Calayan Island: Off the Beaten Path to Philippine Paradise

Calayan Island offers a breathtaking view one wouldn’t get tired of exploring. It’s a remote and underrated place that deserves attention. Fresh catch, cheap sumptuous lobster, verdant greenery and crystal-clear water and the sea breeze lulling you to sleep are reasons enough to hop in the first plane ride going to this not-so-famous yet beautiful island.

Must see destinations

Nagudungan hills


Reaching the top of the hills made me out breath and words to speak. The steep cliff, the lush terrain, the calming waves against the cliff, lighthouse and serenity -everything seems to be well-orchestrated. I also had fun chasing the goats and cows that are grazing in the grass. They are natural runners I ran out of breath chasing them!

Sibang cove

Just below Nagudungan hills is Sibang Cove that offers a scene straight from that of Moana. The powdery sand, calming breeze and Topaz shoreline is a postcard-worthy view. It can take 30 minutes max to trek this place from where we stayed. This cove was worth the sweaty trek since you wouldn’t really mind watching the view along the way.

While there are other spots on the Island, we only explored Nagudungan and Sibang since the other places are tedious and challenging to visit. However, our experience was nothing short of spectacular.

How to get there

“Things worth having don’t come easy” I was reminded by this quote since getting to Calayan Island is challenging with the trips being limited. Plus, there is a possibility of getting wet during the boat ride due to big waves (Make sure to bring waterproof bags for your gadgets and stuff)

Via Plane… Cagayan de Oro to Manila – Cebu Pacific
Via Plane – Manila to Tuguegarao – Cebu Pacific

My friends and I rented a van from Tuguegarao to Appari that costs 3000Php. The van would take us to the port going to Calayan. Bonus Tip: If you have plans of an Ilocos side trip, you can try a Calayan to Claveria route which is an hour trip compared to Appari’s three hours. Meanwhile, a land trip from Manila to Tuguegarao would take up 13 hours of your time.

In our case, our van arrived the night before our trip, so we stayed at St. Patrick Hotel and woke up early to get the best place in the boat. I suggest to be at the port as early as 5:30 so you have more time to relax and prepare for the trip. *Note: Boat trips are only done in the morning since waves are especially big during the afternoon. We departed at 7:00 am and arrived at Calayan at 12:00 pm.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of inns to rest and relax. We stayed in San Jose Inn where the gracious owner Maam Connie treated us kindly. You can contact her via 09075447692. We paid 250 per day per person. Note: Power is scheduled in Calayan. Expect power outage between 12:00 midnight to 12:00 in the afternoon since people rely on generators.

Where to Eat

It’s a homestay situation, so our hostess cooked our meal for us. You can request for food, and they will cook it for you. The best part of our dining experience was we got to eat fresh lobsters at 600 pesos. You can ask the vendor to cook the lobster for you and deliver the food from where you are at.


1. Bring Extra Cash since there’s no ATM Machine in the area
2. Bring dry bag to protect your gadgets (drone-lovers would have a field day with Calayan’s aerial view/
3. Bring sunblock and other sun protection i.e rashguard, sunnies, hats since it can be hot
4. Expect your trips to be delayed since boat trips are dependent to the waves.
5. Mobile connection wise, Only Smart network works so try to use that sim if connection is important to you.
6. Calayan Island is a no-wifi zone so might as well go into a social media detox

Calayan Island is definitely one of the islands I wouldn’t mind going back to given the time and resources. It’s an ideal place for nature tripping! While I encourage everyone to explore Calayan Island, I hate to see this island being commercialized by private owners.


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