Camiguin – A Hidden Tropical Paradise

The Island

If you hear of Camiguin, you probably find the word synonymous to the fruit lansones or lanzones, the sweet brownish-yellow skinned fruit which the island is famous for.  Well, there’s more in Camiguin than lanzones…

Pure white sands, stunning landscapes, serene, and exotic,  Camiguin Island is a haven for every tourist.

Lying in the northern tip of Mindanao, Philippines, this volcanic paradise island is waiting to satisfy your weary soul and body and most of all, your beach-hungry feet.  Its land area of merely 29,187 hectares, although small, surprisingly offers various exciting places to visit and many ways to unwind and commune with nature.

How to Get There?

Major Philippine airline carriers such as Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly several times daily to Cagayan de Oro from Manila, Cebu, and other local airports.  From the airport, you can take a taxi or a v-hire (van-for-hire) and arrive within an hour to Balingon Port for the ferry going to Camiguin.  Also, an economy aircraft, the Paras Sea Cat, operates daily from Cagayan de Oro direct to Camiguin leaving at 8:30 AM   from Cagayan to Camiguin and at 4:00 PM from Camiguin to Cagayan.  SEAIR also now serves a CebuCamiguinCebu route every Monday and Saturday.

Our Adventure

My friends and I took a different route going on a four-hour boat ride from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro City, a bustling city known as the “Gateway to Northern Mindanao.”  Upon disembarking, we plied to the nearest jump-off port in Balingoan to Benoni Wharf for a ferry direct to Camiguin Island.

At the port, we were astonished to see vans and multi-cabs (multi-purpose economy utility vehicle) line up offering different tour packages including accommodation and whatnots. We skimmed through them, made quick negotiations, and a little haggling and presto!  We got one neat multi-cab for ourselves with a very polite driver cum tour guide.  The driver also arranged for us a cottage fronting the White Island with meals upon request ala-carte style.

Here are the top places we visited, a surely must-not-miss while in Camiguin Island.

WHITE ISLAND

White Sand Bar

This a beautiful shoal in Mambajao, Camiguin which literally appears and disappears on the sea depending on tide level.  Going there is a 10-minute pump boat ride from the coast of Mambajao.  The ride itself is a spectacular experience as you can see the lush underwater life over the crystal clear waters.

MACAO COLD SPRING

After basking in the sun at the White Island, we went off to Macao Cold Spring.  We took a refreshing plunge in the mineral-rich spring water and had a sight of the rich surrounding greenery.

KATIBAWASAN FALLS

The cascading 250 feet-high falls of Katibawasan offered another decompressing experience.  The water was chilling cold but totally tempting.  The orchids and other wild flora and fauna surrounding the fall’s drop and boulders were a wonderful sight to behold.

ARDENT HOT SPRING

We spent a soothing and rejuvenating spa-like experience at the Ardent Hot Spring.  The water which comes from Mount Hibok-Hibok (a stratovolcano) was quite hot but comfortable enough at 40 degrees centigrade.

SUNKEN CEMETERY

The sunken cemetery which is marked by a large cross, speaks of Camiguin’s history.  The island, being volcanic in nature have had two major eruptions in the mid 1800’s burying the old capital and the island’s ancestors.  Now, during low tide, a part of this old civilization rises up the sea which serves as a reminder of its glorious yet harrowing past.

Apart from this site being historical, under the cemetery lies rich aquatic life which is perfect for diving.  In fact, this area is gaining popularity as one of the world’s unique diving sites.

CATARMAN CHURCH RUINS (GUI-OB CHURCH)

The centuries old settlement in Catarman, Camiguin circa 1967, was buried by a devastating volcanic eruption in 1871.  This old Spanish church bore witness to that gloomy  day and serves as a reminder of nature’s fury.

Other places of interest:

JICDUF SHOAL

BURIAS SHOAL

STO. NIÑO COLD SPRING

OLD VOLCANO

MOUNT HIBOK-HIBOK

TUASAN FALLS

TANGUB HOT SPRING

TANGUINES LAGOON

Among the Philippines’ 7,100+ islands, Camiguin is undoubtedly  one of the best.  White tropical beaches, exotic dive spots, lush forests, great food, friendly people, rich culture and history,  Camiguin is best experienced than described.

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