It was with typhoon Lando that my third visit in this ‘favorite’ island of mine that I’m going to share with you today took place.
I’m not sure why every time I set foot on this mystery island it seems to be accompanied most often with threatening clouds, skies, or seas and that the weather is likely to be bad. You see, my first visit here was when Typhoon Sendong came, and now, my third time, it’s Typhoon Lando.
A friend of mine even shared a story to me about this particular island, wherein according to him, it is in this island that all the negative energies in this side of the planet often converge and congregates.
Nevertheless, like every adventure story there is, nothing’s stopping the characters in venturing out the rough seas and stormy weather, amidst whatever story there is behind this majestic island.
So what’s the island I’m talking about? Yes, it is CAMIGUIN ISLAND (you probably guessed it already in the title! haha).
How to Go to Camiguin?
This is the route me and my friends took coming from Davao city.
Davao >> Cagayan De Oro >> Balingoan Port >> Camiguin
Here’s our Camiguin Weekend Itinerary
- Oct. 16, 2016 (Friday): Boarded 9pm Bus from Ecoland Terminal Davao City to Cagayan de Oro (6-7hrs travel time).
- Oct. 17 (Saturday):
- 5am arrival in CDO, head to Balingoan + ferry to Camiguin,
- 12noon arrival at Camiguin
- Afternoon Camiguin DIY tour
- Oct. 18 (Sunday): Camiguin inland tour (White Island tour’s not available this day due to Typhoon Lando)
- Oct. 19 (Monday):
- Morning tour to White Island (pwede na mag tour! yay!)
- 12 Noon: Check out from homestay in Camiguin
- 2pm: Took ferry to Balingoan
- 4pm: Van from Balingoan to Cagayan de Oro
- 6pm: Head back to Davao
- Take Rural Transit or Bachelor Express bus. They ply the BuDa route (Bukidnon-Davao). It will take you around 6-7 hours. Aircon nonstop first class with toilet will cost you 600 Pesos. There are discounts for students. It is best to take the bus at night and just sleep it off. When you wake up in the morning, voilah! you’ll already arrive in Cagayan de Oro!
- Upon arrival at Agora Bus Terminal in CDO, take a bus heading to BALINGOAN. There will be buses available in the same terminal. Take note that there are a lot of pesky van barkers who’ll follow you and insist to take you where you are heading. Just ignore them though. I always felt more safe riding in a bigger bus than a smaller van anyway.
- The trip from Cagayan de Oro to Balingoan will take you around 2 hours with multiple stops (no nonstop buses). Just enjoy the view though. Tip: Pick a seat on the LEFT SIDE of the bus to enjoy the scenic coastal view along the way!
- Upon arrival at Balingoan Bus terminal, no need to take a tricycle, you could just walk to the Balingoan Port, head left, cross the main road and in 300-500 meters you’ll reach the port.
- Direct ferries ply from Balingoan to Camiguin daily, almost every hour. Fare is at 170 Pesos + environmental tax of 5pesos and terminal fee of 15pesos.
Here are some wacky snapshots while aboard the ferry.
After an hour or two, you’ll disembark at the Port of Benoni (Camiguin’s main Port for ferries coming from Cagayan de Oro). You could arrange a multicab or van from your accommodation to fetch you from Benoni Port as this is 30 minutes away from Camiguin’s center in Mambajao and an hour away from Yumbing (where most accommodations I recommend are located). Rates are usually from 450-600 per vehicle.
How to go from Benoni to Mambajao and Yumbing in budget?
If you are in a budget travel though, you could take a public multicab outside Benoni Port to take you to Mambajao (fare is 30 pesos only), then from Mambajao take a tricycle or motorella to Yumbing for 10 pesos only. Not recommended though if you have a lot of hand carry baggage as the motorella is a bit small that you’ll share with other passengers.
Where to Stay in Camiguin?
