Sunday, March 1, 2015

Camiguin : The Island Born of Fire

Mt. Hibok-hibok, an active volcano seen along the highway of Camiguin

February 20, I had to wake up early for an early flight to the Island Born of Fire, Camiguin.

After about 45 minutes, a bit earlier than the usual arrival via Cebu Pacific RP-7252, a twin-engine ATR brought us from Mactan Cebu Aiport to Mambajao Airport. It was a fine sunny day, perfect for exploring the island we picked for a  two-day vacation. We had arranged our place to stay at Pabua's Cottages at Yumbing Mambajao, about 10 to 15 minutes away from the airport and a walking distance from the port to the White Island.   

Day 1 was intended for the island tour and our local guide, Kuya Jojo Ocular (09059566288) was kind enough to show us around some of the top tourist spots in the island. He picked us up at the airport and have ourselves checked-in at Pabua's and off we went to the usual spots in Camiguin. Our tour started at about 8:00AM and ended about 4:00PM. All tourist destinations in the island are maintained by the local government so the entrance fee to each spots only costs about P30 to P50 per person. The places were much different from the other Philippine spots I've visited, could have  improved but it gave me a feeling of being in an island untouched by commercialization, an island protected by locals. You may click the links of the featured spot for full photos. 


Amazing Sunken Cemetery 
The community cemetery which sunk during the 1871 volcanic eruption lies below the marked cross in Catarman. By the viewing deck, the sea was a bit calm and when the clouds cleared up from a cloudy-state, I took a lot of photos of the cross and it produced a lot like this. The dramatic Sunken Cemetery's aura captured my heart.


Enchanting Old Church Ruins
Not far from the Sunken Cemetery, the Old Church Ruins stood more than a hundred years old as a reminder of  the 1871 volcanic eruption that swallowed some parts of the island. The huge stoned-walls stood silently strong and became green with the moss covering it. Like other century-old ruins, I felt like I was  transported back to the Spanish era. The whole place is serene, with tall trees around the area and a bit eerie. 


Refreshing Sto. Nino Cold Spring
About 2km from the main road of Catarman, was a bumpy ride reaching  the Sto. Nino Cold Spring. The water was surprisingly clear and about 20°C colder. The place is ideal for family get-away. We had lunch at their restaurant, happily trying the local food cooked the Camiguin way. The island according to my research has about 3 wonderful springs. Sto. Nino is just one of them. 


Enchanting Katibawasan Falls
Like a scene from a movie, this 250-ft waterfall was just amazingly beautiful. The cool water refreshes your body and at the same time enjoying your time spent with nature. I love how the waterfall looked from a distance, its symmetrical natural design on the slopes of Mt. Timpoong was just amazing. The greens surrounding the Katibawasan Falls  is just pleasing  to the eyes and the thunder-like roar of the waterfall serves as a therapy for me -- being away from the fast-paced city life.  


Interesting Bura Soda Resort 
The resort was recently developed by the local government where tourists can enjoy the natural water from an underground water source, and yes, it tastes like soda. They even made a drinking station located somewhere behind a big rock right across the entrance gate and out of curiosity, I tried it. It tastes like soda indeed, much like unsweetened Sprite. The pool water at Bura Soda Resort was refreshingly cold too though Sto.Nino Cold Spring was colder. 


Relaxing Ardent Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring 
Our guide brought us to this wonderful Ardent Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring, one of the most visited spot in the island. Located at the foot of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano among the seven volcanoes in the island. The hot spring has five different pools which water temperature ranges from 35°C to as hot as 40°C. Mini springs  seen along the pools and the water temperature is relaxing for everyone. This is what I call, Life -- free from stress and reconnecting with nature is just one of the best things to do when in Camiguin Island. Dipping on a relaxing pool, I thought of my parents, I will make a way somehow to get them to this wonderful place. 

Day 1 island tour has ended. It was past 4:00PM. We headed back to Pabua's to recharge for the next day's activity. We had dinner at the Checkpoint Restaurant which serves sumptuous Filipino cuisine and surprisingly with about 4 dishes, our bill was only P620!  

Sumptuous and inexpensive dinner at the Checkpoint Restaurant 


Beautiful White Island of Camiguin 
Pabua's Cottages also arranges boat transfers to and from the White Island for only P450.  Arriving at about 7:30AM, the white C-shaped sandbar was already flocked with tourists. Our boatman made sure we had our life vest on during the 10-min boat trip since that day was a bit rough at sea. White Island looked interesting at a distance, a sandbar about 1km off shore which changes its shape and size with the season. By the time I hit the sand, it was as beautiful as I expected. 

Good for photoshoot with Mt. Hibok-Hibok and Old Mt. Vulcan as your background 

White Island is good for snorkeling too. With a local guide, is was fun being underwater. With the strong current around the island, he made sure we didn't stay longer since the water at that time was due for high tide, as he said, the current might sweep us off the snorkeling site. 

Little fishes at the "Black corals" on the other side of the sandbar
After staying for about four hours under the sun, snorkeling and enjoying the pristine waters at the White Island, we called up our boatman to carry us back to the mainland. You  have an option for your boatman to either wait for you on the island or arranged the  pick up time back to the port.  

Perfect escape from city-life, don't you think? 

Our flight back to Cebu was at about 7:00AM and with much accomplishment and regained energy, we boarded our plane with the thought of coming back to this island. 

The ATR that arrived from Cebu is the same plane that carries us back to MCIA
Cebu Pacific Air has 4 flights per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) departing from Cebu at 6:10AM and arriving in Camiguin at 7:00AM. The return flight  will leave from Camiguin at 7:20AM and will arrive in Cebu at 8:10AM. 

 Camiguin Island has full of surprises. Like Bohol Island, the simple way of living is what attracts me to the place. I could spent everyday at the hot spring or lay all day at the sands of the White Island. It was a memorable experience. I will definitely go back and experience it over and over again. 

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.