Camarines Norte: Beyond Calaguas Island’s Mahabang Buhangin Beach

Calaguas Island hiking

The picture-perfect beach of Mahabang Buhangin made Calaguas Group of Islands atop the list of Camarines Norte‘s hottest summer destinations. But beyond the cool and clear water gently sweeping the kilometer long beach scoured with powdery white sands, Calaguas promises even more breathtaking scenery packed with a thrill of adventure which await those who seek.

Calaguas Island Camarines NorteBare and beautiful

Calaguas Island beach Camarines Norte  Simply enjoying the sun and sand.

While some prefer to simply indulge in Mahabang Buhangin’s unclad allure, others just love a kick of adrenalin rapidly gushing through their veins. The intense desire to find out what’s here and what lies there, drove intrepid travelers to higher heights. Towards the northern end (face the beach, turn right) of the beach lies a hill, even kids and couch potatoes could easily and would definitely conquer.

Established trails hiking in CalaguasTrails are well-established.

Hiking in Calaguas IslandHiking early in the morning.

payment signage. hiking fee“Paunawa poh may bayad poh dito, P20.00″ If someone charges you again, tell them you paid already.

Unfolding before my very eyes as we came out to a clearing was a breathtaking panorama never have I seen in my previous trips to the Calaguas. My jaw dropped and my heart skipped a beat upon witnessing Mahabang Buhangin beach from a different point of view for the first time. And it doesn’t end there. Just a few meters up the trail opened to a wider scope and a better view not only of the beach but the rest of the islands.

Calaguas from the hill#speechless

Calaguas Island higer viewWhile trailblazer Migs wait for the others, he paused for a while and absorbed all the beauty.

Witness the sky meet the sea on the horizon from the peak of this hill. Only a stone throw away was the summit revealing an astonishing 360 degree view of Tinaga and the nearby islands which were isolated by the vast Lamon Bay from the rest of Luzon. The wonderful sight just left me in awe.

calaguasA small kayak paddles toward the nearest island.

Calaguas Island hiking adventureView from the summit.

A shady-looking trail captured our eyes, upon the descend, and we just can’t resist to find out what lies on the other end. Path became darker, narrower and slippery as we penetrated into the thick vegetation. It ends on a doorway to an alternate dimension of Calaguas Island.

Hiking Calaguas IslandHiking into the jungle.

Beach Calaguas IslandThis is where it ends. A doorway to another dimension.

Not a single breath nor a trace of tourist imprint was evident in this side of the island. No campsites, no resorts, nothing but cool and clear waters (as in CLEAR waters) and a stretch of white beach made of soft sand and shells, all to ourselves. This beach was the silent side of the island we were looking for.

Calaguas beachesAs clear as Mahabang Buhangin’s water.

Calaguas Island Camarines NorteA snorkeling spot in the area.

Calaguas IslandDid I say “clear”?

By now, you must have noticed the island just across this beach. I’m not really sure if they call it Balagbag Island, but I’m pretty sure it’s also a good spot for hiking and snorkeling. There were no established hiking trails during my first visit. Luckily today, I was able to get a good bird’s eye view of this tiny island.

Calaguas Group of IslandsYes, these islands. These are two islands.

Calaguas IslandPerhaps you need a much bigger boat if you don’t want to paddle all the way.

Island hopping in CalaguasSomething like this.

Calaguas IslandsA small strip of beach made of corals and sands.

CalaguasCan you spot Mahabang Buhangin Beach from here?

There are no activities like ATV rides, para-sailing, and jet ski’s here in Calaguas (at least for now) unlike other fancy resorts in popular beach destinations. Getting on your feet, and stretching your legs is the adventure itself. Exploring more than what the guide books and post cards tell you, for in this search you might find something you’re looking for. As for me, I found peace, love, and beauty in this magnificent paradise – a rare experience you don’t find in all places in this world.

Calaguas Mahabang Buhangin BeachWalk along the beach while watching the sun bid goodbye to the wonderful day. This is a fun activity.

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Now, here are some fast facts that may help you on the trip:

1. There are two hills on both ends of the beach. Featured in this post was the northern end (face the sea, then look to your right, that’s the northern end). I tried climbing the southern end, through the short cut but found it to steep for me so I backtracked. I should probably take the long way up, and get a guide who knows the way.

