight)
You can fly to Naga, Camarines Sur but instead of taking the van to Daet, hire a cab all the way to Vinzons, Camarines Norte. Rates start at P2,500. This is probably the fastest option to Calaguas Island.
Or, for those who love the open road and long hours of driving, you can also drive from Manila all the way to Paracale, Camarines Norte since it’s nearer Manila than Vinzons actually is.