Category Archives: TRAVEL

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Travel Eight: Calaguas Islands

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What kind of night is more satisfying? A peaceful sleep or one ending up with REMs? Sound sleepers might find it difficult to have REMs, and lucid dreamers experience fewer rests in comfort. But for me, the answer is neither. The night I want is when I’m cozied down on the sofa watching my favorite TV show with a bowl of my favorite snack by my side. From dusk til dawn, just a full-blown marathon.


Friday night. It was our first time joining up with other travelers. There were only seven of us and they needed five more to go on. For more than eight hours, the van stopped several times to pick us up from different locations. There were three points, Cubao, Makati, and Laguna. I was picked up on the last one. I said hello to our fellow joiners in the back. It was dark and I could not see their faces. I did not mind if they looked cheerful or not. I just wanted to sit down and be with my friends at that moment, hoping that our new weekend would be not different from our other exclusive trips. I tried to close my eyes and fall asleep.

I think I’m just overwhelmed by that new situation. It should not be a big deal, really. But that’s me, used to hanging along only to my friends with no one else around. I’m such an introvert baby.

Saturday, five in the morning. We arrived at Paracale Port, Camarines Norte, too early for the 8 o’clock travel to Calaguas Island. Nevertheless, it was enough for a long chat over breakfast. Beside the five strangers who we did not yet have had the time to ask their names that morning, our group also consisted of new faces. From our original group, there were only four. The other three were significant others, making the seventh member the seventh wheel in some way.

The sun was not yet on his morning glory even after breakfast and our boat should be sailing in another hour. While the others were choosing porkchops and eggplants, the pinoy orthodox meal was enough for me, hotdog and egg.

There was enough time to get prepared for the boat trip. Placing our backpacks in plastic bags were necessary to prevent them from getting wet.  The pacific side of the country often get huge waves from the eastern winds, and it gets bigger as the day goes on. Some travelers were not informed of this, and we were kind enough to lend them our extra bags.

Everybody sat down and got ready to face the sea, but we encountered a bit of a snag with the local coast guards just as we were preparing to sail away. It had something to do with our boat’s registration. Our agent somehow managed to negotiate with the officers and allowed us to sail after waiting for almost an hour.

We were traveling against the tides, the waves splashed to our faces until everyone was soaking wet. At first it was stirring excitement, the ride was fun. But the salt water plus the prickling heat stung for the next hour. Another forty minutes and we finally came down ashore. The fine sand did not press on too much heat while the waves splashed countless along the shore.

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Bam! Seawater used splash!
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Almost there.
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White paradise.

The lunch was served for another hour just as we had ourselves freshened up. We placed our tents behind the cottages, we thought we could place them along the beach but they had to remove that privilege for a reason we did not bother to ask.

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Camp wagi!
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A few too many options for everyone!
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See the line where the sky meets the sea, and smile!
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I don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, but go get ’em girl!
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Wait for it, wait for it. Bulrgrugbb!
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Here comes one more.
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Relaxed in the sun.

By 3 o’clock in the afternoon, we were called to hop on the boat for a ride to another island. It was called Balagbag Island. Atop that island endowed a large scale view of the surrounding water and some rock formations. A few minutes passed by and we went snorkeling.

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Balagbag Island viewing point.

We still had plenty of time to do some walk along the shore with worthwhile photo and video breaks and anything we wanted to do at the beach. The dusk crept in with frequent drizzles. As the waves echoed on the dark empty horizon, the sky lighted up with a million stars.

Since forever, I was fascinated by the heavenly universe. When I see a star in the sky, I wonder if that star still exists or was the light too late to enter the earth and the reality is, it’s already been gone for many years.

We laid back with our heads out the tent, gazed under the starry night and counted every constellation we could recognize. Every so often we saw shooting stars and wished upon them. Wouldn’t hurt anyone for hoping. There was also some strange phenomenon that night. Two small white dots up the sky moving parallel to each other. It did not seem to twinkle like the other stars, it just kept on moving. It was some kind of flying object or objects in constant slow motion.

Rising up before dawn, we trekked up to the hill to see the sunrise. It was still very dark when we started hopping out our tents, good thing we had our lights to prevent us from slipping on some mud. A few minutes up and we saw the crowd getting heavier, the way up was a bit tricky. Exchanging between a few small and big steps against the hillside up until the clearing. The sun rose slowly and often it was hidden behind the clouds. We had good moments on that hill despite our limited time. Also, we found out that there was a cellular signal up there. It was not stable, but at least one of us posted one photo online. After prancing around our cameras like hippies, we went down back to our tents, packed up, and prepared to leave the peaceful island.

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The sweet, sweet sunrise.
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Dancing around like fools.
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We’ll miss you, Calaguas!

Five hours later, we arrived at Daet, Camarines Norte for lunch and surfing. Most of us took the beginner’s course, for noobs of course. I fell down my board three times before I could finally stand up and feel the wind against my shoulders. It was definitely thrilling. I was in rush to get back on the waves for more. My trainer waited for me on the far end of the shallows. I gave him a good tip for being kind and patient. Kuya Nash, his name was.

One hour of training was not enough, and we did not mind the sun since joy was overwhelming. After we freshened up, it was time to go home. Unfortunately we were not able to take videos from our surfing sessions. Anyway, those moments are engraved on our heads.

Notwithstanding the heavy road trips, our weekend was much indeed loaded with relaxation, delight, thrill, and happy tummies.