Camiguin Island, Philippines

INTRODUCTION

LOCATION

Camiguin is the second smallest island province in the Philippines situated in the Bohol Sea, about 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) off the northern coast of Mindanao. The largest municipality and also the provincial capital is Mambajao. Camiguin Island is part of Region X, the Northern Mindanao Region of the country, and formerly a part of Misamis Oriental province (Wikipedia, 2020).

HISTORY

Camiguin Island is also known as the “Island of Born OoF Fire” due to several volcanic eruptions that revealed the beauty of the island. The name Camiguin is originally from the native word “Kamagong,” a tree of the Ebony family that thrives near Lake Mainit in the Province of Surigao del Norte. The original inhabitants of Camiguin were “Manobos” who migrated from Surigao. The old native language in Camiguin is called “Kinamiguin,” which is similar to the dialect spoken in Surigao.

Spanish Colonial Era

Camiguin Island is one of the places Spaniards settled in the year 1521 and 1565. These Spanish explorers were Ferdinand Magellan and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. They made their first settlement in one of the municipality of Camiguin.

American Colonial Era

The American Colonial Era then came in the year 1901, and Americans landed in Camiguin. There was a short battle between Camiguingnons and Americans as they fought for the island’s independence from foreign invasion.

World War II

In 1945, the Battle of Camiguin against the Japanese Imperial forces happened at the end of World War II as the Japanese wanted to set up a government. The Japanese succeed, and they were able to build buildings that are still present today (Bohol Travel Philippines Guide, 2018).

WEATHER

Camiguin has a mild climate, with average temperatures 26-28°C. January is the coldest month, with temperatures going down to 24°C. March and April are the hottest months with up to 33°C. Rainiest months are December and January and sometimes February. Camiguin has two peak seasons. The first is the “Holly week” before Easter and the Easter weekend. The second was the 3rd week of October when the Lanzones festival celebrated. For these two weeks, the hotel reservation is strongly recommended (Silent Gardens, 2020). It is best to visit the island when it’s sunny to have a fun experience as you see beautiful places, especially White Island.

TOURISM

Camiguin Island welcomes guests from different parts of the world. According to the Philippine News Agency, Camiguin had more than half a million visitors from January to September 2019. Tourists visit Camiguin because of its beautiful paradise that offers a lot of adventure like waterfalls, snorkeling, hiking, volcanic hot springs, historical landmarks, and island hopping. With these adventures available, the cost of your stay is affordable. Scooter is being used by the tourist to tour around the island, and it only cost Php 300-Php 500($8-$10) a day. There is also a public jeepney available that goes around the island that will only cost you P5-P10($0.10-$0.30). There are tour packages offered that start from P2,000($50) per head. The entrance fee for the activities and attractions starts at Php10($21). The island also offers Filipino and Filipino style restaurants and Westerners and foreign restaurants as well. The meal expenses start at Php30($0.62) but may differ from the restaurant you choose. Plan for at least two days to stay for a tour, and going for four days will be a relaxing vacation.

TRANSPORTATION

There are a lot of ways how to get into Camiguin Island, depending on where you came from. The main transportation to get to the island is by sea or by air. When you are already on the island, you can have a land trip and also a boat to get closer to some of the tourist spots. It is also the best option to coordinate with the hotel where you stayed because they can offer help to get the best tour on the island. But the DIY itinerary is also fine.

Via Manila(MNL) and Via Cebu(CEB)

Flights are available every day to connecting domestic travelers from Manila(MNL) or Cebu(CEB) to Camiguin Mambajao Airport(CGM). From Manila, there is a direct flight to Camiguin Mambajao Airport(CGM). Island via Sky Jet for an hour and a half. From Cebu, via Cebu Pacific Airlines and Philippine Airlines, is available with an hour’s travel time.

