Camiguin, come again

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an island born of fire

Camiguin is the second smallest province in the country, next to Batanes. Its charm lies in its being an unexciting place for people looking for a wild night on the town. Even the capital town of Mambajao tends to sleep early at night, with just a videoke pub on Roof Top for those who would want to spend an evening outside of their  resorts.

The island is a perfect eco-tourism destination. Beaches, nearby islands, volcanoes, hot and cold springs, waterfalls, and lots of hiking and trekking opportunities.

Mantigue Island, off Mahinog, Camiguin

Accommodations are also varied. From high-end resorts offering amenities similar to Metro Manila hotels, to back packers’  hostels at P250 per night. Island tours can be done in air-conditioned comfort by renting vans, or in the sturdy jeepney-like Multicabs, on motorbikes that can be rented for P500 for the whole day, on motorellas (like the tricycles of Metro Manila), on habal habal, or simply by walking.

On a visit ages ago, I walked around the island, all 64 kilometers of the coastal road, spending the night in resorts in whatever  town I am in by end of the day.  Only to move out in the morning and continue walking – –  on to the next town where I would spend another night.  I spent two nights outside of Mambajao then, and was back in this capital town on the third day.

On this latest visit, I rented a multicab to cover as much sights as I could in one day.After picking me up from the resort at 9am, we proceeded to the tourist-listed  destinations:

Ardent Hot Spring is at the foot of the Hibok Hibok volcano, some 3 kilometers from the main road. The water is normally at 40 Celsius, making it an ideal overnight swimming destination. Accommodations are available within this resort.

one of the hot spring pools at Ardent

We passed by a very familiar old house, with the same sign “Paradiso” that I saw some 15 years ago. Apparently, the owner of the old restaurant has maintained the lease on the old house, but now does business nearby, using another business name – – Luna Ristorante Italiano.

Paradiso reminded me of a visit to Camiguin 15 years ago

Old Vulcan was next, with the Way of the Cross as a stop. There are 300 steps to complete the Via Crucis, but I made do with the first 2 stations.

they call this the old volcano, maybe until it one day decides to prove to them it is not that old, and explode

the agony in the garden

Immediately next is a fish sanctuary where a cemetery was sunk by a volcanic eruption, and where a cross now stands as a marker to define the area of the Sunken Cemetery.

Nearby is the Guiob Church ruins, with a small chapel inside the ruins.I thought that the church or the government should have kept the character and feel of the ruined church, and should not have built that chapel inside the  ruins. Maybe an altar using old stones would have been more appropriate.

I bought a pack of lanzones for P90 from vendors near the ruins, not wanting to pass up the chance to savor Camiguin’s most famous produce.

P90 because it is not exactly in season

Next stop was the SODA Swimming Pool, that I will make sure I skip on a next tour, and advise friends not to waste time on. Nothing extraordinary here, and the pool is not even spectacular.

But Sto Nino Cold Springs is a stop I will recommend to friends. Not only is the water refreshing, the place has picnic sheds for P50 and there are women outside of the complex who would arrange to cook dishes for you – – – freshly cooked lunch (1/2 kilo kinilaw, 1/2 kilo tinola manok, 1/2 kilo inihaw na baboy, rice, and 3 pcs fresh buco was only P540, including the cooking and the utensils that they themselves will set up, and move out, of your picnic shed.

a nice place to stop for lunch, and have food freshly cooked by locals

 

P540 worth, must be good for 5-6 persons, freshly cooked and delivered to my P50 shed by the pool

 

We also visited the town of Guinsiliban where I took a photo of a row of boats on the shore.

Guinsiliban boats

Part of Guinsiliban is Barangay Cantaan, home of the giant clams, with some measuring as long as 2 meters. The clams can be viewed live on the water, with fees arranged thru the volunteers of this park.

live giant clams in this DENR-supervised local initiative

 

rates to view the clams – in their habitat

 

It was the feast of St John (San Juan) and it was a holiday in Camiguin. People went to the beach, including White Beach in Cantaan.

the white sand beach in Cantaan (the only other white sand beach is White Island, 10 minutes by boat, P500 boat hire)

Somewhere near the beach, in a cluster of shrubs and a tree, I saw this sign that struck me for the way it expressed the truth and the inevitable consequence of being irresponsible with nature. Forget the grammar, but I urge everyone to keep this in their hearts.

