Travel Guide to Camarines Norte- Explore Capalonga


It is my third time to visit the province of Camarines Norte. Calaguas Island is the more popular go-to destination of this area, but there are a lot of places of interest that every wanderlust will drool over with.

On my recent trip to CamNorte, we visited the town of Capalonga. It is my second time to visit this place- I was there November of last year. Sir Rod Rawat, tourism officer of Capalonga showed us around the place during our first visit and told us that there are still plenty of interesting sights we can visit. The invitation to experience its beauty was something I can't say no to.

Camarines Norte is an underrated place that one should include in their bucketlist this 2018. If you have an affinity with waters like me- the beaches and falls at this place are a hidden playground waiting for you to discover. If you have been to Calaguas already, plan your next get away to Capalonga.

CAPALONGA

Capalonga is one of the 12 municipalities of Camarines Norte. The name of the place is said to have been derived from a wild plant which is abundant in the place called 'Palong Manok' (because it resembles a rooster's comb). Back in the day, whenever its first inhabitants were asked where they came from, they would reply, "We are from Kapalungan". I supposed that as the years passed, Kapalungan became Capalonga (Ca-Pa-Long-Ga).

HOW TO GET THERE?

The nearest airport to Daet is Naga. It is a 45 minute plane ride. In front of SM Naga are bus terminals- look for a shuttle that will bring you to Daet. From Daet, there are buses and vans that will take you to Capalonga. Or if you don't want to bore hole in your wallet, travel by land. Board Superlines in Cubao to Daet. Travel time is around 7-8 hours. From Daet, it's another 2 hour trip to Capalonga.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

Day 0- Depart Cubao to Daet

Day 1

4:00 am Arrival at Daet
6:00 am Departure of van to Capalonga 
8:00 am Arrival at Capalonga Breakfast at Mommy Terry's Bulalohan 
9:30 am Talagpucao Zipline ; Rock Formations 
11:00 am Banca-banca falls hike 
12:30 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Capalonga Baywalk ; Mangrove Park 
2:30 pm Start of Island Hopping (Pulong Guijanlo - Tinago Beach - Punta De Jesus - Calalanay - Calaguas) 
5:30 pm Sunset at Calaguas Island 
7:00 pm Dinner 
8:00 pm Socials 
10:00 pm Tent Pitching 
11:00 pm Lights Out 

Day 2 
5:45 am Hiking
7:00 am Breakfast 
8:00 - 10:00 am swimming - hiking 
10:30 am ETD to Parola Island 12:00 lunch at Parola 
2:00 pm ETD to Capalonga 
5:00 pm ETA to Daet
7:00 pm Dinner at Daet
9:30 pm Bus leaves for Cubao

WHAT TO DO IN CAPALONGA

Capalonga is a contrast of living in the concrete jungle. Traveling 2 hours from Daet in a series of winding roads, one gets to see the charming rural life. Greens, carabaos , houses made of nipa and mangroves are a familiar sight along the roads. The Talagpucao Bay signals that one has arrived in Capalonga. A feeling of isolation and calm welcome its every guests.

Talagpucao Bay

BANGKA-BANGKA FALLS

Bangka Bangka Falls

I've always loved the waterfalls. There's something in it that is magical. The gushing and cool waters- I find charming.

Bangka Bangka Falls is located at Barangay Catabaguangan. It is very easy to access- just some 10 minutes trek and you'll be able to see its beauty. The walk to the falls is very naturesque- you'll pass by streams, hear birds chirping and there's an abundance of greens. 

 Obligatory selfie at Bangka Bangka Falls

Bangka Bangka Falls has five tiers. It got its name because it is boat-shaped. (Bangka is a tagalog word for 'boat'.)

 Photo Credit: Nyt Gabbz IG: @nyt_gabbz

 Isn't this a beauty? (Photo credit: Czy Aldovino)

Photo: Czy Aldovino IG @zhai_ 

TINAGO BEACH

The beaches of Capalonga are far from that of Boracay. If you fancy a place with night life and a shore lined up with several restaurants , hotels and water activities- this isn't it. If you're looking for a less crowded beach, then this may be right for your picking.

 Tinago Beach

 Waves and big boulders of rocks are the charm of this beach.

From the town, Tinago Beach can be reached via a tricycle. The road to this beach is bumpy- could be worse when it's raining since the ground can be muddy. But you know when they say that difficult roads leads to beautiful destinations, right?

It was windy at the time that we were there. The tides, waves, salt air and the subtle sound of the sea made me feel alive. I am in love.

 The rocks on one side of the beach are very instagrammable. 

A minimal entrance fee is collected. Cottages are at P250. There are small kiosks to buy drinks and chips. And while I find this place charming, a part of this beach seems to have been neglected. By the mangrove area, some trash can be found. I hope the local government will do something to preserve the beauty of this place. But yeah, minus that one, this place is still a sight to visit.

 Here's travelmate Czy taking time to pose by the rock boulders. (IG @zhai_ )

Oh the lazy days! Wanderlust Nyt walks by the shoreline of Tinago Beach (IG @nyt_gabbz)

BAMBAN BEACH


Some 3 kilometers walk from Tinago Beach and you will reach Bamban Beach. We were feeling a little adventurous that day and thought may be we can try trekking instead of going via a motor bike. We passed by a swampy area, our feet soaked in mud. But it was fun! One may also opt to walk a more convenient road to reach Bamban Beach if walking on logs and crossing small streams isn't your cup of tea. 


