Finally, I’ve set foot in one of the country’s hidden gems. I was on assignment in Calayan Island in the Babuyanes and in between, I got to enjoy this piece of paradise in this part of the Philippines. Though it was just a few days, it was very memorable. I’m planning a longer trip later this year. It was the best beach place I’ve been to. Better than Boracay, not in terms of sand but the pure delight I had in plunging and bathing into its crystal clear waters that we just had to ourselves. Even better than Flower Island.
The first time I saw Cibang Cove was a photo when I talked with my client in a bid to entice me to do the assignment. I had no qualms doing it. In fact, the first time I heard that it will be in Calayan Island, the Babuyanes, my eyes lit up, and heard hosannas in the air.
But being in Cibang Cove was a different experience. The place is just so marvelous. Think of Anawangin and Nagsasa Coves in Zambales but better. No tents, and people. Pristine waters, dirty white beach hemmed in by soaring cliffs and mountains. But Cibang Cove is just one of a series of coves in the area separated only by a rocky formation at one end and the edge of a cliff at the other before the next one starts.
While there is a lone open structure with GI roofing, it’s so forlorn as to just disappear from view. There are also huts made from light materials and the best thing here is that you can just camp, grill fish, watch the moonrise and be with friends.
What Cibang Cove can really offer is the solitude, the feeling of being stranded in some unknown but beautiful island paradise. And to think that this is in out-of-the-way Calayan Island in the Babuyanes. Forlorn but unforgettable. I had the time of my life frolicking at its beach, especially that it was such a beautiful day and the sea was calm.
One thing though is that the beach is somewhat inclined and just a few meters can be neck deep already. The underwater current can also be tricky. But really, just beautiful. I can’t help but shout with glee!
When’s the best time to go? During April when the Babuyan Channel is calm. But the current pristine situation may not last for long. Already, there are plans to develop the place for tourism and cabanas will be built in the area plus a road is already under construction.
The best way to get to Cibang Cove is via lampitaw (a motorized pump boat) or even a speedboat, which we took courtesy of the Calayan LGU. Its just a few minutes from the Calayan town proper. An alternate is to walk all the way to the cove from the town proper which just takes 1 hour. Just ask locals for directions.
Places to stay
There are no places to stay in Cibang Cove. Camping is the only way to go.