Camiguin: the Island of Fire

A recent 6-day trip to Mindanao took me to Camiguin, that small pea-shaped island just off Cagayan de Oro City. I had wanted to come here for the longest time, friends and acquaintances only have good things to say about the wide variety of activities that this small province (the Philippine’s second smallest) has to offer. Camiguin is also known as the “island of fire” due to the presence of not one, or two but seven volcanoes in just 230 square kilometers of land!

sunken cemetery in camiguin

There are two popular ways to get to Camiguin – both involve passing thru Cagayan de Oro, where there are frequent direct air connections to Manila, Cebu and Davao. The first and quickest option is to take a fast craft (2 hours; departs at 8:30AM daily) from Cagayan de Oro for roughly Php 500 but since departures only occur in the early mornings, the most used method is the second one which entails a one-hour slow ferry from Balingoan (a small town that is about 2 hours drive from CDO) for Php 170 which takes you to Benoni in Southeastern Camiguin. The departures here are more frequent, and average about every 45 minutes in the mornings and afternoons.

landscape of camiguin

After arriving in CDO airport at in the morning, we were whisked away by a hired van (there were 12 of us) to Balingoan for the slow ferry. We arrived at a little past noon which was just in time for the 12:30PM ferry. We arrived in Benoni at about 1:30PM in the afternoon and was transferred to our lodging – the Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin. We only had one night to spend in Camiguin so we decided to squeeze in as much as possible before it got dark. First (and only) stop that afternoon was the Ardent Hot Springs (admission: Php 30) where the water supposedly comes from the Mt. Hibok Hibok volcano. It was already late afternoon by the time we arrived, and since it was drizzling, it was just the perfect time to soak in the hot pools. It was already dark by the time we left (and still drizzling!) the springs so there was nowhere else to go in this quiet island but back to Bahay Bakasyunan.

katibawasan falls

The next morning, we left at about 8AM for a half-day tour of the island. It was still drizzling by this time so we started at Katibawasan Falls (admission: Php 20). It has a height of about 250 feet which drops into an oblong-shaped pool. Cottages were available in the facility which allowed for some swimming / bathing. The water here was also very cooling and it was a great way to start the day.

After a few photos, we went to the Sunken Cemetery in Bonbon, Catarman. The site of the cemetery used to be part of an old town in Camiguin that had sunk into the sea after a violent volcanic eruption in 1871. The large cross was erected only recently to mark the site of the old graveyard. Today, it is still possible to see remnants of the old moss-covered gravestones beneath the sea during clear days when the water is more transparent. Otherwise, it is also possible to dive in these parts and it makes for a remarkable, if not eerie, divesite.

old church ruined by a volcanic eruption in the 19th century

Just a short hop from the Sunken Cemetery are the old church ruins of Catarman. These, too, were destroyed during the volcanic eruption and what remains now are the stone walls of the church and convent. This was our last stop and we headed back to Bahay Bakasyunan afterwards to pick up our bags for our 1:30PM ferry ride back to the Mindanao mainland.

My biggest disappointment about this trip was our inability to visit White Island, said to be the highlight of any trip to Camiguin. It was drizzling during the entirety of our visit and the water was a bit rough so a trip to the said island was impracticable. Maybe next time.

Getting Around:

We were transported by the amiable Teddy (Tel: +63 939 2440521) in his multicab that can sit up to 18 people. There were 12 of us and he charged us Php 2000 for an afternoon trip plus half-day morning trip the next day inclusive of one-way transfer to the Benoni Port.

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Bino

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Comments

  1. says

    Sometimes it’s in our destiny to miss something on a trip – gives us a good reason to come back. In your case, White Island will just be there, waiting for your next visit to Camiguin.

    Happy New Year!

  2. says

    Parang ganito rin yung CDO trip namin ah, we went to CDO, Dahilayan and Camiguin. Too bad you missed White Island. next time na lang ulit. it was my 2nd time to visit camiguin, yung first kasi wala kaming camera so walang remembrance. hahaha.

  3. alona says

    Camiguin is the best! develop na talaga ang tourism sa Camiguin. It was really an amazing experience with my friends and family.15 persons kami lahat pero kunti lang nabayaran namin. To ROEL PAGUIA anak ng may ari ng Paguia’s cottages thank you very much…Siya ang contact person namin sa mga beauty spots ng Iligan like ma. cristina falls, tinago falls.. city tour sa cagayan de oro and rafting at sa bukidnon naman sa dahilayan and of course sa camiguin. The package is very affordable at very accommodating siya. he was referred to me by friend. You can call his no. 09173108075, 09198942681.

