To Richard Branson: Please Buy Calaguas Island, Philippines

Calaguas Beach - Calaguas Island, Philippines  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis

 

"Calaguas is like Boracay 20 years ago..."

 

Dear Mr. Branson, we all know you are addicted to good times and tropical islands. I'm surprised I haven't heard you talk about the Philippines much. There is a reason that "it's more fun in the Philippines"...actually there are 7,107!  

 

One of those reasons is Calaguas Island. A remote paradise in the province of Camarines Norte, it has become known for its powdery white-sand beach, and its turquoise-blue waters.

 

Mr. Branson, Calaguas needs your help.

 

Calaguas Island, Philippines  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis

 

I was told about the wonders of this place...that unlike its beautiful but overdeveloped counterpart (Boracay Island), Calaguas doesn't even have a structure on it yet.

 

I decided to see it for myself. Near the end of the 2 hour boat trip to the island, things started to look promising.  We could clearly see long stretches of undisturbed, white sand beaches as we approached...but something became obvious as we got closer and closer. 

 

Approaching Calaguas Beach, Philippines  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis

 

Calaguas DOES have structures on it - quite a few, actually.

 

Nipa huts and camping tents - Calaguas Beach, Philippines  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis

 

I visited during the busy Labor day weekend, and was able to get a glimpse of Calaguas's possible future. This peaceful island paradise was already one large beach-party...complete with crowds, dance music, and stage lighting.  The possibility of unregulated tourism in the future worries me. 


 

 

Not Another Boracay...

 

Below is a picture of Boracay's "White Beach" on a weekend during the LOW season.  You don't even want to see what it looked in the high season during "Laboracay", or Labor Day!  Boracay island is in the process of losing its last bit of undeveloped green space. Despite the protest of thousands, reportedly, the development will continue. 

 

Crowds on White Beach, Boracay © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Crowds on White Beach, Boracay

 

Well, in recent years people have loved Calaguas because it's the anti-Boracay...undeveloped and pure

 

As you can see below, the island is beautiful.  There is a tiny bit of development on it right now, but nothing large-scale or irreversible (yet).  It would be heartbreaking to see Calaguas suffer the same fate as Boracay. While there are people working hard to preserve what's left of Boracay, some Filipinos have given up. They say:

 

"Boracay is already ruined...at least we can keep people going there instead of ruining other paradises."

 

Guess what?  There are clear signs that it could happen to Calaguas Island.  If we are not careful, another one of the world's natural treasures could succumb to the almighty dollar.


(More Calaguas Photos - click them for more info)


So, Sir Richard Branson, what do you say?  Are you willing to purchase the island, and keep it open for limited, responsible tourism?  it could be protected, preserved, and enjoyed by domestic and foreign tourists for many years to come!

 

Now that I think about it, you will fit right in here in the Philippines.  You're always smiling and enjoying your life...as my Filipino friends keep telling me, you already have pusong pinoy (a Filipino heart)!

 

Boat @ Calaguas Island, Philippines  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis

 

Don't Let the Sun Set on Calaguas Forever...

 

Sir Richard Branson, judging by the rapid development of other award-winning islands like Palawan and Boracay, if you don't buy Calaguas Island, somebody will probably put a shopping mall on it by the end of next year.  Sad, because it is one of the best examples of an unspoiled white-sand paradise left in this country.

 

Sunset @ Calaguas Beach © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis

 

As for the rest of you, if you want to visit Calaguas (responsibly!), contact Naga Excursions or Northlink Tours.  They seem to have a strong commitment to the environment. (If eco-camping isn't your thing, check Bagasbas Hotel, or other options in nearby Daet.) 

 

If carried out responsibly, I believe tourism can provide for both the environment, and local communities.  Everywhere we go, we can set a good example for others by cleaning up after ourselves, and "leaving only footprints."

 

10 years from now, we don't want to be saying "Oh, so and so island is amazing...it's just like Calaguas was 10 years ago..."

 

Soon there will be no more beautiful islands left.

 

- Nathan Allen



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Most recent blog: Tourist in the Philippines: "Albay Stole My Heart!"

 

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