The Bagasbas Surfing and Calaguas Island Experience pt 1
Been meaning to surf in Daet for the longest time. All my friends have been there but I don’t know, for some reason all my plans to head down south to Camarines Norte didn’t push thru. And one place I also badly wanted to visit there is the Calaguas Islands. Been seeing pictures and hearing praises about this gorgeous beach that is said to have finer sand and clearer waters than Boracay and it’s been on my surf, sun, ocean-filled mind for far too long.
Finally though a fantastic opportunity came when we were invited by Joey Cuerdo to become a part of the 5th Bagasbas Summer Surf Festival last April 28 to 29 as a Media Partner. Now I was already excited to the fact that I’ll finally go to Daet – but when Joey emailed me the itinerary, I went nuts because I saw that the Tourism Office of Camarines Norte is taking us on an overnight trip to Calaguas! Wow. It’s like wow, really. Ain’t I lucky or what!
So me and my girlfriend Kat (my photographer, proofreader and critic, haha) packed up on a Friday night and met with the Festival goers on a bus bound to Bagasbas in Daet, the surf capital of Camarines Norte. Hey, I already got a great story right away. We were seated almost at the back of the bus and behind us is no other than one of my favorite Pinoy bands of all time – Coffeebreak Island! The band and their friends – in true rock star fashion – took out a bottle of Emperador and started drinking and were immensely noisy. And to make the story short, Kat and I drank Empi with them (2 longnecks), got drunk and passed out most of the trip. Yep, I said to myself. This trip is gonna be great.
Skipping the long winding zig zagging details on the way to Daet, we arrived Saturday morning to sweet offshore knee high to almost waist high right and left peelers in Bagasbas. It was glasssssy man. And the coastline reminded me of Baler. The beach stretches far and wide. Can’t wait to surf! But sadly we had to have breakfast with our group and then was taken to our Hotel which was far from the beach. I guess my surfing had to wait. Grrrrrrr.
Ah yes pictures. Here we arrive in Canimog Hotel, an old hotel which was a tricycle ride from Bagasbas beach. This hotel was actually a mansion back in the day. Inside are wooden furniture that gives the hotel a rustic colonial vibe. I like it.
And here’s the wonderful staff who gave us great accomodation. And of course I immediately had to ask a regular question I always ask wherever I go: “Ate, may mga multo ba dito?” One of the attendants assured me there isn’t and then she shook her head and laughed and she probably thought I was stupid.
After we have settled, it was time for lunch! Our group, the Media for the event, consists of GMA TV Crew for Sports Pilipinas, ONESport Magazine, Asian Traveler Magazine and of course LokalSoul.com. We were taken to Kusina ni Angel, a salo-salo style restaurant that offers great food. Their place is just a walk away from the beach.
Ohohoho food! I am not a big fan of vegetables especially Pinakbet. I forgot what this dish is called but basically it has the same components of Pinakbet but prepared differently and was cooked with Oyster sauce. So I tasted the vegetables thinking yeah ok I need vegetables in this trip to keep me healthy and boom oh-my-okra this food is delicious! It’s fresh like a salad but definitely a meal on its own. It was also a perfect side dish to a Tanigue steak that was also served! Mmm hmm delicious. Thank you Kusina ni Angel.
After that hefty lunch we rested and then walked to the event site which was at Bagasbas Park. This park is great. It’s huge and clean and looked like fun. If I was a kid I would definitely play in this park all day.
But of course I’m still a kid at heart and so I went for the swing! Weeeee!
And at the registration booth was an all smile Thea Yusay of Mojo Sandals on my left and the ladies who were great in handling the registrations.
Festival goers get free event shirts, free Mojo Sandals and free Roxy and Quiksilver stickers. Ain’t that sweet!
Celebrity sighting! That’s local wahine Lilay. She is an amazing surfer who has placed in numerous surf competitions. You might remember her from the documentary AGOS – the one we showed at the LokalSoul Surf Film Night. Yep, me and Rozie are fans of her. Speaking of documentaries, Rozie Delgado was here to shoot a TV segment for GMA’s Sports Pilipinas. We’ll update you guys on when it will be shown.
Now we went to the beach to see what’s happening. It was a sunny day in Bagasbas and there was a festive mood in the air. The smiling sun in the Mojo Sandals logo looked really appropriate.
There were many activities going on and one of them is the free Surf Clinic conducted by the Bagasbas United Surfers Assocation (BUSA). There were a lot of folks wanting to learn to surf and the students came in batches.
