Camiguin had been on my bucket list for quite a while in 2016. And yes, I ticked it off. It’s one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines and one of my top 5 best destinations in 2016. I love how the Island Born of Fire remains calm, peaceful, and unspoiled despite being frequented by local and foreign tourists alike.
Located in Northern Mindanao, Camiguin can be easily reached. And you can enjoy it by yourself. No need to get a travel agency if you’re planning to visit this province. It’s relatively small. In fact, it’s the second smallest province in the country.
Quick fact: Did you know that The Island of Camiguin is of volcanic origin composed of four stratovolcanoes? Each volcano (except Mount Guinsiliban) is made up of several flank domes. The only volcano in the island with historical eruptions is Hibok-Hibok, which erupted in 1953. From north to south:
There are direct flights to CDO from major airports in the Philippines located in Manila, Cebu, and Davao. Camiguin is around 130 km away from CDO. My rule in this kind of travel is to start from the farthest place in the itinerary toward the place closest to the airport. This way, I avoid any hassles in catching my flight on my last day.
It was before lunchtime when we arrived at Laguindingan International Airport. Our goal for day one is to reach Camiguin before sunset.
How to get to Camiguin from CDO Airport
- From the airport, take a van going to Agora Market Terminal. Travel time is 45 minutes. Fare is P199 or US$4.
- If possible, grab some lunch at the market, because it’s going to be a long travel going to Balingoan Port.
- At Agora Market Terminal, take a bus bound for Balingoan Bus Terminal. Travel time is 3 hours. Fare is P150 or US$3.
- From Balingoan Bus Terminal, walk toward Balingoan Port. Note that there are tricycle drivers who will offer you a ride going to the port. Just politely decline since it’s just a 5- to 10-min. walk.
- Pay the terminal and environmental fee – P9 or US$0.18.
- Take a ferry going to Benoni Port in Camiguin. Travel time is 2 hours. Fare is P170 or US$3.4.
- From Benoni Port, reach out to your resort, so you can find the best way to reach it. There are vans, jeeps, multi-cabs and habal-habal that can take you to your destination.
Since our resort is located din Mambajao, which wasn’t at the town proper, we took a multi-cab. Fortunately, another group was bound for the same destination, so we shared the ride. We paid P50 each. Alternatively, you can take a jeep going to Mambajao and take habal-habal going to your resort.
Where to Stay in Camiguin
Keep in mind that Camiguin is a place where you can relax. Don’t expect loud music and party around the area. But, you can organize your own drinking session. There are bars, but they’re not lively. For me, it’s fine, and I like it to stay that way.
We stayed at Dreamland Beach Resort and got a deluxe room that can accommodate four people. It was clean and basic, with 2 queen size beds, air conditioning unit, and hot and cold shower. We paid P4,200 or US$85 for our 3-day and 2-night stay.
The garden-themed resort has a beachfront swimming pool and restaurant. Food is okay, I love their pancit. Price starts at P100+ per meal or US$2.
Members of the staff are friendly and helpful. They helped us arrange our tour the next day. The entire area is so calm and peaceful. It’s the ideal place if you want to escape the busy and stressful city.
For discounted rates, please click on this link.
Before we ended the night, we visited Ardent Hot Spring Resort. Entrance fee is P20. It’s the go-to place if you want to take a dip in a hot spring in Camiguin. During our visit, however, the province was El Niño that was why the flow of the water was weak, the man-made pool was shallow and the water was not that warm.
What to do in Camiguin
Camiguin Island is a small circumferential island that can be explored in one whole day. There are lots of activities to do, so start your day early to finish everything. If you’re with big group, I recommend renting a multi-cab that can fit 10-12 persons. We got ours for only P1,700 for the whole day (entrance fees and boat tour were not included) and our driver brought us to major spots on the island. Please don’t forget to treat your driver for lunch and snacks.
We started our tour at around 7:00 am and following are the places we visited.
- White Island
- Environmental Fee – P40
- Boat Fee – P450
- Mantigue Island
- Environmental Fee – P20
- Boat fee – P550, maximum of 4 persons per boat
- Snorkeling Fee – P5
- Boat to Marine Sanctuary – P200
If you noticed, every move in Camiguin comes with a cost. I don’t understand why the boat that brought us to Mantigue Island couldn’t bring us to the Marine Sanctuary when in fact, the Marine Sanctuary is nearby. It’s a walking distance from where they anchored their boats. One more thing, why did we need to pay a whopping P500 just to swim with the fish in the ocean and rent another boat to bring us there? Actually, with your life vest on, you can swim in the sanctuary without having to rent another boat. That was crazy!
- Sto. Niño Cold Spring
- Entrance Fee – P30
- Tuasan Falls
- Old Church Ruins
- Sunken Cemetery
- Free if you will not rent a boat and will just enjoy the view
- Tongatoc Cove
There were more places that our driver wanted us to visit. It was, however, a tiring day, so we decided to go back to the hotel. Other tourist spots that you can visit are:
- Walk way to the Old Volcano
- Katibawsan Falls
- You can also do Zipline in Benoni
Where to eat in Camiguin
We ate dinner at Casa Roca Inn. The food is pricey but yummy. I recommend it since the place exudes cozy ambiance. Make sure to be there before sunset to enjoy the magical view.
Looking for Filipino cuisine and seafood? Head over to J&A Fishpen. Serving is big, service is a bit slow, food is pricey. But I love the place because of its ocean view. A good place to have lunch.
And of course, don’t forget to try and buy Camiguin’s very own pastel. It’s a sweet bread with yema filling. Also, they are famous for their Lanzones, a small grape-sized tropical fruit grown all over the island. Lanzones Festival is celebrated each year in the third week of October.
If you’re looking for a place to relax that’s easy to reach and offers a lot of activities, visit Camiguin, the Hawaii of the Philippines. This island has more volcanoes per square kilometer than any other island on earth. White sand beach? Underwater haven? Hot or cold spring? Falls? Volcanoes? They’re all in Camiguin!