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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

CAMIGUIN TRAVEL GUIDE: Itinerary, Budget + Attractions and Tour Contacts

If you are flying to Camiguin in time for the peak season which according to our guide starts April, I hope this travel guide can help you out. We flew in early February so we got to enjoy Camiguin without having to compete for space. As a result, chill chill lang.

In many cases, we were like "where is everybody?" We were the first to arrive in Katibasan Falls and the place was all for us for a while, alone in the church ruins, alone in Sto. Nino Hot Spring (lakas maka exclusive) and alone for a few hours in Mantigue Island. Saya-saya lang!

Manila >>Cagayan De Oro (Laguindingan) >> Balingoan Port >>Camiguin

enjoying myself in white island Camiguin
Cagayan De Oro-Camiguin
Flight Details
Manila-CDO Feb.6 (Friday) 10:00-11:30am
Return Feb.10 (Tuesday) 12:30-2:00pm

Feb.6 CDO overnight
Feb.7 -Camiguin
Feb.8 -Camiguin
Feb.9 -Camiguin/ CDO
Feb 10-flight back to MNL

About Camiguin Island

Barely 240 square kilometers in land area, Camiguin is the second smallest island of the Philippines in both area and population. It is just 23 kilometers at its longest and just a bit more than 14 kilometers at its widest. Within this small area lie seven volcanoes. Lovely little Camiguin is the island “born of fire.”
You can go around the island (following the coast) for two hours. That's how small it is.

Here is a tourist map of Camiguin with the attractions marked on it >>> Map
People always remember Camiguin with White Island (the sandbar) and Sunken Cemetery. The White Island is indeed a marvel, my favorite of all and the Sunken Cemetery (although so so) is a trademark of the island, but there is more to this island than those. Such a small place packed with attractions. If there is one word to describe the experience , it would be "wet". Get ready to be wet, start with Katibawasan Falls, you'll get wet, then there are the pools--- soda pool, cold spring, hot spring-- then White Island and Mantigue Island. Not to mention the many other remote waterfalls scattered among the seven volcanoes here. Pack a lot of spare clothes and get ready to get wet!


1.Katibawasan Falls
I was a bit disappointed with the place at first. I was hoping for a little walk into the wild, certainly not like that of Ditumabo Falls aka MOTHER FALLS in San Luis Aurora, pero ito naman kasi sampung kembot muna sa parking area ayan na sya. Walang kahirap hirap. Easy to get easy to forget? And it is gated too. So as to make sure people have no way of running away from paying the entrance fee. But it is very accessible. Sige na nga. And the waterfalls itself is lovely. It's so high that it wouldn't fit in the frame of my 18mm lens when at its banks. The drop is well organized. Thin and white cutting into the air. On contact with the ground below, you can feel its power. Water is very clear and we enjoyed dipping here although cold.

Here's the Trick:

To have a relaxed and pleasurable Camiguin Trip 
1. Gather as much information about the place as possible. Do your homework. Huwag tamad. 

2. Contact a reliable Tour Company.

Do-it-yourself tour around all the significant attractions in Camiguin won't work unless you plan on renting a motorbike.

The cheapest but still comfortable way is to go on a "multicab tour". It's open air but fun. You don't really need an airconditioned van here. Air is fresh and the view is amazing so no need to confine yourself in a tinted transportation.

We were lucky to have found Teddy online. Teddy is the owner/manager of a small tour group called Camiguin Transport. He has a few multi cabs for hire and travel packages suit for your budget and schedule. He is very diligent in checking his email and replying to text messages so streamlining our tour based on our time availability was so easy.

Contact Person: 
Camiguin Province Accredited Local Tour Guides
Globe: +62 9175219391
Smart: +63 939-2440521
Blog: http://camiguintransport.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/camiguintransport
E-MAIL: teddypabualan@gmail.com

2.Tongatoc Cove
Just a quick stop here for a photo opt would be fine. It is more of an overlooking spot where you can appreciate the view.

3.Walkway To Old Volcano --I tell you, just skip this place. Sayang Oras.

