What does a traveler look for a possible next destination? Beaches with fine white sand? Magnificent sceneries, or wonderful nature? Friendly locals, or a place you can call home for a couple of days? Name it! Camiguin has it all for you! From fine white-sand island beaches and natural wonders, up to the very hospitable locals, truly, Camiguin Island is worth visiting for!
Located in the Northern part of Mindanao, this second smallest province of the Philippines – Camiguin, is making a huge impact, and is making its own name when it comes to being a tourist destination. Aside from having the White Island as its main attraction, this pear-shaped island is also blessed with great waterfalls and active volcanoes.
Since we are celebrating our anniversary on this Mindanao trip, we made sure to make it a special one. We did our own research about the island, and about what it could provide and offer. Filled with cozy and romantic accommodation, we have finally decided to go to Camiguin on the day of our anniversary itself.
Upon reaching the island, we opted to rent a motorcycle that served as our transportation for our 2-day stay there. Even though the locals were very vocal that it will be easy for us, we hesitated to rent a motorcycle at first, since we are new to the place and we didn’t know which road to take to reach the tourist spots. But, as the saying goes, “We only live once”. So we took the risk, accepted the thrill it brought, and just trusted our instincts during the trip. Well, it’s not too hard to trust the locals. They were right. The roads are filled with signs. It was easy, even for the first time travelers, to locate and reach the tourist spots within the island. The decision was worth it, since we got our time well-planned and of course, we got our own moment, traveling on the road, while witnessing such a great view alongside.
We stayed overnight at Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat & Dive Resort. Since we were celebrating our 5th year anniversary, and we want to make it special, we booked their most special room – the Beach Villa. It is a beach-front room, which offers a pleasant view and relaxing wave-splashing sound of the Bohol Sea. The room has its own private terrace, wherein the neighboring island of Bohol and the famous White Island are both visible during daytime. It also has its own hammock where you can relax as the sun sets in the afternoon. Special arrangements for dinner in your room can be made, just approach one of their very hospitable staffs.
We started our inland tour with the famous Sunken Cemetery. It is a 10-minute motorcycle ride from our hotel, which is packed with scenic views along the way. Mt. Vulcan (part of Mt. Hibok-Hibok) on one side, and a cliff with a breathtaking view on the other side. The cross marking on the Sunken Cemetery was installed by the local government after the cemetery was covered by lava during the 1871 – 1875 Mt. Vulcan eruption. Another victim of that said eruption was the Old Catarman Church, also known as the Gui-ob Church, and now turned into a tourist spot.
Tuasan Falls was the next attraction on our list. Before, travelers who want to visit the falls need to add up some time to hike going to the falls. But now, the local government made it easy for travelers, as they constructed a concrete road, in which you can bring your vehicle few meters away from the falls. Tuasan Falls is high dropping waterfalls, surrounded by the green leaves of the forest, making it a picture perfect spot for travelers like us.
Camiguin also offers natural swimming pools, hot springs, and cold springs. Some of them are Bura Natural Soda Water Swimming Pool and Sto. Nino Cold Spring, both located in Catarman. While Ardent Hot Spring is in Mambajao. The hot and crystal clear waters of Ardent Hot Springs are coming from Mt. Hibok-Hibok. Unfortunately, water supplies are becoming less due to the blockage on the water passages from the mountains. According to the personnel of the place, it started after an earthquake occurred few years back. What we are praying right now is that the water supply comes back, and make Ardent Hot Spring great again.
Hikers can also go on hiking in Camiguin. One famous mountain being trekked in Camiguin is Mt. Timpoong, the largest mountain of the province. The favorite jump-off point for trekkers and mountaineers going to Mt. Timpoong is in Katibawasan Falls, another falls that Camiguin can offer. Katibawasan Falls is also a high dropping waterfalls located in Mambajao, Camiguin’s provincial capital. Katibawasan Falls has its own pool, as its catch basin. The water is cold, perfect for warm weather dip during summer.
After the inland tour, let’s go beach/island hopping! Camiguin has its own beaches/islands that can be proud of – the White and Mantigue Islands. With the combination of fine-white sand, and a picture-perfect setting, these two have the rights to be known as Camiguin’s leading tourist destinations.
Camiguin’s sandbar – known as the White Island, is less than 2km off the Northern shore of Mambajao. It is a naked island, composed solely of fine white sands. The White Island is a perfect spot for those who are after getting tanned, as this island doesn’t have trees that can serve as shades. However, small entrepreneurs (we’re quite not sure if it is governed by the local government) are placing their small stores on the island, and have their umbrella be rented by tourists. The white island is also a spot for divers, as the island is surrounded by coral reefs.
The Mantigue Island, on the other hand, is a small island mostly covered by trees. It also has fine-white sand. Same as with the White Island, Mantigue Island can also be a spot for divers as the island is surrounded by coral reefs. Entry point going to Mantigue Island is only 5 minute drive from Benoni Port, Camiguin’s entry point from Cagayan de Oro.
Overall, Camiguin is truly a haven for tourist and visitors. Packed with extraordinary experience, we will surely plan to go back to it.