I promise, if I pass this exam, I’m going somewhere new!
All glory to God, I passed the exam that took me 8 long months to prepare! Hence, not to disappoint my inspired and grateful self, this Camiguin travel came to reality. I traveled with my sister who, by the way, just graduated from college, so it was like a double celebration! Yehey!
How we got there: From Tagbi-Jagna-Balbagon Port
Since we live in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, we had to take a 2-hour bus ride to Jagna, where the Ferry (Super Shuttle Ferry 21) to Camiguin is. The Jagna-Camiguin trips are only available every M-W-Fs at 1PM so we decided to go on a Friday, Oct 28, 2016. The entire ferry ride took us 4 glorious hours! Yes, glorious, because I didn’t notice the length of time we were seated for we were entertained by dolphins along! Believe me, I live in a province known for dolphin-watching attractions but it was my first time to see them! What a shame, right? LOL! These creatures were really charming and playful. One would just randomly appear and then others will play along with others. Seriously, could it be any fun than that? It was what made the trip really light and worth it!
This was one of the travels that was really memorable for me. It’s my first travel with my sister. Also, a local who happens to be a friend from church were generous enough to offer tour/guide us around the province while we were there. Blessed, indeed! In addition, I would say this was one of my most relaxed travel. Usually with my previous ones, I had to always be conscious about our time and the next where-to’s. This time was different, just like the laid back environment of the place, we kind of took things as slow and calmly as possible which absolutely made me realize, “this is what real travel must look and feel like”.
Where we stayed:
There are a lot of places to stay in Camiguin and they are mostly budget-friendly. RD SABACAJAN COTTAGES / PENSION HOUSE in Yumbing was our home for 3 nights stay in Camiguin. Pretty much it’s cheap, I paid less that P2000 for a room for 3 persons in the entire stay (4 days, 3 nights, 3 persons). I would totally recommend that you book cottages in Yumbing since it’s the very center of the province. It’s near their famous restaurants and must-see attractions.
Means of Transportation:
There’s not much available transportation in Camiguin. We were just really blessed that we didn’t have to hire their multicabs/ habal-habals/motorelas since we had our own private ride. But there was one time when we rode a motorela, and paid P8 per person from our inn to the port for White Island. Anyway, Camiguin is a small province, you can see its entirety within a day so getting lost is not to be dreaded. But if you are from Yumbing and you’d have to go to different towns, then you need to hire (pakyaw) a rela/multicab to get there. Of course, there’s a different rate for that.
LANZONES Festival. We actually came there during their week-long Lanzones Festival. It’s their annual thanksgiving celebration for Camiguin Island’s bountiful harvest in time for the season of the tropical fruit lanzones. Of course, it served both it’s pros and cons. One of the pros is that it’s the best time for the fruit tasting. The province becomes hyped-up as well. But the volume of visitors are greater than of the rest of the year so you’d expect overcrowding in places tourists normally goes to. That’s something I like the least. Since we arrived there at almost dinner time already, we’ve gone straight ahead to their town expo. Different restaurants all around Camiguin were open in the said expo therefore it was the best place to have our tummies filled. Aside from that, carnival rides like Ferris wheel, caterpillar and the likes were greatly enjoyed by both locals and tourists. Booths selling their locally made products that are good for souvenirs were also showcased. What festival expo would be complete without the object of its celebration? And true enough, they grow the sweetest Lanzones ever!
So after roaming around the place and some chit-chat with our friends from there, we needed to kiss the day goodbye to our inn.
5 of Camiguin’s must-see places:
- White Island in Yumbing, Mambajao– It’s not necessarily an island, more like a sandbar that’s pearly white under the imposing stare of Mt. Hibok-Hibok hence the name (White Island).
We hired a motor-banca to the island at P510 charge. Sounds pricey? Not much for bigger groups. Five to ten persons would positively fit in the motor-banca but we’re only a group of 3 so our expenses was of greater proportion . Honestly though, you would no longer mind the expenses when you get there. It’s beautiful. The bluish-green sea water is crystal clear. Mt Hibok-Hibok from afar with the highly contrasting white clouds over it really served well as a lovely backdrop! Staying there for about 2-3 hours got us our uneven discolorations! (It’s not a lovely tan, so it’s discoloration!)
It was almost lunch-time when we decided to go back to our place. We just had a quick shower and headed for a meal thru a motorela.
2. Tuasan Falls in Catarman.
The thought of waterfalls or springs really freaks me out. Other than the ocean, bodies of water would generally terrify me, so I don’t necessarily enjoy being in it. What I love doing though is looking at it and listening to the water’s rushing sound from a distance. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit some springs because Ardent Spring, for an instance, was dried out that time and didn’t have much interest on trying some other springs, I guess.
