Philippines’ Beaches: What’s Not to Love?

The Philippines, being an archipelago, is dotted with innumerable pristine, sparkling beaches. Some white, others black, a few brown, and surprisingly pink too! We have beaches that are as fine as talcum powder to gritty, sandy ones, while others are pebble lined. Majority of these tropical paradise boasts off crystal clear water that comes in azure to turquoise colors. Regardless of the color and texture of beaches’ sand and water, Philippines’ seashores will make one’s “beach escapade” memorable and fun!

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Besides the obvious aesthetics of our beaches, here are other reasons why bumming around the beaches of the Philippines is a must doPhilippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches are home to various water sports and activities. From surfing, to snorkeling to SCUBA diving, kitesurfing, kayaking, island-hopping and many more. Plus, the marine life is teeming with wonders.  One will never run out of things to do. These activities can keep you fit and make your vacation more fun-filled.

Philippines’ beaches showcase some of the most jaw-dropping sunrise and sunset views. Everything turns into a picturesque, surreal nature art once the sun starts to rise. It is even more dramatic during sundown. Sunset by the beach is one thing I look forward the most.

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Philippines’ beaches are generally cheap. While some of our beaches are becoming more and more commercialized, I want to believe that majority of our beaches are still inexpensive, and some even for free. One could spend some time along the beach without worrying about spending much – paying for entrance fees or buying pricey food because again, the cost isn’t really high.

Philippines’ beaches are home to good and hospitable Filipinos. I want to think that Filipino hospitality is evident in almost all parts of the country – whether at the mountain villages, to seaside towns, and various rural areas. Most Filipinos are willing to lend a helping hand in whatever ways they could. Some families would invite you their homes, some would even cook the freshest sea catch of the day for their visitors to have a sumptuous meal.

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They say “life is a beach”. Whether you have a beach bod, dad bod or whatever kind of body figure you have, the beach is one welcoming place for you to experience life, to live life.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Calaguas Island (Camarines Norte, PH)

Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly. – Van Morrsion

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If countries are to be rewarded for its quantity of pristine beaches, the Philippines can probably take the top plum. Being an archipelago of 7,107 islands articulate heaps of endless beach and sea escapades.

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Living in a tropical paradise that is The Philippine, I have been to numerous beaches from as far as Batanes’ way up north, Palawan’s on the west, Siargao’s on the east and Sarangani beaches way down south. And there is more in between!

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One particular beach that has captured the beach-bumming soul in me is an island tucked in the province of Camarines Norte in the Bicol Region. Calaguas Island is an epitome of a beach destination one imagines of.

I have luckily set foot on this island way back 2010 when it wasn’t that known yet to both local and foreign tourists. Any beach lover would totally fall in love with Calaguas. It could even be a case of love at first sight. That was what I felt before.

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The 1.2 kilometers long and immaculate seashore of Calaguas Islands known as Mahabang Buhangin or Halabang Baybay is a cove found in Tinago Island (one of the 17 islands in Calaguas).The beach is facing northwest; hence one will be delighted to see an impressive display of colours during the end of the day. This further adds up to the perfectly crystal clear waters of the beach.

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During my time of visit, there were no commercial establishments in the island, no electricity, no mobile and internet network. I’ve heard though that at this point, a few enterprises have been put up. I just hope they could still contain this growing commercialization within the island.

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My 2 days stay in the island required me to camp there overnight. The experience was indeed relaxing and worth the long trip. I still remember how I spent my day just sitting on the white and ultra fine sand, swimming in the brilliant and bright emerald water, waiting for the sky to turn gold during the sundown, lay down while marvelling at the infinite sky dotted with uncountable stars – it was a moment i would have not wanted to end.

