10 THINGS TO DO IN CAMIGUIN ISLAND
Throughout the years, Camiguin island has remained one of the Philippines best-kept secrets. This tiny island, the second smallest province in the country after Batanes, attracts mostly tourists from nearby Cagayan de Oro but is relatively unknown to outsiders. With the highest concentration of volcanos per square km, this one of a kind place provides the perfect combination of peaceful nature and exciting adventures.
The fact that the island remains off the radar also means it’s perfect for a romantic couples vacation. There’s also an endless list of quality hotels and resorts in Camiguin, and prices are much cheaper compared to the more famous destinations.
By Shubert Ciencia, The cross marks the site of a cemetery which sank during the volcanic eruption in 1871.
TOP TEN THINGS TO DO IN CAMIGUIN ISLAND| TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Dive at the Sunken Cemetery
The Sunken Cemetery is Camiguin’s most famous attraction, located at the Catarman beach. The Mt.Vulcan’s eruption at 1871 completely destroyed the town of Bonbon, which is now submerged under water. The only visible evidence of the town’s existence is the giant cross towering at the middle of the ocean.
You can dive through the old ruins, which are covered with corals and teeming with marine life. Snorkeling is also possible and is enough to get a taste of what the place is like. If you are really reluctant to enter the sea, you could always just take the boat ride, sit at the foot of the cross, and gaze at the beautiful view surrounding you.
By justDONQUE , White Sandbar
Island hopping to White Sandbar and Mantigue Island
Camiguin doesn’t offer the same diversity as Palawan or Mactan for example, where you have dozens of small islands to choose from. It does, however, have 2 of the most beautiful islands you’ll find anywhere in the Philippines, and both are just a quick boat ride away.
As its name suggests, White Sandbar Island is nothing more than a short strip of white sand 1.5 km off of Mambajao beach. There isn’t even a single tree on the island, but it’s the perfect place to sunbathe in the sun and enjoy a stunning view of Camiguin island, with Mt.Hibok-Hibok towering above. Mantigue island, on the other hand, is bigger and almost entirely covered by a thick forest. Being a protected marine sanctuary, one of the first in the Philippines makes the island a perfect place for snorkeling and diving tours.
As mentioned, there are a few different volcanos on the island. Out of these, Hibok-Hibok is the tallest and most impressive one. Climbing to its summit is no easy task, as it’ll take you no less than 7 hours. You’ll be making your way through dense jungle trails, full of exotic plants and animals.
The view of the summit is spectacular, and it’s especially rewarding since the hike is so tiring. Trekking this volcano trail is a perfect way to soak in the local nature and wildlife and add some adventure to your trip. Make sure you hire a local guide to accompany you though, as it’s quite easy to get lost along the way.
Relax at the Ardent hot springs
The Ardent hot springs is where you start your hike to the summit of Mt.Hibok-Hibok, and where it usually ends as well. Visiting the springs is the best way to relax after a long and tiring day out in the sun. The waters at the spring range between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius – perfect for relaxing your aching muscles.
If possible, try to avoid visiting the springs during weekends and holidays. They are a popular attraction among locals and can be very crowded. The Bura soda springs or the Sto. Niño Cold Springs are both nice alternatives you could consider.
Scuba diving at the Black Forest
There are many amazing diving spots at Camiguin, and you can easily spend a whole week exploring all of them. You can find a full list of Camiguin dive sites here, but I chose to focus on just the Black Forest – since it’s the most special one.
The whole coral reef is colored in black due to volcanic ash, and full of marine life. Stingrays are known to frequent the area, and if you’re lucky enough you might even catch a whale shark. Since this diving spot is right next to White island, it can be easily combined with a visit there as well.
By Yojrel, Katibawas Falls
Hiking to Katibawasan Falls
Katibawasan waterfall is the best waterfall in Camiguin, and certainly the most impressive one. Standing 50m tall, this waterfall will truly take your breath away. It’s a perfect destination for couples who want to enjoy some private time at a magical environment in the middle of the jungle, and also for families who wish to picnic and have some fun with their kids.
There’s a small swimming area beneath the falls, and the cool waters make for a refreshing break from the sun at the beaches. You can also find a small canteen and some picnic tables right by the entrance gate. You can also climb a stairway to the top, where you’ll enjoy a stunning view, but be aware that the ascend is quite steep.
Try out the local cuisine
Camiguin is famous for their local Pastel Bread and Lanzones. You could find these anywhere on the island, but the Vjandep Bakeshop is the best place to buy Pastel if you want to bring some home to your family and friends. As far as Lanzones go, Camiguin’s are the sweetest in the Philippines. If you arrive at October, during harvest time, you can also enjoy the 4 days yearly Lanzones Festival.
If you are less keen on Filipino food, there are also some Western food available. My favorite is Italian owned “La Dolce Vita”, where they serve authentic oven-baked pizza and many different pasta dishes. Trust me, it’s one of the best pizzas you’ll ever have.
Visit the Enigmata Treehouse for a taste of local arts
This is a unique tree house accommodation, where standards are surprisingly high and prices are low. You could spend a night here for as low as 600 PHP, and that also includes the unique atmosphere and cool vibes this place offers.
There’s a large cafe where you can have meals, and watch some local musicians play. The whole cafe is uniquely decorated, with local arts and crafts everywhere. There’s also an art gallery where you can buy souvenirs and small artworks, created by local Camiguin artists.
You can find Enigmata Treehouse Facebook Page here.
Beach bumming at one of the black sand beaches
There are beautiful beaches like that all around Camiguin, and they are a really special and mesmerizing. The most famous one is the Agohay beach, which is located not far away from Mambajao. There are also quite a few nice beach resorts there, as well as bars and restaurants.
People often come to the Philippines searching for dreamy white beaches, but here you have a chance at something completely different. You’ll be surprised by how pristine and fine the sand actually is, as it doesn’t fall short of any other beach in the country.
By Nikond80, The ruins of Guiob Church after it was damaged by the eruption of Mount Hibok-Hibok and the formation of Mount Vulcan from 1871-1875.
Explore the Guiob church ruins
Also known as the old Spanish ruins, this place offers a rare glimpse into history. Not far from the Sunken Cross, at Brgy. Bonbon in Catarman, you can easily combine a visit to both on the same day. These are the old remains of the Spanish era island capital of Cotta Bato. It has also been affected by the Mt.Vulcan disastrous eruption in 1871.
The town’s chapel was one of the few surviving structures – it has lost its roof and was severely damaged but its walls remained standing. Surrounded by huge trees, this is a very peaceful place where kids can run around and play between the old ruins. It’s a strong reminder of nature’s destructive force and Camiguin’s dark history.
HOW TO GET TO CAMIGUIN ISLAND
By plane from Cebu and Manila
You can get to Camiguin Island from Cebu City and Manila by plane. So if you are are coming from abroad, you can enter the country through these International Airports and get another flight to Camiguin.
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