To be honest, I never heard of Mantigue Island before going to Camiguin so I thought it was worth the check, and the comparison. For me, here is the contrast between the two.
Before that, feel free to read the following
White Island : Northern Tip (near town center)
Location-wise, both are accessible. For Mantigue Island, you can actually see it from Benoni Port so you can easily drop by here upon arrival or before leaving Camiguin. The thing about White Island is that it is way North where the municipal core of Camiguin here which also is the concentration of the island's population as well as most accommodations.
Distance from Main Island
White Island: 5 minutes by boat ( pwede languyin. Joke!)
In terms of access from the nearest port to the following attractions, it is easier to go to White Island because it only takes 5 minutes via small pump boat. But twenty minutes for Mantigue is not bad at all.
Boat Rental Rates:
White Island: 450/ boat
Not much difference in terms of boat rental. 100 pesos more if you are a group of 5 wouldn't hurt at all. In terms of entrance fee, it's 20 pesos per head for White Island and 10 pesos per head for Mantigue. Same environmental fee for 20 pesos per pax. So if you are a group of five, you spend almost the same amount on either destinations for boat rent and entrance fees. The thing with Mantigue though is that the boat rent is good for only 4 hours. Yes, and we felt pressured with out boatman reminding us that our 4 hours is up when in fact he couldn't remember what time we docked at the island and he doesn't have a watch to tell time. We did and we asserted that it was not yet time to leave. He went back to his boat with a frown in his face.
White Island: Sandbar , Vegetation. NO
Since White Island is a sandbar with no vegetation at all, you will be exposed to the scorching heat of the sun. The advice I got from a friend before going to Camuguin "dala kayo payong sir at lagay ng maraming sunblock, lakas maka-nognog". So my advice to you is to better be in White Island early in the morning before sunrise or late afternoon for sunset. We got here 5:30am and left 10am so we really enjoyed the place, especially before the crowd started building. Better secure a beach umbrella for rent at around 150 pesos. Sulit na. At least you have a spot to go back to when you feel like resting under a shed. Surprisingly, White Island is larger and longer than I expected, it could accommodate quite a sizable number of tourists at one time so you can still find your perfect spot to lay on the sand. For a romantic stroll, you to the tip, that's where the crowd are too lazy to go to so you can still have your moment alone or with a special someone. Not sure during summer though, the place might be overflowing with people.
White Island: friendly and relaxed
I don't know if I can generalize on this but only speaking of our experience, people in White island ( from port assistance to boatman to vendors) were a lot friendlier and tourist oriented. We were so relaxed while at the island because we were not bothered by anybody unlike in the case of our boatman in Mantigue. And also the vendors at the lone store in Mantigue were stiff. Tsk tsk tsk
White Island: Yes. (Makeshift store)
I think I need to emphasize this. The thing about Camiguin is that the population, and therefore establishments including restaurants and food shops, are on coastal areas. And that coastal area on most part of the island is thin limited by the 7 volcanoes occupying most of the island center. That means it's not easy to hop from one restaurant to another for your food needs. And if you are lazy like us, and too excited to be in White Island (and even Mantigue) before sunrise, chances are you tend not to eat breakfast or even forget about it because of over-excitement. Then a few hours later, you feel starved. Worry not. There is a store (one and only) in White Island which sells basics like chips, beer, saba, softdrinks and best of all, cooked dishes. And the price is reasonable. One order of a vegetable dish costs 25 pesos and 45 pesos for meat. We had breakfast here after discovering this amidst the dramatic backdrop. Food suddenly became more delicious because of the view.
Same is the case in Mantigue, only one store except that this on is permanent. And it opens 9:00am. We were in Mantigue before 8:30am so there was nobody to talk to or collect our fee for the cottage. When it finally opened, we figured that food here is way more expensive.
White Island: White Sand. Fine -coarse/grainy.
Mantigue Island: White Sand. Super-fine -very coarse.
That feeling though is short lived because immediately around that section, the sand could go to coarse and then very coarse. In one area, you can find layers of fine sand, coarse sand and coral deposits. Mantigue is such an extreme when it comes to the sand component. White Island is more consistent.
Both Island are prefect for snorkeling because of sandy seabed extending meters and meters beyond the shoreline. Mantigue Island has a little edge because it has this section they call marine sanctuary where one can see giant corals and clams. Don't expect something like the ones in Coron's Coral Garden where corals are so packed you can hardly notice any space from one coral to another. At Mantigue's Marine Sanctuary, you have to be patient in snorkeling to see one coral after another as they seabed is mostly sand with a few surprises. Mabibigla kanalang, ay, me isang malaking coral, and then a few meters away, me isa na naman. Pa-isa-isa nga lang.
The Feel-good Experience
At the end of the day, it is not about how beautiful the place is, it helps, but it is more of the overall experience. I call that, " the feel-good experience" and I really felt soooo good in White Island. My friends did too. I dreamed of this and it didn't fail me.
White Island is a standout for me. There many sandbars in the Philippines but this one is the grandest in my opinion because of the dramatic backdrop of the volcano in the main island. Lakas kasi maka feel-good ng place. Postcard perfect and thanks to its proximity to mainland cellular signal is strong. Ang sarap mang-inggit sa social media on real-time status updates. I enjoyed snorkeling in Mantigue Island but I love having a perfect tan in White Island. Pag ganito ang backdrop, sarap humilata sa beach. Sorry Mantigue but White Island is my #1 destination in Camiguin.
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-- CAMIGUIN TRAVEL GUIDE: Itinerary, Budget + Attractions and Tour Contacts
P.S. 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.
Camiguin Province Accredited Local Tour Guides
Globe: +62 9175219391 Smart: +63 939-2440521