Paracale is a small town located in the east coast of the Camarines Norte province. Famed for gold mining, this sleepy town is slowly being known in the tourism industry as more travelers discover its beauty.
This sleepy town is the gateway to nearby Calaguas Island, a popular tourist destination, as travelers are usually dropped off in Paracale by the boats they used to get to the Camarines Norte.
That being said, this travel guide will take you around Paracale, if ever you are dropped off in town or if you ever want to make a visit.
1.Visit the oldest church
The first and oldest church in the whole province of Camarines Norte is located in Paracale. It is the Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de Candelaria, also popularly known as the Our Lady of Candelaria Church.
This church was built more than 400 years ago, in 1611. It was built by the Franciscan Friars who arrived in Paracale 30 years earlier, in 1581. Consequently, Paracale was established as a town in the same year that this church was built.
The Virgin Mary of Candelaria is known as a patroness of the whole Camarines Norte region. She is worshipped as a miraculous healer. Natives of Paracale come to her care when asking to be healed from certain illnesses.
Unique to this church is an image of the Virgin Mary, with a sword in hand – this image paints her as a benevolent warrior, contrary to her usual pure and conservative depiction.
Come and witness a big part of history in this old church. In which, it may be weathered by time but it stills stands tall and proud, storing the rich heritage of the small town-port. Attend a mass and feel as if you are transported to four centuries ago.
2.Pulang Daga Beach
Don’t freak out, there are no rats in this beach. Pulang Daga gets its name from the Bicolano word for “lupa” which means ground or earth. But once you get there, you will probably be disappointed as the red soil is not easily noticeable. But I found a secret related to the name of the beach – a secret that I will share later.
In the Spanish era, when the gold-mining industry of Paracale was at its peak, rich Spaniards would be swarming this beach. This is because majority of the gold reserve of the town was found by the beach.
Today, the Pulang DagaBeach is unmaintained, with leaves and fallen coconuts strewn all over the shore. But that is the beauty of this beach, it’s natural and it feels as if you are closer to nature even more.
How to get to Pulang Daga Beach
First, you would need to get to the Paracale town proper. Paracale, on its own, is pretty accessible in terms of usual transport. You have a lot of options: by car, by boat or by taking a bus ride to Paracale through Superlines or Philtranco.
Once you get to Paracale, navigating to the town proper will be fairly easy. From the town proper, the Pulang DagaBeach is only one tricycle ride away. Ask a tricycle driver to get you to the beach and you should be good to go.
What to do in the Pulang Daga Beach
Resorts in Paracale are generally modest – something that satisfies the basic comfort.
One notable resort is the Pulang DagaBeach Resort. Entrance fee is fairly cheap. For only 10 pesos, you can unwind and relax by the beach through this resort. Comfort rooms and cottages are also available.
What Pulang Daga Beach is
Earlier, I mentioned that the name of this beach means “red soil”. However, the red color of the soil is not easily noticeable.
I managed to witness a sunset by the Pulang DagaBeach, and that was when the magic happened. As the sun turned from a yellowish-orange to an orangey-red, the whole color of the sky was red. This red tint was reflected by the red in the soil of the beach.
And during that sunset, the soil really did look red.
This red beach is a slice of paradise that contains a sneaky little secret waiting for you to unravel.
Macolabo Island is another gem of this sleepy town. It takes approximately a one-hour boat ride from the fish port of Paracale and a half-hour boat ride if you are from the Pulang Daga Beach.
During the ride, the waves were quite strong so it felt like a joy ride for me. The ride was a bit rough but with a big boat, it should be fine. I had already experienced something similar when I went to Calayan, so it wasn’t much of a shock to me.
But others may find it scary. Don’t worry, though. The guide assured us that it was not usually that way. We just travelled on a rough day.
Despite the rough trip it took for us to get there, when we finally disembarked from our boat, everyone, including me was in awe. It was all worth it.
The beach was breathtaking. While the Pulang Daga Beach had red soil, the beach in Macolabo was a contrasting white. The white sand, combined with the clear skies and the emerald green water was definitely a sight to behold.
In order to travel to Macolabo, however, you would need to do some special arrangements beforehand. Contact the tourism officer, Sir Mark at +63938-408-7859 in order to put forth the necessary arrangements.During our trip, we rented a boat from Pulandaga Calaguas Adventure and honestly, it was good that we did because the boat was massive and more stable it was able to withstand strong waves. I highly recommend their boat.
We were told that there would be a hike. However, unfortunately, we were unable to do it as we had run out of time. The next time I get around to Macolabo, I will make sure to hike to the top as I’ve been told that the view is simply just beautiful.
4.Golden Trail With ATV
Another activity that you can enjoy in Paracale is to ride along the golden trail with a RRC ATV Motors.
It costs Php 900 per unit to get to the grotto, with ATV Motors, including the gears and the guide. The buggy costs Php 1200.
It would take 20 to 30 minutes to get there, depending on your skills as it’s a rough terrain. But nonetheless, it beginner-friendly, as the guide helps you out and it is fun. The trail was definitely a beautiful sight, but the view on top was even more beautiful.
On top, it was 360 degrees of beauty – water coves, lagoons and mountains lined the horizon. The trail is best done around 4PM or during the golden hour.
You can even have a picnic once you get there! I highly recommend this. It was such a fun and unforgettable experience for me.
ATV Motors can pick you up anywhere in Paracale.
How to Get to Paracale
I’ve brushed on how to get to Paracale earlier. But I’ll put a detailed guide on this subsection.
- Ride a bus from Manila to the Paracale/Panganiban route through Superlines or Philtranco. The terminals are found in Cubao and Pasay. I recommend Philtranco over Superlines.
- If you are driving by car, opt for the Manila-Bicol route. Don’t miss the junction after Tagkayawan, Quezon. Go straight to Sta. Elena and follow the road that leads to Talobatib in Labo. Roads are quite jumbled in Talobatib so make sure that you are heading to the direction of Panganiban.
- Take a plane from the Naga City airport to Daet, the capital of Camarines Norte.
- From Daet, take the vans that travel to Paracale. The ride from Daet to Paracale usually takes over an hour.
Paracale, a gold-mining sleepy town off the Northeast coast of Camarines Norte is only ever really known as the stopover the town of travelers trying to get to Caliguas Island.
But while stopping over, travelers discovered that this sleepy town has a lot of beautiful things to offer as well. Those were the four things that you can do and enjoy while in Paracale.
Want to read more travel guides for other places in the country? Check out our collection of many!