4.Sunken Cemetery
Whilst there is nothing much to do here except for staring at the cross marker by the sea while from the mainland side, (try sipping fresh coconut juice for added drama.lols)  the place is significant because it encapsulates the story of Camiguin. There used to be a cemetery where the cross marker erects until a volcanic eruption and earthquake submerged the spot under the sea. It represents the ever changing landscape of the small island with its not one but seven volcanoes, some of them still active. It also represents the determination of the people here to continuously dance the tune of the island's ever changing geography. Fine, you can rent a boat to get to the cross marker. One can also dive underwater but our guide said there is nothing much to see anymore as the cemetery has been taken by the sea. ^^

5. 16th Century Guiob Church Ruins
Just like any church ruins, there is nothing much to see except the moss that has grown in the remaining walls of what is used to be a church. Appreciate the history though. Quick stop is okay. No entrance fee but feel free to leave a tip at the tip box at the entrance.

DAY 1: Mainland Tour
9:00am --pick up camiguin port
10:00 --katibawasan falls (entrance fee is 30/head)
12:00 --accommodation to check in luggage
12:30pm Lunch
1:30pm --tongatoc cove (no entrance fee)***
2:00pm --walkway to old volcano via crucis (entrance fee is 5/head)
3:00pm --sunken cemetery ( no entrance fee )
3:30pm --16th century guiob church ruins (no entrance fee)
4:00pm --sto nino cold spring (entrance fee is 30/head)
5:00pm --ardent hot spring (entrance fee is 30/head)
7:00pm -- Dinner
8:00pm --back to accommodation

6. Sto Nino Cold Spring
Even those who keep the place might have thought we were a crazy bunch going here late afternoon in early February when it is still relatively cold in the Philippines. Who in his normal mind will dip in a cold spring if it is not even summer? That explains why we were the only people here during our visit as if we exclusively booked the place, a very big pool of natural cold spring water. While it might be mainly for experience, it makes sense because cold water relaxes the body in a similar fashion that hot water does. Do you remember how public baths usually have hot pools and cold pools? 

Really very relaxing. Plus the pool is huge so there is no feeling of being crowded and the water is super clean, so clear that you can see your feet even 5 feet so so under and the sandy base of the pool which makes it so nice because even when you go around and hit on the sand and small rocks in it, it doesn't make the water murky. The fun part is, there are many small fish in the pool, almost miniature, the ones which feed on moss. These are the same kind you find in fish spas which gather mainly on your feet and chip on the dead cells on it. Kakakiliti. Kakatuwa. We enjoyed the place for a while until we decided to transfer to our final destination for the day ----hot spring naman.

7. Soda Pool--skip skip skip.Sayang Oras uli.
8. Ardent Hot Spring
Quite a disappointment really. We didn't set very high expectations, we simply wanted a hot bath in a natural bath. I imagined it would be steaming like MAQUINIT HOT SPRING in Coron, after all, Camiguin is a volcanic island so I expected a hot spring to be hot spring. We were wearing our wet clothes coming from the cold springs and traveled 30 minutes to get here and it was already dark when we arrived so we were thinking of a relaxing hot dip. 

Not only that the water was not that hot, the pools are not neatly maintained. I don't know how it looks like during the day but at night I felt uncomfortable kasi parang madumi. Not exactly the water because it is spring water but I felt like its too mossy around. Not so organized, not so well conceptualized. Still, that doesn't stop the crowd from coming. I find it crowded. There are different levels and we started in the middle section and nilamig kami. The water is not hot, just warm. We moved to the highest portion and somebody overheard us complaining that it is not hot enough for our liking she advised us to go to the lowest section where there is a small pool with water sourced from a different spring, that's the hottest pool. Sure was the hottest but still not hot enough. Okay lang. I think they better call it Ardent Warm Springs instead. Tsk tsk tsk. Well ^^
DAY2: Island Tour

5:00am Leave for white island sand bar 
(entrance fee is 20/head,boat is 450 good for 6pax)
11:00am --back in Camiguin mainland/ pasalubong shopping (optional)
12:00 noon--Lunch
2:00pm --back in accommodation
5:00pm --Market + pasalubong

8.White Island
Save the best for last indeed. The last two places we were to in Camiguin were the top 2 spots here ---White Island and Mantigue Island -- with the former solely on our 2nd day in Camiguin.

