Thursday, October 27, 2016

Two Days in Camiguin

Camiguin. The Island of Fire Water. In the two days we were on the island, we were never not soaked.

Day 1

Tangatoc Cove
On our first stop we immediately got soaked in the beautiful panorama of brilliant green mountain and sparkling blue sea and sky at Tangatoc Cove.

Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross
Entrance Fee: Php 5
It wasn't Holy Week, but our next stop involved the Stations of the Cross. We followed the walkway, gradually gained elevation, found the next Station of the Cross (and tree cover) farther and farther, felt the sun climb higher in the sky, and felt our shirts getting soaked in sweat. But the heat and the sweat did not bother us, and we actually enjoyed the walk, more so when we reached the last station (which is not at the peak, but less than halfway to the peak of the Old Volcano or Mt Vulcan) where we were rewarded with a slight breeze and a view of our next stop: the Sunken Cemetery. (From the last Station of the Cross I didn't see a pathway to the peak of Mt Vulcan. If there really was one, would I have continued on?)

Sunken Cemetery
Paddle Boat and Guide: Php 100
Snorkeling Fee: Php 50
Snorkel Rental: Php 50
Lifevest Rental: Php 50
Where is the cemetery? Twenty feet under the sea. The cemetery sank during the 1871 eruption of Mt Vulcan. The iconic large white cross marking its location was built in 1982.

We hired a paddle boat to get us to the large cross. There was a door on the base of the cross, and looking in, I saw rusty rebar rungs leading to the top, but it was for the eyes only: climbing it was prohibited. With nothing else to do, we then became the boatman–slash–guide–slash–director–slash–photographer's subject of silliness: he made us look like witches and giants in the amusing photos he took.

Because he made us jump around and do silly things, we took our revenge: we all jumped in the water and made him tow us, against the current, beyond the large white cross and around the sunken cemetery. I saw a cluster of giant clams, many little fish, and corals, but I couldn't make out the tombstones; it must have been crusted over by corals. The only distinct thing I saw that hinted that it was a submerged cemetery was the huge cross lying on the seabed.

Gui-ob Church Ruins
Still dripping wet from our swim at the Sunken Cemetery, we jumped in the multicab and headed a short way south and made a quick stop at Gui-ob Church Ruins. Gui-ob Church too was destroyed during the 1871 eruption of Mt Vulcan. All that remains are the walls and columns of the church and its convent, and the base of the belltower.

Sto Niño Cold Spring
Entrance Fee: Php 30
Picnic Shed Rental: Php 75 (3 hours)
Table with four chairs: Php 50 (3 hours)
We arrived at Sto Niño Cold Spring around lunch time and the sun was directly overhead. It was too hot, and visitors were taking refuge under trees or under picnic huts. Too hot indeed—a perfect time for a dip in the cold spring. (For lunch, we ordered food from the ladies who had shoved menus in our faces even before we had entered Sto Niño Cold Spring.)

Tuasan Falls
From Sto Niño Cold Spring, it was another short drive to our next stop: Tuasan Falls. The way to the waterfall was incredible. Incredibly concrete, incredibly easy, incredibly short. Tuasan Falls isn't too high but the water quite strong; the basin small and the water quite cold. It was also incredibly quiet (save for the sound of rushing water) when we visited. Not that I'm complaining.

Soda Swimming Pool
Entrance Fee: Php 30
Picnic Shed Rental: Php 75
The water at Soda Swimming Pool tastes like soda water, which tastes really weird. We tasted the water and decided it was better for swimming than drinking. How did I know? I drank the water in the pool. Just kidding. There are taps available for those who want to drink soda water.

Ardent Hot Spring
Entrance Fee: Php 30
The first day's tour ended with a dip at Ardent Hot Spring. The hottest pool was too crowded and we found space in the pool farthest from it, its water too lukewarm to feel like you're in a hot spring.

