Calaguas group of Islands in Camarines Norte, Luzon, Philippines is comprised of minor islands/islets such as Maculabo and major islands such as Guintinua Island and Tinaga Island.
Tinaga Island is where the recently famous Mahabang Buhangin is located. It is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Vinzons and Barangay Mangcawayan at approximately 14-15 nautical miles from Paracale and 19-20 nautical miles from Vinzons. It first gained the attention of mountaineers who were looking for an untouched paradise but has remained unfamiliar to many until the past two years. In a short period of time, it had gained popularity especially to younger crowd and families from Manila who are looking for an alternative to the more known beach sites.
Mahabang Buhangin is comprised of about a 2-kilometer stretch of beach. Its crystal clear waters and powdery white sand are undeniably one of the best in the Philippines. The backdrops of the island are rolling hills that are perfect for short treks.
There are some mini stores (sari-sari stores) in the island, limited fresh water and bathroom facilities, no electricity and no mobile and internet network except for some parts way up in the hills.
There are two options in reaching the island. The first is to travel by land from Metro Manila for around 9 to 10 hours. The other would be to fly to Naga airport and travel by land for another 2 hours.
For both options, you would have to take a boat trip either from the Vinzon’s seaport or the Paracale seaport. From there, it is a 2 to 3 hour boat ride to Calaguas Island.
January to August are good months to visit the Calaguas. In January to early March, the weather is still cool. From March to early June, the waters are much more calm but the weather can range from relatively to extremely hot. Since there is a long boat travel involved, weather conditions plays a vital role in the availability of the trips to island.
But regardless of the weather, the sea water remains cool and refreshing.
Camping – There are no resorts yet in the island ( as of May 2014) so the only lodging option is tents pitched along the beach. But there are some signs resort of construction that will be operational in the coming seasons.
The nearby islands can be explored by boat.
Any of the rolling hills can be leisurely trekked in less than an hour each. It can be done just before dawn so you can catch the sunrise or on late afternoon in time to watch the sunset. At any time of the day, the trek will offer a scenic view of the beach and the island.
This can be done on the rolling hills or on the beach. The beachfront offers an amazing and enchanting sunset view.
Stargazing – There is no electricity in the island apart from some light from the generators. The best time to stargaze where millions of stars show themselves is when the skies are clear, everybody is asleep and all the lights are off.
Because of the wide shoreline, several sports can be enjoyed such as ultimate frisbee, beach volleyball, beach football, kayak and many others beach sports. Just remember to bring what you will need to play the sport because there are none available for rental.
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