A big group was having a program, when a dirty ice cream vendor passed by. He was immediately surrounded by the entire beach population, and it took rather long before my turn to buy 3 scoops at P5 came. It was like a scene straight out of EDSA, with the vendor literally being mobbed.

as if this was the last ever ice cream on earth !

I patiently waited for my turn

 

We then stopped for coffee at J&A Fishpen, a popular seafood restaurant. So popular they charge a P5 entrance fee to those who come just to take photos. I ordered coffee instead, so the entrance fee was waived.

the lagoon is NOT man-made

Enigmata is an artists’ haven. I liken it to Tam-awan Village in Baguio. I met two resident artists, Vincent and Venson, who toured me around the area. I commented about the name, and how appropriate Enigmata, from the root word enigma, is to the place. Until I was told that while it was a good coincidence, Enigmata is actually Bisaya for “open your eyes”. Because that is their mission:  to open people’s eyes to their various art forms. painting, including using sand as the medium, sculpture, installation art, the creation of things like bongoes, beads, etc. Anything creative.  They even have accommodations for backpackers, dormitory-type or private rooms. I said I will definitely stay in this place at least one night when I return.

Open your eyes!

Our last stop for the day was near Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin, the resort I was staying in on the day of the tour. We went to Katibawasan Falls. It is 240 meters long, cascading from the top of a mountain onto a lagoon. It is a breathtaking sight, with the forest around it lending serenity to the gushing water. Picture perfect.

240 feet down

Accommodations

I stayed on the first night in Camiguin Golden Sunset Beach Club, booking what I thought was a beachfront cottage. As it turns out, it was a room in a structure with 4 rooms facing the sea, at P2,600 per day when off season. Other rooms cost P2,000 per day.  I was welcomed by the guy who took my booking, and was ushered to my room. I also met Philip, an Englishman who owns the place, married to a Filipina. He goes by the local name Pipong, speaks Bisaya and Camiginon, having been in the Philippines very long. He even wrote a clear perspective of the Pinoys to brief foreign guests. Try to click on that when you go to their website :    http://www.camiguinisland.com         phone (+6388) 3879613

I stayed on the second night at Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin, BBC for short. Clearly THE place in Camiguin. Nice de luxe rooms like 5-star hotel rooms for P4,375 per day, with room rates going down to P3,700 as you go farther away from the pool. Standard nipa-hut style rooms, air conditioned, go for P2,359 per day. Wi-fi is available. The restaurant and the bar overlook the sea. Lovely place. Book them by phone (+6388)3871057 or go to their website http://www.bahaybakasyunan.com. I am definitely staying at BBC on all my next visits, and recommend this and only this resort hotel  to friends. Until, of course, a better place comes along.

Bahay Bakasyunan

de luxe cottage, facing the pool and the sea

big room in a de luxe cottage, nice amenities

regular cottage, at half the price of de luxe

not luxurious, but comfortable and clean, aircon, with hot and cold shower and a TV

nice restaurant

a well-stocked bar

BBC is the best in Camiguin

I also checked on the popular Paras Beach Resort. It is, for me, the second best choice in Camiguin. Room rates start at P1,950 with a suite going at P3,450. There are also 2-bedroom cottages for P5,500 (standard) and P5,900 (de luxe).  Phone (+6388) 3879008 website: http://www.parasbeachresort.com

Paras is the second best

de luxe

 

While I did not check in at Jasmin by the Sea, I went there to check it out, being listed on Lonely Planet as the best value place in Camiguin. Indeed, they could very well be. A room facing the water goes for P800 per day, no airconditioning. There is a fan, but it may not have to be used as the breeze enters the room.  I plan to stay here one night when I return. Contact (+6388) 3879015

seaside accommodation for two at P800 per day

 

Ardent Hot Spring has rooms for P3,200, air con. And a dormitory for P440/day, up to 7 persons in the dorm. Contact (+6388) 3870508

Finally, another place I will stay in at least one night – – Enigmata. They have rooms for P950 and backpackers’ quarters for P250 per head per day. website is http://camiguinecolodge.com/  Contact them at (+6388)3870273

Enigmata

How to get to Camiguin

The usual route is via Balingoan, an hour and a half away from Cagayan de Oro. Take a  ferry from Balingoan to the port of Benoni in Camiguin. Travel time is 1 hour.

the ferry I took from Balingoan to Benoni

Mambajao, where most of the resorts are, can be reached by motorella, if you have not arranged for pick up with your resort. My pick up cost me P400 on a Multicab.

