If you're looking for a relaxing and laid-back place for a vacation, Camiguin Island definitely won't disappoint you: white beaches, fish and giant clams sanctuaries, numerous snorkeling and diving sites, jungle and mountain trekking, hot springs and cold springs, waterfalls, historic places, refreshing greeneries, happy and friendly folks, and a stress-free environment far from the reaches of the chaotic city life. All these stuffed together in one of the smallest islands of the country. This is what differentiates Camiguin from other provinces. Such a small island that offers almost every experience you want with nature. This is Camiguin, a piece of heaven on earth.
The word Camiguin is derived from the native word Kamagong, which is a species of the ebony tree. Camiguin is a pearl-shaped island province located in the Bohol Sea. In terms of land area, it is the second-smallest after Batanes. The island province is divided into five municipalities: Mambajao (provincial capital), Catarman, Sagay, Guinsiliban, and Mahinog.
The volcanoes in the island of Camiguin are Mt. Hibok-Hibok, Mt. Vulcan, Mt. Timpoong, Mt. Mambajao, Mount Butay, and Mount Guinsiliban.
What to Do and Where to Go in Camiguin Island
1. Road Trip
There is nothing more fun and exciting than having the luxury of time going places the rider way. Motorbike rental is the most famous way of having a tour in the entire Camiguin Island. Just a few bucks and a full tank then you're ready to go for the entire day (and night). Ride, stop, appreciate the scenery, take pictures - whenever, wherever, and however you want.
The road in Camiguin makes it more convenient to travel from one place to another. The roads, especially the main ones are cemented and leveled, making it easy for motorbikes to pass. To give you a picture of how travel-friendly Camiguin is, just by following the circumferential road that goes around the entire island (64 kms), you can go round and back to where you started in a little more than 2 hours, given your speed is within 50-60 kph and you're travelling non-stop.
2. Beaches and Snorkeling
You've never been to Camiguin if you haven't visited their beaches that are famous to tourists.
|White Island: Camiguin's postcard-perfect scenery|
(click here to view details)
|Mantigue Island (it has a fish sanctuary snorkeling site)|
click for details
|Agoho Black Sand Beach|
(click for details)
|Giant Clams Nursery at Kibila White Beach|
(click for details)
3. Dipping in hot springs and cold springs
The mountainous island of Camiguin offers both cold springs and hot springs scattered in different areas in Sagay, Mambajao, and Catarman.
|Bura Cold Springs (click for details)|
|Sto. Niño Cold Springs (click for details)|
|Ardent Hot Springs (click for details)|
4. Visiting Historic Places
The eruption of Mt. Vulcan in 1871 left an entire town devastated, leaving traces of its tragic past in Brgy. Bonbon, Catarman.
|Sunken Cemetery (click for details)|
|Guiob Church Ruins (click for details)|
|Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross (click for details)|
|Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross|
|Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross|
Camiguin offers more than these like the waterfalls, churches, and other historic sites which we plan to visit the next time we go to Camiguin.
There is a certain mystique in Camiguin which draws selected tourists coming back for more. Rising dramatically from the sea, this little piece of paradise manages to be both striking and enticing, a less formidable version of Jurassic Park.
The location of Camiguin in Northern Mindanao somewhat intimidates a large number of tourists, pushing this island province in the lower part of their travel list. However, for those who didn't mind going here surely had the same feeling we had on our visit - that is, having a sense of ownership in guarding this special jewel and its secrets.
There are a number of lodges to choose from in Camiguin but we highly recommend Casa Roca in Brgy. Naasag in Mambajao. This was our first vacation in Camiguin and finding such a splendid accommodation proved to be an achievement in itself. Jim and Evelyn, the owners of Casa Roca as well as their staff are very friendly and accommodating. By the time we go back to Camiguin, we will definitely book our accommodation again with them.
Casa Roca has 3 rooms and has a homey ambiance. The house is built in the middle of the garden which faces the picturesque sunset in Bohol Sea. They don't have a beach front but there's a view deck and a walkway to the big rocks along the coast.
Casa Roca is a 30-minute motorela ride from Mambajao town proper. Just tell the driver that you are heading to Casa Roca in Brgy. Naasag. Look for the zebra-colored painted gate at the right side of the road. They offer 1 motorbike for rental and in case you need more motorbikes for your group on your tour, they can give you their recommended contact persons.
It is recommended that you coordinate with them
through email as cellphones don't get strong signal here.
They regularly check their email for messages
What's great about Camiguin is that there are a number of ways to go around the entire island. You may commute around the area or rent a multicab or motorela. You may hire a habal-habal (motorcycle and tour guide). You may also do what we prefer, which is to rent a motorbike and have a road trip to your heart's content. Hiring a multicab or motorela depends on your negotiated price. A little over Php1,000 to take you to a tour to the main tourist attractions of the island. It is the best option if you're travelling in group.
The habal-habal with a tour guide costs Php1,000.
Renting a motorbike is the most budget-friendly. In our case, we paid Php350/day and spent Php100 for the gas which we consumed for 2 days.
If you're just a small group, or like us couple, we highly recommend renting a motorbike because nothing can beat the adventure of having the freedom and the luxury of time in going places. Just be sure you have your license with you and always wear your helmet.
How to go to Camiguin Island
As of April 2014, the only direct flights serving Camiguin Airport are those coming from Cebu. From Manila, you'll have to take connecting flights of Cebu Pacific Airlines from Manila-Cebu then Cebu-Camiguin. Camiguin Airport is located west of Mambajao.