I’m introverting (for the lack of a better term!) while my company’s enjoying in the waters!
3. Old Guiob Church Ruins in Catarman
Many centuries passed, this place used to be a house of corporate worship. You could imagine the number of enthusiastic people going to this place, until a volcanic eruption washed out most of it and more devastatingly, the entire town. It is known that Camiguin is the home of majority of live and dormant volcanoes in the Philippines and after that major eruption on May 13, 1871, this what’s left to the once functional, and probably, highly embellished church. Once a place of fortress, now is no longer a place of refuge, but the remaining structures definitely signifies strength knowing what it has endured over many years of shaking and trembling volcanic activity in the island.
It’s fascinating to think that a ruin would be a place people would purposely go to. And why not, when it’s beautiful and historically significant?
There wasn’t any entrance fee to get inside the premises of the church ruins but you can cheerfully give your donation of any amount. Also, they have this logbook where you list your names, contact numbers, places of origin and signatures. All of time is left for you to enjoy so strike your Instagram-worthy pose! Lakas maka-senti ng place! (This isn’t a huge place so 15-20 minutes will do if you just want to see the whole place and you don’t plan on staying longer)
4. The Sunken Cemetery in Catarman
Reportedly, even weeks after the major volcanic eruption, there were still incessant spewing out of lava from the Mt. Vulcan matched with earthquakes which resulted to major geographical alterations in the place. This has submerged some areas of Catarman to about 2,000 feet. This led to some areas to sink and it included the Capitol’s Cemetery. According to local’s accounts, the cemetery wasn’t submerged to sea water all at once. But the recurring volcanic activity in the place induced the gravestones to lie as deep as it can in the water. Sounds creepy? Yes, but it’s what makes the look of it, magical.
5. Tongatoc Cove in Catarman
This place actually looks even more magnificent in person. It looks unreal. The combination of colors was amazing and was really vivid.
This Cove is just along the highway and no question why tourists would stop by this area. The view on this spot is just surreal! Definitely a must-see!
Some place I don’t know where. One of the perks of having locals with you is that they definitely know where to take you. While on the road, we stopped at a beach with lots of pebbles! Look at these! I felt like I was in Batanes for a moment! I don’t know about you, but I super love this view! I hope I had more time!
Where we ate:
Most of our meals were at our friend’s house so we weren’t able to try Camiguin’s best serving restaurants. I would say, we were absolutely pampered guests as we just have to prepare for the day, be fetched for breakfast or dinner and dropped anywhere we wish to go.
- Checkpoint Food Palace in Yumbing, Mambajao
One of the few fancy restos in the island-province which serves a wide variety of Filipino food. Delicious, flavorful food at a decent price. At less than P500, me and my sister, along with a friend had our lunch satisfied with 3 varying viands with rice and soda. Some of my photos were lost for reasons I don’t know and these are the ones left. I did have a list of the restaurants I wanted to try but we had to eat elsewhere on the following days of our stay. I remember we had to be in Catarman (another town) on the following day where we ate for lunch in a diner at their public market. I mentioned earlier about our friends from the place, Kuya Jun and wife Ayako, we couldn’t be more fortunate of their generosity for even cooking breakfast and dinner for the rest of our stay. Not to mention their presence in majority of the places we went to.
- Northern Lights Restaurant in Yumbing
We didn’t feel like having a full meal so we just had pizza from this place for dinner. Not the best pizza I’ve had but pretty reasonable for the price.
What we brought home:
If you look forward to buy some souvenirs or pasalubong, you can find a lot of sellers in the Sunken Cemetery complex at a cheaper price. You will find different key or pen holders, ref magnets, home decors and other wooden crafts you wish to take home with you. I didn’t buy any of those this time and totally forgot to take some pictures again!
- VjANDEP Pastel. Camiguin is widely known for this delicacy. Deceptively boring but when bitten thru, your mouth will tell of its bun’s softness and taste its milky, golden treasure of pastillas de leche filling. It’s one of Mindanao’s delicacy that I truly love!
I bought this directly from their store at Plaridel Street, Mambajao, Camiguin. I did take a photo of the store but yes, lost it along with bunch of other photos.
- Dried Pusit. Could either be the pusit (squid) that’s uncooked or the chicharong pusit that you can readily eat. Either which, I won’t say no.
Camiguin is just one of the numerous marvels of the Philippines and just one of the countless wonders of His hands! I’m grateful for such a delightful experience. It’s a place I would love to go back over and over again. There are still places yet to be visited. I know I missed some of their waterfalls and springs and even other white beaches. Definitely looking forward to my next visit to this town! If you’re the type of person who values the serenity of untouched natural stunners, consider Camiguin and the surprises is endless.