    • Dolan says

      JUNE 2013 – ROEL PAGUIA was our tour guide (package tour) and indeed he was accommodating, approachable and easy to deal with. The package was really less than the usual posted budgets. I definitely recommend Roel Paguia and their family cottages in Camiguin Island.

  4. says

    those who are more adventurous, you might want to hike mt. hibok hibok via yumbing-ardent routes. you can do it for day hike or camp at the crater lake for a night. ronald rabile 09106593349 from yumbing is the guide you need. please just dont forget to tell him i, (judy) referred you to him. have a blast!

  5. says

    @ the wanderer,

    Thank you for reccommending kuya teddy, we enjoyed our vaction last month.we stayed at their cottage for 1 night. They are located near golden sunset beach club and just a walking distance to pumpboats terminal bound to white island. Very accommodating young man. hehehe kala ko matanda na sya ang bata pa pala. also, thanks for her ate ms.jennifer shes the one who cooked our delicious and affordable dinner. Highly recommended

    best regards,

    =bert=

  6. iluvphilippines says

    Just came back from our 4days cdo-buk-camiguin vacations. i HAVE FUN in the cdo and bukidnon but its super enjoy in camiguin, We have a lot of pictorials in the island. What we enjoy most is our pictorials in sunken cemetery whrein the boatman give us a beautiful and awesome camera tricks.

    teddy pabualan (0939-2440521) is our guide and driver too in camiguin. He deserves additional tip. We also give tip to our driver in cdo/bukidnon- kuya jan2x.

  7. coleen says

    Ala akong masabi sa trip namin.. as in super! from Manila to Camiguin, CDO for rafting and may magandang trek sa CDO ang Mapawa adventure park ( 65ft-river rapelling, 20ft river slide, 25ft jump ) try nyo maganda talaga. then Dahilayan for their Zipline all rides. Roel Paguia of PAGUIA’S COTTAGES was the guy who arrange our trip. afffordable ang package nya at sulit. I will highly recommend him. His cell no.09173107085…nakasabay namin si Dimples Romana sa ABS CBN sa Paguia’s Cottages. si roel din daw ang contact niya.

  8. stephen says

    hi to travellers,

    Is anyone here would like to join our group? We will be going to Camiguin this coming july 29-30. We availed sir teddy package at Pabualan Cottage, Mas cheaper kasi pag marami budget traveller lang kasi kami.

    you may contact: 09222095016

  9. Gail says

    We are from Manila Call Center, a group of 12 ladies and we had a great experienced with Roel (cf no.09173107085) nag avail kami sa tour package niya from Iligan, Bukidnon,Cagayan and Camiguin eh dahil sa nasira ang ferry na sinakyan namin on the way na sana kami sa airport we were not able to catch up our flight bound to Manila on that day. Maraming salamat talaga sa kanya hindi niya kami iniwan. Naghanap kami ng mapag tirahan sa CDO at libre ang charge niya sa Van hanggang kinabukasan pag hatid sa airport. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND HIM for your travel. Kudos to you Roel!!

  10. moore says

    COME this summer at PAGUIA’S COTTAGES…A New Place to Visit, A Nice Place to Live. It is located in front of White Island at Rocky Village, Yumbing, Mambajao, Camiguin. With contact numbers: 088-3879018, 09173107085 or 09198942681. It is owned and managed by the Paguia’s Family. To assure great services the Paguia family members personally serve you for your needs. They can accommodate up to 200 persons for a spacious rooms and cottages at a VERY AFFORDABLE price. They serve meals or you can cook food if you want. They also have Vehicles (Brand new Van and extended multicabs) , Pump boats to White Island for hire. Extending there services from Camiguin to the mainland of Northern Mindanao, Roel Paguia the son of the owner is the incharge for bookings in Cagayan de Oro for City Tour, Water Rafting and Mapawa extreme adventure. He will be your driver, tour guide and photographer for your trip in Bukidnon particularly in Dahilayan where you can experienced the Asia’s longest Zipline, Drop Zone, ATV, luge and more great adventures. He will bring you to an exotic places in Iligan City where you can enjoy swimming across the virgin beauty of Tinago Falls, Timoga cold spring and the historical scenery of Ma. Cristina Falls. All these and more only at PAGUIA’S COTTAGES…So what are you waiting for call or text them now and enjoy your Summer vacation with your Family and Friends…

  11. love says

    I am very excited with my CDO-Bukidnon-Camiguin trip this coming last week of August 2013. A group of 8 persons will surely step and explore the tourist destination in Mindanao. We will stay at Paguia’s Cottage with kuya Roel Paguia our tour arranger.

  12. MADEL says

    Most of my time always devoted to my work it is time to give a break. Time for vacation!!! We will go to Camiguin, CDO and ILIGAN hurrAHHH!! Thanks in advance to Kuya Roel Paguia for the tour package.

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