2. Trail entrance (north hill) cost P20.00 per person. I haven’t tried this but, you could traverse the rocks first, then go up from the isolated beach. Or, might as well just pay the P20.00 fee.

3.  Ask your boat man to take you for a tour maybe.

4. There are many snorkeling spots in the area, so it would be good to bring your gear if you have.

5. More destinations in Camarines Norte.

6.Please LIKE BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook

7. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter

 8. Enjoy your travels and be safe.

Calaguas IslandI am at peace here. This is my paradise.

 

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13 thoughts on “Camarines Norte: Beyond Calaguas Island’s Mahabang Buhangin Beach

  1. It’s so amazing to look at your photos and the way you describe the places you see. You’re a very good storyteller. I am currently living in NY for the past 12 years but was born and raised in Daet, Camarines Norte until I moved to Manila for college and work afterwards. There were only Bagasbas Beach, Apuao Island, Mampurog River and the San Jose Beach that I explored when I was still living in Daet, and visiting later on. I just want to express my sincere thanks for your blog. Your blog bring me closer to home by reading your adventures and wonderful photos. I’m glad I found you on Facebook. Keep up the good work! Hope to see more exciting places you visit.

    • Hi Vicky,

      How are you? I’m glad you like my post. Thank you very much. You have a very lovely hometown. I’d always go back there, still have Apuao, Mampurog River, San Jose Beach, Pulang Daga on my list of destinations. Thank you very much for browsing through my website. I promise to bring more of our country to you and all the Filipinos from across the seas.

      By the way, my Mom and my sister also lives in New York.

      Once again, thank you very much. Please have a great day.

  2. I’m quite a regular reader of your blog and I know you often go to and post about Calaguas. But you know what? Your every Calaguas post doesn’t get old ‘cos you always have a new perspective to share which is great! Add to that your perfect shots. *Photog fan* I would love to go to Calaguas within the year. How do I make arrangements with Byaherong Barat?

    P.S. May I know what camera do you use? :))

    • Hello Led,

      Thank you very much. I’m glad that you like my different posts about Calaguas, and especially the photos. Thank you very much. Well, my friend Yani of Biyahe Lokal actually arranges the trips. According to locals there in Vinzons, travelling to Calaguas is good until August, but the weather is really unpredictable so I’m not sure if we’re going to have trips to Calaguas anytime soon.

      I recently changed my camera body from 400D to Rebel T2i which gave me more pixels, and a faster ISO (I used my 400D for 5 years before I was able to upgrade it, both are entry levels though). My lens, I have 70-200 f/4 for portraits, but most of the time I use my 17-85 kit lens, it’s my all around lens, usually attached to my camera.

  3. Hi Jed, one great post again … your photos and narrative complement each other, harmoniously heartfelt — thank you for sharing with us.

    as i read in your comment, summer is the only good time to go to the Bicol region, right? i wouldn’t want to commit the same mistake of bringing the family there during the monsoon season again, it was bleak and wet, no great photo ops, and that broke my heart really bad … but will february be a good time as well? i hope i didn’t barrage you with too many queries … thank you, Jed.

    April

    • Hey April,

      Thank you. I’m glad you like it. Bicol can be accessed all year round, however, the sea travel to Calaguas during storm season I do not recommend, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Went there last February, but didn’t make it to Calaguas also (but we headed instead to a nearby island called Quinamanucan). THere’s a saying that during the Paracale’s fiesta, waves become rough, and it was. But I think March is a good time to visit Calaguas. Lovely weather down there. I’m sure the whole family would love it.

  4. Hey Paul! It’s me Jaybee from California! You know the one who called about their Lenovo y500 shutting off and restarting! Thanks for referring me to this website! When I go to the Philippines i want to check these spots out!

  5. Hi Jed! I just wanted to ask if it’s advisable to go to there in Calaguas later this month? I’m looking for a quiet and peaceful beach to bum with my gf this sembreak. Thanks!

  6. Just been to Daet, Vinzons & Talisay this April 13-16. We tried to go to Calaguas last Monday April 14 but because of LPA that day we were not allowed to sail to Kalawat( our local name for Calaguas). I’ve been there a lot of times during my high school days and we were not afraid of big waves then. But because of several sea disasters I read and seen on tv I somewhat develop the fear. Alex Rasco Balce ( laking Vinzons)

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