An island full of wonders and waterfalls and much more sites to see. This is Camiguin Island. It is situated in Northern Mindanao and a 50 minute plane ride on a clear sky from the Queen City of the South. Many would refer to Camiguin as an Island Paradise due to its scenic destinations ; from the amazing white island beaches and sand bars to its refreshing waterfalls both hot and cold to its volcanoes which brings a rich cultural history both the place and its people. There is no place like Camiguin. You wouldnt be able to say that not until you’ve set foot on this island yourself.
It was a week after my birthday that we decided to visit the island. My friends were very much excited for they havent seen how beautiful this island is. I was eager as well to go though this will be my 4th time here and I have been to all the beautiful destinations the island can offer, all except for Mt Hibok-hibok which was really why I created this trip.
This will be like a mini-reunion of my previous housemates Jeph, Anna and Madam with the special partipation of Liz. All bags were packed and we are all ready to go.
And after 50 minutes. Hello Mambajao, Camiguin.
We already have a multicab waiting for us outside the airport. Our driver was eagerly and patiently waiting and greeted us as he recognized our description.
It was nostalgic for me as we passed by familiar looking places, memories from the past and yes it almost smelled like home. The way the sun was shining hidden amongst the trees was starting to show itself sort of like a welcome party to us. It was the same as how it looked at my window from my room way back im Cagayan many years ago. The smell of the air and cold dew made me reminisce from the very first time I visited Camiguim way back when I was a kid. I can clearly remember that night when my mom was telling me to go to sleep but I cant. I mean who can when your just a 9 year old kid and having your first family outing outside the city and riding a boat. I was digging through good old childhood memories. It was a good 25 minute ride riding down through memory lane and we arrived at our destination. The villa was great and was just perfect for our island getaway.
We settled in and went to the market to buy supplies for our 3 days getaway. Good thing we can cook so we can budget stuff.
Day 1 – Mount Hibok-hibok
We waited for one more team mate so we had the first night to ourselves and we strolled a few bars in the area. Morning came and we got up early and had coffee and waited for the first plane sound for it means that Liz will be on that plane and that we can start the first activity of the getaway. To climb Mount Mount Hibok-hibok. That will be on a different blog.
It was a success and we had a sumptous celebratory dinner by the bay on a resto just near our place. It was a major climb that we converted to a dayhike. It was one hell of a day. We called the night very early due to aches everywhere and lulling heavy rain.
Day 2 – The Island Tour
This was the first. A view of Mount Vulcan or commonly called The Old Volcano. This was the first volcano that most probably made this island today. It had a lot of eruptions in the late 1800’s for which was the cause of some areas to be submerged today. This is already a dead volcano compared to that of H2. There is a walkway built for tourist to go to the top which is around 8 kilometeres going up to have station of the cross. A lot of tourist flock here during the Lenten Season and the event is called PANAAD which means PROMISE. Mostly devotees of the Catholic Faith and some are just there to take pictures, in most part of the year, the latter flocks the destination. Due to the previous days activity, we decided to just take a peak and marvel how beautiful it is. One volcano was enough.
And finally the rain stopped and we were able to take a good picture. Behind us is the Big Cross in every cementery but this one was just submerged. This was caused by the 1871 erruption of the old volcano which caused the old capital of Camiguin to be submerged under water. A big cross was built to commemorate this and below it is a cementery. There were boat rentals that will take you right to the big cross and there are even glass-floored boats for you to be able to see the ocean bed. For us, its kind of eerie so we just took some pictures on the shore.
This is the next stop, an Old Church ruin. Nothing magical or amazing on this part of the tour. But yeah, its part of what you paid for so yeah, we took pictures too.
As we went to our next destination, the rain poured heavily but it didnt stop us from going to Tuasan Falls. It was a magical place as you see the water rushing from the top of the water fall going down a stream with a magical insta-worthy flow due to its current. It was perfect.