White Island is my favorite of all. It lands only 2nd to Mantigue Island in Tripadvisor but this one is my first. After all, there are not so many sandbars in the Philippines in contrast to beaches. Some people complain that there are not so many things to do here. Meaning, aura aura lang? Hahahaha. Lakas kasi maka feel-good ng place. Postcard perfect because of the good proximity to mainland so the volcano view at the background is indeed imposing. Yes, it's only 5 minutes by boat plus it faces the beautiful side of Camiguin.

At malakas signal. Selfie-lovers clapping. Mountain, sky, sea, plus white sand all in one frame. Dramatic, grand! And it is longer and wider than I thought. Walking from tip to tip will definitely tire you. Be careful with your steps though, it is a coral island so some areas have not so fine sand. There some rocks too and corals so you could hurt your bare feet. Don't expect so much on the fine sand component but I find it fine enough. The roughness of sand in some sections somewhat gives a feel that this island is here to stay, it is steadfast amidst the constant challenge of the sea. And it's not just the sandbar, even meters away from the shoreline is white sand so I find snorkeling a fun activity too. Ang linaw ng tubig. Trick is, go here early before sunrise or late before sunset and you will definitely enjoy. Huwag tanghaling tapat coz even if there are big umbrellas for rent, lakas maka nognog dito because the island is bare. It's a sandbar for god's sake. Hahahaha

DAY 3: Island Tour

5:00 -check out/ leave for Manigue Island
7:00am --arrive in Mantigue Island
12:00 noon Lunch at Mantigue
1:00pm --leave for mainland
2:00pm --Benoni Port/ Leave for CDO

9.Mantigue Island
And what the fuss is Mantigue Island about that it lands in the #1 spot of attractions in Camiguin on Tripadvisior? Unahan ko na, yes it is a nice island and I love it too, but I still like White Island more. This looks like a typical island with beach for me. The thing is, there is flora on it so there is refuge from the heat of the sun. That said, you can stay longer and enjoy the place more. Almost same price --entrance fee, boat rental. A little farther from mainland but still close enough so as not to worry about big waves.

Mantigue island is in the Eastern side while White Island is way up North. This one is closer to Benoni Port (tanaw na actually from the port) so you can schedule it on either your first day in Camiguin or the last day before heading back to CDO. We did the latter. We were not to rush back to Cagayan until afternoon so we spent half day here. Snorkeling is a fun activity. There is a marine sanctuary here, a protected area marked by buoys. You can snorkel and see giant clams and corals but don't expect something like the ones in  Coron's Coral Garden.

The sand is weird. Like layers in a cake, varying from super fine and soft to big granules. You can notice that not as you walk through the lenght of the beach but from the shorline to the interior. Especially next to the marine sanctuary, nakakatuwa na nakakainis. hahaha

Walk around the island and you will be surprised that there is a village on the other side. This island is multi-faceted indeed. It has it's rough side and soft side, and a solid center. Somebody at the one and only store in the island mentioned of a giant tree at the center of the island which we failed to see because we were about to leave at that time. 

Where To Stay
Myrna's Bamboo Cottages
A mansion occupying a big space in the compound with kubo (hut houses) below near the sea. Don't be confused. The stone house is the owner's mansion and the kubo (originally only two for the son of the owner when he vacations in the Philippines), the cottages has increased to 9  that you can rent overnight for as low as 800 pesos. That's for two pax. Very fitting for a seaside setting. Airy. Comfortable. Functional. " Island feel". Scared about bugs or mosquito? Worry not because of lovely mosquito net in each bed. Lakas maka-honeymoon din.

Where To Eat:Check Point
I think we failed on the restaurant component of this trip. I heard there are popular seafood restaurants next to a lagoon near Benoni port but it's just too far from our accommodation which was way up North. The thing about Camiguin is that you have to go around the island, along the coast, to get to the other side. In short, since accommodations are scattered, you have to stay satisfied with the restaurants near where you stay. Good that we have one a little nearby which our cab driver suggested. Not too pricey but not cheap either. Food is good. Seafood is the popular order. For a group of 5 pax plus our driver, we spent 1,100 pesos here for lunch. Not bad. On other occasions, we ate in simple karenderyas with ihaw-ihaw and on one night, we bought some fish at the market and had the inn housekeeper help us prepare.