Via Cagayan de Oro

Some tourists choose to travel from Manila to Cagayan de Oro City for cheaper itinerary. Manila to Cagayan de Oro is 1 hour and 45mins travel time to Laguindingan Airport(CGY). And from Laguindingan Airport, you will need to ride on a shuttle that will take you to the city where Agora Bus Terminal is for 1 hour to 1.5 hours of travel time. From Agora Bus Terminal, you will ride on a bus or a van to Balingoan Port that will take 2 to 3 hours. From Balingoan Port, you will then take a ferry to Camiguin Island for 45 mins to an hour.

Taking yourself around Camiguin Island

Camiguin has many options to get around the island at a low price. You can take public transportation or rent a vehicle for an exclusive experience and a faster way to get to one place to another.

HABAL-HABAL(Motorcycle) is available to take you to short distance ride that costs $0.30(Php10). It can take 2-3 persons. MOTORELA(Tricycle) can accommodate 8-10 passengers, and the fare is $0.30(Php10). On the island, the tricycle has different routes. There is a westbound and eastbound tricycle that can take you to the market or highways. MULTI-CAB is quite expensive, but if you are in a group, it is best to rent this type of vehicle for you to be together and be able to go to the places fast. The starting rate is $36(Php 1700)/day that is good for eight persons. JEEP is for big groups, like 16 to 18 persons. The rental rate is $50(Php 2500)/day. They also have a public jeep that can take to highways, markets, and ports that cost only $0.52(Php25). VAN is also the right choice for rental for an exclusive tour on the island. The rental rate is $50(Php 2500)/day.

ACCOMMODATIONS I

There are various options in where you can stay in Camiguin that is affordable but can give you great service. There are budget hotels, boutique hotels, and resorts. Most of the hotel properties in Camiguin has independent ownership. The hotels and resorts in Camiguin provides amenities that can make your tour around the island less stressful and memorable.

NameCategoryCostAmenitiesAudienceStars
Kokomo Dive ResortHotel$38/nightWifi
Outdoor pool
Bar
Free breakfast Restaurant BBQ facilities Massage Snorkeling Airport Transfer
Free parking
Air-conditioning
Family, Single person, Couple, Business Travels3
Havendwell Beach ResortResort$35/nightWifi
Outdoor pool
Bar
Free breakfast Restaurant BBQ facilities Massage Snorkeling Airport Transfer Free parking Air-conditioning Bicycle rental Car rental Laundry service
Family, Single person, Couple, Business Travels5
Dreamland Beach ResortResort$44/nightWifi
Outdoor pool
Bar
Free breakfast Restaurant BBQ facilities Massage Snorkeling Airport Transfer
Free parking
Air-conditioning Bicycle rental Car rental Laundry service
Ski
Water sports
Family, Single person, Couple, Business Travels2
Bintana Sa Paraiso BinunsaranHotel$46/nightWifi
Outdoor pool
Bar
Free breakfast Restaurant BBQ facilities Massage Sauna Spa Yoga Room Tours
Snorkeling Airport Transfer
Free parking Luggage storage Concierge Grocery delivery
Air-conditioning Bicycle rental Car rental Laundry service
Baby sitting services
Family, Single person, Couple, Business Travels5
Camiguin Highland ResortResort$39/nightWifi
Outdoor pool
Poolside Bar Free breakfast Restaurant BBQ facilities Massage Diving Horseback riding
Karaoke
Hot tub
Dart board Airport Transfer Free parking Air-conditioning Bicycle rental Car rental Laundry service
Family, Single person, Couple, Business Travels3.5
Bintana Sa ParaisoHotel$58/nightWifi Restaurant Massage Diving
Karaoke
Game room Spa
Hot spring bath
Dart board Airport Transfer
Free parking
Air-conditioning Bicycle rental Car rental Laundry service
Boating Fishing
Hiking
Private beach
Family, Single person, Couple, Business Travels5
Nouveau ResortResort$137/nightWifi Restaurant Free breakfast BBQ facilities Massage Diving
Karaoke
Golf course Snorkeling
Spa
Hot spring bath Airport Transfer Free parking Air-conditioning Bicycle rental
Car rental Laundry service Boating Waterpark Private beach
Family, Single person, Couple, Business Travels5
Reference: agoda.com

