I’ve traveled far just to visit some famous stone beaches in the country. There’s Luna Pebble Beach in La Union, Mabua Pebble Beach in Surigao City, and Valugan Boulder Beach in Batanes. These beaches are known for having shores covered with pebbles, cobbles and huge boulders instead of fine sand which give them a unique landscape.
Little did I know that there’s a nice pebble beach in my own home province of Camarines Sur. Bagolatao Beach can be found in the barangay of Bagolatao in the town of Minalabac, just 45 minutes away from Naga City!
Though I grew up in Naga, I never had the chance to visit the area, mainly due to the rough roads in the area when I was younger. More popular beach or island destinations for family trips or outings were Pasacao Beach, Sabang Beach, Aguirangan and Atulayan Island. So, it’s good to know that there’s this beach alternative that requires less travel time from Naga City. And though most people would prefer to swim in sand beaches, stone beaches like the one here also has its appeal. You may not be able to build sandcastles here, but you can try skipping stones on the water or rock balancing. Who knows, resorts could even offer stone massages to guests in the future 🙂
After a great lunch at Bob Marlin, our Naga Excursions group and fellow bloggers Estan, Christine & Shawn made our way to Minalabac from Naga City by van. Bagolatao is one of the 25 barangays of Minalabac located along the Ragay Gulf. The name of the place is said to be a combination of two Bicol terms bagol (coconut shell) and latao, or lataw (float). It refers to the huge coral reef along the coast that looks like a floating coconut shell during high tide.
The road going here has been vastly improved, allowing jeepneys, vans and 4 x 4 vehicles to pass through. The road is partially concreted, though some parts are still quite rocky. For that reason, getting here by sedan is not recommended because of some of the steep sections. I can imagine this might be a good destination for motorcyclists or mountain bikers coming from Naga City who don’t mind a rough ride.
Several simple resorts along the stretch of Bagolatao Beach are operated by locals, but we headed to White Pebbles Beach Resort, which is owned by the municipal mayor. The resort has adequate parking space for groups, its own beach volleyball court and several restrooms & shower rooms.
Since it was a Sunday (and Father’s Day at that), there were lots of people swimming near the shore and occupying the beach cottages. The weather had been a bit rainy the previous day, so it was great to catch some sun and enjoy the last days of summer weather on the beach.
We made our way to the large beach resthouse for rent, where we parked our stuff. The beach house has 2 bedrooms with 2 single beds each, a billiard table, 5 sofa beds, a restroom, ceiling fans, kitchen/gas range & a refrigerator. And it’s very own videoke machine, of course. The resort rents out the house for P3500 and it can fit 20 people (if you’re in a group of 20, that’s just P175 each), so it’s a good choice for families and groups who want to cook during their beach trip.
Before taking a dip in the water, the group decided to check out the Bicol Shell Museum, which opened just last April 2014. The two-story building across the street from the resort houses a pretty wide collection of shells from tiny cowrie shells used in playing sungka to large conch shells – the kind that when you put up against your ear, you can hear the sound of the waves. The Bicol Shell Museum is open to visits from Science teachers, researchers, students and guests. It you’re already in the area, you might as well check it out.
When we got back to the beach, all the people occupying the huts seemed to be leaving (apparently they were one big group), so we ended up having the beach to ourselves. Without all the people around, the place looked quite peaceful. The shore lined with small white and gray pebbles, stretches about three kilometers. At the far end of the beach is Bagapuso Point, which you can actually hike up to get a panoramic view of the island.
While we stopped for a snack of turon and fresh coconut juice, Vhongz of the local tourism office of Minalabac shared some trivia about the area. From the shore, you can actually see the silhouette of Burias, Masbate. According to Vhongz, they’ve spotted whale sharks or butandings here. He also shared a local folk story about a legendary sea creature that once roamed the area, and every time it swam in the water, the movements would cause strong ripples and waves in the water.
After our snack, a small fishing boat was made available for those of us who wanted to take a boat ride to visit nearby attractions. Unfortunately, the water wasn’t that clear because it had been raining the past few days, but on normal days the water here is crystal clear, and nearby areas are ideal for snorkeling. The boat could only fit about 5 people (including the boatman), so we decided to take turns in 2 groups.
We first took a 5-minute boat ride to a small rocky coast, where there was a tiny enclosed “cave” that you could enter. The waves were pretty choppy and kept pounding the boat, so we didn’t stay long here.
Then, we headed to another part of the beach, where there was a small, natural waterfall (more like a spring) flowing from the rocks below into the sea. Compared to the seawater, the water flowing from here felt really cool refreshing and we ended up just sitting for a while on the rocks to cool off. With the pleasant view of the blue skies and sea before us and the flowing water at our backs, it was very relaxing. After about 20 minutes, we begrudgingly headed back to give the other group a chance to visit it.
While White Pebbles Beach Resort currently caters to locals and large groups for weekend outings, it’s a good option for tourists based in Naga looking for a half-day to whole-day trip. If you have a limited time in the city, but still want a beach fix, than a beach picnic outing here is a good option.
Group photo courtesy of Shawn
White Pebbles Beach Resort is located in Bagoloatao, Minalabac, Camarines Sur.
- The Beach Resthouse costs P3,000 to 3,500 to rent; capacity: 20 persons, Extra person: 50 each, Excess hour: 50/hour
- Amenities of Beach Resthouse: Videoke, Billiard Table, 2 bedrooms w/ single bed each, 5 sofa bed, ceiling fan, kitchen/gas range & refrigerator
- Closed cottages: 1 single bed – P750 – 1,000. Capacity – 2 persons. Extra person – 50 each. Excess hour – 50/hour; 3 single bed – P500 – 1,800. Capacity – 6 persons. Extra person – 50 each. Excess hour – 50/hour
- Open cottages: P500 / 700. Capacity – 12 persons. Extra person – 20 each. Excess hour – 50.hour
TRAVEL TIPS & USEFUL INFO:
- For inquiries and reservations, contact: GLOBE- 09166177340
SMART- 09475524971 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: White Pebbles Beach Resort
- Pebble beaches can also be found in other towns of Minalabac like Salingogon, Hamoraon, and San Antonio.
- The Beach Resort is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (daytime schedule) and 5:00 pm to 7:00 am (overnight schedule)
- The Bicol Shell Museum is located in Bagolatao, Minalabac, Camarines Sur. Cotnact no: (054) 4720275. Facebook: Bicol Shell Museum
- Bagolatao can be reached by land via jeepney or private vehicle. Travel time is 40 to 60 minutes from the Naga City.
- It can also be reached by water through a rented motorized boat from the Pasacao port.
- Bring water shoes or slippers (it’s not comfortable walking on stones as sand)
- Bring a dry bag or plastic bags if you want to ride boat to other areas – waves can be strong.
- If you’re staying at Eurotel Naga, they can arrange a package for your trip here. Call them at 0933-6616163/ 054-4725321/ 02-6686131 of check out their Facebook page: Eurotel Naga