Calaguas Islands of Camarines Norte [featuring Maculabo Island]


This blog entry is a part II of my Calaguas Trip. You may refer on this link - [click here] to read the first half of my Calaguas Islands trip featuring its well known and top tourist destination island, the Tinaga Island, where the "Mahabang Buhangin" beach is located. Moving on, as for this blog post, I will be featuring another Calaguas' pride, none other than, the majestic Maculabo Island.

Maculabo Island is still part of Calaguas Islands under the municipality of Paracale in Camarines Norte. It is now considered as a prime stop-over for tourists either before or after going to Tinaga Island because of its beauty and elegance. Why it is considered good for stop-over or side trip despite its beuaty and fame? Well, I guess because the island is small and can be explored in a matter of few hours compared to Tinaga Island. According to Wikipedia, Maculabo Island is just about 4 kilometers long. Plus, I didn't see any resort in the area unlike in Tinaga. But if you'll ask me which of the two islands is more beautiful? I'll say, its Maculabo Island.

How to get there?
Please refer on the direction written here -- [click here].

My visit to Maculabo Island was just a side trip and quick so I want this blog post to be short and straight to the point as well. Going to Maculabo Island is just a matter of negotiation to your boatman. As for us, we just added 500 pesos to our boat rental in order to stop-over at Maculabo. All in all, we spend 4,500 pesos on our boat rental which covers a trip to Tinaga Island and Maculabo Island. Its not a bad deal knowing that this place is divine!

The trip from Tinaga Island going to Maculabo Island is about an hour away. From afar you'll say that Maculabo is an ordinary island that you see on your tour around Calaguas but as you go near it and reach the island itself, you'll be mesmerize on its appearance and charm.

Beach shore of Maculabo Island
I'm not faking it when I said crystal clear water
Just feeling the heat of summer!
"Medyo" Candid

The sand in this island may not be as powdery as Tinaga but with its vast blue water, Maculabo Island captivated my heart. Though I consider myself a traveler, I hate staying under sun. Weird eh? I just don't want to go into waste my mother's investment on papaya soap, that's why. Haha. But during my visit at Maculabo, it is one of those moments wherein I didn't care if I turn black or "nognog" and suffer from sunburn. I just swam and dived in the crystal clear blue water of Maculabo under the scorching heat of the sun. Another thing I liked about this island is even I am just right beside the shoreline, the water can go beyond human deep. A perfect site to swim!

Well, for those who doesn't know how to swim, just don't forget to wear life vest to enjoy the water of Maculabo Island.

Nailed it on the first shot!
Photo op mode! 
Undercut mode this summer. LOL!

Maculabo Island is our final destination of this Calaguas Islands adventure. It has brought extra fun and added excitement on this trip. I strongly recommend to visit Maculabo Island when hitting Calaguas!

Breakdown of Expenses:
Please refer on the bottom part of this blog post - [click here]

Click here to read the 1sr part of my Calaguas Adventure featuring Tinaga Island

Calaguas Islands of Camarines Norte [featuring Tinaga Island]


Situated in the northern most part of the Bicol Region, lies the picturesque paradise of Calaguas. If Camarines Sur is known for Wakeboarding and Surfing, Camarines Norte is known for its unspoiled, turquoise water and white sand beaches. Calaguas is a term used to define a group of islands in the province of Camarines Norte which includes Guintinua Island, Maculabo Island, the famous Tinaga Island and other minor islands and islets.

As for this blog post, I'll be featuring the Tinaga Island also known as the "Mahabang Buhangin" which translates as long sand.

How to get there?
One way to go there is by bus. There are several bus lines which serves transport route going to Paracale. Superlines in Cubao, Quezon City is one of those bus lines. They have a direct route to Paracale but the last bus trip is only until 7:45 PM. If you miss the trip to Paracale (which happened to us), do not worry because you may take a bus going to Daet. Last trip of air conditioned bus is until 10:45 PM. The fare is 515 pesos per head and travel time is about 8 to 9 hours. Just inform the bus conductor to drop you at Talobatib at the town of Labo.  Alight at Talobatib, there are buses passing through it with a signboard of Paracale. Ride one of those buses. Fare is 25 pesos and it will take another 1 hour of bus ride.  As you reach Paracale, you need to hire a tricycle to take you at Paracale Port. It is only 10-15 minutes ride. Fare is 15 pesos per head. There's a wet market near Paracale Port so if you need to buy something like meat or fish as your food on the island, you may ask your tricycle driver if you can passed by the market first before going to the Port. From the port, boatmen of Paracale awaits that can take you to islands of Calaguas.

