Travel

Road trip in Camiguin: The Island born of Fire

Camiguin Island, being the second-smallest province in the Philippines made it very feasible for a whole day road trip. I had the chance to visit Camiguin Island last December with my fiance’s family and we were able to check out the small yet very picturesque island in the country. With a rich history foreground, and several beaches to dwell on, I was giddy enough to join the trip.

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On our day one, we meet up in Cagayan de Oro and had around a 4-hour drive to Balingoan Port (Misamis Oriental). We then road a ferry  for about 2 hours before we reached Benoni port in Camiguin. It was quite a long day travelling from Cebu to Cagayan overnight, 4 hours to Baligoan Port and another 2 hours to reach Camiguin! Phew!dsc_0088dsc_0103 dsc_0102dsc_0085

We started our DIY day tour right after reaching Benoni port. Since it was around noon, we pick a spot somewhere along the road and had our lunch there. We had our food packed in advance for lunch. (it’s a super saver)  Although there are some small food establishments near Benoni port where you can take your lunch before heading out for Camiguin adventure. 🙂 We got some good shots while taking our lunch and at the same time enjoying the view. It was very serene looking over the sea at one side and the bird’s chirping on the other.

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Mambajao Lighthouse. In Mambajao Plaza stands a modern looking lighthouse. Locals said it was supposed to be made of stone just like the old lighthouses found all over the country. It was renovated though for the safety of everyone. The old stoned lighthouse was then replaced with a somewhat modern looking. You won’t be able to climb up as well, since they were locking the gates on the stairs on your way up. Maybe again, for safety I guess.

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Old Church Ruins. (We had a quick stop to where we stayed — I’ll blog about it soon. 😉 , thus explains the change of clothes. We need to rest and freshen up of a while. Although this all happened in one day, trust me. Haha! )This  is actually my personal favorite. Located in Catarman, Camiguin is the Old Guiob Church Ruins. Camiguin Island will never be named as an island born of fire for nothing. It houses seven volcanoes and one of them, Mt. Hibok Hibok is still active! Locals said that Catarman was supposed to be the old capital of Camiguin before Mambajao. Mt. Vulcan erupted last May 13 1871, leaving nothing but the remnants of the past. The place gives me the chills. I don’t know why, it may be because of the history behind it.

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The Bell Tower. This is what’s left with the bell tower right beside the church.

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There were a lot of trees lining up outside the ruins forming it’s branches like walls and roof of the church.

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The Sunken Cemetery. The most famous land mark in Camiguin is the sunken cemetery. Still in Catarman and due to the eruption of Mt Vulcan,the lava washed out to the sea which gained a height enough to submerged the areas of Catarman including the town’s cemetery. The tombstones and the original cross can still be visible during low tide. The one behind me, visible to all tourists was made by the local tourism office to place a permanent landmark of the sunken cemetery.

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The Old Volcano Walk Way. Camiguin being one of the earliest provinces influenced by Christianity, they created an 8 kilometer path with 14 human sized statues that serves as stations of the cross. This is basically the go-to place during Lenten Season for the locals. We were sure that we won’t be able to climb up until the last station since the day was almost over so we just took a group photo instead.

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Soda Swimming Pool. This was our last stop of the day. It was a bit far from the highway and we can’t get a good signal on the way to the Soda pool so we can’t trust Google maps, (which was a life saver by the way when we were there.) we banked on asking locals along the way until we reached our destination. It was around 4PM I guess when were there, we didn’t had plans on going swimming, we just wanted to see what the fuss was about given that they mentioned that the water tasted like soda. Well, it tasted like fresh water for me. hehe! Local says it used to taste a lot like soda before. Nevertheless, there were a lot of people still coming to Soda Swimming Pool for picnics and family gathering. The entrance fee was only 20 php, so it’s worth it to take a dip. 🙂

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There were a lot of several tourists locations to visit for a day tour but even if we maximize everything, the sun is almost gone so we then call it a day. I guess not visiting every spot is another reason for me to go back, right? We then went back to the resort where we stayed to rest for the next day’s adventure (On my next blog post. hehe! ). Being a sucker of sunsets, I will end this post with a sunset photo taken while the car was moving at around 100 kph.. haha! kidding!

 

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40 Comments

  • Reply
    Diana - MVMT Blog
    February 18, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I love that Camiguin not only looks like a beautiful place but also looks like a lot of fun! I love how the lighthouse looks with the winding stairs, and I would love to check out the old church ruins. The sunken cemetery looks cool too but somehow seems even spookier due to the fact that it’s in the water. Looks like an awesome trip and can’t wait to read about your accommodation!

  • Reply
    Brittany from Boston
    February 18, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Wow, Camiguin Island is so beautiful! I have been wanting to visit the Philippines and this seems like a great spot to start. I really like that funky looking lighthouse!

  • Reply
    Ling Ge
    February 18, 2017 at 10:28 am

    That soda pool is a total sham!!! It’s not real unless it’s Coca-Cola! Just kidding 😀 My soon-to-be wife is Filipino and I keep telling her to take me to the Philippines. It almost looks uninhabited; you guys are the only ones in the photos! Looks like a nice island and hopefully we’ll get a chance to stop by there when we visit the country.

