Camiguin Island is in the Bohol Sea just north of the main island of Mindanao in southern Philippines.
This island is unique in so many ways and my visit there was so tranquil I am yearning to return for more. My trip started out of Cagayan de Oro a city with a great nightlife and a unique flare for a modernized medium sized city. From CDO we took a bus to the docks and then off for the 2 hour ferry ride to the main port of Camiguin.
Camiguin consists of 5 municipalitiesall which rest on an island made up of four major volcanoes allwhich have additional domes that flank the outer rims. This alone gives the island its substantial overall fortress appearance. The walkways and steps that appear at the main road which encircles the island help those who want to venture up the sidewalls of these behemoth mountains. This is no task for the faint at heart as often there are 1000’s of steps and hours of strenuous uphill climbing to the top.
I stayed at Ardent Hot Springs. My cottage rested just above the hot springs and the inviting waters were fun for all 24 hours a day. The night swims were the best and many visited the springs at this time just to sit and enjoy the warm waters and cool nights. Ardent has an onsite restaurant which is very nice with perfect local foods. The cottages are semi modern with nice bathrooms and far enough apart from one another as to not to disturb anyone.
Ardent Hot Springs, Camiguin Island Philippines
In the Catamaran area there is also a cold springs which attracts many during the day mostly. Sto Nino Cold Springs has a 40 by 25 meter shallow pool where the waters seep through the sandy floor bottom. Overall this would be a nice and relaxing place to spend the day. I did not go in the water this day but I toured the grounds to see how nice it was. A large number of the hillside roads in Camiguin are paved so access to places like Sto Nino are easy even with a car or rented scooter.
History abounds here as this is a known place where Ferdinand Magellan and Miguel Lagazpi landed in 1521 and 1565. Many early churches and homes line the streets of different areas of this great isle. The old Catarman Church Ruins is a nice stop by the edge of the roadway. This church saved many lives during the eruption of the volcano here in 1871. Three other churches dot the island they include Santo Rosario Church, Gui-ob Church, Baylao Church which also saved many lives during the last eruption in the 1950s, a beautiful structure that you won’t want to miss. Here Spanish architecture abounds in places where you won’t expect, giving this island a chance to be seen in the eyes of those wanting to step back in time.
Other attractions include the Sunken Cemetery which was on land before the volcanic eruption in 1871. Today many use it for a dive site as the gravestones are still readable. Katibawasan Falls is a tall narrow falls that drops over 250 feet into a majestic pool. There are picnic grounds for use and the ice cold waters is a nice kick back for a hot summer day. The one festival that inhibits the entire island is the Lanzones Festival in the month of October. This festival is highly colorful and unique to the island itself. The sands here are ice white with the Mantigue and White Islands off the coast is accessible by small boats and other personal crafts. Don’t for get to visit the Enigmata Tree House with an art gallery along with accommodations with a one of a kind artistic flair throughout. The Enigmata Creative Circle is set within a 3 story tree house with unique sculpted grounds along with statues all set in a beautiful garden setting. This is a must see and near Mambajao, while here take a swim in the pool or have lunch at the unique restaurant there.
The best transportation is to rent a scooter for the day or week and go anywhere you like. The outer rim roadway takes you around the entire island and leads you into the villages and towns. As noted before, getting to the hillsides and mountain tops is easy in most places as a large percentage of roadways in Camiguin are paved. Upon my last trip to the island I had my own personal motorcycle but many were renting scooters for 600 peso a day (about $15.00). Restaurants encompass the island with several foreign owned. As always the local seafood’s and unique Filipino dishes are something well worth trying.
I have yearned for some time now to return to this beautiful island and I’ve imagined myself retiring here. Not only is this place a calm serene place but it too is set in time which appeases me and makes me wanting to sit back, relax and watch the world go by. If this is a desire that you share then this small isle called Camiguin is a destination to fall in love with.
Jeff Harvie is an Australian Registered Migration Agent (MARN 0959797) who has given up the quiet life in Australia a few years back for one more adventurous with his Filipina wife and kids in Manila, Philippines. He runs Down Under Visa, which specialises in Australian partner visas for those Aussie men who fall madly in love with the local girls and want to bring them to Australia.