Backpackers Guide to Calaguas Island, Philippines

For long time, people have been visiting fine white sand beaches like in Boracay or Palawan or Bohol. Next thing you might want to add to the list would be Calaguas Islands of Camarines Norte.

Calaguas is a group of islands namely Tinaga, Guintinua , Maculabo and other small islands. The tourist influx is still new so the place still have no major infrastructure other than a few small cottages. If you’re looking for camping outdoors tent-style and sleeping under the stars, this is the trip for you.

How to get there:

Via Bus
The ride takes about 8 hours via the Manila-Daet route. You can ride in Cubao in Quezon City and Buendia or in EDSA-Taft in Pasay City. Bus fares ranges from Php500 – Php700 via Superlines, DLTB and Philtranco. Take a bus going to Daet or Naga and tell the driver to drop you in Talobatib.

From Talotahib, take a bus to the Paracale port then a chartered boat going to Tinaga Island. The chartered boat with 1-8 seating capacity costs Php4000, a 9-15 capacity boat costs Php 500/pax and bigger boats with larger capacities costs approximately Php 550- Php 600/pax


Via Plane
You can take a plane bound to Naga then take a bus for 2 hours to Paracale. Then from Paracale port, ride the chartered boat to Tinaga Island as with the above directions.

The community is also collecting a fee (Barangay or admin fee) that cost Php20 each.

Things to bring:
Bring food provisions for length of your stay or if you’re planning to eat out, do a budget plan for your meals.

Always bring water, at least 1-3 liters per person per day. If you are planning to buy bottled water, always check the caps and don’t accept broken seals.

Tent or sleeping bags, though you can borrow tents at the island. It gets cold at nights so you might also want to prepare for that and bring your own jackets and socks.

Flashlight for when it’s night. The island doesn’t have enough streetlights and you can’t rely on natural lighting to light your way.

Mosquito repellent is a must especially if you’re going in the summer and staying for some time.
SPF and sun protection for when you stroll around because nobody likes sunburn or skin cancer.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 0
Take a bus from Manila to Talobatib, Camarines Norte. It is recommended to take a night trip to save up on daylight hours. If you depart by 6pm, estimated time of arrival would be 5am.

Day 1
From Talobatib, it takes about 20-30 minutes to reach the Paracale Market. You can opt to buy your supplies at the market there. From Paracale, take a boat to Mahabang Buhangin via boat. After arriving to the beach, it is recommended to set up camp or look for sleeping quarters. You can stroll around the town or take a dip into the cold water. There are also some hiking trails or hills to trek.

If you still have time, you can climb the Tinago Hills or visit the local community and get in touch with the local people. If you wanted to go on a side trip to Paracale, you can depart from Mahabang Buhangin to Paracale by lunch so you can visit the Paracale church and local town.