“The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself. Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”
Going to Calayan has always been a part of my bucket list. In fact, it was a great accomplishment to be able to visit an island located at the northern part of the Philippines. I went together with Ten Hipol one of my staff and her parents owns a home stay business in the island. It was my first time to experience a very long travel but everything was worth it.
How to get to Calayan Island
From Manila, you can ride the Florida bus from Sampaloc, Manila to Claveria, Cagayan for 850php. It is about 10-11 hour ride but the bus is bigger and has a comfort room. You can check the schedule at their website.
From Manila, you can take a plane to Tuguegarao airport then another van or bus ride to Claveria for php190. Travel time will take about 2-3 hours.
From Claveria, you need to ride a tricycle going to Tagat Lagoon Port. There are scheduled boat rides going to Calayan. Travel time is 5 hours.
You can also ride a plane to Tuguegarao and bus ride going to Appari, Cagayan. There are also scheduled boat rides from Appari to Calayan. Travel time is 6 hours. It is best to coordinate with the home stay owner in order to get the schedule of boat going to the island. You need plan accordingly because you might missed the boat ride or worst case, no schedule at all. We arrived at Tagat Lagoon Port around 5am and the boat left by 7:30am. It was another 5 hours boat ride from Claveria to Calayan.
Welcome to Calayan Island, Cagayan
Calayan (Ibanag language, meaning “where laya (ginger) abounded”) is a municipality in the province of Cagayan, Philippines. The trip is really exhausting but if you think that you are headed towards a paradise in the north then all the waiting time will be compensated. Please take note that your destination is going to the most northern part of the Philippines, so patience is really important.
It is located in the Luzon Strait north of Luzon Island. The town is composed of four of the five major islands of the Babuyan Islands namely: Calayan, Camiguin, Dalupiri and Babuyan Island. Calayan Island is the largest of the Babuyan Islands. Fuga Island, the fifth island within the Babuyan Islands, is part of Aparri municipality.
Where to Stay in Calayan Island
Pagdagusan Homestay is owned and managed by Mr. & Mrs. Jimmy Hipol. They offer home stay service together with meals such as breakfast, lunch and dinner for php1,500/pax per day. You can check their Facebook account to get more details or you can call at (998) 510 0621.
From the beach port, you need to ride a tricycle and let the locals know that you will be staying at Pagdagusan. This was our lunch when we arrived at Calayan. Most of the food they offer are organic because Pagdagusan Homestay has their own rice field and coconut plantation. So expect, 100% quality. They also have 3 wash areas, so no waiting time if you wanted take a bath. Water is not an issue at Pagdagusan Homestay.
Places to visit in Calayan Island
- Sibang Cove
- Nagundungan Light House
- Malangsi Cave
- Babuyan Channel
- Nagudungan Hills
- Bataraw Falls
Our first itinerary when we arrived was to go to Sibang Cove. This will be my first time to camp in a beach. Pagdagusan provided us sleeping mattresses so I was not worried at all because I did not have any tent.
Sibang Cove, Calayan.
The Sibang Cove is known for the many ancient burial grounds, and many artifacts unearthed here are in the National Museum. The municipal administration of the island is developing the cove as an eco-tourism destination.We rode a tricycle going to the entry point and trekked for about 3 kilometers. Expect some uphill and downhill and enjoy the virgin forest of the island.
The moment we arrived at the cove, I was really amazed of the powdered-like sand and beach was really clean.I was overwhelmed of its beauty and did not expect to be in a paradise. Its like as if you own the beach. The beach is very clean and suitable for camping. I enjoyed every moment while I was there. For more details, you can check article about Sibang Cove, Calayan.
Dinner was served around 7pm. You do not need to worry because this part of the services of Pagdagusan Homestay. The food services depends of what will be your itinerary. You just need to inform Tito Jimmy and they will do the arrangement. We stayed overnight at Sibang Cove and enjoyed beach. I woke up around 3am because the moon was so bright and it served as a light to the island.
We woke up around 5am because we wanted to climb the hills of Nagundungan during sunrise and while its not that hot to trek. The hill is just few meters away from the Sibang Cove. For details, you can check the article about Nagundungan Hills, Calayan.