If you are not fond of super long travel by bus, another way is you can book a flight to Naga City and then take a bus going to Daet. It is approximately 2 hours of travel. Then from Daet take another bus going to Paracale and then follow the instructions above.

Boat ride going to Tinaga Island of Calaguas!

As we landed on Paracale Port, we were stopped by locals to go to the island of Calaguas. I believe they were officials of Paracale. It is because they established an association for the boatmen wherein rules are being implemented.The said association is just a week old and they facilitate the ratings of boat rental in the area:

Paracale Tourist Boat Operator Assn (PTBOA) Overnight Rating:
  • 4 Persons below > 3,000 PhP
  • 5-7 Persons > 4,000 PhP
  • 8-10 Persons > 6,000 PhP
  • 11-15 Persons > 8,000 PhP
  • 16-20 Persons > 12,000 PhP
  • 21 Persons > 15,000 PhP

We already contracted/hired a local boatman 3 weeks before our said trip and agreed to get his service at the price of 4,000 PhP for our group of 9 persons. The reason why they stopped us is because for a group of 9 persons we did got a boat in a low-ball (based on the new ratings stated above). But they can't blame us, we had an agreement before even before they've established their association. So in the end, they let us passed through and sail to Calaguas! Our contact person is Kuya Nelson (0909 525 9821) and the name of the boatman who toured us was Kuya Rolly. Well, I am not really in favor of the new established association. The price is too high compared to the old ratings but what else can I do? Good thing we had booked a boat earlier.

If you think that the long ride ends at the bus, well sorry to say but its not. In order to reach the Tinaga Island (Calaguas Islands most popular destination) you'll be spending 2 hours of boat ride. Hep Hep Hep... but you'll be entertained by the islands and islets along the way. Splash of water will also wake you up if ever you'll fall asleep. Yes, the boat ride tends to be bumpy and wavy so be ready to get wet along the way and wear a life vest for safety precaution.

An island along the way
HEAVEN on earth!

Every body were exhausted due to the lack of sleep and long travel but all of it were paid off and gone instantly as we come near Calaguas' Tinaga Island. We were all smiling and just stunned on its beauty. Now I know why it is called "Mahabang Buhangin" or long sand. It is because Tinaga Island's beach shore is a long stretch of fine white sand. It is actually a powdery white sand (they say, it is comparable to the sand of Boracay). I find the place perfect for beach bumming and camping.

Presenting, the Mahabang Buhangin Beach of Tinaga Island - Calaguas

After we've unloaded our things off the boat, we looked for the person who's in-charge in the nipa huts in the beach front. Then we met Tatay Bert of Bert's Calaguas Island Resort. He is the owner of one of the resort in the island, he owns nipa huts and provides tent rentals. There is also a Comfort room and a small convenient store in his area. There is no hotel yet in the islands of Calaguas. Visitors can either rent a hut (open-type or closed-type nipa hut),stay in tent, or just beach bum under the sun and moon!

Bert's Calaguas Island Resort Rating:
  • Open type nipa hut > 500 PhP
  • Closed type nipa hut (with 1 elevated room like) > 500 PhP
  • Tent (2-3 persons) > 300 PhP
  • Tent (4-5 persons) > 400 PhP
  • Tent Corkage > 100 PhP per tent
  • Comfort Room > 10 PhP per basin
  • Ihawan > 50 PhP
  • Entrance fee > 100 PhP per pax
Since we only have 1 tent, we planned to rent 2 more tents when we reach the island. But since the price of a Closed-type nipa hut is close enough if we rent a 4 persons tent, we decided to get the Closed-type nipa hut instead. It is more spacious and can accommodate our group very well. We also rented an "ihawan" as we bought raw liempo and hotdogs.

The Open-type and Closed-type nipa huts at Bert's Calaguas Resort

So after we changed on our beach attire (whut?), we started to cooked our food, prepared our lunch, we ate together, then rest just a little. What's next? Well of course, get ourselves wet and enjoyed this whole island experience!

Kulitan moment in the island :)
Trying to do something out of that sand :)

If I were to to describe the place, it is plain yet captivating. Plain in a way that you can only see nipa huts, few cottages, no electricity, trees, plants, mountains on both ends of the island, white sand and clear water. Captivating at the same time because of the same reasons. Who wouldn't fall in love with this place where one can enjoy splashing into the turquoise beach water, walk on that long stretch of fine white sand, and sit back while watching the sunset? Now tell me!!!

