What we believe in:

Most great adventures are those where you've just got to go for it and see where it leads you... No ifs, no buts just you and your conviction


From the routine of everyday work life to the adventures and misadventures of exploring and traveling - this is how June and Lanie, the backpacking pinoy couple while away their dull moments.

With 7,107 islands, check out how this couple joins the other Filipinos in our advocacy: It's more fun in the Philippines!


Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BackpackingPinoyCouple


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sagada: A Home Away from Home

Sagada. 
Pine trees. Mountains. The cold weather. Mist. Sweaters. Bonnet. Mittens. Scarves. Sumaguing Cave. Hanging Coffins. Rice Terraces. These are the images that will automatically flash into your mind once you hear the word. 

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

After being on hiatus for 5 months, we yearned for our usual past time of travelling. Going places can really be addictive once you started it.

It was in November 2014 when we decided to spend the Christmas break away from the metro. This was the first time we ever did so as we used to shun away from vacation spots during peak season because of too many tourists everywhere. Nevertheless, we did this time and we chose to spend 5 days and 4 nights in Sagada, leaving Manila on the night of Christmas Day.

Side Trip to Banaue Rice Terraces Main View Point
We left Florida Bus Station in Cubao at 8:45 PM on Christmas day, 2014. We chose the bus that headed straight to Banaue and arrived there at 4:45 AM, December 26 (8hrs travel time). We registered at People's Restaurant for a van to Sagada that departed at 8AM. We were given a brief side trip at Banaue Rice Terraces Viewpoint before heading to Sagada. Just to note, this is not the famous Amphitheater Rice Terraces of Batad, Banaue, which is out of the way going to Sagada. One has to go on a direct tour to Batad to see the Amphitheater.


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Banaue Rice Terraces


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Banaue Rice Terraces

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Banaue Rice Terraces
We had to wait for the fog to lift up to get a perfect view of the rice terraces

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Banaue Rice Terraces

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Banaue Rice Terraces

The Winding Road to Sagada

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

From Banaue to Sagada we passed by the town of Bontoc. The smooth 2-hour travel time from Banaue to Sagada is rich with breathtaking scenery: long winding road along the mountainside, fog-covered mountains, pine trees, and cool breeze. The road itself was well-managed and without the hassle of bumpy rides and rough road.


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

Nestled in a valley between the main Cordillera Mountain Ranges and the Ilocos Range, Sagada is a peaceful haven that attracts tourists, especially locals, who want to have a taste of cold weather and be away from the heat and stress of the metro. Sagada is one of the 10 municipalities of the landlocked province of Mountain Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region in the northern part of the Philippines. Sagada is adjacent to the capital of Mountain Province which is Bontoc, and about 140 kms from Baguio.


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

What to Do and Where to Go in Sagada, Mountain Province 
1. A Walk to the Town Proper
Our chosen accommodation, Misty Lodge is about 5-10 minutes ride from the town proper, and about 20 minutes on foot. On our first day, we gladly walked our way to the town proper. The sights and scent (we owe it to the pine trees) of Sagada made us forget the convenience of getting a ride. 
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines



Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines
"Head Over Heels"
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines
"The Twins"














Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines
"The Ballerina"

It is especially a blissful walk when the fog sets in covering you in the cold weather even more. This happens in the early morning (until 7am) and in the late afternoon some time at 5:30pm until the evening.
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

There are a number of pubs and restaurant bars open in the evening where tourists usually spend their time savoring the serenity and weather of Sagada.


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

Just a caution, though. The Centrum Building in the town proper where convenience stores are located closes at 7pm because it really gets cold after sunset. We had our fair share of walking in the evening and boy, it really was cold! We could literally see our breath while laughing and talking - and shivering - on our way back to Misty Lodge. 
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

2. Hitching a Ride, the Locals' Way
Thankfully, the ambiance of Sagada is not spoiled by too many buzzing vehicles with their gray (or black) fumes polluting the clean air. In case you're wondering how you can get to and from the town proper, there are a number of Sagada - Bontoc jeepneys but their travel is bound by schedule.

This posed an exciting opportunity for us  =)
We really wanted to try out that ride on the roof! And so we did. The local folks are very kind to offer a ride to hitchhikers. We tried this out on our second day in Sagada and went on until our last day there - walking and watching out for passing vehicles to hitch a ride. The cool breeze and being on top to see the beauty of Sagada mountains is worth the experience.

