There are lots of posts going around facebook about the top 5 virgin islands that one must try to go to. Well, we made to one of them!
I formed a group of 12 (I'm the 13th) and started planning out the perfect (not) weekend getaway for us. There were several options to go to Camarines Norte, one is to go by bus, other by plane then bus and the other less used option is to rent a van.
Kuya Ralf was a driver from Angono on which we are passed to. He uses a 14 seater van with cold aircon and lightning speed. (09168343295). Then we have to contact a boat to the island. I will not give their number because they do not provide good service. Go find someone else. I believe there are many of them. (more on this later). We travelled on a supposedly rainy weekend but thank God not a drop of rain fell. They also say that the waves there are harsh but we did not experience any of that. Well, we could've not experienced that if the boat we're riding at is not flying as hell.
On the way to the island, we already changed to wet clothes considering all the blogs noting the fierceful waves of the Pacific. But we're shocked that the ocean is calm. Water splashed due to our speed and not some natural result.
Below is our IT for an overight trip to Calaguas:
10:00 PM Meet up @ SM Masinag
10:30 PM ETD
7:30 AM ETA in Paracale port
7:30 AM Breakfast at the port
8:00 AM ETD to Calaguas
9:30 AM ETA in the island
12:00 NN Lunch
7:00 PM Dinner
12:00 NN ETD from the island
2:00 PM ETA in Paracale
4:30 PM ETD to Manila
1:00 AM ETA in SM Masinag
So you see, we had lots of free time. We brought our own food and cooked them. We also had our own tent. Now for the rates for our whole trip for 13 pax. Per person our contribution was about 2,300/head
Van - 14,000 (all in)
Boat - 5,000
Camping fee - 150/head
Food - 4,000 (liempo, chicken, fish, rice, waterhotdog, bacon, charcoal & anything about food)
Cottage - 350
Tent pitching - 170/tent
The sand was, as promised, pure and in a powdery state. The water is crystal clear blue. The sunset is epic and the stars at night are marvelous.
The CR in our part of the island is ok. They have ample water for everyone. We chose the left side of the island, it's less crowded but have higher rates compared that to the right and center part of the island. Sleeping in a tent is new to me, though I must say that I woke up feeling good without any back pains. This just proves that the sand is soft. My words are not enough to describe how beautiful the island is. Below is a compilation of pictures we got from the trip.
Well, we managed to secure a boat weeks before the trip for 5,000. That's good for 13 and a two-way boat ride. We thought that everything wil go smoothly but it turned out to be the opposite.
Upon arriving at the port we are greeted by a woman who told us that she'll be our contact for the boat, the one i'm apparently calling and texting was her husband, Nelson. Now, I got their number from Lakwatsero's blog (no, I am not accusing or relating Lakwatsero as to what these boatsman did to us) and was happy to got their service for the budget we already have.
We told Nelda, the wife of Nelson, that we'll just have breakfast first and buy something (charcoal etc..,), she told us to make it a little bit faster since we're going to be with another group of 5. So listen, I secured a boat just for the 13 of us. 13 for me is already a big number and I'm actually afraid that they might overload the boat, so I told her okay and just wait for us. So we ate and bought stuff. When we're ready to go, Nelda is nowhere in the port area. We called her and told us to go stratight to Manegeria on the other side of the port. So we brought our stuff there and waited for her.
We again called her and she told us that the group of 5 proceeded without us in the assiged boat for us. (Okay super nagmamadali siguro yung 5 na yun). We asked again where she is and the boat that would bring us to the island. She told us that she's in a gasoline station picking up her 60 guest. WOW!
We insisted to ride a boat owned by her sister since we do not want to wait for her anymore, thus the big and fast boat ride to the island. We told the boatsmen to pick us up in the same location at 10 in the morning as we have to be back in Manila before the last mass which is 7pm. We thought it was the end, but it was just the tip.
We had fun the whole day, night and breakfast. As we all know, there's no signal in the island, so there's no way we can contact our boatsmen and just put our faith in their hands. We packed early so that we won't be hassled if the boat comes earlier and so on. We waited and it was nearing 10am but no boat for us is at sight.
Past 10am and we began worrying, but we were still joking. At before 11am, I started asking around if they know a man named Nelson, they told me that yes, they knew him and he was the other end of the island. But when we looked out into the sea, there's his boat leaving the island. </3
We were left there worried on how we can go back to the port. No one is taking us in since we're a large group and they don't want conflict with Nelson's team. Luckily, there's one boatsman who offerred us a bpat ride for 3,000 pesos. Good thing we're not yet paid with Nelson's. So we rode the tiny bangka (see pictures above) and slowly made our way back to the port.
Many were telling us how rude and unprofessional these people are. Nelda even told us that his husband were looking for us in the island, but if he did, he could've found us there. But then she admitted that her husband only searched one side of the island.
Communication is a problem here so be very very sure about your boats. If you can hire them to stay with you overnight, the better. It'll save you the hassle.
This trip taught me that no matter how sure you are and how carefully you planned something, there are always things that will not go your way.
Learn to adapt, stay cool and have fun!
Up Next: Boracay get away with the FamBam!