Summertime has officially started in the Philippines. As the temps and humidity begin to soar, it slowly starts to feel like being in Manila in this heat is just like slowly being roasted in an oven. But on the upside, It’s the perfect excuse to escape the city and chill in one of the more than 7,100 islands in the country… It’s beach season! There’s no better time to kick off the heels and take off the company ID to trade them for flip flops and a snorkel.
For my summer entree, I decided to join a travel group for a camping trip to an island in Batangas. The whole adventure was planned out and facilitated by Mommy Angel, who organizes and leads weekly camping/hiking/island hopping trips. (you can check out her fb page here: Angel Kaladkarin)
A travel group is a great way of going on a budget friendly road trip and also have a hassle free adventure. The organizer provides the transportation and meals, and should also have good contacts waiting for you as you reach your destination. So all you have to do is bring your tent and your snacks (or liquor) for the campfire.
I have joined quite a few travel groups, and Mommy Angel is one of the best at taking care of her groupmates. She is always well prepared and leads with love. It is evident enough why everybody calls her,”Mommy”. There were a total of 14 in our group, including some kids and some of us kids at heart! Mommy Angel took good care of each of us.
After meeting up with everyone at the designated spot, fast forward to our road trip halfway to Batangas, Mommy Angel suddenly receives some bad news from her contact. We had to cancel our plans due to a “habagat” (a south wind or southwest monsoon). Because of the bad weather, all the boats were not going out to sea, which meant there was no way to get to the island. But just as everybody thought our weekend adventure would turn out to become just a road trip, Mommy Angel saves the day by coming up with a plan B. She knows of another Island in Batangas where a boat will be able to take us because we do not have to go too far off from the shoreline to get there. So off we go! Now we’re heading up high. Where no harm will get in our way. ( singing )
Near our destination… just a boat ride away.
We arrive at Calayo village, a rustic and charming community of fishermen. It is within the city of Nasugbu, in the Province of Batangas. The village faces Calayo Bay that opens to China Sea. It is from here that we must take a boat ride onto the island. Curiously, I learn that the island that we are heading for has no name…
Visitors and campers must apply for a permit to visit the Island. And we arrived just at sunset, and so we hoped that we would still be able to get a permit even if it was past office hours. Fortunately Mommy Angel’s contact knew the Barangay Captain so it was easy enough for us to do so.
To protect the peaceful environment of the island, the maximum number of visitors permitted to the island are limited to 50 people per day, although this may vary depending on the activities scheduled for the time of your visit.
A boat ride during the night is always more frightening for me because I realize even more, how scary the sea is at night. Even though we all were given life vests to wear, I would be lying if I told you that I was not scared riding in a “banka” at night. It was so dark and eerie, you could see the faint light of the plankton glowing as our boat passed and disturbed them. But in retrospect, this aspect just adds to the thrill of our adventure.
We pitched our tents as close to the shore as we possibly could
Our guide preparing our dinner on the island.
Camping is a bonding moment
As we eat our dinner together, the communal bonding with mother nature begins.
It has been a while since I’ve been on an overnight camp out. As we set up our tents, I notice some of the cool and innovative camping/outdoor gear that my new friends brought with them. From LED Head Lamps and a Solar Charged Lamp+Torch to waterproof speakers and even a Full face Darth Vader helmet looking snorkel complete with GoPro attachment. What a time to be alive!
Cell phones and smartphones don’t work on this island!
This island has no electricity and no phone reception – It’s a dead spot. Instead of hearing ring tones and email alerts, or notifications from social media, listen to the rushing waves from the sea.
Instead of snoozing in front of the phone or tablet, the kids and I fell asleep while watching the twinkling stars as if we were watching nature’s Netflix on the night sky. One easy way to unplug is to visit a remote wilderness area, where TV and Wi-Fi are absent. “Being in the wilderness renews your spirit.”
Kids now a days don’t realize what life was like without the internet, cable tv and cellphones. BUT everyone agrees it was a fair trade off to strengthen ties with each other. It’s awesome when it’s just you and your friends or family with no distractions.
