Calaguas Island

June 04, 2016

Recovering post-summer is much easier said than done. It’s been two weeks since the term started and I’ve already met work commitments, let go of some others and gotten a taste of how colourful the academic experience will be for the next three months. Although I love love love to get busy, getting past the saltwater, fine sand, palm trees, and the slow pace of island life can make keeping up and catching up almost feel like a chore. So often, I find myself coming back to these days when I was totally disconnected from the rest of the world, and how liberating it felt to just shut off. Now the sunburn sting has worn off, the ocean scents have drifted away, the sand particles in my bag and clothes gone, and yet Calaguas is still perfectly etched into my memory, refusing to get out of my system. As I flip back to this page in life one last time, I'm delighted to finally be sharing with you the first half of our itinerary, and hopeful that this story will somehow convince you to book the soonest Metrodeal tour and maybe request for a "Kuya Gil" to Tokyo Drift your way to the Bicol region. (I'm not kidding -- the guy drives like a maniac!)

Of all the places I have visited in this country, Calaguas Island is perhaps the most difficult to get to by far. Hopping on a 10-hour road trip from Manila to Camarines Norte plus a 2-hour boat ride from Paracale to the island itself already makes for a collective adventure, but one too easy to get unpleasant if you pick the wrong companions, if you ask me. Fortunately, despite our forceful, sour planning (or the lack thereof), I got extremely lucky with the squad we were able to contact, form, and finalise during the last hour before completely calling the trip off. Silver lining, you could say — I was given the very kinds of idiots I and this outing needed: spontaneous, excited and unafraid.

Rumours and stories that question the safety and accessibility of the place had reached my ears long before I proposed the trip to my friends. "It's why it’s so pretty… because it’s also evil,” I recall one of my mates say. I was skeptical of the claims, but somehow the rocky voyage to the island opened up some unwelcome possibilities of danger as our tiny watercraft kissed trails of the Pacific and swayed in its ferocious waters. Dismissing the thoughts as well as the exhaustion from a lack of sleep, we arrived at our destination at last, unscathed and rather rewarded as sparkling clear blues and remarkably fine sand ushered us in. I had a bit of difficulty concentrating from this point because if I remember correctly, a slap on the forehead had to be performed every 2 seconds to check if it was all real; Calaguas is a real tireless, superfluous beauty that one simply cannot overlook. Granted, the paradise couldn't be much so had it not been for —and I just have to say this over and over — a kickass squad whose bond shaped up a spectacular end to the summer filled with delicious laughters and indelible memories.

(...And yes, that means you, Kits, Rica, Gaby, Shary, Micah, AJ and Aaron. Losers.)

Many many thanks to Metrodeal for making all these frolics possible, and of course, to Sir Gil for being our lovely driver/cook/survival guide/Superman/sweet lover.

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