Well, I planned a perfect escapade to treat myself from busy schedule and pressure from work. Since I am an adventurer who also wanted to experience simplicity and diversity, I opted to visit Camiguin Island for two days tour. I just wanted to simply relax, let the days pass by and enjoy nature at the same time away from the hustle and bustle life of the city. There was no active night life in Camiguin Island just like what I have seen in Boracay Island. I really love the serenity and tranquillity of the place especially nature where the mountains and the sea meet in harmony.
Camiguin is politically part of the Northern Mindanao Region of the Philippines. It is the second-smallest province in the country in both population and land area after Batanes. Within the small island of Camiguin, who would have thought that this island has seven volcanoes, thus calling it “Born of Fire”. Camiguin is also famous for its Lanzones and Pastel. The provincial capital and largest municipality is Mambajao. Two of the attractions in Camiguin are the “White Sandbar” and the “Mantigue Island”.
How to get there:
- The most convenient way to travel in Camiguin is book a domestic flight via Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airline (PAL) going to Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan De Oro.
- From the airport, there are express van going to Agora Market costs Php200.00 per pax for one way. Travel time is one (1) hour. There are several vans just outside the airport waiting for passengers.
- From Agora Market terminal, take a bus or van bound to Balingoan Port costs Php150.00 per pax for one way. Travel time is two (2) hours.
- At the Balingoan Terminal, you can just walk about 5 minutes to Balingoan Port. Pay for Terminal fee costs Php5.00 and Environmental fee costs Php4.00. Then, take a ferry-boat bound to Benoni Port which costs Php 175.00 per pax for one way. Travel time is two (2) hours. (Ferry boat schedule is from 5:30 AM to 4:30 PM)
- From Benoni Port, take a multi-cab or van going to Mambajao Proper which costs Php30.00 per pax for one way. Travel time is about 40 minutes.
- Note: Going back to Cagayan de Oro Airport from Mambajao, Camiguin is the same as the transportation and rates above. (Ferry boat schedule from Benoni Port to Balingoan Port is from 4:30 AM to 6:00 PM)
My friends and I stayed at Pabua’s Cottages for one night. It is located at Mambajao, Camiguin just 50 minutes from Benoni port by Multicab and 5 minutes walk to the White Sandbar jump off point. It is also near to several restaurants in Camiguin. We took their package tour which includes island tours (White Island, Mantigue Island) and land tours around the province. The room we booked was clean and comfortable with nice and basic amenities, private bathroom and free wifi. The staff is very courteous and accommodating. Pabua’s Cottages offers a great package for small group of friends who travel on a budget like us. For other accommodations in Camiguin, you can reserve a room and book at TRAVELBOOK.PH for affordable and discounted rates.
Photo courtesy from: Travelbook.ph
ISLAND TOUR: FIRST DAY!
- Camiguin White Sandbar
White Island is a great place to lay in the sun, swim in the warm and pristine water of the sea. A perfect place to relax, refresh and unwind. The island is an uninhabited white sandbar located at the center of the ocean generally horseshoe-shaped, although the tides constantly resize and reshape its exact form. There are no trees, just composed solely of powdery white sand with the majestic Mt. Hibok Hibok as a background view.
We rented a private boat with lifevest for approximately Php500 pesos for a group of three (3) persons to and fro the island. We visited the island early in the morning as when the tide was low and the sea was calm. The boat ride took us 15 minutes to the white sandbar. When we got there, we paid for Environmental Fee for Php 20.00 per person. We almost had the entire pristine sandbar for ourselves since it was not yet over crowded that time.
There were colorful and big umbrellas with tables and chairs available as shelter from the sun for Php150.00. We already brought some foods for our snack and lunch. As for those who don’t want to bring foods, there were vendors selling food for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Oh! A must-try to eat sea urchin though I have not tried it. Don’t expect a bathroom in the middle of the sea.
We just spent our time swimming and sunbathing since white sandbar is not a snorkeling site. Just enjoyed the spectacular view with blue sky, turquoise water and powdery white sand in the middle of the sea. A perfect postcard photo shoot for a lifetime memories. Just a spark of white sand accentuating the whole camiguin experience was awesome!
- Mantigue Island
Aside from White Sandbar in Camiguin, there’s also the so-called “Mantigue Island” a small island with marine sanctuary located about 3.5 kilometres off the coast of volcanic island in Camiguin province. It is also an uninhabited island surrounded by crystal blue water with a gleaming white beach powdery-coral sand. Unlike white sandbar, there are ample shade of trees from the scorching heat of the sun. A fishing village is located in the Northern side of the island and one side of it is a white sand beach with corals offshore and the opposite side as an snorkeling and diving site.
We departed at White Sand bar after lunch. Then we continue our island tour and rented another pump boat with lifevest which costs Php550.00 for a group of three persons to and fro Mantigue Island. It was a 15 minute boat ride away from the main island of Camiguin.
We paid an Environmental Fee for Php20.00 per person. There are cottage rentals for Php 150.00 or table rentals for Php 50.00. We opted to rent small table for our foods and bags. There are also vendors selling foods and drinks for a reasonable price at Mantigue Island. Snorkeling is a must with additional fee and the boatman will bring you to the nearby marine sanctuary. There are many activities to do in Mantigue Island like snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle boarding, swimming and exploring the nature park.
We were able to walk around the whole island in just 15 mins. It was a perfect bliss. It felt so relaxing we forgot what time it was. The whole island was clean and we could still breath fresh air. The great thing about Mantigue island was that we experienced totally different vegetation and white sand beach. This island looks like a picture postcard tropical island. It’s a little slice of paradise!
Think a little less, live a little more! Worry less and enjoy your life more!