The instructors of BUSA was giving great lessons on each and every student they teach. Not just the basics, the instructors also emphasize safety and how to handle oneself in the ocean.
And look. One of the students is Kat! go go go!
and while my better half was having her surf time, I wandered around the event
The Bouldering/ Wall Climbing station by Power Up really got attention at the event. The challenge was to climb the top and the climber with the fastest time wins. The guy in the picture above won and he was a surfer!
And here’s the one and only Mocha of Daet trying her luck on the wall. She was being cheered by climbers from UP but sadly that’s the highest she can go. That’s ok Mocha, you’re great on the water anyway.
Back on sand, there was Beach Football going on. I believe the players were from the Alabang Football Club and these guys were competitive! I was watching and I was seriously entertained because these guys are playing great.
I felt a little hungry and decided to check out the street food along Bagasbas boulevard. Ooh some fish balls and kwek kwek man I love kwek kwek. And there’s this yellow round thing I wasn’t familiar of but they looked good. I asked the lady, “Ate ano to, crab balls? Sarap nyan ah.” Then the lady said, “Ay hinde, squash balls yan”. Squash. I asked again. Yes, it’s Squash. Kalabasa. Kalabasa balls. The thought of eating kalabasa balls did not sit well with me. I pass. Again not a big fan of vegetables O_o
Back at the beach Rozie and the GMA crew were filming for their TV show Sports Pilipinas. That’s the sports show hosted by Chino Trinidad and Isabel Oli early Sunday morning at GMA NewsTV. It was nice seeing how these TV Shows work and it was also great to meet people who are behind the camera.
And here is Mocha’s turn infront of the camera.
And around this time where I think I have covered the event well, I took time to soak in the beauty of Bagasbas and its surroundings. It may look like fun and games but I am seriously thankful to every chance I get to travel and surf. Its my first time here and I took a good hard look around and appreciate where I am at.
And after some introspective moments, I realized one thing. Hey I need to surf now! So I gave the camera to my gf and borrowed a Surf Bum 9’0 longboard from the BUSA tent. I didn’t bring my 5’7 fish because I knew that surf was gonna be small and really just avoided the hassle.
And wouldn’t you know it, the wind picked up in the afternoon and the swell wasn’t pumpin’ anymore. The breaks were almost onshore but some of the waves were still pretty much rideable. Hey you gotta take what the sea gives and I’m not complaining.
First drop hello Bagasbas. And yes, I am a goofy.
Here’s a better set wave
Most of my surf pics are the same kind of rides. No cross steps or nose rides. Still working on my longboarding. Here’s me milking the wave till the end. I surfed till the dim hues of afternoon brushes the Daet sky.
As the day ends, Joey here is being interviewed about the event. Thanks man. It was great.
My first surf in Daet was great. The experience wasn’t about big waves but it was about having fun and meeting the locals and making new friends. Was looking forward to surf the next day.
And so Day 1 of the Bagasbas Summer Surf Festival came to a close but the festivities wasn’t over yet! Coffeebreak Island and Collie Herb was to perform later in the night. Our group went back to our place to change and have dinner.
Our group had dinner at Central Plaza Restaurant in Daet town. Great restaurant! Serves Chinese and Pinoy food. Wasn’t able to take photos of the food because we were really hungry and when the food came we just ate right away. Also, I had the chance to meet the Mayor of Basud – the town after Daet. On my left is Mayor Jun Vavocol Jr and on my right is our amazing tour guide Jeff Gahol who worked for the Tourism office.
Party time! After dinner we headed straight back to the boulevard where the night festivities were taking place. Here is event organizer Joey Cuero of Mojo Sandals introducing Collie Herb who played a lively, soul shakin’ set.
We’ve been watching Collie Herb for years now and the music just gets better. Check them out on Facebook!
Bagasbas surfers partyin! That’s Emer right there in Red giving the stokest shaka.
And whoah, bumped into some friends from Manila! Surf and skate rats Ting, Peds and Yaje and their friends hanging out along the boulevard.
And then its Coffeebreak time!
‘Coz really, it’s not a SURF festival without Coffeebreak Island.
Cheers to Thea and Joey!
CBI’s Paul Puti-an SKAnkin’ the night way
What a first day at the 5th Bagasbas Summer Surf Festival! Photos don’t do justice to the experience of being there. But anyway, that’s the end of our coverage of day 1. What’s on day 2? CALAGUAS baby! Part 2 of the Bagasbas Surfing and Calaguas Island Experience coming right away!