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

3. Taking a short trek to the nearest Hanging Coffins
Our 5D4N stay in Sagada was really meant to just be a staycation. We did, however, explored some sites that are within a few kilometers-reach.

One of the well-known tourist attractions in Sagada are its Hanging Coffins. There is not just one but a few more Hanging Coffins sites in Sagada. One of them is perhaps the most accessible and nearest the town - the Echo Valley Hanging Coffins.
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins
Click here for our detailed post featuring Echo Valley Hanging Coffins

The Echo Valley Hanging Coffins can be reached by going to the town proper and heading towards the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. Even further is an uphill climb where your trek to the Hanging Coffins starts. Don't forget to pay a one-time payment of Environmental Fee at the Tourism Office in the town proper. The personnel in-charge at the entrance of Echo Valley will ask for your O.R. Don't leave it to them, though because you will need it whenever you go to a Sagada tourist attraction.

I suppose we don't have to explain why Echo Valley was named that way.

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins
The main view point of Echo Valley

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins
Trekking deeper in the valley to the Hanging Coffins site

4. Falls, anyone?
Bokong Falls is perhaps the most accessible waterfalls in Sagada. We even easily discovered on our own the two routes that lead to it.
The cold water rushing from the top felt like melted ice. Sagada may be known for the cold weather but this doesn't stop tourists from daring to take a plunge in the naturally carved pool beneath Bokong Falls.
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Bokong Falls


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Bokong Falls


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Bokong Falls

5. Native delicacies
There are a number of delicacies in Sagada and among them are their well-known pies. If you're not up to try a different kind of flavor, so citrusy that it will leave your face contorted and cause you those jaw cramps, I bet you will not like the lemon pie. My husband and I tasted it. Nah, actually we each had a slice.... How did it go??? Well, good thing we had a cup of coffee within reach.
The vanilla pie, now, that's yummy! At least for both our taste. It looks like the more well-known egg pie in Manila but this one is much creamier and a little sweeter.
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Lemon Pie, Vanilla Pie
Lemon Pie (left) and Vanilla Pie (right)

6. Trying out the Restobars in Sagada town proper
Sagada may not have the hard-party bars like those in Baguio but it does have restobars and mini-pubs where local and foreign tourists spend the evening with friends and families over a cup of coffee or sharing a platter of pasta and other sumptuous meals.

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Sagada Lemon Pie House


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Yoghurt House

There's a different kind of magic in the still evening air of Sagada. While most locals of Sagada are all warm in the comfort of their home, the tourists enjoy the soothing tranquility of empty streets but at the same time taking comfort at the sound of soft laughter and giggles from fellow tourists. 

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Sagada Brew


We don't have much else to share in this post as we only intended to spend our vacation in complete rest. We did, however, inquire on what activities there are in Sagada as we look forward to return this year for a taste of their adventures.
If you want to know what's in store for you in Sagada, here were the info we gathered:

Caving
Cave Connection
Route: 
Dokiw Hanging Coffins - viewpoint
Lumiang Burial Cave - entry point
Sumaging Cave - exit point
Rice Terraces - viewpoint

Guide Fee: 
Php800 for 2 visitors or less; Php400 for each additional visitor

Short Course Caving
Route: 
Dokiw Hanging Coffins - viewpoint
Lumiang Burial Cave - entrance
Sumaging Cave - entrance and exit points
Rice Terraces - viewpoint

Guide Fee: 
Php500 for 4 visitors or less; Php400 for each additional visitor
Php600 for 5 visitors
Php1,000 (2 guides) for 6 - 9 visitors
Php1,200 (2 guides) for 10 visitors
Php1,500 (3 guides) for 11 - 12 visitors

Balangagan Cave Spelunking (Marcos Cave)
Guide Fee: Php650 for 4 visitors or less

Waterfalls
Bumayeng Twin Falls
Fee:  Php2,500 for 5 visitors or less (includes packed meal)

Bomod-ok
Fee:  Php600 for 10 visitors or less 

Pongas
Fee:  Php600 for 10 visitors or less 

Bokong
Fee:  Php200 for 10 visitors or less


Mountain Trekking
Mt. Ampacao Traverse
Fee:  Php800 for 10 visitors or less

Grassy Land / Marlboro
Fee:  Php600 for 10 visitors or less

Langsayan Danum Traverse
Fee:  Php1,000 for 3 visitors or less

Mt. Sisipitan
Fee:  Php2,000 each

Mt. Polis
Fee:  Php1,500 3 visitors or less




As travelers who are very fond of nature, Sagada is a piece of heaven for us. Clear skies, cool breeze, the smell of pine trees, wild sunflowers, virgin forest, mountains thick with the presence of trees, fresh air, and zero-noise and light pollution. These are the ones we value and admire the most in our travels. We sincerely hope that Sagada will be preserved as it is and not be saturated with establishments, housing infrastructures, and too many vehicles, unlike what happened in Baguio.