Time to relax
The long and white parking lot of Tinaga Island
Calm water and a great weather
Beachfront of Tinaga

By the way, there were no signal in the island (well, for Globe users like us. Smart? I don't know) but who needs signal? Why do I spend my time on my phone and surfing the net with all the view in front me, right? I'm in paradise! By having said that, with all the good stuff around me, of course I also took this chance to have a photoshoot with my modelesque friends :)

Survivor campaign ad Jing
Pola and her perfectly sun kissed skin
Still looking sharp here Anna :)

We've enjoyed too much swimming on the beach and taking group photos and selfies when we realized it's already getting dark. So some of us decided to get-off of the water to prepare our dinner. We had "Adobong Manok" and cooked another batch of liempo for dinner. Swimming makes us all tired and hungry so it was a chaos. Most of us ate using our hands to feel the back-to-basic vibes of this island vacation.

Sunset at Calaguas is priceless

After the war dinner, we had some chat while others took a shower. Then all went to sleep as we need to charge up. It has been a long, tiring yet super fun day. Plus, we still had another day at Calaguas ahead of us.

I set my alarm clock at 6 AM because I want to explore the other side of the island before we leave. Along with Mae and Edward, we went on one of the hill at the end part of the island. There is a 25 pesos fee if you want to trek up to the hill. The trek is pretty easy and would only take 5-10 minutes in order to reach its top. On top of it, you'll see the Mahabang Buhangin in bird's eye view. You'll surely appreciate more the beauty of this island. This is definitely a must try activity.

Other resort in the Island
He only used spoon to do this...
Mahabang Buhangin Beach on Bird's eye view
Neighboring island of Tinaga

When we went back to our hut, breakfast is already being served. So we jump along with the others and took our breakfast. It was already 8am when we bid farewell to the beautiful Tinaga Island of Calaguas as we will be heading next to Maculabo Island - another major island of Calaguas. But before that, we had a photo op with Tatay Bert and his family. They were so nice and hospitable, and treats all their guest with respect.

Just before we leave the island

Breakdown of Expenses (For this whole trip. Tinaga Island + Maculabo Island):
Bus (Superline: Manila to Daet) - 515.00 Pesos per pax
Bus (Talobatib to Paracale) - 25.00 Pesos per pax
Tricycle (Paracale to Paracale Port) - 15.00 Pesos per pax
Environmental Fee - 10.00 Pesos per pax
Boat (Paracale Port to Calaguas - Tinaga Island, 2 way) - 4,000.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 445.00 Pesos
Sidetrip (Tinaga Island to Maculabo Island) - 500.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 56.00 Pesos
Closed type Nipa Hut - 500.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 56.00 Pesos
Tent Corkage - 100.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 12.00 Pesos
Entrance Fee (Bert's Calaguas Resort - 150.00 Pesos per pax
Ihawan - 50.00 Pesos / 9 pax = 6.00 Pesos
Trek on the other side of Calaguas - 25.00 Pesons per pax
CR - **.**
Food - **.**

Click here to read the 2nd part of my Calaguas Adventure featuring Maculabo Island

Eat Like a Viking at Vikings, SM Megamall


Claimed as the largest buffet areas found in the country, Vikings has set standards of dining with style and in class. They are known for serving exquisite and quality dishes, value for money and luxurious interiors that are designed to give their patrons a vibe of class that can't be found on anywhere else. Vikings has uncover the taste of luxury wherein every Juan (Pinoy) can enjoy. And now, to extend their reach on bringing international cuisine and food service, Vikings has open a new branch in SM Megamall!

How to get there?
Vikings Megamall or the Megamall is situated in the middle of Pasig City and Mandaluyong City. One can take an MRT ride going to Shaw Boulevard or Ortigas station. Alight at either of the two stations, you need to walk going to the mall. Vikings is located in the 4th Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, Building D of SM Megamall. If you are not familiar with the place, you may ask for directions on the security guards roaming around the mall or use the Store Locator Machines which are placed strategically on the mall.

Vikings SM Megamall from the outside :]

The newest branch, Vikings Megamall, debuted last month - March 2014 and it has a seating capacity of more than 500+ guests. It offers more than 200+ dishes on their buffet tables found on all sides of the restaurant.

