A Series of Firsts

Photo from my good friend Nikki G.

View from the island. Gorgeous, I know. 😉 (Photo from my good friend Nicole G.)

My childhood was spent traipsing around riverbanks and splashing in and out of springs. I never learned to swim but I am quite used to bodies of water, well, as long as it’s just knee-deep. 😉

The wonders of the sea and sandy beaches, however, were foreign concepts that I have only read in books. Until I had the chance to see and experience the beauty of Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte.

But before my office mates and I were regaled by its virgin lands and pristine waters, we had to travel 12 hours by train. We took the longer route because most of us have not yet experienced riding a provincial train before. Traveling by bus will only take eight hours from Cubao, Quezon City.

PNR Train from Tutuban Station to Bicol. (Photo from Nikki)

As it turned out, we spent the night on the train and enjoyed mingling with the locals of Quezon during stopover.

It is more fun than it looks. LOL!

Enjoyed a cup of noodles in the wee hours of the morning at a stopover at Quezon Province. (Photo from Juls O.)

I can’t tell you how peaceful it is to wake up to the sunrise aboard the train. A few hours later and we were onto the next leg of our journey. We were welcomed into the Daet Heritage Center by the friendly local officials while we waited for the van that will take us to Paracale.

At Daet Heritage Center. (Photo from Juls)

We went shopping for food to take to the island and then we were off to a boat ride (another first) to our final destination.

Photo from Juls

In case you’re wondering about the big bags we’re hauling, we spent two nights in the island. 😛 (Photo from Juls)

At the Paracale port. Jittery because we are riding without life vests. (Photo from Nikki)

Three hours and a lot of salty water later, we FINALLY arrived at the island. It is quite a miracle you know, because the whole team is thinking we might not get there alive. No kidding! I have never thought that the sea could look so alive and “solid” and forbidding from my vantage point. I saw how the water turned from aqua green to a midnight blue silk, telling me that I am just above its unfathomable depths, separated by a piece of wood that is our small boat.

The sun had set that evening and our tired group stumbled down the beach like a batch of Survivor castaways. We made camp with the help of our guide, Mang Bert, who owns a patch of land in Calaguas.

The team dined, enjoyed the stars, listened to the crashing waves nearby and anticipated the morning. We knew that the darkness of the night hid the beauty that Calaguas is famous for. And, boy, what a splendor it was!

Beautiful photos from Nikki. 🙂

We explored as much of the island as we can — hiked up its hills and breathed the fresh, fresh air. Gosh, if only I can live there!

The hiiiills are aliiive…lalala-lala-la.

Photos from Erik

Photo from Juls

This trip has made our team share sides of our selves that we don’t see in the office. Everyone had a great time in the sun, playing Frisbee, building sand images (lascivious images at times, haha!) and swimming of course. We have proved once more how awesome we all get along, beyond occasional eats and night outs and endless Skype conversations. But most important of all, we learned how each of us deal with unforeseen situations, which this trip sure gave us a lot of. 😉

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