Bamban beach seems exciting. The steady waves are perfect for swimming. Kids in the neighborhood playfully swing by the hammock. The sands aren't white but I am OK with it. The sandbar is perfect for some photo ops. This beach is also less crowded, making it feel more private.

 Photo: Nyt (IG @nyt_gabbz) 

 This tree stands solitary by the sand bar. Of course I did not miss the opportunity to have my photo taken here.

PULONG GUIANLO


With Bamban Beach as the take off, one can reach Pulong Guianlo by a boat. Pulong Guianlo is both serene and romantic. The island is secluded, it will give you the 'Survivor' feels. No food stalls, less crowd, no party life- immerse yourself in its turquoise blue and emerald green waters.

 The waters of Pulong Guianlo are inviting!

I guess the pictures already say a lot about how majestic this place is. The waters are warm and inviting, the beaming sunshine is beautiful, the blue skies are awesome, its shore is perfect for tanning and a lovely bottle of cold beer. I can't find any reason why one should miss this place.

 The whole island is picture perfect!

 The shoreline of Pulong Guianlo

One can also stay overnight at this island. The view of the sky during the night is awesome!

WHERE TO EAT IN CAPALONGA

There are no fancy restaurants nor food chains in Capalonga, but they have food joints that will satisfy your cravings. The best place to dine at Capalonga is at Mommy Terry's Bulaluhan. One will not miss the place as this joint is located conveniently by the road side. 

Mommy Terry, the owner of this Bulaluhan, prepares and cooks dishes for her joint. Believe me when I tell you, she cooks the best!

Mommy Terry's Bulaluhan is famous for its BULALO. But you can also try a lot of seafood dishes. If you have a hankering for crabs and tuna- look no further, they can serve you that! I love everything about Mommy Terry's. The food is deliciously cooked , its offering reminds me of well loved dishes served at home.

 Crabs and more crabs at Mommy Terry's Bulaluhan

Oh yes, I had this for lunch. Hihihi! Sorry, for being gluttonous- the food is deliciously insane!

Group pose with Mommy Terry.

WHERE TO STAY IN CAPALONGA

There are no big hotels in Capalonga but there are modest accommodations that you can find. If you are going on an island hopping, pitching tent by the islands is highly recommendable. But if you'll be needing for a place to stay, I recommend going to SQ Apartelle. It is located very conveniently at the town. The rooms are equipped with beds, a cable TV and an AC unit. Some rooms have their own private T and B. The apartelle has a nice view deck- perfect for hanging out during the night.


Photos: Jonalyn Mendoza of JONA SHARES

TRAVEL TIPS

1. Get ready for adventure. Going to some of the best places in Capalonga isn't a walk in the park. There will be some series of walks and small climbs. You will cross small and bumpy roads- some may be muddy and swampy. Take it as an adventure and you will enjoy the place more.

2. Go on a side trip. Explore other places near Capalonga. On my sample itinerary, I included Calaguas Island and Parola Island. Or check HERE for more activities and places you can visit when in CamNor.

3. Pack smart. Wear light clothes. Rubber sandals and flip flops are the best when going to the beach and the waterfalls. Don't forget the sunscreen! You don't wanna burn your skin under the scorching heat of the sun.

4. Be food prepared. If you're planning to stay overnight,especially at Pulong Guianlo, make sure you have food with you. The place is isolated, there are no stores to buy food. And, always hydrate with water-so don't forget to bring a bottle with you.

5. Bring cash. I'm not really sure if there are ATMs at Capalonga. There are quite a few in Daet, though. To be sure, bring cash with you. 

6. There are mobile signals, but some places are on dead spot.

7. There is no night life at Capalonga.

8. Bring a power bank. You don't wanna ran out of juice when taking photos during the trip.

9. Check the weather. Crossing the seas may not be permissible at times especially on a not so fair weather. You don''t want a ruined itinerary for sure,it is best to check if the weather is fine to go island hopping.

EXCITING CAPALONGA

Photo: Mike Zuniga of Katooga Ph

It was another beautiful weekend at Capalonga. The laid back vibe was perfect for 2 days of rest and relaxation. It was the best spot to spend a lazy weekend- delicious food, picturesque beach, waves crushing against rocky cliffs, friendly people- my mind wanders in going back again.

If you're looking for somewhere quiet and remote, Come To Cam Norte and Experience Capalonga. If you fancy a place that is off the beaten path, this is the place for you. 

And if the photos weren't enough, here's the video of the fun that we had at Capalonga!



LET'S EXPLORE MORE!



Big Heaps of Thanks:

Sir Rod Rawat, Tourism Officer of Capalonga (*thank you for sharing the Pulong Guianlo pics)
Sir Bong Palma, Camarines Norte Tourism Council Officer
Mike Zuniga of Katooga Ph

**
Let's connect.

About Allan Bough

Allan works full time as a Recruitment Head for an IT Solutions company in Makati and juggles blogging along side. He’s fond of travelling, a certified beach and nature lover and would want to explore more of Earth’s riches. A former community theater director, a pre school teacher and a frustrated Star In A Million contestant, Allan hopes of conquering the big stage for a spotlight one day. Conversation and people are his passion.
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