(Essentials Only)

200 --Airport to CDO Town (van)
200 --Van to Balingoan
430 --Camiguin Tour B  (2,150 /5)
160 --Entrance Fees
90 --Boat to White Island 450/5
110 --Boat to Mantigue Island (Optional) 550/5
1,200--12 Meals X 100php (5D/4N)
1,440 --accommodation (4 nights)
150 --Ferry from Benoni Port Camiguin to Balingoan
200-- Balingoan Ferry Terminal to CDO (2hrs) –200 van
200 --Terminal Fee (airport)
Php 4,380 –GRAND TOTAL/pax


Entrance Fee:

katibawasan falls --30/head
tongatoc cove (no entrance fee)***
walkway to old volcano via crucis-- 5/head
sunken cemetery-- ( no entrance fee )
16th century guiob church ruins-- (no entrance fee)
soda water pool--30/head
sto nino cold spring -- 30/head
ardent hot spring--30/head
white island sand bar--20/head
mantigue island --10/head

Camiguin indeed is a nice place.I call it a super island. So many attractions in a compact area limited by the seven volcanoes occupying most the area. It's remote and simple yet warm and diverse. Nature lovers will enjoy it. People are relaxed and peaceful. No wonder why many foreigners like going here and they stay for weeks, even months. I love Camiguin and I am sure you will love it too. Hope this travel guide helps. Will write specific posts soon and will continuously update this one.

Happy travels! ^^



  1. hi sir anton,

    Such an informative blog, the photos were awesome...

    thank you for getting our service and visiting our island as well.

    hoping to see you around in the island next time..... =)


    teddy pabualan
    pabualan cottage incharge/ camiguin province accredited guide
    0917-5219391 / 0939-2440521

  2. I can't understand how you have said you like Camiguin. Your reviews on Camiguin tourist spots tell otherwise.

  3. Because I can say so. Because saying you love the place doesn't mean you love it 100% but you can still love it. You get it?

  4. Hi Sir! nagdownpayment ba kau sa camiguin tour guide?

    1. Yes, yes, policy yan ni Teddy. Di naman 100% eh. go for it! ^^

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  6. Hi Sir! Mar available motorcycle for rent and how much it cost? TIA!

  7. Hi Sir! May available motorcycle for rent and how much it cost?

    1. me mga nagpapa rent ng bike, me option din na with driver.ikaw angkas. diko nga lang sure magkanu ang rate ^^

  8. Hi,ung dun po ba sa grand total kasama na din dun ung bayad sa tour guide?

    1. Yes. Except tip of course. kayo na bahala don decide .

  9. Hello as ko lng how much per pax pag davao city base

  10. Hi you have mentioned that Camiguin Tour B and kinuha nyo.. so bale ang Day one nyo is not pa covered sa Tour B ni kuya Teddy? since Island nyo is DAy 2 and Day 3 ung sa White Sand Bar... let me know poh :)

  11. Hi you have mentioned that Camiguin Tour B and kinuha nyo.. so bale ang Day one nyo is not pa covered sa Tour B ni kuya Teddy? since Island nyo is DAy 2 and Day 3 ung sa White Sand Bar... let me know poh :)

  12. Share ko lang If pabalik na kayo from benoni to balingoan port if may dala kayo na sasakyan lalo na van for hire at grupo kayo. Pagbaba niyo sa benoni port baba kayo lahat except sa driver. Pag mag insist driver niyo na wag kayo bababa. Insist niyo na magbabayad kayo mismo sa counter. Minsan pati driver kasabwat. Kayo na mismo magbabayad sa counter. Huwag niyo idaan sa porter kase pinagkakakitaan yan. Imbes na adult ang bayad dinedeclare pambata. Kinokunsabo ang tao na nasa counter. Kayo rin baka masita kayo pagsakay sa ferry boat pagkakita sa ticket niyo. Maging alisto. Isa pa mag lista kayo sa manifesto. Just in case malunod at magkadisgrasya may habol pamilya niyo. Nangyari yan june 12 pabalik na.


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