Everything You Need to Know About Camiguin: Essential Travel Guide
To say Camiguin is a beautiful island would be an understatement. True, most tourists and locals love the beautiful beaches, the rich marine life, refreshing waterfalls, hot and cold springs — and all of Camiguin’s tourist spots. However, there’s more to Camiguin than meets the eye.
Like Hunga Tonga, a new island in South Pacific, Camiguin was also formed out of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. It’s called the island born of fire. It’s the second smallest island in the Philippines. You can tour the entire place in a day or two, but it’s best to stay for a few days. Albeit small, there’s a lot to explore.
The serenity of Camiguin is what makes it different from other islands in the Philippines. It’s small yet the island’s size is actually an advantage. There’s no need for a long drive to get to one attraction to another. Plan a trip to Camiguin and read this guide for more information about this unique destination in the Philippines.
Getting to Camiguin Island: flight, bus, ferry
The quickest way to reach is by booking a direct flight to Camiguin airport. You can also take a 2-hour bus ride from Cagayan de Oro and a ferry ride to get to the island. If you’re from Bohol, getting to Camiguin would be easier via a ferry.
Rent motorbikes, multicabs, vans or motorcycles when touring the island. If you’re traveling on a budget, take public transport. Don’t worry, the drivers are approachable. They will be more than happy to assist and give you directions.
Whether you plan to take private tours or on your own, Camiguin is the place to be.
Best Things To Do and See
Thankfully, this small island is abundant with must-see attractions. Buy some sunblock, water gears, mosquito repellant and lots of food. You will need them in Camiguin when you go tours all the main points of interest:
- White Island
- Mantigue Island
- Mt. Hibok Hibok Ardent Hot Spring
- Sto. Nino Cold Spring
- Sunken Cemetery
- Gui-ob Old Church Ruins
- Giant Clam Sanctuary
- Katibawasan Falls
1. White Island
You can’t visit Camiguin and not see this place. White Island isn’t exactly an island, to begin with. Located at Mambajao, a powdery white sandbar awaits you at White Island.
You’ll be surrounded by crystal clear waters and two volcanoes. The inviting waters of White Island are ideal for swimming. You can also do sunbathing and make sure to bring a camera with you.
For six people, it would cost about PHP 420 for a round trip to White Island. When in Camiguin, this place is a must-see.
2. Mantigue Island
This islet is located at Mahinog in Camiguin. It’s perfect for tourists who love water activities. At Mantigue, you can have a feast of crabs, clams, eels and other seafood while diving or snorkeling.
Your snorkeling and diving gears would come in handy at Mantigue. This part of Camiguin has a rich marine life that you shouldn’t miss. Come explore the underwater world of Mantigue.
3. Mt. Hibok Hibok Ardent Hot Spring
Take a relaxing hot bath for only PHP 30 (entrance fee) at Ardent Hot Spring. It’s located at Mt. Hibok Hibok in Mambajao. If you aren’t on a private tour, you can hire a motorcycle for PHP 80 to get to the place.
The hot spring has four separate pools. It’s best to visit it by early evening, just before you head back to your hotel. The warm bath will help you sleep better.
4. Sto. Nino Cold Spring
Camiguin is blessed with great beaches, waterfalls, hot springs and yes — a cold spring too. Enjoy the cool waters and swim for hours at Sto. Nino cold spring. This place is perfect when you’re traveling during the summer months.
You can rent cottages or tables here. Visitors are also allowed to cook. Bring lots of food and enjoy swimming with friends or family.
6. Sunken Cemetery
When Mt. Vulcan erupted in the 1870s, it sank some parts of Camiguin including this cemetery. To get there, head to Bonbon town and ask the boatmen to take you to the cemetery.
You’ll know it’s the Sunken Cemetery when you see a huge cross in the sea. The spot is ideal for taking postcard-perfect photos. Don’t visit just for the photos though; it’s best to explore what’s underneath.
7. Gui-ob Old Church Ruins
This church was destroyed when Mt. Vulcan erupted. The grounds are covered in grass, but you can still get a glimpse of its magnificence structure.
If you love history, the ruins will delight you. There’s also a great view of the sea from the back of the church.
8. Giant Clam Sanctuary
Head to Kabila Beach in Guinsiliban for the surprise of your life. Kabila Giant Clam Conservation has a collection of over 2,500 colorful giant clams.
Take a tour and admire these beautiful and enormous clams from underwater. Bring an underwater camera with you and take photos. There are smaller clams too and they’re placed in smaller pools so they can reproduce.
9. Katibawasan Falls
The refreshing waterfall is perfect for an afternoon swim, right after a day tour. Bring food as tables and chairs are provided in the area.
