Take me to…Apuao Grande Island

List this place down as your next camping site. Pretty Australian pine trees grow on the island blessed by a white sand beach

Photo by JP Sarmenta

A 45-minute outrigger boat ride away from Mercedes, Camarines Norte, Apuao Grande Island has a beautiful stretch of white sand beach with an unusual display of bright green agoho trees (Australian pine), instead of the usual tropical palm.

The island is a perfect spot for campers and those who want to unplug and reconnect with nature. You can pitch your tent on the beach or under the trees, or rent one of the island's budget beach huts. Bring your own food and drinks and other essentials. Expect limited electricity supply, though this wasn't always so.  The privately-owned island was once home to a luxury beach resort with a golf course and a mini-zoo. After widespread devastation brought about by several typhoons, the resort closed own in 2006. The resort’s crumbling ruins still remain on the island.

The fastest way to get to Camarines Norte from Manila is by air. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air fly from Manila to Naga City Airport, a one-hour flight. From Naga City, travel by passenger van to Daet, and from there take a jeepney to Mercedes. From Mercedes port, take a 45-minute boat ride to Apuao. Boats can be arranged with the Municipal Tourism Development Operation Centre (MTDOC) of Mercedes. Email discovermercedes@yahoo.com to make arrangements.

Pubished November 2015