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!
HOW TO GET THERE:
Manila >>Cagayan De Oro (Laguindingan) >> Balingoan Port >>Camiguin
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
To have a relaxed and pleasurable Camiguin Trip
Do-it-yourself tour around all the significant attractions in Camiguin won't work unless you plan on renting a motorbike.
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.
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.
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. ^^
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
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?
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.
5:00am Leave for white island sand bar
11:00am --back in Camiguin mainland/ pasalubong shopping (optional)
2:00pm --back in accommodation
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
7:00am --arrive in Mantigue Island
12:00 noon Lunch at Mantigue
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.
EXPENSES: Per Pax
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)
150 --Ferry from Benoni Port Camiguin to Balingoan
200-- Balingoan Ferry Terminal to CDO (2hrs) –200 van
Php 4,380 –GRAND TOTAL/pax
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! ^^
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