From Cagayan de Oro to Balingoan, you can get into a bus at Agora terminal. Or take a taxi that will charge a flat fee of P2,000.

Moving around

You can make arrangements for pick up, island tour, or boats to nearby islands from the resort. Or even arrange to hire a motorbike.

transport options

You may want to contact the driver who toured me around. He owns the multicab. Whole day tour of the island is P1,500 (P1,800 if booked from the resort). His name is Criz Jabay, with mobile phone number 09215637788

Criz Jabay and his multicab

Here are sceneries from Cagayan to Balingoan.

fishport in Kimaya

 

taken at Jampason town. But the view is like this all the way to Balingoan, and onwards to Gingoog

 

Camiguin is beautiful. It almost tells you “Come again !”. I say, surely.

30 thoughts on “Camiguin, come again

  1. there are so many beautiful places to go and see and it will take half of a lifetime to visit all these and savor what each place has to give. our country is truly blessed!

    thank you for sharing with us your experiences and pictures through which we find pleasure and satisfaction that although we were not able to see for ourselves, we were able to glimpse parts of the beauty our country has.

  2. I too have gone around Camiguing Island and have seen most of the places pictured here. We had a night of drinking in the Paras Resort and went around the island on a rented jeep. The next day we had a boat ride to the white sand bar near the resort. Nice place. But for us it was only a brief side trip before our lecture on teaching literature in Cagayan de Oro City.

    • No flights to Camiguin. The easiest way is to fly to Cagayan de Oro and take the boat from Balingoan, 89 kms from CDO. I took a cab for P2,000 instead of taking a bus because I wanted to stop in some places to take photos.

      • gud day i want 2 inquire 4 room rates.. me and my hunasbd will be having our 3days and 2nights vacation in camiguin dis coming jan 14-16,2013.. how much will we pay? tnx.. i will be waiting for your reply.christy did not rate this post.

  3. Hi Boy, sarap talaga ng buhay na puro lakwatsa. Camiguin awed me some 30 years ago, am sure it’s more beautiful now. I went to an island that was just 100% white sand and w/ no trees. No one was allowed to stay overnight bec. parts of the island disappears depending on the tide. Should include in my list again. Keep on enjoying and sharing.

    • You mean White Island. yes, it is only a sandbar and no one stays there long because there isn’t even a shed. So people go there early morning and leave before the sun makes it too hot. Others go at 4pm and leave before 6pm. Anyway, it is only a 10 minute boat ride. But it is so different, in fact way different from my visit 15 years ago. Eh 30 years pa?

  4. I’ve been longing to visit this island paradise. I don’t know but I think the island is full of mistery. I’m sure a week-long visit is gonna be a memorable experience.

  5. Thanks a lot for sharing your travel experiences from different places here in our country. Alumni officers here at CTU where i’m working is planning to go to Camiguin coz we have an alumna who owns a resort their. I just don’t know the exact name of their resort. She was married to a Swiss national and they were able to buy and develop a resort at camiguin. I hope we can soon visit Camiguin.

  6. hi, i believe you now, i think im impressed with the place, camuiguin. i jus wanna know how to get there from ozamiz city. its just a very small place but nice places to go and nice accomodations i guess.

    • There are buses, regular and aircon, from Ozamis to Cagayan de Oro. Go to the Integrated Bus terminal and take a RURAL TOURS bus to CDO. My estimate of the fare is P200 plus or minus (I rode the bus from Dipolog to CDO and the fare was P350, Ozamis is midway between Dipolog and CDO). The bus will actually board a barge to cross the channel. All passengers will disembark and buy the ferry tickets to Mukas, and then you will board the bus before it rolls off from the barge. Travel time is about 4 1/2 hours, including the barge ride. From the CDO terminal, take a tricycle to the other terminal called AGORA where you will ride another bus to BALINGOAN. CDO to Balingoan is 80 kms. From Balingoan, there are ferries to Camiguin, leaving practically every hour. If you don’t catch the last ferry, there are cheap accommodations at the Balingoan wharf. You will enjoy Camiguin. Will be glad to hear about it.

