It was Christmas Eve. After having the traditional family dinner, a thought about how we can celebrate New Year’s Eve made me a bit restless. I love celebrations and gatherings such as this; however, sometimes celebrations are more like a work than a stress reliever. Planning phase is a bit toxic. Choosing among infinite options is always frustrating. I just really want to relax. The thought of sea breeze enticed me.
Luckily, I live in the Philippines which is known for having paradise-like beaches. The popular ones for both locals and tourists are Boracay, El Nido, Siargao, Pagudpud, Puerto Galera, Camiguin, Dakdak and Puerto Princesa. These beautiful beaches are tempting but they are so popular that I have to somehow compete with the locals and tourists just to book a hotel and just to have a space in the shore where I can be with myself and family. The attention these beaches are getting is a great morale booster for Filipinos like me. And if I’m in the mood to party and to make new friends I wouldn’t resist the temptation. However, there are moments like this when silence and some distance are the only thing that can help one recuperate. Sometimes we just want to get away from the crowd and be with ourselves, and have private quality time with the people that we love. Well, renting an island is a great and easy option for the affluent ones. But, is it possible for those living within the limit of their monthly salaries? I thought it wasn’t until I remembered that Philippines is composed of 7,107 plus 400 more that were recently discovered by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA).
It was euphoric moment to know that my problem was not a problem after all. There are lots of unknown, underrated beaches in the Philippines that anyone can enjoy all for himself /herself. Luckily, Cayucyucan beach is just less than an hour away from my parents’ place.
Geographical Information of Cayucyucan Beach
Cayucyucan beach can be found in a small town of Mercedes in the province of Camarines Norte, which is in the Southeast part of Luzon–the biggest island in the north of the Philippines.
How to get there?
Option 1: (from Pasay City, Metro Manila) By plane
Although there is no direct flight from Manila to Camarines Norte, one may book a flight going to Naga which is a city in Camarines Sur—a province just below it. The flight would take about 1 hour and 10 minutes and would cost around $100-$150.
From Naga: (from LCC Mall Terminal) By van
Go to LCC Mall terminal. Find public vans going to Daet. This would cost around $4 and would take about 2 hours of sitting/sleeping.
From Daet: By tricycle Ask any tricycle driver to take you to Mercedes Jeep terminal and pay about $0.25 per person or a dollar for all four seats. Then, take a Mercedes jeep, wait for about 10-15 minutes until all the seats are occupied and just pay about $0.20-0.25. If you can’t wait, just negotiate with the tricycle driver to take you directly to Mercedes fish port which costs about $3-5 (the cost would be dependent on your negotiation skills). Within 10 minutes you’ll reach Mercedes Fish Port. At the left end of the port, take a boat and just pay about $0.20 and after 5 minutes you’ll reach Barangay Manguisoc where you can take another tricycle and pay about a dollar for all the 4 seats if you are travelling in group or just $0.25 per person. After about 20-30 minutes, you will arrive at Barangay Cayucyucan.
From Daet: By private vehicle
If you have tons of things with you and you are travelling in group, of course it is cost efficient to use a private vehicle. From Daet you can go south to Basud and then just follow the provincial road. Turn left at Barangay Anggas going to Barangay Taba Taba. Past the two barangays you will see the welcome sign of Barangay Cayucyucan. Along the way you can see many rice, corn, coconut and watermelon farms (depending on the season). There are also lots of fish ponds. Travel time would be about 40-50 minutes.
Option 2: (from Pasay, Buendia, Cubao, Metro Manila): By provincial busses
Take a bus going to DAET. Bus fare would cost from $12-20 depending on the Bus operator (Philtranco, Superlines or DLTB) that you will choose and if you will choose air conditioned buses or ordinary ones. Bus ride would take about 8-10 hours. Then, once you reached Daet, just follow the tips above.
Where to stay?
There are several private accommodations and few small resorts in Cayucyucan. Having few resorts is actually the strength of the place. Cayucyucan beach is highly recommended for those who want their “ME” time and family time.
The popular options are Palm Beach Resort and Khrystal Beach Resort. The two are just several steps away from each other. The only difference is that Palm Beach Resort is bigger and has wide space with lots of pines and palm trees and has more beautifully made native and tent type cottages and family rooms with a price range of $10-$25 a day depending on the size. Just to reiterate, because the place is still not known by many, one can actually have the whole place for himself or herself.
Forget the white sand, this place made me feel I have my own beach.
Because I belong to a small family with 6 members including my grandfather who is wearing white in the picture, we just rented the $10 tent type cottage.
Bigger ones (the background of my awesome grandfather) are made of wood and are for bigger families and groups. As you can see, they were empty. We really owned the place at that time and my sister and I hopped from one cottage to another just because we were curious.
For those who want to grill some meat and fishes, you can easily do so because the resort provides sink and grilling station in front or between cottages. For meat, I recommend you bring your own because the area is a little far from the town. For fishes, and other sea foods you can buy from the local fishermen for a good price (ex: $10 for a kilo of crab or $5 for a kilo of shrimp) but you have to be very early (around 5:00 am – 6:00am).
Aside from the resorts, you can choose to rent a private vacation house in-front of the beach. The options are pretty small but good enough for small to big families with members not more than 20 (some may just sleep on the couch or not sleep at all for night swimming or drinking and karaoke sessions). There are concrete ones and native ones which cost around $100 to $150 per day.
Since we are dealing with private accommodation, there is no official system to reserve. You just really have to look for the houses near the beach and negotiate with the owners or care-takers of the private houses. If the owners will not use it during your vacation schedule, lucky you. In this second option, having a local friend to help you with the reservation comes handy. If owners will use it, you are still lucky, resorts I mentioned above are always available.
We chose the one made of bamboo to feel the spirit of nature and to feel that we’re really on a vacation (not in the usual concrete houses).
Best things to do in Cayucyucan Beach
Get to know the sea creatures
It is quite easy to see sea creatures by just walking along the beach. You can also gather shells or just buy a basket to some locals for less than a dollar. Popular cuisine is called “Ginataan” with coconut milk as the primary ingredient. There are different versions of Ginataan which are just a mix and match of sea foods and green leafy vegetables like Malunggay or Drumstick tree.
Walk, Run, Lie on the Sandbar
Around noon, sea level starts to fall. This makes it safer for family especially for those with little kids. At noon, the deepest level within a kilometer from the shore was never above my neck. One can literally reach the middle of the sea without a boat. And the next island is within reach.
It is not very obvious in the pictures above but my sister and I were far from the shore. For those with drones, walking in the middle of the sea would be a cool one to record. Also, because there were no other tourists when we visited the place, we played around like kids again (just carefree) in the sandbar and took selfies and after getting tired, we lay on the sandbar for about 15 minutes, talked about life and our dreams. Being there, one can definitely find clarity and recuperation. I met me. I heard me harmonizing with the sound of the sea breeze and the laughter of my loved ones. I was healed emotionally and spiritually!