Cibang Cove, a glimpse of heaven

Panoramic view of Cibang Cove at noon. This would've been better in the morning. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Calayan Is. in red

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.

Up close and personal, piece of paradise.

At the other end of the cove. CLICK TO ENLARGE

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.

Getting There
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.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.


  1. flip
    June 21, 2011 @ 14:57

    ang ganda!!! sobrang daming magagandang beach talaga sa pinas…

  2. marky
    June 21, 2011 @ 15:16

    Hope this wont end up as Nagsasa and Anawangin. I’m sure it wont as only hardened travelers can reach this place, those who have no qualms camping on a tent without the help of any solid infrastructures that does more damage to a place.

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    June 22, 2011 @ 9:38

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  4. thepinaysolobackpacker
    June 22, 2011 @ 12:52

    coolness! balak namen sana dito dumerecho ni angel date. there’s a ferry kase s port ng sta.ana.

  5. estan
    June 22, 2011 @ 16:53

    @flip, ang ganda talaga, sobra 🙂
    @marky, not for long. there are plans to put up cabanas and a road is now being constructed that will lead to this area
    @gael, the ferry service stopped due to motor defects, it will resume probably on july

  6. halfwhiteboy
    June 22, 2011 @ 19:06

    @estan, but how do i get to calayan town?

    June 22, 2011 @ 19:51

    => I hope and pray that this place will just remain as it is. No commercialization, no dirt, no concrete, just as beautiful as it is. Just preserve it the way it is. Never mind the economic chances. Let people and tourists just visit this place as it is. Hay… sana hindi ito magbago.

  8. estan
    June 22, 2011 @ 23:03

    @mel, upcoming post ang getting there sa calayan and places to stay too 🙂

    @ed, sana nga lang

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  13. kill3rfill3r
    June 28, 2011 @ 23:14

    Ganda ng cove…sana mapuntahan ko rin to. As always galing ng article at photography. Keep it up sir!

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  16. renante
    July 23, 2011 @ 15:18

    Wow…. heaven!!..sana mapanatiling ganito kaganda at ma preserve ang lugar na ito. Hope locals will learn to be a good steward of God’s awesome nature’s blessings.

  17. estan
    July 23, 2011 @ 15:50

    @renante, you should really visit the place while it’s pristine 🙂

  18. pors
    September 17, 2011 @ 20:43

    glad to see this one. im a native of that place 😀

  19. estan
    September 18, 2011 @ 10:44

    @pors, thanx for visiting 🙂

  20. Joemill
    September 23, 2011 @ 13:43

    nindota gud ani bai. 🙂

  21. reagan joseph villanueva
    September 23, 2011 @ 19:42

    Wow, very nice place. I did not know that Calayan has this kind of beach. When I went to the island few years back, I went straight to the forest.

  22. maveric
    October 17, 2011 @ 15:08


    Hope to have to have enough courage to brave BAbuyan Channel… ahhahah. Kudos to this post!This part of the Phil is proving to be a haven of wonders…

  23. Carlo
    October 17, 2011 @ 15:50

    Thanks for sharing. I just wish I could go there soon. >_< i have to do a lot of research pa on budget and how to get there hehe. 🙂

  24. jennifer u consumido
    October 17, 2011 @ 16:11

    cibang cove is truly nice! i like those photos… i did a watercolor of it. visit my profile… it’s in mmy album “palette”

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  27. eon
    January 27, 2012 @ 19:39

    Ang ganda talaga ng Calayan…i miss my hometown….i thank God for his wisdom in designing such a wonderul as Calayan…thanks sir for posting such awesome pictures of cibang cove and other views of Calayan…two thumbs up!!

  28. Anonymous
    February 14, 2012 @ 22:21

    maganda talaga eon. i really want to go back there

  29. Mustachio
    February 17, 2012 @ 15:16

    What a beautiful beach. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  30. Claire | Traveling Light
    April 3, 2013 @ 16:28

    “solitude, the feeling of being stranded in some unknown but beautiful island paradise” –> Love that feeling too! =) I wonder how the cove is like now.

  31. Deeji
    April 3, 2013 @ 18:46

    Nakapunta na’ko dun. Ganda! Lalo na pag-full moon!

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