The next destination was supposed to be Soda Pool but when we went there it was closed since they were cleaning the pools on a Monday. We were even exited for we have been told that the water tasted like soda.
And so we went to our next destination, the Sto Nino Cold Spring, a perfect place to go on a summer time but not during the rainy days. The water can become very very cold that you will not enjoy it like we what we experienced. It was not a drizzle when we came in, it was a heavy downpour. And so we just enjoyed the fish spa just right next to the main pool since we really couldnt stand the icy cold water. We ended up having some hot coffee by the pool.
And after 30 mimutes, we headed to our next destination, which was exciting since it will be the Katibawasan Falls. Another amazing creation. But when we passed by the Old Volcano, the weather was clearer so we had another round of photo ops.
Katibawasan Falls is a mighty fall towering at 70 meters above the ground. The first time I saw this waterfall, it was but all mighty, but now the water running down its edges are not as strong and powerful way back then. Could there be water shortage upstream? But it was raining so hard that time so there should have been enough. Time has change. But nevertheless, it was still mighty and jaw dropping.
One thing we noticed though, there was a 50 pesos entrance per head but the place didnt really appeared as well maintained. There were garbages around, the pathway going down was old and rusty like it was maintened 5 years ago. The railings are important since the stairs are slippery so those railings should have been maintained and painted for it not to be corroded by water carried from the waterfall.
On the contrary, our final destination of the day was well maintained. The Ardent Hot Spring. But to our dismay, it didnt stand up to its name, might as well change it Ardent Luke Warm Spring. Kidding aside, the memory that I have on this place whem I was a kid was that you can even boil an egg on some parts of the spring but now, only a portion of it gives that hot relaxing water, but it still wouldnt surpass the hotness many many years ago. We asked our tour guide on what happened and we were told that the spring was over used since a few years back, they opened for 24 hours. But it was not that logical, our theory was, due to some past earthquakes, the vent from underground where the hot steam passes was blocked by some huge rocks that only a portion of the steam goes to the upper level then to the spring. Whatever it is, I hope the spring would be able to go back to the way it was before.
We ended the day with a dinner, very tired on the long days journey, we tried to eat dinner at Checkpoint, its a one stop location like an arcade with convenience stores and restaurants. But yeah, from where it got its name, it was really a check point area for vehicles.
Liz was the last to arrived and first to go home.
Day 3 – White Island
We made it sure that Liz can still come along with us on day 3 so we started the day early for us to catch the first trip to the famous white island. Lucky we stayed near the location of white island so we we just rode the public transportation which is the Motorella – a motorcyle with seats that of a jeepney attached to it which can cater 6 people at the back and 2 beside the driver on both ends. This is mostly how it works in the Mindanao area.
We rented a motorboat for 700 pesos for 5 people roundtrip. Not a bad deal. The white island was amazing. And good thing that it was a Tuesday morning so there arent that much of other people on it. Its not really an island. Its a sandbar with crystal clear waters and a with a perfect view of Mt Hibok-hibok and 75 percent of the island.
It was noon and it was very hot so we went back to the mainlaind and back to our villa to get some refreshments. Our flight will still be the next day and we were planning to visit Mantigue Island but the weather was not on our side during the afternoon so we just decided to have a lazy and idle Tuesday afternoon in bed while listening to the relaxing splash of water at our front yard. Yes, our villa was is located on a beach front.
We had a final meet and greet with the locals that night. Got drunk and shared some stories and them some. It was one hell of a night.
Departure. Home. Sweet. Home.
Guide for Hibok-hibok PHP 1200 dayhike per minimum of 10 heads, if you go overnight, that will be doubled.
Island Day Tour is 1500 for one multicab whole day for 5-10 people
White Island boat rental PHP 700
Sabacajan Resort – 1200 per day on the villa, can fit up to 15 people. Can cook, and 2 rooms with spacious veranda overlooking the beach front. I would recommend the place. Good customer service and strong wifi connection.
Ronald Rabile – DENR
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