“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Oh, Camiguin Island, you are so dear to me that we really prepared for you. I’ve always wanted to go to Camiguin. I have a couple of friends who would say that the Island is awesome, beautiful and all those adjectives just come out from their mouth. It is just so amazing that the Island is just so near but it took me years to finally step in the Island Born out of Fire.
From Cagayan de Oro to Camiguin Island
From the East Bound Terminal in Cagayan de Oro known as Agora Terminal, at around 5AM we travelled via bus towards the municipality of Balingoan in Misamis Oriental and then, via a ferry boat, we arrived at the Port of Benoni in Camiguin Island at exactly 8:30AM.
Before arriving at the Island, we can already see the bounty that the Lord has given to the Island. I stated on my previous blog (about Paras Beach Resort) that I see the Island as the plot of the book called “The Pearl”. If I’m not mistaken, the Island has 2 to 3 volcanoes; one has been noted to have erupted during the 50’s. From afar, we could already see the beaches, forest and some islets.
After docking at the port, Kuya Tang immediately took us to Mambajao, as per the request of Steph as we are already hungry. From time to time during that 25 minute ride from Benoni, Kuya Tang would often make a short stop and would tell a story of the place like this rice field that was devastated by the Tropical Storm Nanang last 2001 that took a few lives and livelihood from the locals.
We ate our sumptuous breakfast at Celys eatery that serves food the whole day at an affordable cost. Celys is located on the side of the Camiguin Tourism Office and fronting DepEd Camiguin.
Then, we started the Camiguin Island Tour…
Katibawasan Falls was our first stop. The falls was surrounded with rocks, ferns, boulders and ground orchids. It is so refreshing to see the water falls 75 meters from the top. Pay Php 20 to enter the facility and enjoy the refreshing view. Before going down to see what the people was looking for, we shot this video. The view is just perfect for your next twitter or facebook cover. (Wink)
After our 15 minutes stay at Katibawasan Falls, we travelled up towards Ardent Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring. I love hot springs more than the cold spring. I can still remember my experience at Kanlaon Volcano in the Negros province. This hot spring is controlled at maximum of 40 degrees Celsius – just tolerable. This goes to show that Hibok-Hibok volcano is still active. The sulphuric element of the hot water is good for those who have very sensitive skin like me (Big Wink). Before you swim, test the water temperature first. Never assume, always ensure, right? We surely enjoyed our stay here at Hibok-Hibok. Just pay Php 20 for the entrance.
Ardent Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring is located at Tagdo, Mambajao, Camiguin with telephone number (088) 387-0508.
I wish we could stay long at Ardent but we have to move on and tour Camiguin. Our 3rd stop is Bura Soda Water Park. From a hot spring we shall now dive in a cold spring filled with natural soda water. Take note that this is the only Soda pool in the Philippines.
Our next stop is Sto. Nino Cold Spring. This huge pool of cold water measuring 25 meters by 40 meters is perfect for family picnics as it is surrounded with cottages. Other than that, if you are just a back packer, house wives upon the entrance of the cold spring resort will offer their services to cook food for you.
Halfway as we closed our Day 1 in Camiguin, we stopped by the Old Church Ruins at Bonbon, Catarman. Tired from the Camiguin tourist spot hopping, the kids at the Old Church ruins will make you smile. We were welcomed by kids selling candles. These kids are knowledgeable about the history of what happened to the old church, the 400-year old tree and all. To add, they are also excited to take photos of you for FREE. I mean, if you wanted to take your pre-nup photos, this is the best spot. The kids were also suggesting a lot of posts and would tell you to upload it online.
The famous Sunken Cemetery was our last stop. I’ve already seen this scene on the movie titled “Camiguin” but it was far better in reality. Well, obviously. You would see tourist taking pictures of this famous Camiguin Sunken Cemetery and locals would also offer you their boat and snorkelling services. Don’t worry they’ve already transferred the bodies to the cemetery inland. We may not have gone towards the gigantic cross but a local offered a hand to take creative pictures and encouraged us to upload it on Facebook and share it our friends. Simply amazing! We felt like a VVIP (Very very important people!).
After our Camiguin Island Tour, we decided to stay at Paras Beach Resort where we rested and enjoyed the Island and Panoramic view of Camiguin.
The next day, we decided to tour the capital town Mambajao and joined the celebration of the yearly Lanzones Festival. We arrived 1PM at Cely’s but got routed to 4Rs Eatery because they brought the food to the opening of Lanzones Festival. The motorela toured us around Poblacion and took us near the Mambajao Market. 200 meters from the high way, an All-You-Can-Eat haven can found – 4Rs Eatery. The locals pronounced it as “4 Hours” thus it got us thinking of its store hours and resulted us to rush towards their eatery.
The motorela dropped us in the middle of the rice fields where 4Rs was situated. 4R Eatery offers a lot of options in their buffet style eatery, from vegetable dishes to Filipino fiesta favorites and at the lowest price in the country. Enjoy their buffet at Php 125 – the lowest so far! We were entertained by Mrs. Go, and we found out that their original store is inside the Mambajao Public Market and still serving its patrons. So when in Camiguin, don’t miss the 4Rs Eatery Humba – a must try!
We ended our journey in Camiguin by attending the Lanzones Festival Opening where in municipalities featured their best in an expo and the parade.
I’d also like to share the summary of expenses we had during our recent trip to Camiguin. I do hope this will help you budget your upcoming trip. This excludes the accommodation, food and transportation rent.
300 – Cagayan de Oro to Balingoan Bus Fare (back and forth)
340 – Port of Balingoan to Port of Benoni Ferry Fare (back and forth, excluding port fees)
20 – Katibawasan Falls Entrance Fee
20 – Ardent Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring Entrance Fee
30 – Bura Soda Pool Resort Entrance Fee
50 – 2 Kilos of Lanzones
20 – Sto. Nino Hot Spring Entrance Fee
50 – Shade at Sto. Nino Hot Spring
Overall, I realized that life is too short for you not to travel. Explore the world and learn from every trip that you take. The person of Camiguin surely knows that tourism is one of their bread and butter! I highly commend the tourism sector of Camiguin for making an effort to ensure that every visitor in the Island is treated well. Daghang salamat, Camiguin!