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Hiking : Munga Peak, Camarines Norte

Mahabang Buhangin Beach
It was still dark when I opened my eyes. Had it not been for the disruptive snoring coming from the tent beside ours, which was loud enough to drown the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, I wouldn't have gotten up so quickly. :P 

I prepped for a short hike up Munga Peak.  We were told it's about an hour from our camp. Unlike the usual hikes I do, getting ready was refreshingly simple. I was on slippers,  a cap and in my pocket were several pieces of Mentos which is also what I bring as emergency food for long hikes because it's light and easily fits in the bag. I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade which I bought before we traveled to the island and in a few minutes, I was all set. :)
Area near our camp

Mahabang Buhangin beach where we set camp is in Tinaga island, a popular camping ground for travelers visiting Calaguas,  a group of 17 islands and islets in Camarines Norte in the Bicol region.  

After breakfast, me and several other friends - Kate, Ron, Ian, Ice and Tina went to the shore and joined the rest of the people from our tour group. The start of the hike was a little challenging as we were walking on powder-like sand. It was a great leg work-out though. :)
Trail starts at the beach! (Photo from Ice Clemente)
We headed toward the right side (facing the water) of the island and in about 15 minutes, we arrived at the registration area. As I had been seeing mostly water since the previous day, I felt excited when I saw that the trail head has lots of trees. 
Making our way up the hill. Photo from Ice Clemente
It was moderately steep but very manageable. It wasn't slippery and our rubber slippers held on. 
Group shot before we entered the main trail. Behind us is the registration hut.  (Photo from Ice Clemente)
In just a few minutes, we arrived at a view deck. From here, we could see practically the entire shoreline of Mahabang Buhangin. Although I've already seen some photos online, it still felt awesome to see it in front of me.  

We headed at the left side of the trail where grasses were a little too tall for me and Tina as we're both under 5 feet tall :P. 

This area gave us a different vantage, a view of nearby islands.  There wasn't any cover to protect us from the sun but it was very windy. 
Balagbag Island in front of us
This peak has a flat grassy area and it felt nice to just sit down, feel the wind and stare at the view, despite the sun's rays gleefully radiating down on us. 

After taking souvenir shots, we headed down to clean up and prepare for the trip back to Vinzons Port. 

Here's a travel video of our trip made by my friend Ian. :) Happy viewing. It's a bit long though but it sums up what we did the entire weekend. :P 

Hiking Details :
This was a trip with 9 other colleagues. Since we wanted a hassle-free vacation,  we availed the services of Northlink Tour, a Daet-based tour provider which was recommended by my former manager who hails from Daet, Camarines Norte's capital. I paid 2,200 for the package which included 4 meals and boat ride from Vinzons Port and back. (Transportation from Manila not included). Since the hike was not part of the package, we paid additional 40 Pesos each which included the registration fee and payment to guides. 

A DIY trip to Calaguas Group of islands can also be done. Please check out the links below for some very helpful information : 
KirkAnatomy - How to get to Calaguas
Lakwatsero - Calaguas Islands

Note : I am aware of the concerns raised by fellow travelers regarding the island's commercialization but during our  trip (and I can only speak of what I experienced during our trip), camping ground was clean and I did not see any garbages along the shore and although there were plenty of people, the noise was minimal. I do hope people visiting this place continue to respect the island and the people who live there.  

As for Northlink Tour's services, I am very happy with how they handled the trip. They gave us an orientation on what to expect in the island and even gave us a short lecture about Calaguas to help us appreciate the place more. Everyone had enough food, the staff regularly checked on us and they were all very cordial and professional. :) You can get in touch with them on Facebook - Northlink Tour.

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