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines


How to go to Sagada from Manila by Bus
Currently there are no buses that go to Sagada straight from Manila. To go to Sagada, you have two options: One, ride a bus going to Baguio then from there another bus to Sagada. This route goes through the province of Benguet. 
The other option is through Banaue then from there you may take a van directly to Sagada (Php300/head) OR if you're up for some adventure you may take a jeepney to Bontoc (Php150/head) then another jeepney to Sagada (Php45/head). The view on the way to Sagada is truly breathtaking. That must be the reason why those who prefer to ride a jeepney choose to take a nice spot on the jeepney roof.


Where to Stay in Sagada
Our accommodation was at Misty Lodge, which is located a few kms before reaching Sagada town proper from Banaue. If you'll choose this accommodation, make sure to inform the driver to drop you off in the area.

In all our travels we prefer booking our accommodation in lodges, inns, resorts, and hotels that are located outside the town proper to savor the tranquil urban life in the provinces and save ourselves from the stress of too crowded places. Our vacation in Sagada was made especially peaceful by staying at Misty Lodge - great-tasting food (I especially love the burgers and pizza), well-maintained rooms and facilities, and a hospitable staff.

Misty Lodge is owned and managed by Ms. Sigrid and her family. They were very nice and accommodating, attending to our needs whenever we needed assistance. Misty Lodge is not just a place to spend the night but it is also frequented by tourists for their great-tasting food. At night the dining area is usually filled with other tourists from the town proper and from the other nearby lodges.

We highly recommend this place in Sagada. You may keep in touch with Ms. Sigrid for booking reservations:  

Contact Number: 0926-1235186  
Facebook Page: Misty Lodge and Cafe


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Misty Lodge


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Misty Lodge

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Misty Lodge
Our morning greeter ^_^


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Misty Lodge


Sagada Posts (Mountain Province)

Our 5D4N Sagada Vacation (December 2014)

Day 1   Dec 25, Thursday
     8:45 PM    ~   departed from Florida Bus Station in Cubao going to Banaue (Php530/head)
     
Day 2   Dec 26, Friday
     4:45 AM    ~   arrived in Banaue and registered at People's Restaurant for a van to Sagada (van at Php300/head)
     8:00 AM    ~   departure time from People's Restaurant 
     8:20 AM    ~   a brief side trip at Banaue Rice Terraces Viewpoint
     9:25 AM    ~   passed by Bontoc town proper
   10:25 AM    ~   arrived at Misty Lodge

From this point on there was not much activities to share as we spent the remainders of our vacation lazing around, relaxing, walking, hitching, slept most of the morning, savored the cold climate, and just enjoyed a good rest (except for the part when we explored the Echo Valley Hanging Coffins and Bokong Falls on our own)              

Day 5   Dec 30, Tuesday
   7:30 AM    ~   waited at town proper, near St. Mary's Church for a bus ride to Baguio
   9:00 AM    ~   bus departed for Baguio (Php220/head)
   3:00 PM    ~   arrived in Baguio
   3:20 PM    ~   bus departed from Baguio to Pasay (Php456/head)  
 11:00 PM    ~   arrived in Pasay
   
        

Budget allotted was Php 10,000.00 at Php 5,000 per head
Actual expense amounted to around Php 8,500 (Php 4,260 per head)

Expense breakdown:

   Php  2,400.00 (5D4N)      Overnight stay at Misty Lodge (@Php600/night)
   Php       530.00/head         Bus from Cubao to Banaue
   Php       300.00/head         Van from Banaue to Sagada
   Php         35.00/head         One-time payment of Environmental Fee paid at Sagada Tourism Office
   Php   1,500.00/head          Meals 
   Php       220.00/head         Bus from Sagada to Baguio
   Php       456.00/head         Bus from Baguio to Pasay 
  
   

Backpacking Pinoy Couple 2015
Backpacking Pinoy Couple

The Hanging Coffins of Sagada: A Tradition that is Dying Out

The Igorot tribe of Mountain province observe this practice of burying the dead. This has been their tradition even during the pre-Spanish era. However, in these modern times, this practice is done in a much smaller scale limiting perhaps to the influential leaders of the tribe, or perhaps being slowly extinguished by modernization.
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins
Hanging Coffins at Echo Valley, Sagada

There are a number of beliefs as to why this practice is observed. Some are spiritual and profound like placing the bodies of the dead high up brings them closer to their ancestor spirits and to the Almighty Creator.

