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the "sugal buhay" boat ride to Mahabang Buhangin CALAGUAS ISLAND

It's interesting how one's perspective of things could change in a span of few days.If I would have written about our Calaguas experience earlier,I might have nothing but bad words for the place.Seeing it now,I could at least rationalize what happened and at least look at the brighter side a little more.

Calaguas has been one of my dream destination which I haven't pursued due to limited time.Korean New Year long weekend was finally the chance.We took the night bus from Manila----luxury bus which turned disaster because of engine failure even before exiting Alabang Metro Manila.As if a jinx,it set the negative tone to our travel experience.

READ: I am Never Riding BICOL ISAROG Bus Line Again!
should the title be better with ---"the Shitty boat ride to Calaguas Island? :)

We reached Naga 7am.Had a quick breakfast in a turo-turo restaurant in front of SM-Naga with food that doesn't taste anything but bland.Lamang tiyan lang talaga.Boarded the FX at LCC Central Terminal which left 9:30am.We were in Daet at 11am.A few minutes and 1,600php at the grocery,we were transported (via delivery truck) to Vinzons.

Why delivery truck?Because our companion happens to have a relative in Naga who we met in LCC who called an employee in Daet to assist us which explains why we ended up in a delivery truck and eventually Vinzons.I was thinking of taking the bus to Paracale ----supposed to be.
 boat at Vinzons

We were in Vinzons 1pm.immediately contacted some boatmen who were on standby at the port there.They asked for 5,000php for a boat,I haggled for 4,000php.Settled.The boat owner and the assistant remarked that the weather is nice and that we'll make it in around 2 hours.The river in Vinzons leading to the sea is long.It took us around 10minutes navigate and a few more on the stopover in a village near the mouth of the river where we got the life vests.From there,I could see the giant surf from afar approaching the nouth of the river.I had a feeling it's going to be a rough ride.

Rough ride indeed,the moment we entered the see,the boat slammed into two consecutive big waves which had it almost toppled.As if a grand entrance,we were wet and shocked.The next two hours became a struggle,for the boat to go against the big waves,and for us to compose ourselves and think that everything will be okay.

To start with,nobody said that the sea in this side of Bicol is calm.Hello, after these islands,open sea na,Pacific Ocean to be exact. :)

The boatman said it will take only two hours.It took us 4hours to step on land.

This is how it was for the five of us.

1st 2 hours ---KILL ME! (Because of the big waves)
2nd-3rd hour---KILL ME! (Because of back pains.Imagine being on the road since 8pm the day before. + KILL ME! Because of boredom).

Yes,it felt like the waves were more tamed as we approached the island.And the sight of Calaguas was a welcome relief.Just when we thought the beach we were staring at is already it ---we were wrong.Our destination was MAHABANG BUHANGUN Calaguas which is on the other side so we had to go around pa pala.


On our final bend,a thunderstorm started.The already big waves swelled even more.And they were hitting us somewhat sidewards.Thanks to our boatman's assistant (Kuya Jovy),he was quick to step on the outrigger  (the boat’s balance beam), if not,we would have been toppled early on.Yes,nakatayo na sya sa katig sa bandang harap ng bangka just to add additional weight to the left side at para di kami tumaob.

We also heard our boat driver tell kuya Jovy (his assistant) should we go back?My boat will shatter here! It was Kuya Jovy who insisted it's too late to turn back.I agree with him.

3rd-4th hour.---KILL ME! (because of the bigger waves)
Final 30minutes ---KILL ME! (Dahil pakiramdam namin nauna nang lumipad ang mga spiritu namin dahil sa takot).

You have to know that I have fear for big waves.Pero mas matatakutin pa pala yung dalawang guys na kasama namin.The two girls were chill.Well, a little.Perhaps because they could already sense the three of us guys were about to hit each other because the two of them want the boatman to just bring the boat ashore.Ora mismo!I had to remind them that we couldn't do that,or else the rocks will shatter the boat into pieces even before we could dock. 

this photo taken on the approach to the final bend,after this,sealed na si dslr sa camera bag and hold-to-your-dear-life mode na :) 

Pati pagbaba ng boat when we finally got to Mahabang Buhangin---sugal buhay! 

