CAMIGUIN IS ONE of the best places to unwind in the Philippines. Look up Camiguin Island in the map and you’ll likely be enthralled at this pear-shaped island known for its white beaches, hot and cold springs, forests, waterfalls and diving sites. Known as the “island born of fire,” Camiguin is popular among expats, foreign and local visitors alike especially during summer. I was here last October 2010 after being nudged to take a well-deserved holiday by a close friend who just came from the US.
I really thank God for this travel opportunity. I’ve been wanting for a chance to travel to popular tourist spots in the Southern part of the Philippines but it didn’t come until then. I’m thankful for friends who took me and my mom in during this trip.
This is actually a follow-up on my vacation in Cagayan De Oro City. We traveled for about an hour towards Balingoan, a town near this busy municipality. It was hot and humid when we arrived here–like it was summer, but were already well on for the “-ber” months so we were expecting a little cool breeze.
Memories of my visit to Camiguin and CDO was spurred in part by the aftermath of tropical storm Sendong which devastated cities and provinces in Eastern Mindanao ( these two prominent provinces included), just weeks before the year 2011 was about to close. But just as how most Filipinos would act in times of natural calamities, everyone was just up in their feet to help families affected by Sendong cope with the tragedy. I am glad to see though that after the disaster, the people of Mindanao are now rebuilding their lives and now moving on for a better year.
We rented a cottage for an overnight stay. Our temporary residential abode is an idyllic spot overlooking the White Island beach. My mom and my tita were busy preparing our dinner. Just grilled fish, newly cooked rice and condiments were enough to set our stomachs growling.
That night we decided to go to a hot spring. There are plenty of cold and hot springs in the area, so it’s not difficult to choose.
It was so much fun to let the hot water soothe away stressed muscles that I felt accumulated with all the frenzy in Manila. It’s also fun talking with the locals who frequent here. Some of the visitors were also from Manila who went here for a long-week vacation and to join Camiguin’s festivities. At the time of our visit, the island was celebrating the Lanzones festival. Since its also the season of lanzones we bought kilos of this pale brown, sweet translucent fruit that is abundant in Camiguin.
We had a good night sleep after a relaxing “nature spa.” But our excited nerves were awaken by the sound of the sea softly luring us to get up from our bunk beds. We woke up at dawn to get a glimpse of the magnificent view of the sea.
From here, I can already see a small banca coming from the White Island. After asking some of the people around, we opted to rent one to transport us to the island after breakfast. One banca cost us only P400.
In our excitement, we hurriedly boarded the banca without even thinking of changing our clothes for a proper swimsuit attire. We never did mind, as long as we had fun…
Taking snapshots of the island, the clear blue waters and the splendid Mt. Hibok-hibok that you can see from the island was all I did. Like in Boracay, the white sands of Camiguin is to-die-for. I really hope that the local government would sustain the cleanliness of the beach.
After checking out from our cottage, we explored Camiguin further to find the famous Sunken Cemetery which was a 30-minute drive away from our cottage. This is just one of the most visited tourist spot in Camiguin.
This is what remained of the cemetery after a historic volcanic eruption in 1871. Underneath the waters are tombs which locals say can be seen when its low tide. To mark the community cemetery, a large cross was built in 1982.
We capped off our two-day stay in Camiguin buying souvenirs along the way. I bought a cool Camiguin shirt at the pier where we waited for some time for the ferry to arrive.
It’s truly more FUN in the Philippines! 🙂