grub + travels + perspectives

Exploring Camiguin: Part 1

(Read about our White Island experience here.)

Who was excited for her first trip to Mindanao last September? ME! ME! ME!

If there's one thing I've been doing a lot this past year, it would be traveling. I've never been to so many places in my life until I've met my friends from work! Ever since then, I would join random trips that my traveler officemates come up with! I was really looking forward to this trip (it was booked last January) because one, it would be really awesome to go south of the country, and two, it was the only trip the three of us (Ian, Muffet and I) had this year.

We spent a total of 5 days for this trip, the first and last days were used for travel from CDO to Camiguin and vice versa, respectively. We had a lot of activities during this travel so I figured I would share some photos and divide them into 3 posts.

This is a DIY trip so no tour packages were booked prior, though Ian booked our accommodations in CDO and Camiguin through Agoda a week before.

This is the dry goods market situated inside the Agora Integrated Bus Terminal, and the only decent photo I have of CDO. After we got settled in our hostel, we went to Limketkai Mall to have our early dinner. For the life of me us, we seem to have trouble locating these specific restaurants we're looking for. Either that, or it was closed. So we left Limketkai to find Butcher's Best that everyone seems to be raving about, but it was quite a disappointment. We figured we'll just have dinner there anyway and return back to our inn so we could rest.

The next day, we rode a ferry from CDO's Balingoan Port going to Camiguin's Benoni Port. And I was able to confirm that I don't get sea sick unless I'm on really small boats (like the ones we rode in Boracay LOL).

Here's a photo of me and Muffet during a conversation en route to Camiguin.

The Benoni Port. I wish I've taken a photo of how breathtaking the waters at the port of Camiguin is. It was crystal clear and all shades of blue and green. There were a lot of kids, too, that would ask you to throw coins then they would dive to get it. I bet at the end of your stay, the sound of "Barya lang, Ate." will haunt you forever. Hahaha.

We stayed at this place called July's Haven Seaside Lodge. It's cheap, by the ocean and service was great. You might want to consider booking here when you visit Camiguin. :)

Our picture perfect al fresco brunch at July's Haven before heading to our tour of West Camiguin. <3

We rented a multi-cab to take us for a day tour . First quick stop was by this fantastic view with the Guiob Church Ruins (from afar) as the background. It's more commonly referred to as the Old Church Ruins.

A happy photo of us three here at the Walkway to the Old Volcano. We skipped climbing up the grotto and seeing the Stations of the Cross so we could maximize our time.

We headed next to the Sunken Cemetery in Bonbon, Catarman, Camiguin. I don't know about my 2 friends but this place has some certain feel of mystery to it. Well, it is after all a sunken cemetery. Camiguin is of volcanic origin with 2 still considered active volcanoes, Mt. Vulcan and Mt. Hibok-Hibok.

A little bit of history for the curious: Mt. Vulcan erupted way back in 1871 (which lasted until 1875) and had continuously spewed out lava. This, as a result, submerged and have hidden some parts of Catarman by almost 2,000 feet. Then come 1948, the volcano erupted again, further pushing the visible-during-low tide remnants by another 20 feet. A cross was built above the gravesite to mark the area in 1982.

Some of the boatmen there offered to take us to the cross but we opted to pass. They also offer snorkeling and diving for a certain fee. Everything's covered with colorful corals and giant clams, and there are fishes and other marine life. If you ask me, I don't know if I could snorkel at a once cemetery. I already had a hard time convincing myself to go snorkeling before, this would definitely would take a lot more time of thinking. Hahaha. (In short, I'm Trisha McScaredypants.)

There are kiosks that sell some knick-knacks that you could take home as souvenirs for dirt cheap prices.

My favorite spot we went to that day was the Old Church Ruins, a few minutes away from the Sunken Garden. This was, too, was destroyed by Mt. Vulcan's eruptions before. Originally Guiob Church, what's left now are traces of one of the oldest structures in Camiguin, the walls, the convent and bell tower.

The place gave me a beautiful mix of awe and that haunting feeling. Everything was green and covered with moss and picturesque.

After having visited all the famous historical landmarks of West Camiguin, it was time to have a little fun with water! Here we are enjoying the almost freezing cold water at the Sto. Nino Cold Spring Resort. And I'm not kidding when I say *brr* almost freezing cold *brr* water. It took us quite a while to get our bodies adjusted to the temperature. But it was all good! There were also these little fishes that would feast on your dead skin cells if you stay very, very still.

Our first underwater selfeet~ Thank you, GoPro!

Some freshly made bibingka of sorts sold outside the resort if you feel like eating.

We also got to try a Camiguin delicacy, the kiping. It's made from ground dried sweet potatoes which is then mixed with water, then fried. It's drizzled with latik or reduced coconut milk. One serving is good for two to three people, so I would suggest if you're trying one, don't go all trigger happy and buy one for each.

We were supposed to go to Katibawasan Falls next but our driver/guide, Kuya Junior, suggested we go to Tuasan Falls instead, as the water falling from it was not that strong.

The only sad thing about this place is that right next to the falls, there was an ongoing construction of a hotel (according to Kuya Junior). Like we really had to walk past boulders and rocks and machines and construction people before stepping foot here. And it's sadder to think that one day, this beautiful creation might fade away as well. :(

Mandatory selfeet again. The water is super clear and cold!

An unusual and intriguing swimming pool in Camiguin is the Bura Soda Water Swimming Pool. Yep, some of the locals described the water here to have a faint taste of Sprite. Doesn't that just ignite your curiosity?

So did it taste like what people are claiming it to be? Not really. I hardly tasted anything resembling any carbonated drink I know. Well, it did taste different from most freshwater spring pools but, I don't know, the soda taste was not that evident. But that's okay, maybe over time, somehow that soda taste has degraded.

After visiting a hot spring, a majestic waterfalls, a not-so-soda tasting swimming pool, the final stop for the day was Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort.

After a day of walking and strolling and exploring, a dip in this hot spring is the perfect way to end our first day at Camiguin.

We loved this place, look at us all smiles after hours of traveling! Haha. Though we weren't able to stay here that long as we're really hungry and quite tired. Plus, we had to travel back to our lodge that night.

We had dinner at Northern Lights (I was too tired to take photos and it was nighttime already so I knew the food photos would suck) which you should definitely pay a visit when you're in Camiguin, and order their pizza and Camiguin Express (if I remember correctly). Those were my favorites! But, really, everything we had there was delectably great.

Day 1 in Camiguin was certainly an eventful one for us and we thoroughly enjoyed it! And who would've known we're in for an even better treat on our second day of stay there?

If you have any queries regarding this post, please feel free to shoot a question by commenting. :)

(Photos by Ian Manzon, Muffet Sta. Maria and I)