Day 2

White Island
Boat to White Island: Php 450 (for up to 6 pax)
Entrance Fee: Php 20
Once I stepped foot on White Island, I immediately asked myself what took me so long to visit Camiguin. White Island's clear waters, white sand, and the view of Camiguin Island took my breath away.

Note: If you easily get hungry, bring money, there are enterprising individuals who sell meals and snacks on White Island.

Katibawasan Falls
Entrance Fee: Php 30
Picnic Shed Rental: Php 75
Table with four chairs: Php 50
Toilets and Changing Rooms: Available
The thin 250-feet drop of Katibawasan Falls forms a wide shallow pool of ice cold water...colder than the waters of Sto Niño Cold Spring. It felt like being in a pool full of ice.

Mantigue Island
Boat to Mantigue Island: Php 550 (for up to 6 pax; 4 hours)
Entrance Fee: Php 20
Snorkeling Fee: Php 50
Snorkel Rental: Php 150
Add-on for boat to take you to the Marine Sanctuary: Php 200
Here I had to ask myself again why after all these years had I not visited Camiguin. Like White Island, the clear waters and the view was just amazing. On top of that, we also loved snorkeling at Mantigue Island's sanctuary.

Divers at Mantigue's sanctuary

Kibila Giant Clams Sanctuary
Entrance Fee: Php 25
Snorkeling Fee: Php 150
Lifevest and Snorkel Rental: Php 100
Our last stop was the Kibila Giant Clams Sanctuary, where young students gave us a little tour of the area and educated us about giant clams. The students help maintain the sanctuary, the younger ones act as tour guides of the facility, and some of the older students as snorkeling guides to the sanctuary. I was quite impressed by it all (the students and the sanctuary).

Note: If you bring your own snorkeling gear, you will be charged 50% of the total charges of your group. Part of the fees paid by visitors are given to the students as their allowance.

The itinerary for the second day also includes visits to the Ostrich Farm and J&A Fishpen at Tanguines Lagoon, but we decided to skip those.

Accommodation and Tour Package

We stayed at Pabualan Cottages [0917 521 9391 / 0939 244 0521 /] which is located near the jump off point for White Island, and availed of their 3D/2N package which includes airport/port transfers, A/C room accommodation, two-day tour including entrance fees and boat transfers to the islands. The only fees not included are the snorkeling fees, snorkel/lifevest rentals, and the add-on for the boat to go to Mantigue's marine sanctuary. For a group of three, we paid Php 2150 each for the package. For bigger groups, the rate per person would be less.

Our room at Pabualan Cottages

Overall the package was worth its price. The only negative experience we had with Pabualan Cottages was that on the second day, before starting the tour,  thinking we'd be going straight from one destination to the next, we borrowed snorkel sets from them because we wanted to use it at Mantigue Island; we were not informed that the rental charge is per destination, not per day. Since we brought it to White Island, though did not use it there, they wanted to charge us for "using" it at White Island. After the trip, I emailed Pabualan Cottages for clarification, but did not hear back from them.


  1. Gandaaaa!

    And still not bad paying 2150 for two days ha! Will take note of your post even though I have no plans of going to Camiguin yet.. :(

    1. Hi Mariane! You haven't been to Camiguin? I thought I was the last person who hasn't been there haha :D

  2. There are so many places we missed when we went to Camiguin.

    We were all the way from Valencia Bukidnon. Departed at 3AM, arrived at Camiguin 1PM. :'(

    1. Hi ayisharu. How many days did you stay in Camiguin???

    2. It was supposed to be a 2-day and 1-night stay. The travel ate up most of our time. Huhu.

    3. Sayanga :-( But then naa moy reason to go back haha

    4. Yeps~!! Hahah next time ari na mi Cebu manukad XD

  3. We would love to go back to Camiguin Island. Specifically, we want to check the dive sites there. :)

    1. Hi Team Sweetie! I don't dive myself; I look forward to reading about your diving adventures!