We went back to Sibang Cove and breakfast was already served. Part of the service of the Pagdagusan Home Stay is to bring your food to which destination you preferred. We rented a boat for php1,500 for our day 2 itinerary. The boat was already waiting for us at the beach front going to Malangsi Cave.
We left Sibang Cove by 8am going to Malangsi Cave. It is located at the eastern part of Calayan towards Babuyan Channel. Heading towards the cave are beautiful mountains of Calayan. You will be amazed of the rock formations and virgin forests.
The water is very clear and cold. If you are non- swimmer, they will provide life jackets and goggles with no additional charges. I decided to discover the other side of the mountain and to my surprise it was already the Babuyan Channel.
Going there was bit challenging because of the rock formations but was worth it. I did not imagine to be at the northern most part of the county and at the south china sea exploring the wonders of the Babuyan Channel. We left the place by 11am going to Bataraw Falls and to have lunch.
We had our lunch at the shores of Bataraw. Again, we had Calayan’s signature dish. Lobster overload. The boatmen also had a fish that was grilled the old school way. Pagdagusan Homestay already arranged our lunch for that day. It was really convenient in our end because we don’t need to worry about our food.
Like any other water falls, we enjoyed the cold spring after heat of the sun during the boat ride. We went home by 3pm because the waves are getting bigger. I asked the boatman if I can try a fast snorkeling. He was hesitant because it might be dangerous but of course, challenge accepted. I really had fun. I really don’t recommend this but I just wanted to try. I also had a chance to help the locals to lift their boat towards the shore. The locals were also amazed of the things I did.
This was my last swim before sunset. I also had a chance to mingle with the locals and tried winnowing basket to remove rice chaffs. We ended the day full of wonderful experiences. We went home by 7pm and all were excited what will be our dinner for that night.
My last night in Calayan was really amazing. As expected we had another sumptuous dinner and unlimited coconut juice. Pagdagusan Homestay was able to set a high expectation when it comes to the services they offer. Good food, clean amenities and warm accommodation from Tito Jimmy and Tita Len. This was one of the most memorable trips I had so far and will surely go back by next year.
- Jimmy Hipol – 09985100621
- Manila to Claveria Bus Fare – Php850 RT Php 1,700
- Claveria to Calayan Boat Fare – Php500 RT Php 1,000
- Boat for Island Hopping – Php 1,500 (good for sharing)
- Tricycle Ride – Php100 (good for sharing)
- Pagdagusan Homestay – Php 1,500/ day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and accommodation) 3D2N= Php 3,000
- Environmental fee – Php150 (one time)
- 3:00 pm – 4:00 am – Travelled from Manila to Claveria (14 hours)
- 4:30 am – 6: 00 am – Arrived at Tagat Lagoon and waited for the passenger boa
- 6:00 am – 11:00 am – Travelled from Claveria to Calayan (5 hours
- 11:00 am – 1:00 pm – Lunch time at Pagdagusan Homestay
- 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm – Trekked going to Sibang Cove
- 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm – Swimming and photo ops at Sibang Cove
- 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm – trekked to Nagundungan Hills then photo op
- 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm – Set up camp at Sibang Cove then dinner served by Pagdagusan
- 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Night swimming at Sibang Cove
- 9:30 pm – 10:00 pm – Freshen up and preparation of sleeping beds
- 10:15 pm – Light off
- 5:00 am – 5:30 am – Wake up and preparation for breakfast
- 5: 30 am – 6: 30 am – Sunrise at Nagundungan Hills
- 7:00 am – 8:00 am – Breakfast by Pagdagusan at Sibang Cove
- 8:30 am – 10:00 am – Visited Malangsi Cave and Babuyan Channel
- 10:30 am – 12:00 pm – Visited Bataraw Falls and had lunch served by Pagdagusan
- 2:30 pm – 4: 00 pm – Departed Bataraw going back to town proper.
- 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm – Visited Magsidel for sunset then interaction with locals
- 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Back at Pagdagusan Homestay
- 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm – Dinner served by Pagdagusan
- 10:00 pm – Lights off
- 4:00 am – 5: 30 am – Woke up and prepared things then breakfast by Pagdagusan
- 6:00 am – 12:00 pm – Departed from Calayan going to Appari, Cagayan