As we started to look on what to eat, I felt like I was traveling on different parts of the world. It is because of the varying food that Vikings serves. They have superb food selections ranging from American to European to Asian. Guests will surely experience the world in their taste buds when visiting Vikings. My family and I were so overwhelmed with all the food that surrounds us. Honestly, at first, I barely don't know where to start my food trip. Until I decided to taste each food starting from the right side of the restaurant until I reach the left most buffet table. It was indeed an effective strategy. Yeah!

Pastry station to start it up!
Angus beef! - My favorite among all!
Pasta Maker - Only at Vikings SM Megamall
Papito at the Dimsum area
Who's up for something sweet?
I want to grab it all hahaha
Filipino dishes with a twist
Kids will surely love this station (hint: gummy worms are available here)
Lets get healthy!
More sweet treats
Sapin Sapin (left) & Cassava (right)
with special participation - my girlfriend's hand
Sushi, Maki (and more!) Station
Raw is good! 
The Grilling station (fishes and meats)
Wide choices of food equates wide varieties of drinks!
Four satisfied guests! Thank you for inviting me and my family Vikings!

The Highlights

DIY Stations. During my visit, I've noticed that Vikings is now engaging on DIY dishes. Aside from the cuisines and dishes that are being displayed and served on the buffet tables, they now mixed it with "Make Your Own" stations. These DIY stations give guests the freedom to design and customize their food according to their taste and own preferences. Food freedom and experimentation to the fullest! Some of the DIY stations I saw are the following:

Make Your Own Pasta
Make Your Own Shabu Shabu
Make Your Own Salad (perfect for vegetarians!)
Salad dressings and sauces
Make Your Own Crepe
Make Your Own Mongolian Barbecue

Promos. Did you know that you can eat free at Vikings during your birthday? Yes that's right. It is one of the promos that Vikings offers to their patrons. Some of their promos are: Wedding Anniversary Promo, Big Group Promo, and Student Promo. These promos differ from branches to branches, you may visit for more information. 

Luxurious Interiors. All four branches of Vikings are designed with luxurious interiors. Each branch is different from one to another when it comes on its interior design or simply, the theme. Vikings of SM Marikina has the longest buffet table and offers a warm atmosphere for its guest. It is designed to have a cozy and homey feeling that is perfect for unwinding after a very lengthy meal. Vikings of SM North Edsa has a black and white interiors which reflects simplicity and sophistication. A very classy ambiance that take its guests to a higher level of dining experience. On the other hand, Vikings of SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in which is the premiere branch of Vikings in the country was inspired by a ship of the Vikings. Its Vikings buffet table table boasts of extravagance, just like the dishes on that site.

Cleanliness and sanity

So with the newest Vikings SM Megamall, they decorated and designed it with artworks and different art pieces. It's like an art museum but that instead of paintings and murals as the center of attraction, here, the dishes and cuisines are the one that people should get in to. Guests can use their plates as a blank canvass and color it with the food they'll pick. Nice concept huh? Now, I wonder what will be their next theme when they opened up a new branch? Hmmm... Interesting.

Abstact ceiling design
Fun vibe at the restaurant
More artsy design!


To sum up our dining experience at Vikings SM Megamall, I can say that it was one of the best meal I or we had. The food does not only look good but it taste great as well. It was as if I am eating on a restaurant of a 5 star hotel. The place is very clean and has a luxurious atmosphere but not intimidating. Also, with the wide choices of international cuisine, one will surely find something that can satisfy his or her taste buds. I am excited to see more of Vikings in the future! The place is very recommendable.

We definitely ate like vikings! Papito & Mamita | Me & my Girlfriend

Vikings Buffet Rates (SM Megamall Branch)

Weekday Lunch
Kids below 3' --------------------- FREE
Kids between 3' to 4' --------- 188
Kids between 4' to 4'6" ------ 388
Adults ------------------------------ 688
75 y/o & above ----------------- 50% Special Discount

Weekday Dinner
Kids below 3' --------------------- FREE
Kids between 3' to 4' --------- 288
Kids between 4' to 4'6" ------ 588
Adults ------------------------------ 888
75 y/o & above ----------------- 50% Special Discount

Weekend & Holiday Lunch & Dinner
Kids below 3' --------------------- FREE
Kids between 3' to 4' --------- 388
Kids between 4' to 4'6" ------ 688
Adults ------------------------------ 1,088
75 y/o & above ----------------- 50% Special Discount

Visit Vikings at:
Location: 4th Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, 
Bldg. D, SM Megamall, 
Julio Vargas cor. EDSA, Mandaluyong
Contact No.: (02) 656-3888 / 656-48888 / 656-5888

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