Every province in the Philippines has an exotic appeal and wonderful story to offer. An island surrounded by gigantic sleeping volcanoes both in land and sea that anytime soon could be awaken and display its childish anger. I keep my silence, feel the afternoon breeze and glare from the ferryboat the island that I’ll be discovering for two days – Camiguin.
|Bolingoan Port bound to Benoni Port|
“The long wait is finally over” I said excitedly to myself.
As I've landed in Benoni Port, Camiguin I've smiled and I’m ready to explore the area together with my college friends. Bringing the printed itinerary in my hands. I’ve started my journey asking questions to the jeepney driver that will convey us to Pabua’ Cottages. The usual questions “The must see and try” and the standard 4 W (What, Where, When and Who) and H (How) queries about the place.
After summing up the important information I've personally gathered from the friendly driver we've just unloaded our belongings in the lodging house and headed directly in Northern Lights Restaurant.
|Must try in Camiguin|
Used to see and experience modern type architecture, top of the line equipment and furniture in Manila but this specific two storey high bistro offers native Filipino atmosphere from its façade, chairs and table. It only differs from their menu wherein American cuisine is mixed in our style.
To be honest and as much as possible I only eat organic and/ or half cooked meals in line with my preferred diet and due to my sports training but the good looking and tasting foods is tempting me to savor and pleasure it with my taste buds.
|Ardent Hot Spring|
Every food that arrives in the table are all outstanding in flavor from Sinigang to Pork chop every bite and chew is worthy of their price. I must confess that I've enjoyed the sinful lunch that we had.
Since it’s been an exhausting air, land and water travel together with my friends we've stayed in the nearby resort – Ardent Hot Spring.
Located at Mambajao and operating 24/7. Perfect place to retire our complaining body as the resort provides lukewarm water from its natural spring. Knowing the fact that the said island is heated by an active volcano and we’re near the base line of Mt. Hibok hibok. An instant hot massage from a mini man made falls and good conversation with my friends marks our day 1 in Camiguin.
|Just enjoying the moment|
With minimal rain shower, Gladys and I woke up early in the morning to locate a bakery to buy pandesal for breakfast and as we’re near in the store a man with his bike approached and offers us his hot bread sold by 10 pieces. We've bought 5 packs and in my mind flashing back my childhood memories in my very own province, same set up and environment.
We moved quickly as we’re all excited for the whole day activity. To start with, island hopping to Camiguin’s finest, the White Sand Island. An estimated 3 minutes boat ride from the bay and we set foot in the powdery milk like sands encircling by pristine bluish green salt water. I’m speechless as expected, all the long hours of travel is worth the time to spend just witnessing this heavenly wonder only found in the Philippines.
We seize the moment to enjoy the sand and water as well as framing our solo, group and wacky poses to envy those who failed to attend this annual occasion of the group. I thank God I've experienced this once in a life time opportunity.
Following a strict time table we headed directly in Sunken Cemetery. I've told myself at last, I've seen in my own naked eyes the famous land mark in Camiguin, the cross that signifies a once burial ground in the province. I took photographs from a distance and when reaching the said spot.
The boat maneuver parallel to the monument and from the bay we've walked for about 10 to 15 minutes to locate Guiob Church also known as the Ruins. The remains of the said minster indicate a once big structure preaching and influencing the locals to glorify the words of the Lord.
Adjacent to the tourist spot is souvenir shop, we grabbed the time to purchase items for our families and friends in Manila.
Going back would be my toughest boat ride to date. The strong current plus huge wave hits the boat that triggers us to be seated near each other and praying here for safe boarding as soon as possible.
Upon reaching the shore we paid our bills. 1200 pesos per boat maximum of 6 person and 100 pesos package deal for the life vest and snorkeling rental. We also shell out 1800 pesos for our overnight accommodation in Pabua’s Cottage and bid farewell to the owner.
I've personally felt hunger and our rented multicab driver suggested to us a near eat-all-you can cafeteria.
Right after our lunch, we locate Vjandep Bakery outlet to buy and taste their renowned pastel (bans with filling). Indeed a tasty bread with yema inside.
Just in time we've reached Katibawasan Falls towering at 250 feet but due to continuous rain and strong downfall of water of the said falls no one is allowed to swim. We paid 20 pesos each for the entrance fee and just took pictures.
Wishing to extend my vacation in Camiguin but we have plans ahead of time. Just promising myself to come back in this province in future.
|At Benoni Port|
The waves are much bigger when we arrived at the port off to Mantigue Island and all boat rides is cancelled due to weather condition. We’re almost there, almost. Maybe some other time in future
An unanimous decision to stay in Benoni Port to catch the last ferry trip bound to Bolingoan [CDO]. Together with Arem we walked around the port area to find a drug store to buy some medicine and seeing the simple life of the locals there makes me realize of the difference of my being in Manila. I think loudly “Maybe I’ll retire early, save lots of money, will travel the Philippines and enjoy the moment with nature”. I repeat to myself “in time”.
A noisy horn and clouded smoke from the boat’s chimney departs us from Camiguin as the Sun sets behind the Island we’re bound now to Cagayan de Oro for another story to tell.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Just riding a jeepney you can roam around Camiguin and if you wanted to explore its hidden treasure better rent multicabs or jeepney to locate the tourist spots of the Island. There’s also an airport here operating MWF as per conversation with a local. I know for an instant that I will come back here spending longer hours and exploring places I missed to discover. Thank you for reading and hoping you’ll consider this place be your next destination.