How to go to Camiguin Island from Manila via Cagayan De Oro
Another option is via Cagayan De Oro, a little more than one hour of plane travel from Manila. Book a flight to Laguindingan Airport in CDO then take a cab/shared car to Agora Public Market in CDO town proper. There are cars that you can rent that have fixed rates (Php199/head), although there might be other passengers riding with you to occupy the maximum capacity of the vehicle. One inconvenience in travelling to CDO is the distance from the Airport to the city proper. From the airport to the highway will take 15 minutes of your time. Then from highway to Agora takes about 30 minutes.
At Agora Public Market, ride a bus bound for Butuan and drop off at Balingoan Bus Terminal. Travel time from Agora to Balingoan Terminal is about 2 hours to 2.5 hours at Php148/head. Balingoan Port is just a walking distance from the bus terminal. From Balingoan Port of CDO, the ferry will take you to Benoni Port in Mahinog, Camiguin for about 1.5 hours sea travel. Ferry fare is Php170/head.
At Benoni Port, hail a jeepney bound to whichever main town you're heading to: Mambajao or Sagay. In our case, we booked our accommodation at Casa Roca in Naasag, Mambajao, the municipality where most resorts and lodges are. From Benoni Port to Mambajao the fare is Php25/head for about 50 minutes travel time.
From Mambajao town proper, hail an orange motorela (west bound) to Casa Roca in Naasag. Fare is Php12/head for 10 passengers. I suggest you go to the gas station where you can hail passing motorelas instead of going to their queue on the other side. This way, you won't be forced to hire the whole motorela (about Php100). Some drivers are quite persistent on tourists.
From there, travelling to Casa Roca in Naasag will take about 30 minutes.
We find this 2nd option a hassle in terms of the travel time. If you sum it up, going to Camiguin from Manila via Cagayan De Oro takes about 8 hours travel time, one-way. The next time we take a vacation in Camiguin, we'd rather take the connecting flights of Cebu Pacific (Manila-Cebu, Cebu-Camiguin).
For the details of this adventure, check out our 5-Day Camiguin Itinerary further below.
Part 6: Camiguin: Ardent Hot Springs
11:45 AM ~ arrival at Agora Public Market, approx. 45 mins of travel
11:45 AM ~ lunch in Agora
12:50 PM ~ hailed a bus at the Agora Bus Terminal bound for Butuan (Php148/head; drop off at Balingoan Port).
2:45 PM ~ arrived at Balingoan Port, almost 2 hours of bus ride
3:10 PM ~ Ferry departed Balingoan Port heading to Benoni Port in Camiguin (Php 170/head)
4:40 PM ~ arrived at Benoni Port, 1 hour and 30 minutes travel time; hailed a public multi-cab going to Mambajao town proper (Php 25/head)
5:30 PM ~ arrived in Mambajao town proper, 50 mins travel time; hailed an orange multi-cab (west bound) to Casa Roca Bed and Breakfast; fare is at Php12/head for 10 passengers
6:00 PM ~ arrived at Casa Roca Bed and Breakfast
Day 2 April 13, Sunday
Bura Soda Cold Springs
Sto. Niño Cold Springs
Guiob Church Ruins
6:30 PM ~ went back to Casa Roca for dinner
8:00 PM ~ headed to Ardent Hot Springs
10:00 PM ~ headed back to Casa Roca
Kibila White Beach and Giant Clams Nursery
12:00 PM ~ headed to White Island
3:30 PM ~ brief visit to Agoho Black Sand Beach
9:30 AM ~ checked-out at Casa Roca
10:40 AM ~ arrived at Mambajao town proper; bought pasalubong then rode a van to Benoni Port
11:40 AM ~ ferry back to Balingoan Port
Budget allotted was Php 12,000.00 at Php 6,000 per head excluding airfare
Expense breakdown (excluding airfare):
Php 170.00/head ferry from Balingoan Port to Benoni Port, Camiguin
Php 2.25/head terminal fee
Php 700.00 2 days motorbike rental (Php350/day)
Php 100.00 Gas for motorbike
Php 350.00 Figures are estimated sum total of all lunch during road trip and tour for 5 days
Php 15.00/head Entrance fee at Walkway to Mt. Vulcan and Via Crucis
Php 50.00/head boat ride to Sunken Cemetery
Php 10.00 motorbike parking at Sunken Cemetery
Php 30.00/head Bura Soda Cold Springs
Php 20.00/head Sto. Niño Cold Springs
Php 30.00/head Entrance fee at Ardent Hot Springs
Php 510.00/boat Boat ride to Mantigue Island (Php85/head if group sharing of 6, max)
Php 20.00/head Environmental fee at Mantigue Island
Php 50.00/table Picnic table rental at Mantigue Island
Php 50.00/head Snorkeling fee at Fish Sanctuary at Mantigue Island
Php 150.00/head Giant Clams viewing at Kibila White Beach
Php 50.00/head Snorkel corkage at Giant Clams Nursery at Kibila White Beach
Php 380.00/boat Boat ride to White Island (Php /head if group sharing)
Php 20.00/head Environmental fee at White Island
Php 12.00/head Motorela from Casa Roca to Mambajao town proper
Php 30.00/head Van from Mambajao town proper to Benoni Port
Php 170.00/head ferry from Benoni Port to Balingoan Port, CDO
Php 2.25/head terminal fee
Php 148.00/head Bus from Balingoan Port to CDO city proper
Php 480.00 Taxi fare from CDO city proper to Laguindingan Airport