This is my first time to set foot in Mindanao. As most of the people spend their vacations on different popular destinations in the Philippines, my family and I chose to explore the treasures of Northern Mindanao. To begin with my 5-day vacation the first stop was Camiguin - The Island Born of Fire.
From Cagayan De Oro Airport, one has to travel 2 hours by land going to the Port of Balingoan and board a Super Shuttle Ferry to Port of Benoni, Camiguin. The fare costs Php170 (one way) and it takes more than 1 hour to complete the trip. The ferry departs from both port hourly.
|At the Balingoan Port, there were children asking for some coins to be thrown in the water and they dive for it.|
|Diving from the roof of the ferry (20-25ft dive).|
|The view of the Camiguin Island from the Captain's Deck.|
Arriving at the Port of Benoni, we were greeted by the local people with hospitality. Our tour guide was on time to pick us and help us with our luggages. The first thing I noticed though is the unique design of transportation vehicles Camiguin have. The 10-seater tricycle "motorela" and the "multi-cab" that serves as the version of Jeepneys in Manila. Around the town motorcycles "habal-habal" can be also rented for Php500/day.
After securing the luggages in the multi-cab, we started travelling again. The green trees and the natural scenery along the way made me more excited to discover what is hidden inside this island.
We instructed our driver to drop us first at Mambajao Public Market because we need to buy stuff in our cooking. I was eager to go inside the market and check out the prices of the seafoods to see if they are much cheaper. Indeed, the prices are way lower compared in Manila. I was very amused of the Grilled Blue Marlin because it only costs 25 pesos! I mean, where could you find such price like that? In Manila that would already cost around Php500. It did not take a while for me to finish one stick of this and I definitely enjoyed every single bite. YUM! In addition, there are also variety of fishes being sold in the market that are relatively cheap.
After buying the goods, we finally continued our journey to the place where we stayed - Patsada Cottages. This place is not the typical beach front hotel but instead it can provide you a homey feeling with an overlooking view of the white island. The cottage is well-equipped with kitchen utensils and has a swimming pool. It also has no T.V and aircon BUT wi-fi is accessible and the cold breeze of air is enough to give you a good night sleep.
|The overlooking view from Patsada|
It was the breath taking view of the White Island that greeted me Good Morning the following day! I just watched the sunrise and gazed at the island while I enjoyed my breakfast at the cottage veranda.
|The amazing view from the cottage veranda|
Our second day was solely allotted for touring Camiguin. The first stop was the White Island. It was ideal to go here in the morning to avoid strong waves. The clouds were a bit dark when we sailed to the island but fortunately the sun redeemed itself in the next hours. Since it was Holy Week, many people were around and several stalls were put up along the shore. To be honest, I find the island a bit crowded and commercialized. Well, I guess this only applies during peak season or Holy Week.
|In the island, sea urchins are being sold by locals. My first time to taste them and I liked it.|
|The vendor will open the urchins for you. Its good to eat it with vinegar.|
Note: We also dropped by at the Old Volcano Walkway Site but did not go up the stations of the cross since we already did the religious practice a week before this vacation. Moreover, souvenir shops are just along the street so we took advantage of the time to buy our pasalubong.
The Old Volcano eruption destroyed the Old Guiob Church and sunk the cemetery - now known as Sunken Cemetery. It swept away the graves of the rested locals in this town of the island. Today, these two landmarks has become a very popular tourist attraction.
|Tourists are allowed to traverse the sea to reach the platform of the huge cross.|
|Old Guiob Church|
Then it was time for lunch. We went to Sto. Nino Cold Spring to have a lunch picnic. At the parking lot many locals offer snacks which are new to me - they call it Salvaro. It is made from cassava with latik on top and only 5 pesos each. People from the canteens also approached us if we want to order from them and they will just deliver the food in our cottage. So while waiting for food I dipped in the cold spring to forget my hunger. The water was very cold that made me forget how hot the noon was.
|Sto. Nino Cold Spring|
After indulging ourselves with the great lunch, our next stop was the Soda Swimming Pool situated in Catarman. According to locals, it is named as "Soda" because the water used to taste like one. This pool doesn't differ much from Sto. Nino but has less visitors. The area is surrounded by trees and plants. Cottages are available as well for group picnics.
Then the next stop of our tour - Katibawasan Falls. This 250 feet high waterfalls is indeed one of the great treasures in Camiguin. The falls rushes down to the green pool that provides a refreshing swim for visitors.
The last stop of the tour was at Ardent Hot Spring Resort. The place is composed of several springs with different water temperatures. The best to try here is the 39 degree hottest of the hot springs. It is a perfect relaxation for a day filled with adventure.
Camiguin is really worth a visit and I feel very lucky to explore and share my experience through this blog.
- Patsada Cottages - Ralph +63 929 3166913 / Suzy +63 927 4743238
- Camiguin Tour Guide - Kuya Frank +639205405582
Until the next destination,
my emaill: firstname.lastname@example.org