After our fun-filled hiking and relaxing wrap-up on our first day in Calaguas Island, we were promised a very mobile second day by Lisa and Anthony. We all entered our castle tents with a smile and crashed out with so much anticipation for the next day’s activities. The overflowing vigor and enthusiasm enveloping us didn’t wane just yet. Not in a place like this.
In 2013, the Isla Lipana & Co., a Philippine member of the London-based PricewaterhouseCoopers—a multinational consultancy firm, conducted an online survey showcasing 175 of the country’s pristine natural tourist destinations to increase the awareness and appreciation for these spots in order to upheave the tourism industry. Every Bicolano, adopted or native, stood proud after voters posted their choices. Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte emerged as the number 1 “tourism gem” of the Philippines…The other must-visit sites that made it to the final 10 were Lake Sebu, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Biri Island Rock Formation, Mt. Kanlaon Nature Park, Danjugan Island, Panglao Island, Apo Island, Apo Reef Natural Park, and Batanes Island. This was the very gist of the travel article from Philippine Daily Inquirer that compelled me to add Calaguas Island to my bucket list three years ago.
At about 4:30 in the morning, we were awakened. Our tent was shaking because CJ and Algend were prompting us to go out and jog on the beach, repeatedly, but we were still so sleepy. They only gave up when they saw our languid gestures. The last thing I remembered before I dozed off again was Ms. Wonderwall handed my camera to Algend. Roughly thirty minutes later, we got up and invited, Teyshaun, Harry, Lisa, and Rosh to come with us and go after CJ and Algend.
With all the things that had happened that day, Ms. Wonderwall and I still consider spending a night at the beach the most romantic time ever.
We caught Algend and CJ, along with other visitors, doing a photo shoot at the far right side of the beach where volcanic outcrops dominate the landscape. Good thing I had my camera phone. I captured the views that were molded into sublime beach scenery.
There’s a subtle difference in the kind of beauty the views around exhibit when the sun is at its peak and when it’s just peeping in the distance.
Then I felt the cold wind from the sea hugging the entire place. I thought a little warm-up was necessary before dipping in the water again. I then suggested to do another hike. Right then and there, my optical organs got magnetized by a signboard to my right boasting another trail to the peak. It sealed the deal despite the entrance fee.
The trail started off right from the beach area and it was indeed facile compared to the one we treaded before it. There are man-made steps and markers on and bushy trees are also visible along the way. After more or less 30 feet down the trail, we saw a nipa hut. The first hike didn’t give us a convenient place for Take 5. The nipa hut did. From there, the peak could already be scaled somewhere in the region of 55 meters. One can also get a decent view of Calaguas Island’s densely populated yet picturesque area.
We took a few usies and aerial shots of the island before we did the assault. Another set of group selfies and pictures of the scenery atop were framed. When the sunshine started scratching our skin, we prepared for descent. Nevertheless, the day was too charming to just spend it inside the tent or under the trees. An idyllic, vigorous day of kayaking in this paradisaical island was what I anticipated.
By the time we were conditioned for swimming, the entire Mahabang Buhangin was already crowded. We dillydallied for a while until we came up with the idea of sneaking into the private area of Tinaga island, which is the one that can be fully seen at the peak and is located straight down the hill.
For the record, we hesitated but upon knowing that there was literally no one but us in the place, we went in. Thank goodness, no one appeared to drive us away. I had to sing one of my favorite travel songs, “Pure Shores”. We did all sorts of fun we could do and we instantaneously turned into the younger versions of Harry, Teyshaun, and Rosh. We ran here and there as if we were playing Hide and Seek. We jumped. We yelled. We tumbled. We shouted for joy…It was like a total time warp of our seven-year old selves. It was a fantastic way to kill time and definitely a great segue to the kayak that’s going to come any moment.
The four elements seemed to be in unison for providing us the perfect atmosphere. We were not to waste a second.
We relished the summer’s warm temperatures, clear skies, and epic views of the whole private spot of Tinaga Island with requisite boats that either currently crossing or transporting visitors, who can afford scuba diving, at the smaller islands nearby. Owning the entire spot during that day was way more awesome than doing any of the other activities included in all the available island tour packages.
In the middle of our frolic, Lisa and Anthony came over—with the kayak. It goes without saying it bolstered the amusement we were already having all the more. Trust me when I say we needed that kayak.
We decided to take turns on kayaking. CJ and Liza set out first. They were able to propel really far. I could barely see them in the next photo. What I didn’t know was the paddling part was insanely difficult. Liza showed no tinge of that adjective until our turn came.
I wished I didn’t take the paddler. I should have given it to Algend. So my ignorance of the sport, kayaking, was revealed. I thought paddling was as easy as posting a photo on Instagram or Facebook. It wasn’t. It isn’t. I was utterly stripped of my all athletic abilities the moment they noticed the difference between flapping and paddling. Picture me doing the walk of shame. That’s what they did to me. But my happy self didn’t falter so I took all the insults in. That’s where the friendship’s breath rides on. These people, with the inclusion of Ms. Wonderwall, are the kind that turn me into a handsome, playful monster. The same is true for the rest of the group. It’s worth swallowing the embarrassment not to mention pride.
We were so having the time of our lives I must say! The last time we were exactly in the same position was at the beach in Batangas near our friend’s house—16 years ago. It didn’t matter how brown our skins got in broad daylight, we weren’t going to our tents and nipa hut for lunch until our knees weakened and our facial muscles contracted. I wanted to freeze every minute of that moment.
We only became immobile when our energy had been zapped and our mouths were already craving savory and authentic Bicolano victuals. It was already quarter past noon when we got once again to our designated nipa hut. Time to gorge ourselves on the meals courtesy of the couple, Lisa and Anthony. They really know how to take care of their guests. They served up fantastic meals, and thank God they gave in to our short-order requests (fried fish and Bicol Express with Gulay na Santol) on our last day.
All these wonderful moments wouldn’t have been possible without Liza and Anthony of Calaguas Island Tours and Packages by Anthony’s Travel and Island Tours with their two sidekicks, Melo and Jiero, of course. I couldn’t help but already feel nostalgic when I was finishing my lunch. It was only there that I felt the sad part of good times like this: waving adieu—to this paradise that had been our sanctuary for two days and one night.
I used to be terrible at dealing with this kind of situation until I got to where I’m at now, working overseas. I now fully comprehend the incredibly painful yet hopeful part of life: dealing with the inevitable farewell. The easiest way of coping with it is knowing that you’re never alone at this and only a call away just in case. I couldn’t be any happier my friends manifested the same kind of coping mechanism.
On our way back to the reality so to speak, we had nothing but smiles on our faces. It looked like we have all reached maturity now that we can turn sentiments into cachinnations.
“The best things said come last. People will talk for hours saying nothing much and then linger at the door with words that come with a rush from the heart” (Alan Alda).
I heard you loud and clear, mga Parekoy! See you around.
#bicolbloggers #itsmorefuninbicol #calaguasisland #Phoneography #kayak #kayaking #mahabangbuhangin #gemofthephilippines #PhilippineBeaches #PhilippineImages #tinagaisland
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