While everyone was going off to some of the most popular places in and out the country for the summer, my friends and I decided to go somewhere different. And with no clue what a challenging adventure it would be, we packed our bags and headed to the northernmost part of Bicolandia, to an unseen paradise that can rival the white beach of Boracay, still virgin—the beautiful and captivating Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte.

Calaguas is a group of islands in the Pacific within the jurisdiction of Vinzons, Camarines Norte and consists of more than 20 islands and islets. The two main islands are the Tinaga and Guintinua where the three barangays named Banocboc, Pinagtigasan and Mangcawayan are located.

We spent our weekend getaway at Mahabang Buhangin Beach or Halabang Baybay in Tinaga Island. Mostly overshadowed by more popular beach spots and islands in the Bicol region, the cove boasted of a long stretch of powdery white sand, crystal clear waters, and scattered volcanic rocks on both ends—truly a picture perfect paradise.

We were a bit reluctant to go DIY on this trip as this was unchartered territory for us who were all used to going to the same popular beaches for weekend getaways. Luckily, we were able to avail a three days two nights all-in package from Byahe Adventours on such short notice. The package already included land transfers from Manila to Daet, boat transfers, tent accommodations, and sumptuous buffet meals prepared by the resident chef.

It was an excruciating 10-hour land travel via bus from Manila to Mercedes Port in Daet. And another two to three hours boat ride to the island. It was pretty tiring and everyone else looked exhausted (not to mention, wet, as we came across some dark clouds at sea) but as soon as the view of the island’s white sand and immaculate turquoise waters welcomed us, people were just speechless.

Browse through the gallery to see this unassuming island, devoid of luxury trappings.

(All photos courtesy of Jona Balagat)

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