The waves near the beach were fit for surfing so our boat couldn't get close to the shoreline.We had to go down cheast-deep water and be very careful with the timing,or else,we could be hit by the boat being tossed by the waves.I was the first to set foot on land and I saw the four of my colleagues struggle to get off the boat.The two girls came next.They were swift and graceful.The two guys took time to disembark.By that time,the two of them were standing in front of the boat facing the beach,I saw how the waves struck the boat from the rear tossing its back high in the air.I thought it's going to sink.

Everybody got out safely eventually.By that time,the rain poured even harder.All five of us standing at the beach this time,staring at the boat,we were worried about our stuff---the dslr's,the cellphones,the tablets.The boat was lighter this time and more vulnerable and the rain,stronger.Our boatman's assistant, kuya Juvy, carried our bags one by one.
A famous blogger, Angel Juarez of witnessed our struggle.Talked to him later and he mentioned that the weather was nice when they arrived in the island at 10am that same day.We were unfortunate.

We settled in one of the cottages.It was 4pm but it felt like 6:30pm.We were too busy to fix our things,too busy to appreciate the place.That time,all we cared about is that we are already stepping on solid ground.That's enough to comfort us through the night with the hope that the weather would light up the next day.

The sun momentarily showed before it got completely dark.It was our chance to salvage a few photos and appreciate the view which we didn't appreciate earlier.It was relatively quiet the whole night except some quick episodes of rain.We had a peaceful sleep.

READ:  CALAGUAS ISLAND: Paradise lost,Paradise found.

somewhere over the rainbow in Calaguas

Going back to Maniland Camarines Norte was again another struggle fit for a separate blog post.

Despite all that hardships we have encountered going to and from CALAGUAS, I still consider it as one of the BEST TRIPS I had (less the comfort), or, is MEMORABLE and more fitting description???

PS: It helps to be with bubbly people.There were 5 of us in Calaguas.Everything became lighter because we were with fun people.Sure,we felt all the horrific emotions I narrated but we knew how to laugh at it afterwards.We keep talking and laughing about the Legaspi when we moved to Legaspi,at the airport,and even at the taxi back in Manila.Suspence-Horror-Drama-Comedy ang trip na

ALSO:It doesn't storm in Calaguas all the time.What we experienced was a case of abnormal weather (I hate global warming!) which is not the case unless you go here during Monsoon Season.

read here:How to get to CALAGUAS ISLAND from Naga


  1. well this kinds of experiences somehow makes it unforgettable haha
    kahit hindi sa good side

  2. island hopping should really be done before 12noon... waves are really strong after 12 or by 1pm... I think that happens in sea part of the country.
    Goodness, you arrived safely to the shore.

  3. sugal-buhay talaga! My searide to Mahabang buhangin is what I always remember about my Calaguas experience bukod sa aksidente namin sa land travel. Wrong timing kami nuon, bad weather. The waves are gigantic, pume-perfect storm pa minsan.

  4. awts. d parin ako takot! pupunta parin ako dito. hehe

  5. i miss Calaguas.... buti na lang nung nagpunta ko hindi sugal-buhay pero horror story naman after namin makaalis dun. lol.

  6. I read your blog. Kasi balak namin pumunta sa calaguas.mukhang pinanghihinaan na ako pero ganda kasi ng place. sana marating namin kasi yung kasama ko mahina loob. 4hrs talaga sa boat ride tagal no.


  8. Hahahahahaha... I can't stop laughing while reading this... I can just imagine How You Guys looked so scared... I'm from bicol but never been to this place... My Brother Did about 20yrs ago and He said that it's an awesome place but also mentioned about a rough ride getting there... I think the best time to get there is as early as possible. Probably around 6 to 8 am... Nag enjoy tlga ako sa pag basa nito...

  9. This blog made my Day, I just can't stop laughing while reading this... I'm from bicol and also dream of visiting Calaguas but since I stayed most of the time in Naga... Will make sure I hit the open sea before 8am to avoid those scary waves...

  10. I wonder why you had to go to Naga from Manila. Kung straight from Manila to Daet ung sinakyan ninyo na bus, naka save kayo ng more than two hours. And yes, island hopping in the afternoon is not a good idea in any part of this country.


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