  • Reply
    Vicki Louise
    February 18, 2017 at 3:01 am

    The Island looks beautiful – such a great combination of ocean views, jungles and ruins. The lighthouse is one of the prettiest I have seen too – such a shame you can’t climb to the top, but I suppose people’s safety should be their first concern.

  • Reply
    Suma Jain
    February 17, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Hahah sad that the pool did not taste like soda for you ;). Anyways the island looks amazing just like all the other Islands in Phillipines and I keep reading about so many new places here that I am really tempted to plan my next vacation to Philliipines. The Old Church ruin site has such an eerie look, but I guess after all the destruction it is tend to look that way. Overall the island looks very idyllic and relaxing place, something I am pretty sure I will enjoy if I ever visit this place.

  • Reply
    Cliodhna Ryan
    February 17, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    This was such a nice read. It’s great to hear about one of the lesser visited parts of the Philippines. I’m trying to take my travels a bit slower this year so I love the road trip idea. 6 hours seems worth it for such an interesting place and when you can stop along the way it doesn’t feel too long at all. I think I’d be taking your route over a plane!

  • Reply
    Raymond Carroll
    February 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    What a beautiful location and pictures. I am so jealous – I am currently in Scotland with dark and dreary skies, and the clear blue vistas of the Philipines are so appealing! The Sunken Cemetery is so interesting.And sunsets are stunning!

  • Reply
    Jen Morrow
    February 17, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Such a nice contrast with the modern lighthouse design and the ruins of the bell tower. What a delightful road trip. That sunset makes it all worthwhile.

  • Reply
    Bhushavali
    February 17, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I think, I’m gonna stop reading travel blogs about Philippines & Indonesia!!! You guys are too blessed with so much of nature that the very thought that I haven’t been there yet, is just painful to handle! Lolz… Camiguin Island looks just so serene are so peaceful!

  • Reply
    Guerrera Rice Paddy Villas | Kriswanders
    February 17, 2017 at 6:49 am

    […] wanderer, I am always in search for good food whenever I’m in a new place. When we were in Camiguin, we searched for the best places to dine and Guerrera Rice Paddy Villas tops the spot on Google […]

  • Reply
    Snapshots: Discovering Camiguin’s Mantigue and White Island | Kriswanders
    February 4, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    […] Camiguin Island tour  won’t be complete without visiting White Island and Mantigue Island. When I tried to do some research, White island gained more popularity in the web compared to Mantigue Island. I haven’t heard of the latter until we reached Camiguin. I was postponing this blog post, hoping to find the extra memory card of my GoPro where basically stores majority of my photos on both islands. I guess the long stretch needs to end and I need to stick on some shots imported on my phone and from my other camera. […]

  • Reply
    Gryselle Mae
    January 26, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I didn’t know it takes 6 hours to get to Camiguin. The place looks wonderful but I definitely won’t drop by the Sunken cemetery as my fiance hates going to cemeteries. How was the ferry ride, though? Was it a huge ferry? Do you have to book it ahead of time?

    • Reply
      kris
      February 17, 2017 at 7:07 am

      It takes 6 hours from Cebu based on how we took the trip but you may opt in for a plane though if that’s more convenient. 🙂 The ferry was okay, not too big but enough but still doable. No need to book it ahead of time.

  • Reply
    jared's mum
    January 26, 2017 at 5:45 am

    You’re right! It sure is picturesque! Just look at those beautiful sunset! This is a lovely place to visit with the family. I bet everyone had an awesome experience. I sure hope I can experience this place soon with my boys!

    • Reply
      kris
      February 17, 2017 at 7:08 am

      We really had a great time! I hope you can visit real soon!

  • Reply
    Sam Coronado (@followyouroad)
    January 25, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    A friend of mine recently went to Camiguin. I was truly surprised by his photos! I never really knew Camiguin and I know it’s tedious to get there. But it seems it’s a piece of paradise in the Philippines I should see. Hope I can soon!

  • Reply
    Carmela Francel
    January 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Kris, your adventures make me want to go on a travel, too 🙁 How I wish I can be independent to travel by myself. Actually, being independent is not the problem, the problems are money and our safety (especially touring to a different place that we’re unaware of!) I will definitely visit the Sunken Cemetery if my family decided to go on a trip to Camiguin. 🙂

    • Reply
      kris
      February 17, 2017 at 7:09 am

      I haven’t experience traveling alone too, although Camiguin I guess is a safe place and the locals are very friendly, you can ask anyone and they’ll lead you to the right direction. 🙂

  • Reply
    Adrenaline Romance
    January 25, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Hi Kris! We are actually officemates with your sweetheart Janjan! 🙂

    • Reply
      kris
      January 25, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Yeah! He also asked me if I know the man behind adrenalineromance.com, I said not personally but I get to read your blog. 🙂 Hope to meet you soon!

  • Reply
    Kcalpesh Ajugia
    January 25, 2017 at 5:19 am

    Camiguin looks awesome through your pics. I guess 6 hours travel to reach there is every bit worth it. Road trips are truly fun especially with carrying all the food and having it with stops on the way. Whenever we decide on a vacation, the first thought that comes to my mind is… “can we reach the destination by road?”