Having visited Camiguin for the third time already, I’ve stayed in various budget accommodations. Below are some of my recommendations based on experience. I suggest choosing an accommodation located in YUMBING in Camiguin (30 minutes away from Mambajao, Camiguin’s center). This area’s near the beach if you’d like to go strolling on your free time, various recommended resto’s are also walking distance. This is also where the famous Paras Beach Resort in Camiguin is located. In front of it are lined with these affordable accommodations though for budget backpackers like us:
- Paguia’s Cottages (stayed here on my first visit on 2011)
- Location: Rocky Village,Yumbing,Camiguin
- Tel#: (088) 387-9018 / Call/Text : (+63) 09173107085
- Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rates: P800-1,000 per night for a room for 4pax. (Almost 200-250 pesos per person).
- Pabua’s Cottages (stayed here on my second visit in November 2013)
- Address: Rocky Village, Yumbing, Camiguin Island, Mambajao, 9100 Camiguin, Philippines
- Phone:+63 88 387 9033 / 09064152557
- Owner: Mr. Puloy Pabua
- Rates: P1,000-1,200 per night for a room for 4pax. (Almost 3oo pesos per person).
- Tabada Homestay (stayed here on our visit this time in 2015)
- Location: Rocky Village,Yumbing,Camiguin
- Contact No: 09186306672
- Booked at Agoda (Pay later option!)
- Rates: 1,200 for room for 4 pax. GOOD WIFI connection!
Camigun Fast Facts and Trivia
- The name “Camiguin “ is derived from the word “Kamagong,” the name of a tree in the ebony family. Original inhabitants of the island were the Manobos from Surigao.
- Do you know that Camiguin is the smallest island with the most number of volcanoes per square kilometer than any other island on earth?
- It is also the only place in the Philippines which has more volcanoes (7) than towns (5).
Amazing isn’t it?
Camiguin Island Tour
With only 64.5 kilometers of concrete circumferential road, the visitors are wowed by the accessibility of all the tourists spots. In a day, one can experience the sense of awe and wonder the scenic spots evoke.
Camiguin, the island, borne of volcanic fire, is a paradise. The geologic events of the past have carved the island perfect for adventure seekers. Here, one could trek the Mt. Hibok-hibok, or bathe in the natural hot spa in Ardent Hot Spring, swim in the cool waters of Sto. Nino Cold Spring, the Soda Water Pool, and the three falls – Katibawasan, Tuasan, and Pamonglo.
It has two famous islets, the White Island and the Mantigue, both endowed with white and powdery sands, and pool-like water forms where the weary can dip and relax. So many wonders, so many scenic spots, yet taking only few hours of your precious time to experience them all.
Camiguin Mainland Tour Rates
So how much is an inland tour in Camiguin? Note that this DOES NOT include the White Island tour (that goes for a separate fee ber boat).
Inland tour in Camiguin are usually done in vans and multicabs (my preferred option coz I just love the open air and the scenic views!). A full day tour will usually cost around 1,500 to 2,000 Pesos for each multicab.
We were able to haggle from 1,700 offered price to 1,500 (divided by the 5 of us, that’s 300 pesos for each person, not bad!)
So what are you waiting for, let’s go explore & experience Camiguin one by one!
Must Sees in Camiguin!
- 10:00 am –pick up from accommodation
- 10:30 — Tongatoc Cove
- 11:00 — Walkway to the Old Volcano (entrance fee is 5/head)
- 11:30 — Cross Marker and Sunken Cemetery (100 pesos per boat of 5-6pax)
- 12:30 – Lunch (and swim!) at Soda Water Park (entrance fee is 30/head)
- 2:00 pm – Tuasan Falls ( no entrance fee )
- 3:00 pm – Sto. Niño Cold Spring (entrance fee is 30/head)
- 4:00 pm – 16th Century Guiob Catarman Church Ruins
- 5:00 pm – Ardent Hot Spring Resort (entrance fee is 30/head)
- 6:00 pm – back to accommodation
Magic Number is 30!
Just something I’ve noticed, here in Camiguin, almost all entrance fees to resorts, hot springs, cold springs, etc. cost 30 PESOS! This is something implemented by their local government. So when you’re in Camiguin, just remember the number 30 (happens to be my favorite number too!)
1 . Tongatoc Cove Overview Spot
Just a quick stop here for a photo opt on this overlooking spot. The view’s simply amazing and stunning (add to that the boulder like waves below brought by typhoon Lando during our visit).
