Imagine blue skies, white shores, a gently breeze, and the sound of waves crashing on the shoreline that lulls you to sleep… simply put, paradise! Just a boat ride away from my city, Cagayan de Oro, lies Camiguin Island, fondly known as the Island Born of Fire.
Whenever my family and I want a break from the bustling city, we just make our way to the Island and spend much needed quality time with nature.
NATURE’S SPRINGS AND WATERFALLS
Take a dip at the springs the island has to offer!
Relax your muscles and melt all of your fatigue away at Ardent Hot Springs in Mambajao, Camiguin. The hot springs are maintained by the government and if you plan on staying the night near said springs, you can book a room over at the resort that manages it as well! If you’re vacationing with family or with a group of friends, they have dorms which you can get for cheap. Truthfully, I’d recommend the dorms than the apartelles (because they’re more recently built). Also, try out their “sisig” at the resort’s restaurant! After the hot springs, you can either laze around and enjoy the breathtaking views the island can offer for the rest of the day or you can go and splash around at Sto. Nino Cold Springs located in Brgy. Bonbonon, Catarman. Like Ardent Hot Springs, it’s a few kilometers away from the highway and high up in the mountain so don’t be shy to ask directions. The locals would be more than happy to help! What’s awesome about the cold springs is that there are fishes in the springs that like to bite off the dead cells on your skin (have you heard of doctor fish?). Enjoy wading your feet in the water and letting those tiny little fish do their jobs! Honestly, I like swimming in cold water because it kind of brings back more energy and keeps me awake.
But wait, there’s more! Aside from springs, Camiguin has waterfalls ready for you to fall in love with. You have the Katibawasan falls in Mambajao, Binanawan falls in Sagay, and Tuasan falls in Catarman. During our recent stay in this quaint little island, we went to Katibawasan falls. Like in the springs, you pay an entrance fee at the falls but all the entrance fees are pretty cheap.
ISLAND HOPPING ALL DAY!
Your visit to Camiguin will never be complete if you don’t spend time at White Island and Mantigue Island! White Island is a sand bar that only emerges during a certain time of the day. The “docks” where you can ride a pump boat to the island is near Paras Beach Resort and you can easily find it from the highway. The fee for a ride is 450php and that already includes the return trip to going back to the main island. Oh, and you also need to pay 20php for each person going as environmental fee.
The other island you should be hopping on to is Mantigue Island. It’s not a sand bar but an island tinier than the main island (so I should be saying ‘isle’ right?) and here you can experience swimming and snorkeling with marine life! The boat fee to Mantigue Island is a little more expensive than the fee to Camiguin Island, 550php, and there’s a separate fee for snorkeling. I would recommend that you bring your own food from the main island though because the food they serve on Mantigue Island kind of expensive.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!
This little island in the south offers the freshest seafood you can find in the Philippines and if you’re in time for the lanzones festival, you can stuff yourself with the sweetest bunch of lanzones which the people of the island are happy enough to give you during the whole celebration. Our favorite food to eat while around the island is always kinilaw or raw fish “cooked” in locally made vinegar. It is awesome how they make this dish out there and you have to order it wherever you plan to eat around the island. Another you have to try is a handful of raw sea urchin when visiting Camiguin’s White Island.
A HIDDEN GEM
The road to this hidden gem may be rough and seriously looking very sketchy but trust me, the Giant Clam Sanctuary in Barangay Cantaan is totally worth it.
The view of the sea from the Sanctuary is absolutely breathtaking and for only 25php, you get an educational tour of the clams, what their jobs are in ecology, and how we can protect them from further destruction. They take you to several man-made pools where different species of clams are being housed. You can also snorkel and see the clams in their natural habitat for a fee of 150php per person. If you’re pooped from all the swimming, you can just take a picnic near the shore. It’s a cool place to check out during your stay and you’d be helping the Sanctuary and the Barangay that’s taking care of it spread awareness and how we can help continue to take care of them.
There is so still so much to do despite being on a small island like Camiguin. By checking out online some of the new attractions that a the Island Born of Fire now offers. Now you can experience paragliding as well as rapelling to get that adrenaline junkie inside you excited! You can also visit the Sunken Cemetery, the Old Church Ruins, and climb to the top of Mt. Hibok-hibok but I’ll cover those in another post and when I need another escape from stress.
Whether you just want a day trip away from the concrete jungles or a whole week to let out the island girl or boy within you without heading to the dank road of bankruptcy, Camiguin is the paradise you’re looking for.