On to our next Project 80+1 journey, we made our very first stop on Mindanao soil last September with a 2-way, 3-day trip to Camiguin via Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental.
A small island-province situated between mainland Mindanao and Bohol, Camiguin commands an awesome and lovely experience among locals and tourists alike with its unique geologic makeup that paved the way for its immense natural attractions borne of nature and its consequent processes. Basically, this little and laid back island is a one stop travel destination on nature, history and culture.
What to See
Katibawasan Falls. Usually this is the first stop if you’re on a regular day tour coming from Benoni. At 76 meters, it is the highest of Camiguin’s waterfalls and offers a relaxing and refreshing pool below. Floating device/buoy are available for rent. Entrance Fee: Php30.00
Ardent Hot Spring. A natural occurring hot spring in Mambajao town by the foot of Mt. Hibok-Hibok and one of best attractions to foreign tourists.
White Island. Perhaps the most popular tourist site of Camiguin, this small patch of pure white and shinny coral sand off the coast of Mambajao town is an eye catcher and truly a splendid gift of nature. It offers a magnificent tropical panoramic view with Mt. Hibok-Hibok and Mt Vulcan in the background. It is only 15 minutes by motorized banca from its jump-off point, beside Paras Resort.
Our favorite spot, “The Book Cover” (White Island)
Church Ruins. When Mt Vulcan unleashed its fury sometime in 1871, it ruined a whole town and left structures destroyed including the old Spanish church, its convent and belfry.
Sunken Cemetery. Another famous attraction and icon of Camiguin is the Sunken Cemetery located near the Vulcan church ruins. From the shore, the only visible marker of the site is the cross that was built on top of the hardened lava after a volcanic eruption. The cross can be reached using a banca at a minimal fee. It is also a good snorkeling and dive site.
Sto. Nino Cold Spring. For our final stop, we to wash-off our bodies from hours of splurging in White Island in this naturally-occurring cold spring only to find out that this Sto Nino Cold Spring is way way colder than expected. Some say surface temperature is around 20 degrees. Since we cannot tolerate the relative coldness, we only managed to dip our feet and took the shower instead. Fresh buko juice and refreshments are also offered outside the resort. It can be reached easily about 2 kilometers from Catarman town highway. Entrance Fee: Php20.00
Lanzones Festival. This annual festivities of dance and colors are being observed around third week of October as a celebration and thanksgiving in honor of Lanzones, a fruit tree abundant in the island. Bad thing we went there way ahead of the schedule so you might set your travel calendars around these times.
Where to Stay
Near Benoni Port
J & A Fishpen Resort and Restaurant,Taguines Lagoon, Benoni, Mahinog, Camiguin
This old-time restaurant cum lodging facility is walking-distance (about a kilometer) from Benoni Port. Our tour guide and driver actually brought us to this place and have assured us of delicious and affordable sea-foods. Good thing they also have cheap accommodations situated by the lagoon and mangroves at Php 500.oo/night. Although relatively old, the rooms have the basic provisions. But highlight of staying there is the food. True enough, you get a selection and variety of sea-foods and mostly local and Pinoy dishes to choose from. We got ourselves some fresh local fish for inihaw and another for tinola for less than Php 500.
We recommend this if you’re on a day-tour and would just like to spend an overnight in Camiguin. With its proximity to the port, you have the option to take the earliest boat ride back to Balingoan at about 4AM just like what we did and still managed to catch the CDO White Water Rafting adventure.
Across Camiguin, there many resorts and hotels to choose from, ranging from homestays to high-end beach resort. One of the most prominent resorts in the capital town Mamabajao is Paras Beach Resort. It is also the jump-off point to the famous White Island.
How to get there
Cebu Pacific flies thrice a week to and from Mambajao via Mactan Cebu International Airport. Check cebupacificair.com for schedule and bookings.
From Cagayan de Oro/Laguindingan Airport, take the commuter vans to CDO City proper, specifically at the Agora Terminal at Php200/person. A bus (Bachelor Express) or van leaves for Butuan or Davao at the Terminal. After more than 2 hours, this will make a quick stop at Balingoan. Proceed to the port/pier which is only about 500 meters from the bus stop and secure a ticket at the entrance gate for a Roll-on/Roll-off boat. Travel time to Benoni Port in Camiguin is about an hour.
Upon reaching Benoni, choose from any multicab (if you’re in a group) operator at the pier for a day-time tour with an LGU-imposed uniform and standard rate (usually printed inside the vehicle) excluding the entrance fees and boat rentals.
Please take note however that first trip to Balingoan is 4AM and last trip to Benoni is 6PM.
Definitely, we shall Come Again to Camiguin!