Others are for preservation reasons, where they say that being buried in the ground would expose the body more to elements of faster rotting and decomposition - soil and water in the ground. Another belief was the fear of having the corpse mauled and eaten by dogs and wild animals.

An age-old belief is based on the headhunting days of different tribes in the adjacent provinces, which took place in the ancient times of tribal disputes among Bontoc, Kalinga, and Sagada natives. It was during that era when heads of the enemy tribes are being taken home as trophies of the offending tribe. Placing the coffins high up and hanging them on cliffs makes it difficult for the enemy to reach them.
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins

It is not just the tradition of hanging coffins that might get your attention. They also observe a different tradition in the preparation of the corpse and in the vigil a few days before burying the dead (or in their case, hanging the coffin).

The cadaver is smoked to conceal the rotting smell and to slow down decomposition a bit That departed loved one is then placed on a death chair. Yes, on sitting position tied and secured with rattan vines and covered with a cloth or blanket. This is when the wake starts when the body on the death chair is positioned facing the main door of the house for relatives and tribe members to pay their respects.

After the vigil which may take a number of days, the deceased is removed from the death chair and then fixed in a fetal position with the legs pushed up towards the chin. This fetal position of the dead is based on their belief that a person should depart this world the same way he entered it. 
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

Wrapped tightly in a blanket and tied with rattan vines, the corpse is passed on among mourners who willingly grab and carry it because of the belief that to be smeared with the dead's blood brings good luck. It was thought that during this funeral procession, the fluids from the corpse can bring success and can pass on the skills of the dead to those who come in contact with it. 

At the burial site, men climb the side of the cliff to place the corpse in the lumber coffin, which they either tied or nailed to the sides of the cliff. In the earlier times, their hanging coffins measure about one meter in length, fit for the corpse in fetal position. At times the bones are cracked or broken so that the corpse may fit into the small coffin. The coffin is then sealed with rattan vines. Pigs and chicken are traditionally butchered for the community in celebration of the life lived by their departed tribe member. Based on the tradition, the number of animals butchered should either be three or five - 3 chickens and 2 pigs, or 2 chickens and one pig.


Nowadays, very few of the tribe are practitioners of this tradition and it is just a sad note that this practice is slowly coming to an end. The new generation, influenced by modern beliefs, convenience, and mental colonization, prefers to adopt easier and modern means of burying the dead. Just like other traditions followed and observed by different tribes in the early times, the modern ways of life and civilization is slowly eating up the tradition that was.

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins


How to go to Sagada from Manila by Bus
Currently there are no buses that go to Sagada straight from Manila. To go to Sagada, you have two options: One, ride a bus going to Baguio then from there another bus to Sagada. This route goes through the province of Benguet. 
The other option is through Banaue then from there you may take a van directly to Sagada (Php300/head) OR if you're up for some adventure you may take a jeepney to Bontoc (Php150/head) then another jeepney to Sagada (Php45/head). The view on the way to Sagada is truly breathtaking. That must be the reason why those who prefer to ride a jeepney choose to take a nice spot on the jeepney roof.

Where to Stay in Sagada
Our accommodation was at Misty Lodge, which is located a few kms before reaching Sagada town proper from Banaue. If you'll choose this accommodation, make sure to inform the driver to drop you off in the area.

In all our travels we prefer booking our accommodation in lodges, inns, resorts, and hotels that are located outside the town proper to savor the tranquil urban life in the provinces and save ourselves from the stress of too crowded places. Our vacation in Sagada was made especially peaceful by staying at Misty Lodge - great-tasting food (I especially love the burgers and pizza), well-maintained rooms and facilities, and a hospitable staff.

