An island province in the Philippines, Camiguin probably has everything any tourist could ask for in a tropical island. Springs, waterfalls, volcanoes and white sand beaches are all the natural wonders that can be found in this small but enchanting island. Aside from the natural wonders, it is also gifted with man-made attractions that are reminders of the island’s interesting past.
Camiguin Island’s current topography is said to be the result of volcanic activities and eruptions from the 1870’s to the early 1950’s. In fact, during the first volcanic eruption in 1871, a portion of the town of Catarman in Camiguin vanished beneath the sea and all that remained are the ruins of an old Spanish church. The town’s cemetery also sank below the sea and was commemorated by a huge cross in 1982. The cross serves as the sunken cemetery marker and is now one of the island’s top tourist spots.
How To Get To Camiguin Island
There are direct flights from Cebu to Camiguin, but only Cebu Pacific airline offers this. For those coming from any point in the country by air, you can book a flight going to either Cagayan de Oro or Butuan. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia Zest offers flights going to and coming from these cities daily.
via Cagayan de Oro
From Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro city, ride a shuttle or jeepney going to Agora Bus Terminal where east-bound buses can take you to the port of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental. Travel time from Cagayan de Oro to Balingoan is approx. 2 hours. From Balingoan port, ride a ferry going to Benoni Port in Camiguin. Ferries leave every hour from 5am to 5pm and travel time is approx. 1.5 hours.
From Butuan Airport, ride a tricyle / motorela to the bus terminal. At the bus terminal, hop on any bus bound for Cagayan and get off at Balingoan Terminal. It is just a short walk to the port where you can ride a ferry going to Camiguin. Travel time from Butuan to Balingaon is more than 2 hours.
Where To Stay
There are numerous places that you can stay in Camiguin offering from budget-friendly rates to luxury. Resorts and inns are mostly located in Mambajao, the capital of Camiguin and is a jump off point to many of its tourist attractions.
If you are in a group and would like to save up in accommodation, Pabua’s Cottages is a great resort. It is located in Rocky Village, Yumbing, Mambajao and offers as low as Php800 for 2 persons. Rooms for a maximum of 10 persons start at Php1,800. Another choice in the same area as Pabua’s Cottages is the Paras Beach Resort which is a high-end resort fronting the beach. These resorts are just a walking distance from the port going to White Island.
What To Do / Tourist Spots
Camiguin may be a small island (the second smallest island province of the Philippines next to Batanes) but it exudes abundant natural and man-made attractions. A day or two are not enough to explore and experience all that the island offers. However with the right time-management, you can definitely accomplish your goals on the island in a short period of time.
To get around the island, you can hire a multi-cab for a tour or rent a scooter/motorbike if you’re traveling solo and have great sense of direction. These are the tourist spots and historical landmarks that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Camiguin:
- White Island – This white sandbar is located off the northern shore of the mainland province. There are no trees or inhabitants on the island and it is solely white sands which size and shape changes depending on the tide.
- Mantigue Island – This is another islet part of mainland Camiguin and unlike White Island, it has a forest of different plant species and other greenery. It is a protected island and everything in it is definitely for your eyes only.
- Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross – The walkway leading to the peak of Mt. Vulcan and with the complete 14 stations of the cross along the way. It gives a breathtaking view of the towns of Camiguin and the vibrant blue ocean surrounding the island.
- Sunken Cemetery – This landmark of the Catarman town’s cemetery that sank during the first volcanic eruption is a popular spot for tourists to enjoy the dramatic view especially as the sun goes down.
- Katibawasan Falls – Aside from the mesmerizing wild ferns and other greenery carpeting its surroundings, tourists love to soak in the refreshing ice-cold pool of water at the foot of this waterfall.
- Old Church Ruins – A must-see 16th century structure that was turned into ruins by the 1871 volcanic eruption.
- Ardent Hot Spring – Located at the foot of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, this place is best visited at night or cold days and also a must-visit because… who doesn’t love a warm bath!
- Sto. Niño Cold Spring – On the other hand, you can also enjoy a cold bath at this spot specially on a really hot weather. The place has picnic huts and serves food if you don’t bring any.
- Tuasan Falls – This scenic rapid-flowing waterfall in the island of Camiguin is another must-visit.