Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte - September 2011

Date of Travel : 18 - 21 September 2011

Bad Vibes.

After about 3 weeks of split offs, the taste of the long awaited vacation seem heavenly orgasmic (for the lack of a meaningful superlative adjective, blah!) Hardly feeling rest days, on the side I was tipping Gian not to break hell lose as is the problem with group vacations... How to get them organized, ..a general term. Under which, means, constantly communicating; confirming attendance, bank deposits as payment, conceptualizing plan B's, reiterating itineraries and what to brings and all those stuff commonly neglected by the herd. Shout outs to Gian for bearing that heavy dope. We were also pressured to meet the necessary headcount the TOUR requires. The pack of 13 ended up in 8 that of which consisted of a lot of back outs, uberly lame alibis, head substitutions and another Tour service.

End tag, Bad vibes.

We were fortunate enough, with some hardcore research from Gian, to have found Sir Melvic Briñas' Calaguas tour service. Our small group of 8, was a go- so we rid ourselves the head count requirement from the previous tour we were eyeing.

Turned out, it still is the Cagbalete group and 1+1 of Gians' friends which made the group complete.

The Melvic Briñas Calaguas Package
Thats P3700/pax. 3D/2N
We were fortunate enough to be given the slot even when we're short with heads. On regular trips, Sir Melvic might not have approved.

Package includes:
Bus transfers from Cubao to Daet vice versa.
Van and boat transfers.
Accommodation in a small resort in Bagasbas. Surf mecca baby!

**Food water 
and a nice baller band.

**Best to check out his site for updates and breakdown.

The trip.
9PM-430AM Manila to Daet where we literally OWNED, with mostly just us on the bus; so we get to sleep better than just tightly seated.
5AM-Sir Melvics Van picked us up and we had breakfast
Took about 40mins or so to travel to the port at Vinzons and 2hours to get to the island.

Make sure you bring the following: (Taken from sir Melvics site)
* beach and resort wear
* footgear: rubber slippers, beach sandals
* wide brimmed-hat
* sunglasses
* insect repellant and or soap with citronella to ward off mosquitoes-Although we hardly found the need to use them as most of the time it's windy. Hardly any mosquitoes, though them friends found out huge ones when they took a trail up the mountains.
* sunscreen, sunblock, sun tan.
* flashlights, headlamps - Sir Melvic provides a generator but lighting is limited only in the huts. If you'll need to go to the John which is a few meters at the back of the huts, you'll definitely need lights.
* first aid kit / medicines. -water provided is purified but just in case, bring some for personal consumption and include loperamide in your medicine kit.
* camera with enough battery and memory cards-they turn on the generator at night and you can charge a couple at a time.
* cellphone -only available network is SMART and signal availability varies on certain areas of the beach.
* a waterproof pouch and bag to store your valuables in-a dry bag.
* wet tissues- again, just in case.
* tissue Paper-for the choosy dumper.
* huge garbage bag to protect your gear while on the boat-they'll stick your stuff under the boat, so best to take off the fragiles, cameras included and pack it in your dry bag, best to hand carry on the boat.
* waterproof jacket or raincoat
* snorkeling gear-No marine sanctuary on the island beach, but there are small fishies wandering about. We're not particular though if you plan on going island hopping, if there are interesting Sanctuaries around..

Its basically Campers necessities minus the Tent and water as they are included in the package.

What to expect, island stuff, facilities and some tips:

  • Theres a covered-2-slot-toilet and bath. Water source is deep well. The care takers charge P10 per container for banlaw, ligo and jerbacks. They fill up the containers and deliver it to the CR. As per them manongs, if you want to Rinse up on your own, its for free; U pump ur own water., but I always value tourism, so utilize... and no hagglings and cheap ass thrift puta enge nemeng deskewnt smart ass tactics.
  • Tent for sleeping- Nipa hut for all the rest. (Kain, tambay, inuman etc)
  • Natural ventilation- strong winds all throughout, so no mosquitoes. Windy but not really chilly nights.
  • Make sure you clear the sand of rubles and roots and choose a straight base before pinning down your tent. Also make sure you pitch near the hut,just in case it rains, it'll be easy to pull the tent under the shelter.
  • Given that, when clouds and rain threatens, make sure you pack your stuff in the plastic bag provided at the onset of the trip, when you boarded your bags on the boat. Tent is not waterproof and cant withstand a drizzle. You're all screwed if you were away and it rains.
  • We arrived in the island with no other guests and seeing other accounts (youtube vids) and as per Sir Melvic, during peaks, he sometimes accommodate up to 100+ guests at a time.
  • There are also other Tours that occupy other parts of the beach so you can just imagine how a 'field trip' it is at High times.
  • Given those numbers, he also brings in a band and some additional perks to entertain guests. If you dont like 'that boracay feel', inquire with him first so you know the guest load.
  • Bring your ultrawide and tele. mid lens optional. There are a couple other beaches right (facing the sea) of the main beach that are nice locations for shoots. If you like playing with your flash, the rockies, also at the right side of the beach is a nice spot to have your photos taken ala survivor, so yeah, your  remote and tripod are definitely essential. For early morning long exposures, your ND and Grad Filter. I managed to play around with a flash gun, so if you know what I mean... its not professional and awesome, just noob attempts... you'll recognize a few in my photos.
  • You can also find a trail about 3-5minutes climb, near the hut where you can have a glance of the long beach and the nearby islands. Awesome view. Then theres another trail at the faaaahahaaaaarrrr left. Me and my wife didn't bother to join the pack when they headed that direction. But it took them about 30min to reach the end of the beach and a few tens more to realize how screwed the trail was. It ended in disappointment as the trail is steep and was not cleared enough, preventing them from reaching a nice spot to view the grandness of the beaches' shoreline. Vanz was crazy enough to climb in her two piece bikini, and just might have been the reason why they were festered by mosquitoes. Huge ones. Hehe.
  • Sir Melvic brings Ice, so beer and water is always joyfuly cold. Weee. Beer though needs to be outsourced from a nearby-40min-away-baranggay so expect it a bit pricey. Pilsen is P35, Red Horse Grande P100. If you smoke, bring a pack. They have but Fortune and probably those never heard yosis available.
  • Best bring, hard liquor. You wont be doing much during the day when the sun is at its angriest. Don't forget the chaser and lots of chips. LOTS OF EM CHIPS! I tell you man, some people eat chips like rice, then again, you're not doing anything on the island, so unless you have other vices, just pop up some chips and work out those jaws.
  • Ah if you dig books, this is the best place to finish some. You can burn em during bonfires. LOL.
  • Food, if PETER is in the staff list, man, you're in for some gourmet treat! (sounds gay, but Im all gay for good food. LOL) I cannot reiterate enough how I appreciated the food they served. Santol, Laing, just two of my developed favorites. Stig talaga. Even more when we found out he's a culinary arts teacher at PWU Daet. I could have bought the guy to personally cook for me, maybe when I win the lottery.
  • Sir Melvic is also a mountaineer. If you're on the same interest, he has awesome stories. Best to pass a glass around para masaya ang kwentuhan. His staff are also very approachable, so if you guys need to kill time, they have lots of stories beneficial if not useless but interesting ones. Hehehe. Hats off to Kulot and Peter. Iced tea pa! 
Side trip Bagasbas.
We left the island, returning to the port where we took off. Boarded a Van which took us to a town called Bagasbas. As I mentioned, Surfing Mecca. If you dig surfing, they offer P200/hr surfing lessons and P200/hr rental of the surf board. Check out the video at the bottom.

I personally appreciate how Sir Melvic handled our tour. He was hands on and I appreciate the company. Visit his personal facebook account to read about how people testify to this. Kuya, salamat sa walang ka boring boring na stay sa island kasama ang grandma mo at yung sasa na may cherry sa ilalim. ;)

Overall, Calaguas Island is pristine, just the right waves- that which will not bore you even if you're not a swimmer and one that's interesting enough to leave you body-waving even after getting off the waters, gradual sea terrain decline and uber fine white sand. Just make sure you bring a lot of sunblock as even under the shade, you'll get some sure toasting. That a few, I'll leave the heap of photos and a couple of Vids for you to dig.
I'm still working on my photography, videography and editing 101 skills so ditch the diss.

Feast, enough for 12 of the 8 of us. :D
The ride to and fro the Island. See that small red and blue shade? That it. :D
Two pole Tents.
Hardly a comfort room, but the only Comfort Room available, so right on. Far buko tree, left, is where all the pumping scenes happen. The water pump is there. lol.
Just landed. May make up pa si KC. :D
Where all the good memories were made.
The usual suspects doing the usual stuff.
Paps Leo was kind enough to buy me a couple of beers, chipping ice to make a glass constantly cold. Hats off pare.
They were training this young carabao, taming him, making him understand commands.
Yet another commendable round, RH on Paps' call.
Local kids playing dama.
They've but nothing much to play around with on the Island.
Vanz gives the young carabao some soft back massage. :D
Some Hi-key shitz.
Dogs everywhere.
They call him Boy Tigas for consistently having a stiffy. I call him Teddy as he looks more like a teddy bear than a dog.
The 3-5minute trail I was telling you about.
Yes they make it up the hill. And there are lots of goats on the island grown by the care taker as well. And that given, a lot of poo specially at the rockies.
Where she points, is where the other trail is. Up till the end of the sand, and up the greens.
Sir Melvic showing us a shark he bought from some local fishermen.
This is the Rockies, yeah, goat poo's here and there, if they're not washed up by the tide.
Day light fading, but smiles still persists.
The oddities.
Reminds me of the Right vs Left Brain Optical Illusion.
Gian and Leo
Miss Jhay and Kc.
Vanz and Shiek.
Me and my wife.
Ang reina ng palo palo. :D
The yellow baller band provided by Sir Melvic.
The owner trained Surfy to ride on his head even when on a bike doing rounds.
Surfing 101.
and Skim boarding too.
Its all about balance and control.
..Some guts and a piece of craziness.
Make sure to visit Gians ( blog regarding her Kid of the Trip cause.
Some surf casualty.
Might be a next prospect for the next vacation. Surfing.
Margie.-Kid of the Trip.
They call these, BOBO. Fish swims in and is trapped in the maze like contraption. Gotcha bobo fish.
Vanz met a new friend.
Kc does Kundiman. 
Some video's I compiled. A few first shots using the D90.

That for now. Salamat sa mga naka-sama. Sa bagong pag kaka ibigan- mga kwentong puno ng Good Vibes, katatawanan at kalokohan. Mga solid na tropa, na lumalalim pa ang sa isat isa'y pagka kilala. 
Good Vibes.
Until next trip.
sa uulitin.