Misty Lodge is owned and managed by Ms. Sigrid and her family. They were very nice and accommodating, attending to our needs whenever we needed assistance. Misty Lodge is not just a place to spend the night but it is also frequented by tourists for their great-tasting food. At night the dining area is usually filled with other tourists from the town proper and from the other nearby lodges.

We highly recommend this place in Sagada. You may keep in touch with Ms. Sigrid for booking reservations:  

Contact Number: 0926-1235186  
Facebook Page: Misty Lodge and Cafe


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, Misty Lodge


Sagada Posts (Mountain Province)


Our 5D4N Sagada Vacation (December 2014)
Day 1   Dec 25, Thursday
     8:45 PM    ~   departed from Florida Bus Station in Cubao going to Banaue (Php530/head)
     
Day 2   Dec 26, Friday
     4:45 AM    ~   arrived in Banaue and registered at People's Restaurant for a van to Sagada (van at Php300/head)
     8:00 AM    ~   departure time from People's Restaurant 
     8:20 AM    ~   a brief side trip at Banaue Rice Terraces Viewpoint
     9:25 AM    ~   passed by Bontoc town proper
   10:25 AM    ~   arrived at Misty Lodge

From this point on there was not much activities to share as we spent the remainders of our vacation lazing around, relaxing, walking, hitching, slept most of the morning, savored the cold climate, and just enjoyed a good rest (except for the part when we explored the Echo Valley Hanging Coffins and Bokong Falls on our own)              

Day 5   Dec 30, Tuesday
   7:30 AM    ~   waited at town proper, near St. Mary's Church for a bus ride to Baguio
   9:00 AM    ~   bus departed for Baguio (Php220/head)
   3:00 PM    ~   arrived in Baguio
   3:20 PM    ~   bus departed from Baguio to Pasay (Php456/head)  
 11:00 PM    ~   arrived in Pasay
   
Budget allotted was Php 10,000.00 at Php 5,000 per head
Actual expense amounted to around Php 8,500 (Php 4,260 per head)

Expense breakdown:

   Php  2,400.00 (5D4N)       Overnight stay at Misty Lodge (@Php600/night)
   Php       530.00/head         Bus from Cubao to Banaue
   Php       300.00/head         Van from Banaue to Sagada
   Php         35.00/head         One-time payment of Environmental Fee paid at Sagada Tourism Office
   Php   1,500.00/head          Meals 
   Php       220.00/head         Bus from Sagada to Baguio
   Php       456.00/head         Bus from Baguio to Pasay 
  
   

Backpacking Pinoy Couple 2015
Backpacking Pinoy Couple



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Camiguin Island: A Dream Vacation

Known as The Island Born of Fire, Camiguin manages to stand out from the rest of the thousands of islands in the Philippines. 

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.


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Backpacking Philippines, Northern Mindanao, Philippine travel, Camiguin, How to go to Camiguin, what to do in camiguin, where to go in camiguin, Camiguin roadtrip, road trip, Camiguin Itinerary

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.


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Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Backpacking Philippines, Northern Mindanao, Philippine travel, Camiguin, How to go to Camiguin, what to do in camiguin, where to go in camiguin, Camiguin roadtrip, road trip, Camiguin Itinerary, motor riding in Camiguin

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.


Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Backpacking Philippines, Northern Mindanao, Philippine travel, Camiguin, How to go to Camiguin, what to do in camiguin, where to go in camiguin, Camiguin roadtrip, road trip, Camiguin Itinerary, motor riding in Camiguin

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Backpacking Philippines, Northern Mindanao, Philippine travel, Camiguin, How to go to Camiguin, what to do in camiguin, where to go in camiguin, Camiguin roadtrip, road trip, Camiguin Itinerary, motor riding in Camiguin


2. Beaches and Snorkeling
You've never been to Camiguin if you haven't visited their beaches that are famous to tourists.

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Backpacking Philippines, Northern Mindanao, Philippine travel, Camiguin, How to go to Camiguin, what to do in camiguin, where to go in camiguin, Camiguin roadtrip, road trip, Camiguin Itinerary, motor riding in Camiguin, White Isand
White Island: Camiguin's postcard-perfect scenery
(click here to view our featured post on White Island)

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Mantigue Island (it has a fish sanctuary snorkeling site)
click here to view our featured post on Mantigue Island

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Backpacking Philippines, Northern Mindanao, Philippine travel, Camiguin, How to go to Camiguin, what to do in camiguin, where to go in camiguin, Camiguin roadtrip, road trip, Camiguin Itinerary, motor riding in Camiguin, Agoho Black Sand Beach, Agohay Beach Resort
Agoho Black Sand Beach
(click here to view our featured post on Agoho Black Sand Beach)

Giant Clams Nursery at Kibila White Beach
(click here to view our featured post on Kibila Giant Clams Nursery)

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.


