Born of fire and shaped through time, Camiguin wooed us with the natural wonders and historical sites which were in one way or another influenced by its being home to 7 volcanoes. With hot and cold springs for the nature tripper, old church ruins for the heritage conservationist, and fine shores for the beach bum, there is always something in store for folks from all walks.
We left the hotel at 4:30am to maximize our Camiguin daytrip. The van reached Balingoan Port around 6:30am and we grabbed a quick meal before taking the one-hour ferry ride (170pesos) to Camiguin. The sea swelled a number of times which made the ride uncomfortable. But with the promise of sunny skies and fine shores awaiting us in the island paradise, we know nothing more could go wrong.
For a package worth 1,700 pesos each, we got an overnight stay at the Paras Beach Resort, complete with complimentary breakfast, whole day tour around the island, and transfers from and to the Benoni Port. The resort has a magnificent view of the white island and imparts a very relaxing tropical getaway atmosphere with palms surrounding its indoor pool.
Now let’s begin the tour!
Katibawasan Falls. I have developed this fear towards waterfalls after my trip in Negros Oriental (refer to post on Casaroro) so I didn’t bother getting up close and personal with Katibawasan. Suffice to say that I took one picture with a swimmer nearby for size reference.
Mantigue Island. Several foreigners getting their tan by the beach was a refreshing sight while we were busy shielding our already burnt skin from the harsh sun with the towels provided by the hotel. Upon realizing what a bunch of losers we must have looked, we left our towels on a rented table (we never really paid for, please don’t tell anyone) and hit the waves.
We had lunch at J&A Fishpen. Very very pricey, if I may say. But with a fancy vine canopy entrance and some restaurant portions by the edge of the water (for an additional fee), one could say the ambience very well makes up for what it lacks in flavor. I particularly love how one turns on the faucet in the washing stations. The switch is camouflaged as a rock among the dozens of other rocks that compose the structure. Pretty clever.
The Ostrich Breeding Center was not put up solely for the ostriches; it also serves as the Provincial Animal Breeding Center. It was a treat to see the very large flightless birds and those huge feet that give powerful kicks, necks that look like they could go on forever, and eyes that are too pretty and globular they make you let out an “aaaaaww”. But the highlight of the center for some of us was the humongous hog they were raising. I mean, look at this:
And now breezing through the other attractions on our itinerary:
Sto. Nino Cold Springs. Yes we know better than complaining since it was quite obvious when we read the name of the next destination. Cold Springs. But nobody warned us it would be thaaaat cold!
Old Catarman Church Ruins. The entrance to the old Gui-ob Church was obstructed by an old beggar who walks and hops on all fours. We know we shouldn’t be scared but the strange words uttered by him coupled with a cryptic gaze made us hasten our pace. I imagined a seer prophesying the great eruption of 1871 and people laughing at such absurdity. Now we have but ruins to remind us of nature’s wrath and man’s downfall.
Sunken Cemetery. The cross was erected 29 years ago to commemorate the sinking of some portions of the town of Bonbon (including its cemetery) due to the eruption and growth of Mt. Vulcan which originally started as a dome from Mt. Hibok-hibok’s area.
Walkway to the Old Volcano. We never really made the ascent as everyone was dead tired from the flash tour. With 14 Stations of the Cross lining the trek, we easily found an excuse not to climb uphill. Lenten season is over (ouch, and my legs hurt too).
The tour capped off with Ardent Hot Springs, just the thing to reward our long trip (apart from the dozens of souvenir shirts and key chains purchased along the way). Muscles sore from all the transfers and activities squeezed into a single day itinerary certainly needed a dip in the warm water for some serious soothing.
All in a day’s tour: 8 scenic spots and natural wonders. For the perfect pasalubong to share with friends for a taste of Camiguin, don’t forget to bring home a dozen or two of Vjandep’s famous pastel (goes perfectly with coffee!).
To end this post is a rather lame slogan that perhaps has been constructed on substantial grounds:
“Thank you for Coming, Camiguin!”
(Because I know I would.)