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A few friends have invited me to go and visit the island again, but after 5 years I haven’t give in to any of their invitation. It’s not that I don’t want to see and experience Calaguas again. But there is this fear that the Calaguas I once knew wouldn’t be the same when I get back. I don’t want to feel disappointed (more so that I have learned of the claimed “developments” made in the place). Let us just say, I like the memory I had before… that happy, untainted, memory I had with Calaguas. And that is more than enough to keep me smiling whenever Calaguas crosses my mind.

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How To Get There:

From Manila, book a bus ride either Pasay or Cubao to Paracale, Camarines Norte
(Philtranco | Superlines about P485 – P500+ for approximately 8 to 9 hours).
Alternately a Pasay/Cubao – Daet trip is also possible (P580).

Once in Daet Camarines Norte, Paracale can be reached in less than two hours by public vans.Upon reaching the town of Paracale, rent a boat at the fishport. Boat rental (depending on the capacity): Php3,000 – P6,000

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Another way is via Vinzons, another town in Camarines Norte. In Daet, board a jeepney to Vinzons or Mercedes (15php, travel time 20-30 mins) and ask around for the fish port (pandawan). Hire a boat to take you to the island. At Vinzons fish port and pier, there are daily schedules of boat trips to Brgy. Banocboc at 11am. Return trips to Vinzons town proper from Banocboc is 6am. From Banocboc you can hire a banca to take you to Calaguas Islands for as low as 500Php – 1,000Php.

Mahabang Buhangin Entrance: P50 – P150

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be a wanderlust. Take it easy ebriwan. Roamulofied out…

(Photos uploaded here were captured using a GE Digital camera. I didnt own a  DSLR camera then. Nonetheless, Calaguas’ beauty remains to be topnotch regardless of the camera used).

Macolabo Island (Camarines Norte PH)

I love the sea’s sounds and the way it reflects the sky. The colours that shimmer across its surface are unbelievable. This, combined with the colour of the water over white sand, surprises me every time. – John Dyer
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It was a sunny day at the Paracale port. The scent of the ocean and the sound of it made me feel it is indeed summertime. That day’s destination is a small island at this side of Camarines Norte – Macolabo Island.GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Macolabo Island is a barangay of the town of Paracale and is a part of the Calaguas group of islands The island serves as a major stop-over going to Tinaga Island (it is where the famous long beach “Mahabang Buhangin” is located). The island is about four kilometers long. Locals reside on parts of the Island with farming and fishing as their main source of income.GE DIGITAL CAMERA

This write-up highlight’s this piece of paradise near Calaguas (the more famous and frequented beach in Camarines Norte. (I will have a separate blog for my Calaguas trip). Just a 45-minute boat ride from the town of Paracale, this island welcomes its visitors with its fine, white sand and clear, turquoise to emerald green sea water.

Despite being a side-trip to Calaguas, the beauty of Macolabo will surely capture a beach bummer’s heart. Being small in size, the island can be explored in a matter of few hours. I love how clean the beach is – very ideal for swimming and snorkelling. There is also a part where big smooth rocks add up to this island’s charm. Caution though – be sure to wear your life vest on since the water in Macolabo is deep and the sand sinking deeply as well.GE DIGITAL CAMERA

If you decide to stay here overnight, you can pitch your tent. (Most people though, would stay at Tinaga Islands).

Macolabo mayb not be as awesome as Calaguas, but to me, its charm is more than enough to be admired and be part of my favourite islands list.GE DIGITAL CAMERA

How To Get To Macolabo Island:

Make your way to Cubao where Superlines and Philtranco buses are. They have direct bus trips to Paracale. However,if the scheduled trips to Paracale differ from your planned trip, you may take a bus bound for Daet and tell the driver to drop you off at Talobatib. From Talobatib, ride another bus to Paracale then take a tricycle from Paracale town to Paracale port. Approximate travel time from Manila to Paracale is 10 hours. Fare ranges from P500-P800.

Once in Paracale, hire a boat to Macolabo Island. Approximate cost would be from P1000-P1500.GE DIGITAL CAMERA