6 Beach Paradise in Bicol Region
Summer is just a few weeks away and there’s no better way to spend it than to go to the beach! I’m pretty sure that a lot of you are thinking of going to Boracay, the beach capital of the Philippines. With its stunning beaches, different water-sport activities and wild parties that last all night long, Boracay reigns as one of the top tourist destinations in the country. High influx of tourists is experienced here not only during summer but all throughout the year. If you want to experience one wild summer party I highly recommend visiting this awesome island. I’ve been there 4 times already and I can say that you’ll really have one heck of a vacation . However, if you want to veer away from the crowd and looking for a more serene, quite and relaxing summer you might want to try going to Bicol Region.
Bicolandia is situated in the southeastern tip of Luzon. It is composed of 6 provinces namely, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon, my hometown. Our region is mostly known because of the near-perfect cone shaped Mayon Volcano located in the province of Albay and the “butanding” (whalesharks) that frequently visit the waters of Donsol, Sorsogon. Aside from these, there are other must-see places that Bicol has to offer. I am here to unveil to you the best unspoiled beaches that can be found in Bicol Region:
1. Calaguas Island – Camarines Norte
Clear blue waters and powdery white sand that extends to a kilometer, these are what you will find as soon as you reach the beach of Mahabang Buhangin (translates to long beach in English) in Calaguas Island. You will surely be enticed to take a dip in the water even with the glaring heat of the sun.
Tucked away in the eastern part of Camarines Norte, Calaguas Island offers its visitors a place where they can relax and get away from the busy life of the city. There is no electricity, no cellphone signal, no hotels, no fancy restaurants, just the pristine beach and the tranquil blue water. You can pitch your tent by the beach and watch as the sun sets along the horizon.
How to get there:
Camarines Norte is a 9-10 hour bus ride from Manila. Once you reach Daet, you can take a jeepney to Vinzons where you can ask the driver drop you off at the port, travel time is just around 20 minutes. From the port, it’s going to be a two-hour boat ride to Calaguas Island. If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out these 5 Hotels in Daet and Calaguas in Camarines Norte.
2. Caramoan Islands – Camarines Sur
Caramoan Islands seems to be Survivor’s favorite location as several of the foreign reality show’s seasons were shot there. I don’t blame them really, with its majestic and stunning white beaches that stretch all throughout the peninsula and rock formations that attract climbers to be explored, it is no wonder why Caramoan Islands is always on the list of the must-see places in Bicol Region.
Caramoan Islands is a bit far from the mainland of Camarines Sur, so even with the exposure it got from Survivor, it remains immaculate. Sure, there are now more inns and hotels that are being established to accommodate the influx of tourists, but the peninsula remain unblemished and teeming with beauty.
How to get there:
There are two options to get there: 1. You can take an 8-9 hour bus ride to Camarines Sur from Manila 2. or you can take a 40-minute plane ride to Naga City. Once you reach Camarines Sur, board a van bound for Sabang Port at the van terminal in SM Naga, travel time is approximately 1.5 hours. From Sabang Port, you will have to ride a passenger boat to Caramoan Guijalo Port, travel time is 2 hours.
3. Subic Beach and Tikling Island – Sorsogon
Now let me tour you to my hometown, Sorsogon. In the southernmost part of our province lies the town of Matnog where you can find our best beaches, the Subic beach and Tikling Island. Located in Calintaan Island, you need to charter boat first and brave giant waves before you can step into its pinkish white sands. When my mom and I went there last Holy Week (yeah! It was a mother-daughter adventure! LOL) I was really amazed because I didn’t think that there’s also a powdery white sand beach in our little province. As soon as we arrived, I immediately put on my snorkeling gears and hit the water. Even though the sun was beaming high in the sky the water was surprisingly cool.
It is best to bring tents as the place is perfect for camping. However, if you have extra bucks and prefer a cozy nice bed, there are cottages in the island where you can stay. And before you go home, make sure to visit Juag Lagoon, a privately owned fish breeding area. I tell you, the fishes that they breed there are massive! They’ll immediately swarm you as soon as you throw fish pellets. Oh! By the way, there’s no entrance fee in Juag Lagoon! Yey!
How to go there:
You can take a bus in the Pasay or Cubao Terminal that directly heads to Matnog Sorsogon, travel time is around 13-15 hours.
If by plane, take the flight to Legazpi City, Albay, this would only take 40 minutes. Then, ride a tricycle going to the terminal located in Gaisano Mall. From there you can take a van or bus heading to Sorsogon City, travel time is 2 hours. From the terminal in Sorsogon City, take a jeep to Matnog. You can hire a tricycle from the town of Matnog to go to the port. And finally from the port, it’ll take you less than an hour bota ride to see the magnificent beaches of Subic and Tikling Islands.
4. Paguriran Island – Sorsogon
Another entry from our beautiful province is the Paguriran Island in Bacon, Sorsogon (note that it is pronounced as Ba-kon, it is different from your favorite breakfast meal bacon!). Aside from the pinkish white sand that the island boasts, it also has a picture-perfect lagoon located a few meters away from the beach that will surely charm anyone who dare cross it. You can walk or ride a boat (when the tide is high) to reach it. The lagoon is made up of massive rock formations and spiky corals so you have to be extra careful when climbing it. But don’t worry, the view from the top will surely take your breath away and will make you forget all the trouble you had to endure just to get there. You can read more about this island from Tripadvisor reviews.
How to get there:
From Sorosogon City Grand Terminal Station, take a jeepney going to Sawanga, Bacon. You can ask the driver to drop you of at Paguriran Island. Then you can hire a tricycle to take you to Paguriran Island Resort.
5. Puraran Island – Catanduanes
Puraran Island in the province of Catanduanes is now emerging as a surfing haven in the Bicol Region. With its giant waves that reach up to 6 six feet that come in long barrels, this will truly give surfing enthusiasts an exciting experience they’ll never forget.
Puraran may sound as a surfing site for the pros however, there are beaches in the island where beginners can learn how to surf. For beginners, the best months to go to Puraran are from March to August and for the more adventurous who like to conquer the giant waves, you can visit the island from September to October.
How to get there:
See next item below to learn how to get to Catanduanes.
6. Bontod Reef – Masbate
Masbate is the only province that I have never set foot in Bicol Region. But I heard, the most famous beach in the island province is the Bontod Reef because of its marine sanctuary where a number of marine life can be found. Snorkeling must be perfect in this beautiful island. I really hope that I will be able to visit Masbate soon!
How to get there:
The fastest and easiest way to get to Masbate is to take the 1 hour flight from Manila. But if you’re going by bus, just like the previous guides above, it’ll take 12 hours to reach Pilar, Sorsogon, the gateway to Masbate. From Sorsogon, take the 3-hour ferry boat ride to reach the province.
For places to stay, check out these 6 Hotels in Masbate.
When visiting Bicol Region, you have to bring a lot of patience especially if you will be traveling by bus. It can be a butt-numbing experience since you will have to travel for quite a number of hours. But I promise you, it’ll be worth it once you arrive in the paradise that is Bicol Region. Can’t wait for summer to come! Yey!
Story by Two Monkeys Travel