2. Walkway to the Old Volcano
Walkway to Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross is an 8 kilometer path with 14 human-sized stations situated at Mt. Vulcan in Barangay Bonbon, Catarman. The spot is actually one of the famous tourist destination in Camiguin Island especially during the Lenten Season as it serves as a pilgrimage site to Roman Catholic devotees.
3. Cross Marker and Sunken Cemetery
The Sunken Cemetery of Camiguin Island marks the swept remains of the island’s rested locals. Driven underwater when Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted in 1870’s, the large cross has served the town’s people, as well as the tourists, a scenic spot to memorialize the departeds buried there.
Only the crosses of the tombs can be seen above the water, as a reminder of the doomed cemetery, though some of the tombs may be visible during low tide.
Tip: For fun photos and shots to add to your album, I tell you most boatmen here in Camiguin that will accompany you to the cross marker do know amazing fun poses and camera tricks! Just give them an extra tip!
4. Soda Water Park
A pool filled with natural streaming soda water from the volcanic springs of Bura. It’s probably the only Soda spring in the Philippines. It has great scenery as its cold water provides a refreshing splash to bathers and picnickers.
Here I am and below me is source of the soda water flowing in this pool. I just love this shot! Pardon, I’m an Aquarian and a water lover at heart! haha 😀
5. Tuasan Falls
Tuasan Falls is the newest tourist attraction in the province of Camiguin. During my previous visits, mainland tours do not include a visit to Tuasan Falls, not until now. I found Tuasan Falls more beautiful though than Katibawasan (another waterfall in the island which had been included in tours since 2011, my first time here).
I love the falls’ rugged beauty and the natural setting of big rocks that complements with the flow of shivering cold crystal-clear water surrounded by rich flora. The water is really refreshing!
6. Sto. Niño Cold Spring
And when we couldn’t get enough of the cold from Tuasan Falls, we headed to another much colder water attraction in the island of Camiguin, the Sto. Nino Cold Spring!
The Sto Niño Cold Spring is a natural cold spring that flows down from Mt. Mambajao and is filtered by layers of minerals from the mountain, therefore it is clean. The temperature is naturally maintained from 20-25 degrees celsius.
Here’s more, during our visit to Sto Nino Cold Spring, me and my friends also discovered another activity!
FREE FISH SPA!
Oh yes! you heard that right! While me and my buddies were sitting by the pool, we noticed small fishes trying to come close and bit our toes! It was really ticklish and we couldn’t help ourselves from laughing and giggling! But boy, who can’t resist a free fish spa right?
7. 16th Century Guiob Catarman Church Ruins
The Old Church Ruins of Camiguin, built in 16th century is one of the oldest and unique structures in the island. Unique because it is made from coral stones. The Church was later destroyed to ruins because of the 1871 Mount Vulcan eruption.
Before, during my visit in 2011, there used to be a small chapel inside the ruins compound. However during our present visit, the chapel’s already gone.
At the back, there is a huge tree there that is said to be more than a century old. Nice to take photos below the tree.
8. Ardent Hot Spring Resort
Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort is a natural hot spring heated by Mt Hibok Hibok, an active volcano in the country.
This is by far my favorite destination in all of the spots offered in the Camiguin inland tour! I believe it is because of its calming effect it can give to an individual, a visit here is a great way to release stress after a day or week of work.
Backpackers and adventurers like us will surely love soaking in this hot spring after a long travel, island exploration and adventure in the Island of Camiguin. A perfect way to end Camiguin’s mainland tour!
Camiguin’s White Island Tour
And to save the best for last, our last day in Camiguin is spent exploring the popular White Island.
Luckily, the weather cooperated and we were allowed to set sail to White Island. Rate is at Php 450.00 for the boat that could accommodate 5-6 passengers to take you to the island, and Php 20.00 for environmental fee.
Camiguin indeed is a majestic place. Perhaps it is why it’s my and my travel buddy’s favorite island destination here in the Philippines. An island so small yet almost all kind of wonders are here – whether you are looking for a dip in the beach, a plunge in a cool water pool, a relaxing hot spring, everything’s already right here! It’s remote and simple yet warm and diverse. Nature lovers will surely enjoy it.
I love Camiguin and I am sure you will love it too. Hope this travel guide helps.
Cheers to more travels! Happy trails! ^^