    • Reply
      kris
      February 17, 2017 at 7:10 am

      I guess it depends on where you’re from. It was possible on our route. 🙂

  • Reply
    Yan
    January 24, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Looks like a fun trip you had there! Our family also likes to bring baon whenever we go for long rides because it’s cheaper and you only have to pull over some nice spot to take lunch! The photos you took are nice, esp the sunset! 😀 I don’t think I can handle super long trips nowadays though but if given the chance, it’ll be great to see Camiguin as well! 😀

    • Reply
      kris
      February 17, 2017 at 7:12 am

      Yeah long trips are surely tiring, although you may take an easy route and book a plane. 🙂

  • Reply
    Berlin
    January 24, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Been to Camiguin once and was disappointed. Perhaps of the too much expectation. I find the White Beach too plain. Though we enjoyed it to fullest as we were only less than 10 people there. Weve been to the Soda Swimming Pool as well and took the challenge of tasting its water. The diappointed perhaps started because of the long and turbulent drive going to the island. Then we were disappointed as well with how the tour guide and people around would obviously not do a thing without money. Just so sad. Hope on our next visit, we will.have a pleasant stay.

    • Reply
      kris
      January 24, 2017 at 11:24 pm

      I agree with the soda pool not really tasting like soda. Hahaha!

  • Reply
    cykaniki
    January 24, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    I’ve seen the sunken cemetery on news and videos that I’ve watched but I haven’t been there, you’re were able to visit a lot of beautiful places already even in a short period of time, the soda taste swimming pool is intriguing and I hope that one day I can visit the old volcano walk way,

    • Reply
      kris
      February 17, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Awwe, I hope you can visit, you’ll love it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Me-An Clemente
    January 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    It’s pretty convenient to have your own car when you go around Camiguin. I could recall that we rented a vehicle for us to be taken around the area. Haven’t been to some of the places you had mentioned. Anyway, what I love in Camiguin and what I can’t forget is the Ardent Hot Springs Resort. The water is just lukewarm and it’s perfect for swimming. Too bad, we got to spent only a short time there since we had to go to the next location.

    • Reply
      kris
      January 24, 2017 at 11:25 pm

      We wanted to visit Ardent too but was advised not to because the spring at that time was just around knee level according to locals so we didn’t push through.

  • Reply
    cieri of thewonderfulkind.com
    January 24, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I have never been to Camiguin. But, this is on my list. I rember a friend telling me that Camiguin has one of the best beaches in the country! Looks like the sunset too, based from your photos 🙂

  • Reply
    ROBERT LEE | Amazing Life Daily
    January 24, 2017 at 3:49 am

    I heard about the Sunken Cemetery of Camiguin more than a decade ago. Unfortunately, I was not able to go there to visit. If I had the chance then, I would have dove at the sunken cemetery to explore. I did see a lot of photos long ago of divers and the scene underwater. While my impression had always been that the marine life is not as great, that would not be the main attraction there. It’s the unique experience of seeing the cemetery itself.

  • Reply
    Maria
    January 23, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Oh, Camiguin! I’ve been there too but it was ages ago. We just went for a side trip when we went to Camiguin. Our purpose for the trip was really a work-related trip (for my aunt and her colleagues). When we were there, it was not totally a DIY tour. We were toured by their fellow employee from the Camiguin office. So it was easier. I actually remember we went around by riding a jeepney! The breeze was so fresh. I just can’t want to travel again! <3

  • Reply
    Pia Villamor
    January 23, 2017 at 4:13 am

    Loved all your pictures! I’ve never been to Camiguin before so this is definitely a treat. I’m especially interested to see the sunken cemetery – how was it? Did you find it eerie? (Sorry I’m a sucker for ghost stories so of course this was the first thing that came to mind). The light house also looks beautiful it’s too bad you can’t climb all the way up but it makes for a great picture anyway! Loved your picture of the sunset by the way – I’m also a sucker for those so thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mimi
    January 23, 2017 at 12:58 am

    There are lots of places to visit in Camiguin aside from the beaches pala. Loved the guide you curated here. The Sunken Cemetery is an interesting spot, too – I should do more readings about it. Haha. About the Soda Swimming Pool, is the entrance fee really $20? That’s quite expensive for me IMO (unless it’s in the pesos sign). hehe

    • Reply
      kris
      January 23, 2017 at 11:43 am

      Oops sorry, yes that’s 20 php..thanks for pointing that one out. 🙂

  • Reply
    Adel
    January 22, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Beautiful island of Camiguin! I’ve been to CDO and planned to see Camiguin but unfortunately it didn’t push through. Now, I see how much I’ve missed. Btw, if without your own private car, how will you visit those places you had on your road trip?

    • Reply
      kris
      January 22, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      You can arrange for a day tour from almost every resort in the island. 🙂 there are motorcycle rentals as well. 🙂

  • Reply
    theGreatSaggie
    January 22, 2017 at 7:20 am

    This is a lit adventure!!

    • Reply
      kris
      February 17, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Haha! Thanks dae Saggie!

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