We are now at the moment of truth!
I woke up before sunrise. So come with me and we will walk together along the shore, I’ll show you around the island, while everyone is still sleeping.
The sand may not be as powdery as that of palawan and boracay but it’s still white sand just the same.
This island offers plenty of snorkeling and has crystal clear waters. The reef is brimming with fish. (lots of Dilis).
The place is magical and one can feel an instant connection with nature. The isolation can offer a retreat from the busy world even for a short time.
I always love listening to the waves while gazing at the view from the beach.
When you stay here, life is very simple and basic – no electricity, no reception and no loud karaokes. All you hear is waves and the whistle of the wind as it breezes through the trees.
We loved exploring the island. There was a cave nearby! It was filled with bats and I wanted to investigate but I was not prepared to go spelunking on this trip. I didn’t even have any shoes. I will definitely bring the proper gear when I return.
Beside our campsite, there was an old rest house that seemed to be unused for a long time. Upon speaking with the island’s caretaker, we found out that this island belongs to a prominent political family who does not come here anymore.
They have since allowed travelers to camp at this island for a nominal fee of only P25 per head. We wanted to go island hoping. There are other islands in the area that we could have visited if only we had more time.
During summertime, which is the peak season for beach resorts. You can bet your suntan lotion that most of the popular beach destinations are fully packed. Going to the beach is supposed to be soothing, but that’s not the case when it’s as crowded as a shopping mall and you can’t even find a spot to lay your towel. But here you feel like you’re on a deserted island, in Brgy. Calayo, Nasugbu, Batangas.
How to get here?
Brgy. Calayo is not that far from Manila, Travel time is about 2-3 hours. Check the Map here.
I joined a tour package for this overnight island adventure organized by Angel Kaladkarin.
The whole overnight trip package included: Private Van, Boat ride to the island, Lunch, Dinner and Breakfast.
If you like traveling on a budget, Contact this person.
If traveling on your own via public transportation: From the Cubao or Pasay Terminal, ride a bus to Nasugbu Municipal. Then proceed to Brgy. Calayo by Tricyle. It’s better to get there early to make sure that you can rent a boat and get the needed permit. The boat ride takes 20-30 mins.
Things to bring?
-Please use aqua shoes or slippers, there are a lot of corrals here.
– Power banks and battery powered lamps or solar lamps/Torch are necessary to bring.
-Waterproof bag or bring plastic to cover your bag.
-Mosquito repellent ( I never personally experienced any mosquitoes here, but best to always be prepared).
-First Aid Kit
– Water, food and cooking utensils. No stores available at the island, so bring everything on your own.
-There is an outdoor toilet, but it’s quite dirty.
-There is a well where you can get water. (but not for drinking)
-There is also a “Bukal” with fresh water in the inner part of island.
– You can visit a small cave.
Things to do:
– Meditate on the majesty of the nature
As a traveler, always remember to keep it clean, avoid vandalism and preserve the natural beauty.
Our nerve wracking journey to get here was all worth it! This is why I love the Philippines.
Where are your favorite unplugged spots to lay your beach towel?
Check this video : Travelhistoryculture
Feels like you own a private island! Just near in Manila, Philippines ??………………………….No electricity, no phone signal #beach #summer #philippines #backpackerlife #backpackers #beachbody #beachlife #survivor #beachlover #traveler #travel #tent #traveling #travelblog #travelblogger #camping #islandlife
Posted by Travelhistoryculture on Friday, April 7, 2017
Hidden Island near manila you can visit on weekends without spending too much…. Feels like you own a private island! Just near in Manila Philippines ??………………………….No electricity, no phone signal #beach #summer #philippines #backpackerlife #backpackers #beachbody #beachlife #survivor #beachlover #traveler #travel #tent #traveling #travelblog #travelblogger #camping #islandlife
Posted by Travelhistoryculture on Friday, April 7, 2017