      • tnx tnx a lot. its very far and i dont think our 3-4 days stay would be enough if we insist on getting there. I guess, we’ll just have another trip to Camuiguin some other time. tnx again.

    • Nothing. I took early retirement over a year and a half ago. But I worked, and worked really hard and smart, for 35 years, not counting summer jobs when I was in high school. Had a regular office work when I was seventeen, taking up engineering in the evenings. Long story how I landed in advertising which became my career for 31 years. I am now 54.

    • Oh, I am sorry but I didn’t get that info. I took the ferry that was not a ro-ro, but I know for a fact that there are vessels that can take your car to cross. i suggest you call any of the hotels I listed, call them, and I imagine they will know. Or get you the number of the company that operates the boat.

  7. Hey Boy! lucky for you, lanzones welcomed you this time,the other year was no luck for me as almost all the lanzones did not bear fruits so they made paper lanzones just to show GMA that they had what they pride with. And yes there were armored cars because of the MILF threat, yes, small island as it is,there were black gang too, to sniff bombs, hehe…quite an experience but it was worth the trip…sama na rin kami sa sunod Boy, antayin na lang natin ang mga balikbayan!!!

  8. Pingback: 2010 in review « BoyP Lakwatsa

  9. Hi there! I wrote to you last fall and told you I was going to the Philippines and because of your blogs, I ended up visiting Camiguin and Panglao! I spent three weeks total in the Philippines. First we were in Padres Burgos, Southern Leyte, then Camiguin and then Panglao. This was the BEST trip of my life! I agree with much of what you have written! We stayed at different resorts but still had a wonderful time. We stayed at Action Geckos in Camiguin and we stayed at Amarela Resort in Panglao. Both were wonderful. If you go back to Camiguin, the owners of Camiguin Action Geckos are so awesome! Amarela was a lot less personal, and although it was beautiful, it reminded me of a resort in Italy, instead of the Philippines! The main purpose of our trip was SCUBA, and Southern Leyte was some of the finest diving I have ever in my life experienced! You are welcome to view my website if you want, where I blogged my trip! Best wishes to you!

    • Thank you for the feedback. I am happy to read about visitors enjoying our country. I will make sure to check out Geckos when I return to Camiguin. And will surely read your blog post. Keep in touch.

  10. Highly recommended ang Camiguin, Beautiful scenery, nice people, Ang gaganda ng mga pasyalan beach, hotspring and soda swimming pool, lahat ng nasa picture but skip the J & A restaurant they are victimized customers sa mga orders. Kung gutom na at wala talagang makakainam, see to it alam ninyo ang mga quantity ng orders ninyo. Nag order kami ng 2kg na isda at pinaluto namin a little more than 1kg lang ang na serve akala nila hindi namin mapupuna na daming mga parts ang hindi nila sinerb. Kasabwat ang cook, manager na lalake yung me edad na. Sinasayang nila ang GANDA NG CAMIGUIN. Sila ang sumisira sa panloloko sa mga tourist. Dapat malaman ito ng OWNER ng restaurant.

  11. Pingback: what is the best resort to stay? bahay bakasyunan sa camiguin? secret cove paras beach? | All Inclusive Couples Resorts

  12. hi we plan to stay on paras resort,but just want to ask if we stay overnight.i mean is it enough to see all tourist spot here for overnight stay.what do you think

    • Technically you can especially if you arrive early and leave late the next day. I would advise u to areange for private transpo otherwise you will waste ur time waiting for rides. If you do that u can even arrange to go to white island even for a while.

  13. I was toured by my brother and his in-laws in Camiguin before and after his wedding just last july 20 to 23 it was a wonderful experience seeing some of the beautiful places you’ve featured here. Nice place Camigun Island!

  14. Pingback: Camiguin: Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross | Thoughts, Tales, and Whatnot

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