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Bura Soda Cold Springs 
(click here to view our featured post on Bura Soda Cold Springs)

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Sto. Niño Cold Springs 
(click here to view our featured post on Sto. Niño Cold Springs)


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Ardent Hot Springs 
(click here to view our featured post on Ardent Hot Springs)
           
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.


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Sunken Cemetery 
(click here to view our featured post on Sunken Cemetery)
                 

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Guiob Church Ruins 
(click here to view our featured post on Guiob Church Ruins)

5. Trekking
With six volcanoes cramped in a 237.95 sq km island, every adventurous tourist would surely never want to not have a taste of trekking in Camiguin. 
Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Backpacking Philippines, Northern Mindanao, Philippine travel, Camiguin, How to go to Camiguin, what to do in camiguin, where to go in camiguin, Camiguin roadtrip, road trip, Camiguin Itinerary, motor riding in Camiguin, Walkway to Old Volcano, Mt. Vulcan and Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis
Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross 
(click here to view our featured post on Mt. Vulcan and Stations of the Cross)

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Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross

Backpacking Pinoy Couple, Backpacking Philippines, Northern Mindanao, Philippine travel, Camiguin, How to go to Camiguin, what to do in camiguin, where to go in camiguin, Camiguin roadtrip, road trip, Camiguin Itinerary, motor riding in Camiguin, Walkway to Old Volcano, Mt. Vulcan and Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis
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.

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Where to Stay in Camiguin Island
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.

Visit their website:  Casa Roca Inn
email add: prosolido@gmail.com
 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
Going around Camiguin Island
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. 


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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.


Camiguin Island 5D4N Travel Series (Northern Mindanao Adventure)
   Part 5:  Camiguin: Guiob Church Ruins
   Part 6:  Camiguin: Ardent Hot Springs
   Part 7:  Camiguin: Mantigue Island 

Our 5-Day DIY Camiguin Itinerary

Day 1   April 12, Saturday
   10:20 AM    ~   arrived at Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan De Oro (approx. 1.5 hours plane travel)
   10:50 AM    ~   hired shared car bound for Cagayan De Oro City, specifically at Agora Public Market (Php 199/head)
   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
   10:00 AM    ~   started our road trip around Camiguin by a rented motorbike
           Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross
           Sunken Cemetery
           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
   
Day 3   April 14, Monday
    8:00 AM   ~   started our 2nd day road trip around Camiguin by a rented motorbike
        Mantigue Island
        Kibila White Beach and Giant Clams Nursery

Day 4   April 15, Tuesday
   12:00 PM   ~   headed to White Island
     3:30 PM   ~   brief visit to Agoho Black Sand Beach

Day 5   April 16, Wednesday
    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
    1:00 PM   ~   arrived at Balingoan Port in CDO
    1:15 PM   ~   bus departed for CDO city proper
    3:05 PM   ~   hailed a taxi to Laguindingan Airport
    4:00 PM   ~   arrived at Laguindingan Airport
    5:45 PM   ~   plane departed back to Manila (delayed flight)
        

Budget allotted was Php 12,000.00 at Php 6,000 per head excluding airfare
Actual expense amounted to around Php 10,600 (Php 5,300 per head, excluding airfare)

Expense breakdown (excluding airfare):
   Php       199.00/head         hired car from Laguindingan Airport, CDO to Agora Public Market in CDO town proper
   Php         60.00/head         lunch at Agora Market
   Php       148.00/head         bus from Agora Market to Balingoan Port 
   Php       170.00/head         ferry from Balingoan Port to Benoni Port, Camiguin
   Php           2.25/head         terminal fee 
   Php        25.00/head          jeepney fare from Benoni Port to Mambajao
   Php         12.00/head         motorela from Mambajao town proper to Casa Roca in Brgy. Naasag.
   Php  4,000.00 (5D4N)     Overnight stay at Casa Roca, with complimentary breakfast (Php1000/night)
   Php  1,180.00 (5D4N)     Sum total of dinner at Casa Roca
   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 
   

Backpacking Pinoy Couple 2014
Backpacking Pinoy Couple