CALAGUAS!

Heart Sign Calaguas
I turned 26 yesterday and I’m glad to have had this beach trip to have some downtime.

I spent Independence Day weekend (and my birthday weekend) out of town, away from any phone or internet, and as close to Mother Nature as possible. We found a fairly undisturbed paradise in Calaguas, a small island group in the neck of Camarines Norte.

Calaguas Map
The biggest island, Tinaga, is 2 hours away from Paracale via boat. We visted three other islands – Balagbag Maliit, Balagbag Malaki, and Maculabo – during our stay.

Calaguas is beautiful, plain and simple. The islands have been declared a conservation area by DENR, so no buildings or resorts will ever be built there (although the beaches already belong to private owners). No resorts, few motorbikes. The locals live on the other side, but some of them settle on the beach to provide assistance to visiting campers.

Calaguas-Ranie-1
My high school classmates – happy to have been with such a game and laidback group!
calaguas day 1-31
The view from the hill – we could see our hut all the way from there; and the other side of Tinaga too.

Mahabang Buhangin, the beach where we stayed at, is literally long. I think it’s as long as Boracay, but try to imagine it with Caramoan’s pristine, quiet, uninhabited quality and superfine white sand. The water is unbelievably clear.

Calaguas-Collage-1

calaguas day 1-27

We slept on tents, built our own coal fire, cooked our own food (though that was mostly Ranie), and basically spent the past 3 days just swimming, trekking, and enjoying the magical beauty around and under us.

calaguas day 3-20

We climbed hills, did snorkeling (this was my favorite, it was my first time and it was awesome to see a live, colorful forest under the water!!!), got to know the locals and how the tourism is helping bring income to their barrio, ate the freshest seafood and got really really burnt.

calaguas day 2-19
At the top of Balagbag Malaki’s hills
Calaguas-Ranie-30
These locals can’t get enough of the water too

I think this was a good way to turn 26 – to be able to sit back and to do NO thinking at all. I’ve spent the past year accomplishing some milestones, but I’ve also been in such a warped state of worry because life is life and I’m getting old and I really need to start seriously thinking, preparing, and saving for a lot of things.

This weekend, I felt really OK. I can’t let go of the anxiety, but I can lose some of the fear. I feel that I can do that this year. So there.

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