Camiguin Island: A Hidden Gem of the Philippines

Camiguin, also known as the volcanic island, is a relatively small island, and yet plenty of things to offer; with its lush vegetation, natural beauty, beautiful beaches, volcanoes, falls, and springs. For the most part, it remains relatively unspoiled.

Giddy from our Guimaras-Iloilo trip, we were gearing up to go once again. After scouring the airlines for promos, we hit the jackpot with round-trip tickets at P1500 ($30) for Camiguin. We also found a quaint little cottage at Agohay Villa Forte Beach Resort. Although we would have liked to stay at this AirBnB at the top of the mountain, overlooking the island. Sadly, it was not available for the date we have chosen. We also got the cheapest deal on a motorcycle rental and asked the owner to meet us at the airport upon arrival and departure, so we did save a lot.

When I thought of Camiguin before, the first thing that came to mind was the sunken cemetery. But A pointed out that there are plenty of stuff to see. There is even an Ostrich Breeding Farm. I read ostrich and somehow ignored the breeding part. I thought it was a place where you could see and ride an Ostrich. Breeding should have been my clue. Once it finally dawned on me, I was excited to see the breeding/mating ritual. Yeah, totally weird and inappropriate. But don’t tell me you aren’t curious.

Well, there were plenty of animals. Pigs, mostly. And nope, we saw some Ostriches but no breeding going on. Cool animals, I must say. Probably wondering why some strange creatures were gawking at them. But for some reason, a goat had developed some sort of unhealthy crush on me, and it kept following me around. Good thing, I’ve had a suave hero who tried to save me by trying to either hold it or distract it. I didn’t know how since I was busy trying to run away.

A and I wanted to see all the places while having great times doing it, so we did not pressure ourselves much. Like the usual, we see the sights, enjoy each other’s company, try new things and look for good food. That’s always been our travel agenda.

So here are some of the places we’ve chosen to see, our favorites, and the things we have done, just for the weekend.

 

 Driving Around

There are plenty of things to see just by driving around. We even drove around the island in two-three hours.

Katibawasan Falls

It was our first stop early morning that we had the place all to ourselves, it felt eerie. The caretaker asked us if we wanted to swim, but I did not find the water inviting, so I just enjoyed the sight on top of the rock while A surreptitiously took my pictures, and I pretended to be oblivious to it all (coz it’s candid yo..not). I’m not into falls, though. But I still wanted to see one, so we figured, we saw one, we saw them all. But that’s us. Entrance: P35

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Ardent Hot Spring

It was quite cold that morning that we were hoping we could take a dip in the warm water. But when we were about to pay the entrance fee; P40, the lady at the counter told us that the water was not deep and just lukewarm. It was honest. That was one of the things I love about this island. They give you the option to take it or leave it. We opted to see it, but she was right. We were not so keen to take a deep. So that was our spring. Oh shoot, I did not even bother to take pictures.

White Island

I love beaches. You haven’t noticed, right? So I told A, we would check both White and Mantigue Island. We set out to try White Island first because it’s just across our resort. But after paying P550 both for the boat and the entrance fee, I did not want to spend any additional moolah on another island. So we ditched Mantigue and just frolicked at White Island.

White Island Camiguin

Sunken Cemetery

You’ve never been to Camiguin until you’ve seen this landmark.

Cantaan Kabila White Beach Giant Glam Sanctuary

One of my favorites. This is where I conquered my fear of the deep (not much) by swimming (with a life vest) and snorkeling up to 6-8 meters to check the giant clam. Of course with the help of A and the guide who had to pull me, because I don’t know how to swim. The entrance fee includes a guide (P150), entrance (P50) and environmental fee (P25). They charge a corkage fee if you brought your gear so might as well rent their masks and snorkels for P250.

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No choice but to wear a life vest

 

Gui-ob Church Ruins

We passed this one on our way back to the hotel, so why not?

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Mahinog Ostrich Breeding Farm

Yay, Ostrich.

 

FOOD

Camiguin may not look like it’s buzzing with tourists but there are plenty of places to find good food. We tried to balance things out by eating in some karenderias along the highway for some part then splurge a little bit more for dinner. That way we could enjoy things without burning a hole in our wallet. A is a gourmet, while I am street food.  However, he is adventurous, so he is always willing to try.

Guerera Restaurant

It took us a bit of time to find the place, getting lost along the way. It was quite dark so we did not see much of the view. Their menu includes cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia among other things. We settled for some Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, and I was delighted that they have Vietnamese coffee. They could use an improvement on how to present this coffee, though. The food was not exceptional but certainly good. We like the design of the place. But when we were taking pictures, the waiter was ordered by the manager to stop us. I think she believed we wanted to copy the restaurant’s concept. When in fact, we were just admiring the architectural design of the door.

Casa Roca Inn

There was a Spanish/Italian restaurant mentioned on some blog, which offers the best paella in Camiguin. So we went there. After checking the menu, we were surprised that there was nothing Spanish at all about the place. We hightailed out of there and drove 6-Km to find Casa Roca Inn. It was our last night and we wanted to eat something really tasty. It was worth the trip. Upon arrival, we could smell the delicious aroma wafting from the kitchen. It was reasonably priced and the food was really great. We also love the friendly resident dogs and cats. But then again, you might want to check the place in the morning to appreciate the restaurant’s great view.

Camiguin Bee Farm

A great place to buy some honey, partake some passionfruit ice cream and shake then swim with the local kids at the back. They also have chocolates, coffee, and some macadamia nuts and cookies.

Others

We also tried the restaurant in the giant clam sanctuary, and it was quite delicious. I cajoled A to go with me to check the Camiguin’s pastel. I normally like it, but surrounded by a lot of pastels, somehow made me less excited. I would have loved to try the special pastel but those things are made to order.

 

Camiguin, among the places, we have visited together is by far the only place we want to visit again. Good thing there are some places we miss, that way, we have plenty of reasons to go back. So you ought to watch out for Camiguin part two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Camiguin Island: A Hidden Gem of the Philippines

  1. chedy Fortaliza

    T..ngblogger njud ka ai???

    Reply

    1. Lo Rena

      Hey t. Just for fun 🙂 Cge Pamugos ako mga friends

      Reply

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