Katibawasan Falls is the most accessible falls in Camiguin. There is no need to take on long walks to get to the place. Here you’ll be surrounded by rocks, ferns and lots of trees. Entrance fee to the area is PHP 35.
Where to Eat
A vacation won’t be complete without indulging in good food. Camiguin isn’t only abundant with beautiful attractions, this small island is also blessed with restaurants that serve delectable dishes.
1. La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is one of the best Italian restaurants in Mambajao, Camiguin. Homemade pasta and wood-fired pizza are their specialties. Plan one of your dinners with this must-try restaurant.
- Address: Baylao, Mambajao, Mindanao 9100
- Phone Number: +63-936-100-4733
- Operating Hours: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
2. Casa Roca Inn
Casa Roca Inn is both a hotel and a dining place. They don’t only serve delicious Filipino food, Casa Roca goes out of their way to help customers. Their servings are also plentiful, you will have more than enough for a good price.
The restaurant is located on the first floor where you can see Evelyn, the chef cooking. They serve only freshly cooked meals at their open kitchen.
If you love wine, Casa Roca has quite a collection. The ocean views from the hotel is another thing to love about Casa Roca. It’s the best.
If you’re planning to stay, do make sure to call in advance. Casa Roca Inn is almost always full.
- Address: National Highway, Naasag, Mambajao, Mindanao 9100
- Phone Number: +63-883-879-500
3. Cajun Joe’s Sportsbar & Grill
They used to be called Shardana Resto Bar. Cajun Joe’s is a family-owned restaurant with a large menu collection. They offer Filipino and European dishes.
Grab a cold beer or try the shrimp or calamari. You won’t regret it.
- Address: National Road Bug-ong Mambajao, Mindanao 9100, Philippines
Phone Number: +63-905-603-89
4. Luna Ristorante
The lasagna at Luna Ristorante is a must-try. Have some white wine along with it during dinner. This restaurant offers tasty dishes and the staff are very accommodating.
- Address: National Highway Mambajao, Yumbing, Mindanao 9100
- Phone Number: +63-936-9094
Where to Stay
Depending on your budget, you can either stay at affordable hotels or indulge in a little luxury. Here are three hotels in Camiguin that will give you the best stay.
1. Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat & Dive Resort (PHP 2000)
This is a new hotel with five different room categories. They have villas, cottages and rooms. The price varies and depends on the inclusions of each bedroom.
A 100-year old tree, fruit trees and fragrant flowers adorned the hotel. They also have their own restaurant and massage wellness. If you love adventure, book water activities with them.
Overall, Volcan Beach is by far one of the best. For budget travelers, they have a backpacker hostel room for only PHP 1000.
- Address: Camiguin Circumferential Road Baring, Naasag, Mambajao Mindanao 9100
2. Balai sa Baibai
If you’re traveling with a life partner, this will be an ideal place. There are only six yet cozy rooms at Balai sa Baibai. Free wifi is included in their comfortable non-smoking rooms.
They have a hotel bar where you can get a good view of the sunset. Don’t miss this when you’re at Balai sa Baibai.
- Address: Agoho, Mambajao, Mindanao 9100
3. Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin Resort Mambajao (4600 PHP)
Stay at their beachfront accommodations and revel in the beauty of the ocean. A pool is also available for guests as well as a fitness gym. They have a bar and a grill near the beach where you can eat dinner while listening to the sound of the waves.
Apart from offering good accommodation, Bahay Bakasyunan also offers the best tasting wines and seafood. They’re both a must-try.
If you’re traveling with a group, some hotels in Camiguin offers dorm-type rooms where 10 people can fit in. The place is great for budget travelers.
What to buy for pasalubong
Going on vacation is a good thing, but buying pasalubong is another. Camiguin is quite famous for their extremely delicious delicacies. You can buy loads of them for pasalubong to friends and family.
Available in different flavors, pastel is a favorite amongst locals and tourists. They’re freshly baked bread with fillings. The most popular flavor is the classic pastel.
You can buy these in major malls in the Philippines. However, it’s always better to buy these on the island. The prices at Camiguin are way more affordable than in malls.
Camiguin is popular for its sweet lanzones, a tropical fruit. Buy both the fruit and wine for your pasalubong. You can even buy some lanzones vinegar and try them on your meals at home.
One of the most popular times to visit the area is around October when the Lanzones festival happens. In any case, Camiguin is graced with good weather all year-round so don’t hesitate in making plans to visit soon. Your vacation in Camiguin will be a more memorable one.
For more travel deals, flights and hotels, check our Shopback travel deals and book that dream trip now.
Feature image credit: Faith Mari | Flickr
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