Mercedes, Camarines Norte: Biyahe Lokal Goes To Apuao Grande Island

Apuao Grande Mercedes Island white sand camarines norte

Decades before the pristine islands of Calaguas bedazzled us with her mesmerizing seascape, Camarines Norte treasures a near-forgotten gem silently kept behind the shadows of the famous beach destination. To bring out even just a tiny speck of sparkle back into this jewel, me along with an army of wanderers in search for new destinations,  traveled to the fishing town of Mercedes and re-live the former grandeur of Apuao Grande Island Resort, roughing it up a bit – Biyahe Lokal style.

Apuao Grande Mercedes Island Camarines NorteThree groups, two destinations, one great weekend.

Swagman Manila, a 32-year veteran in the hotel business, ran the exquisite Apuao Grande Island Resort back in the 1980’s until abandoned. Equipped with a nine-hole golf course, an airstrip which can accommodate light aircraft, and classy beachfront villas, the 45-hectare island exudes luxury – a glistening jewel that outshone the rest of Mercedes Group of Islands.

Apuao Grande Island Mercedes Camarines NorteRuins of the old resort.

Apuao Grand Island Camarines Norte MercedesThe golf course is now a grazing area for cows (they trim the green as well)

Through time, however, the luster slowly fades. The grass grew, and some facilities crumble in ruins while others hung by a thread like the restroom. Apuao Grande’s lavish allure slowly deteriorated. On the contrary, the island developed a rustic appeal which attracted another type of travelers. Apuao Grande Island brings her visitors much more closer to nature.

Apuao Grande Island Mercedes Camarines Norte White sandThe shores of Apuao Grande Island.

beach camping mercedes camarines norte apuao grande islandCamping by the beach in Apuao Grande.

Apuao Grande Island Camarines Norte BicolFish pen nila Ate Mel.

Sunset apuao grande islandSunrise in Apuao Grande.

Fully-furnished beachfront cottages became rugged tents pitched under the cool shade of Agoho trees. Limited electricity a day gets campers more connected to Mother Nature than the outside world. And who could resist a swim in Apuao Grande’s calm and clear blue waters gently brushing the white-sanded shores? This is a luxury a wider market can definitely afford.

Bagasbas Beach Daet Camarines NorteBagasbas Beach greets you a good morning.

Aris Cilones Kitesurfing Kiteboarding Bagasbas Beach Daet Camarines norteBagasbas Beach is also a spot for kitesurfing. Bagasbas local kitesurfer Aris Cilones

Before capping thing off, the group went to Bagasbas Beach, the watersports mecca of Camarines Norte, and got our adrenalin pumping by learning how to surf. Bagasbas is known for its consistent waves almost all-year round and swells that rise more than 8 feet on certain times of the year. In addition, the sandy bottom makes the surfing spot ideal for beginners, even for kids.

surfing in bagasbas beach daetSurfing lessons in Bagasbas Beach. (photo by Mac Centeno)

Kids surfing daet bagasbas beach camarines norteYngwie is no stranger to the waves of Bagasbas. This is his second time to surf and look at him ride. (photo by Mac Centeno)

Many would probably ask why visit Apuao Grande Island, when there’s the more idyllic paradise of Calaguas. First, travel time by sea is relatively much shorter than Calaguas, which means cheaper boat ride and easier access to the island. Second, Calaguas, currently being a top beach destination, has attracted a multitude of visitors every summer especially during weekends. Mahabang Buhangin gets a little crowded and a bit “chaotic” sometimes. But honestly, it’s hard to compare the two because both have their own different features and adventures. I believe every place has something which makes it a special, makes every destination unique. So, I leave it to you, see it for yourself, and be the judge of it.

Apuao Grande Island Camarines NorteAnd there’s another sunrise shot.


Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:

1. This trip was organized by Biyahe Lokal. My sincerest thanks to everyone who tagged along. We hope you had a fun weekend. Great to see old travel buddies and meet new friends. Astig kayo!

2. There’s a C.R. near the campsite.

3. Sari-sari stores are located in another barrio, so better buy food and supplies from Mercedes Port.

4. When waves are rough at the river mouth of Mercedes, chartered boats can pick up visitors in Brgy. Cayucyucan in Basud.

5. For surfing lessons in Bagasbas, contact Mocha Vargas (0921 251 87 48) or just visit their station at Bagasbas Park.

6. Surfing lessons costs P400.00 including instructor and board rentals.

7. Thank you for the wonderful surf photos, idol Mac.

8. More destinations in Camarines Norte

9. Please LIKE Biyaherong Barat on Facebook

10. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter

11. Always be safe. Happy travels.

Camarines Norte Biyahe Lokal Apuao Grande Island

Apuao Grande Vacation Mercedes Camarines Norte

Apuao Grande Camarines Norte Biyahe Lokal

5 thoughts on “Mercedes, Camarines Norte: Biyahe Lokal Goes To Apuao Grande Island

  1. Awesome pictures man. I’ve been there twice, but I stayed and surfed at San Jose, the brgy before bagasbas. Dukes Point!

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