Exploring Mindanao: Camiguin Island

9 Dec

The first time I got the chance to visit this place was back in 2007. Fast forward to my 2nd visit now and I’m still mesmerized by every bit of this island. 

Since I’m temporarily assigned in Cagayan De Oro City for a month, we had to take a van from the city to the port then take a 2-hour boat ride to Camiguin. But if you come from Cebu (like I am) or from any other part of the Philippines, Cebu Pacific already has flights that can take you directly to the Camiguin airport. Or you could also ride a boat overnight to get there.

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The boat to Camguin cost Php 175 per person. They also have Php 2 environmental fee that you have to pay at the Port.

 

We weren’t planning on staying for the night, so we literally had to finish going to all the beautiful tourist spots in 8 hours, and catch the last trip back to CDO. Luckily, we had a very reliable transport service who took care of our ride around the island. The destinations are a bit from each other. Transportation through multi-cab or a jeep is necessary to be able to maximize your time in Camiguin. You could also rent a motorcycle if you’re going alone or if there’s only two of you, since the price of a multi-cab or jeep would be too expensive.

If you wish to contact our transport services, please click here.

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Group picture as soon as we landed on the Island. This was taken by one of the locals in the Port Area.

 

First Stop: Katibawasan Falls

 

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The falls measures 250 feet and is considered as the tallest waterfalls in Camiguin. 

The place reminds me of Jurassic Park a lot. The first time I visited here, one of the locals told me that a long time ago, when people didn’t frequent this spot yet, a lot of wild monkeys would swing from tree to tree and enjoy the cool, sparkling water. As more and more people started visiting the place, less and less of the monkeys come out to play.

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The falls is the epitome of the majestic beauty of nature.

 

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Believe it or not, we spent almost an hour of taking pictures of this beautiful place.

 

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Mother nature in all its splendor.

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They say you could swim and enjoy the cold, clean water here. But we didn’t get the chance to do so because of the limited time.

 

2nd Stop: Ardent Hot Spring

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A local told me that the net on top of the pools serve more than just protection from the falling leaves of the trees surrounding the area, most importantly, it keeps the tree snakes (even anacondas) from falling into the pools, like it did several times before.

Entrance fee for adults is at Php 30. The water from this spring can heat up to 40 degrees. There are six pools and is located on the foot of Mt Hibok Hibok, which is an active volcano and part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The Pacific Ring of Fire is an arc around the Pacific Ocean where many volcanoes and earthquakes are found. About three quarters of the world’s dormant and active volcanoes are found here. 

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This is popular go-to place for the locals and a favorite stop-overs for weary tourists.

I think the place is perfect a spot to relax in, hot water just has its way of relaxing our muscles. It’s like being in a giant natural Jacuzzi. I’ve tried all the six pools and the first one, by far, is my most favorite because the water is at its warmest.

3rd Stop: Sto Nino Cold Spring

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Fresh Water Lake that has served as a favorite stop over for most tourists because of the really cold, refreshing water.

Entrance fee is at Php 40. The water can go down up to 20 degrees. The water is filled with little fishes that would gladly give you a spa treatment, by removing the dead skin cells from your feet if you stay really still in the water. It’s a perfect place to cool off after a hot day of touring the island, and it’s a popular place to have lunch as well.

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This sunny signage will be the first thing that would greet you in the entrance.

 

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The water depth goes from shallow, fairly deep to really deep. It’s a perfect place to swim in after you survive the initial shock from jumping into the extremely cold water. Feels like doing the Ice Bucket Challenge, only that the water isn’t poured onto you, you actually jump into melted ice. 😀

There was one thing that bothered me about the place though, it was the numerous people that would lunge at you on the driveway as soon as your transportation stops. These women would flock at you and pester you to buy food from them. I tried so hard not to be annoyed because I know that they were only doing their jobs, but really, it was very hard to stay calm when I felt like a prey in a den of hyenas. They were literally forcing us to order food from them. I hope the management does something about this because the locals clearly needed to be more disciplined in selling or they’ll end up annoying a lot of tourists and drive them away from this beautiful place.

4th Stop: Sunken Cemetery

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After Mount Vulcan erupted the fourth time, a large cross was built on the solidified lava to mark the old grave site.

For a price of Php 20 per person, you could ride a boat to get across and visit the big cross. The Sunken Cemetery is a result of the birth of Mount Vulcan in 1871.  The volcano started as a volcanic fissure and after continuously spewing lava into the sea and gaining 2,000 feet, it submerged areas of Catarman, including the resting place of the locals.

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This place was featured in a local film entitled, Ouija. I never saw it but they said that the lead actress actually swam in these waters.

As you ride the boat across the sea towards the big cross in the middle, you’d get to see remnants of the tombstones underwater. They say you can actually snorkel here and see the epitaphs up close. The depth would be clearer if it were low tide, but during the time of our visit, the sea was a bit restless and the current was strong. Not that I would consider swimming here anyway, it felt eerie enough floating on top of all those tombstones.

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The boat drivers were really accommodating and very tourist-friendly. They directed most of our photo shoots in the area. They even knew a couple of camera tricks to make the whole visit even more memorable.

 

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The cross to me is a reminder of how much Filipinos value their departed loved ones. They don’t let any calamity hinder them from honoring their ancestors. Instead, they built this cross to serve as a reminder of their loved ones.

 

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i can’t help but enjoy the picturesque view of the mountains behind me.

 

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The whole structure was a bit weathered already, but instead of making the place look old, it added this vintage feel to the whole place.

 

 

5th Stop: White Island

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An uninhabited white sandbar located about 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) off the northern shore of Mambajao in the volcanic island of Camiguin in the Philippines. The island is generally horseshoe shaped, although the tides constantly resize and reshape its exact form.

The first time I visited the island, there were no stalls or establishments that would serve as shades from the sun. It was just a long stretch of fine, white sand in the middle of the ocean. This time, there were several stalls, even tables in the middle that you could rent. There were huge umbrellas as well, if in case the sun got too hot. Before you get to go into the island, you have to pay Php 20 as the entrance fee and Php 600 for the boat to take you across. The boat could accommodate up to 6 people. The ride takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the direction of the current. During this visit, we made our way towards the island at around 3:00 PM, so the sea was a bit restless and the current was a bit strong.

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Though the current was strong, we had complete faith in our “bangkero” because he clearly knew how to drive the boat despite the waves.

 

Before you ride on the boat, several locals would invite you to rent snorkeling gears and life jackets, I recommend that if you don’t have your own gear, you should rent them for Php 50 so that you’d get a complete White Island experience. If you know how to swim, you don’t need to rent life jackets anymore. 

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The island is set to have Mt Hibok Hibok and Mt Vulcan as the background.

 

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The pristine sea water is a joy to swim in especially if you have snorkeling gear to enjoy the a closer experience with the gentle beautiful fishes around the island.

 

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A favorite spot for tourists who want to soak up the sun and get a good tan.

 

 

Camiguin will undoubtedly leave you breathless. I could not comprehend how a little island can hold so much beauty. We were only able to visit a few of the beautiful spots here because of the limited time that we had. I recommend an overnight stay here to fully explore all the wonderful spots that the island has to offer. If you are lover of nature like I am, Camiguin will not disappoint.


 

Sources: 

en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php/Katibawasan_Falls

http://www.gottotravel.org/2012/04/ardent-hibok-hibok-hot-spring-resort.html

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Ring_of_Fire

http://www.thecollectiveint.com/2013/03/the-sunken-cemetery-of-camiguin-island.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Island_(Philippines)

 

 

 

 

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