Featured Traveler: Franchez in Calaguas Island

Calaguas Island: Better than Boracay?
by Franchez Ann Dionisio

With almost 7,600 plus islands in the archipelago of the Philippines, you will never run out of islands to explore. The world-renowned Boracay Island is not the only island that should be included on your travel bucket list. What if I told you that there’s an even better Boracay that’s unspoiled and has an ultra-relaxed atmosphere? Keep on reading so you can be better acquainted with the Calaguas group of islands.

A stolen shot as a souvenir of the island

Where exactly is Calaguas? The Calaguas group of islands can be found in the province of Camarines Norte in the town of Vinsonz. The group of islands has been gaining popularity these past few years due to its long stretch of white, powdery beaches close to Boracay, clear turquoise water, and a panoramic view at the top of the surrounding hills of the island which resembles Batanes’ famous Marlboro Hills.
Panoramic view at the top of Balagbag Island 
Traveling to this tropical paradise isn’t for the faint-hearted. From Manila, you have to travel 10 hours to reach the town proper and sail for 2 hours through the strong waves of the Pacific Ocean. But what you can find there is definitely worth the wait.

2 hours boat ride

The Mahabang Buhangin is the main beach in Calaguas is where you can find simple resorts with air-conditioned rooms, hut cottages, and camping tents as accommodation. The island is famous as a camping site for backpackers, letting them experience the raw feeling of the simplicity of provincial life.

Approaching Mahabang Buhangin

White powdery sand and turquoise crystal water

Camping tents and hut cottages 

There’s no cellular signal on the island allowing you to be truly in touch with nature and spend some quality time with your friends and loved ones. The island is only powered by generators, so there’s a limited source of electricity. Freshwater can be sourced by the traditional “Poso” (a hand water pump) except with the neighboring resorts which have their own developed bathroom. People looking to do a "digital detox" will appreciate this setting.

Enjoying the white powdery sand

A breathtaking back drop

Calaguas Island is the place to relax and laze around in, but it also offers a lot of activities. Trekking to the hills is a must-try activity to see a 360-view of the island and it's best to go during sunset or sunrise. You can also go on an island or beach hopping tour of the neighboring islands.

Entrance to the hiking trail of the hill at Mahabang Buhangin beach

A rewarding view after the trek 

Balagbag Island serves as a side trip destination for the visitors of Calaguas. The waves crashing on to the surrounding rocks making up the island and the green field of the hills will be reminded you of Batanes. You can also see the Mahabang Buhangin beach from a different perspective.

The other side of Mahabang Buhangin seen at Balagbag Island

Picturesque view going down the hills of Balagbag Island

So next time that you’re planning a vacation, why not discover this underrated destination which rewards you with a place to unwind and kick back in like the pristine beaches and jaw-dropping sceneries of Calaguas Island. Happy trip everyone!