Calayan Island isn’t an island that people would normally have in their bucket list. You would find little information online about the island because it is quite remote so only a few people get to talk about the place.
The municipality of Calayan is found in the Babuyan Channel and is composed of four islands, Dalupri, Camiguin, Babuyan Claro and Calayan where the municipal government is located.
Calayan Island does not have an airstrip and can only be reached by boats from Claveria, Aparri or Santa Ana, all in Cagayan province.
Claveria, Cagayan is the nearest port and big bancas called lampitaw travel every morning between 5 to 7 am. A lampitaw is actually used to ferry cargo and is not designed to accommodate passengers so be prepared to sign a waiver, to be seated on cargo, be exposed to the sun and be drenched during rains or choppy seas. When you see the crew putting on their plastic ponchos, it’s time to get wet so make sure you get all your gear waterproofed. The ride would normally take 5 hours on a “good” day it cost P 500 per person.
- A bigger boat operated by Eagle ferry is available from Aparri but its schedule is very irregular. The ferry’s route is via Camiguin where it makes a brief stop. The ride takes about 7 hours and cost P 750.
- The farthest port is in Santa Ana and I guess would be the most exciting & expensive because you would need to charter smaller bancas at P 3,800 per day, pay for the cost of diesel (which is very expensive) and the daily wage of the boatmen.
You can drive to all these ports via maharlika hiway or fly to Tuguegarao, Cagayan via PAL Express or cebu Pacific which offer daily flights then take a shuttle or take a bus from Manila.
Things to do
- Walking around the small town will give you a glimpse to what simple living is all about. Mingle with the locals in the early morning as they buy the catch of the day from fishermen returning from the sea.
- Camp, chill & swim in Sibang Cove which is probably one of the best beaches in the world with its unspoiled fine white sands & crystal clear waters. There are no accommodations or facilities here so bring your own food, tent & gear. You can either hike or take a banca to get there.
- Hike on the trails of the jungle on the northern side of the island and try to get a photo of the Calayan Rail locally known as “piding”, an endemic specie discovered only in August 2004. A local guide, James is an expert in finding this elusive birds. He brings along a portable mp3 player and plays their mating call to attract them. Always set your camera ready and in high ISO.
- Explore, hike to the waterfalls and watch the sunset on the rock formations.
Where to stay
Homestay at Tessie Singun’s place at P 200 per person per night. The home stay is located in the middle of the town and can accommodate up to 30 people. You need to call her in advance to reserve the place.
- Connie’s Inn which is also located in the middle of the town. Her Inn has three bedrooms which can accommodate up to 16 guests. It has a small grocery on the group floor making it convenient in case you need to buy your supplies.
- Camping on the beach is your third option.
Where to eat & other notes
There are no restaurants in Calayan Island. You can have Tessie or Connie prepare your meals for a minimal fee, just let them know in advance. In 2012, a kilo of lobsters would cost P 500.
- Bottled water, rice & snacks are available in sari-sari stores.
- Note that there are no ATMs or credit card POS machines available in the island so budget your trip wisely and bring the cash might need during your stay, budget around P 700/day.
- Incidentally, some stores do accept Smart Money.
- Smart & Sun are the only available mobile networks in the island. Data connection is really slow.