ACCOMMODATIONS II

Besides hotels and resorts, Camiguin Island also offers villas, cottages, inns, and houses where you can rent a single room for groups, family, or business travelers. These properties also provide WiFi, airconditioned rooms, appliances that you can use like refrigerators to store your food and some of them offer pool and free breakfast. Some tourists choose to rent this staying place because they can save more, especially in a big group.

NameCategoryCostAmenitiesAudienceStars
Mountain View CottagesHouse$43/room/nightWiFi(public and rooms) Garden Hiking Massage BBQ Facilities Food delivery Laundry service Pets allowed Airport transfer Free parking Full kitchen Refrigerator  Single traveler Family Group travelers Business travelers5
Private 2Bedroom HomeHouse$24/nightWiFi Linens Kitchen Workspace Airconditioning Free parkingSingle traveler Family Group travelers Business travelers5
Volcano A-Framed House with Stunning ViewsHouse$153/nightWiFi(public and rooms) Garden Hiking Canoeing Tours Game room TV Massage BBQ Facilities Food delivery Laundry service Pets allowed Airport transfer Free parking Kitchen LibraryFamily Group travelers Business travelers4.5
Seaside Traveler’s Inn sleep 8 guestsBungalow$66/nightWiFi Cable channels Linens Kitchen Coffee or tea Airconditioning Free parkingSingle traveler Family Group travelers Business travelers3
Taylor’s Country HomeHouse$49/nightWiFi TV with cable channels Linens Kitchen Workspace Airconditioning Free parkingSingle traveler Family Group travelers Business travelers4.5
Kinghorn Garden House “Sunrise Hill” Suite RoomApartment$41/nightWiFi TV with cable channels Linens Kitchen Workspace Airconditioning Free parking
Washer Dryer
Single traveler Family Group travelers Business travelers4
Bahandi Beach LodgeLodge$29/nightWiFi Garden Linens Kitchen Workspace Airconditioning Free parking
Daily housekeeping Airport transfer
Single traveler Family Group travelers Business travelers2
Guerrera Rice Paddy VillasGuesthouse$64/nightWiFi Garden Fishing Hiking Massage Private beach Hot tub Game room Bar Restaurant Room service Linens Airconditioning Free parking
Daily housekeeping Airport transfer
Single traveler Family Group travelers Business travelers3
Reference: agoda.com

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

Camiguin Island is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Philippines, and one of the reasons tourists visit a place is because of the food. Camiguin Island is known for the best fruit called “Lanzones(also known as Longkong or Langsat).” It is a sweet fruit that its native species are from Southeast Asia. They even have a Lanzones Festival celebration every October, and the celebration lasts for four days. Whenever you come to Camiguin, the first thing that they will recommend you to try is the lanzones fruit. There is also Pastel de Camiguín, which what tourists buy as a souvenir. “Pastel” is a Spanish term for cake. Pastel has long been called in English as a soft dough coffee bun whom the Spaniards have generously taught Filipino ancestors and made Pastel as part of a Camiguingnon’s delicacy. It comes to different kinds of filling like yema(custard), squash, green apple, macapuno, pineapple, cheese, chocolate, and durian. (VjANDEP Pastel of Camiguin, 2018). Restaurants and snack bars are available in Camiguin, which offers unique food that you can only try on the island. Italian, Spanish, European, and American cuisine is available too to satisfy the guests’ demands. The most restaurant offers Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options to better address guests needs.

Casual Restaurants

NameCuisineMealsFeaturesPrice
Kurma KitchenFusionLunch, Dinner, Brunch, BreakfastVegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Outdoor Seating, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Table Service, Takeout, Reservations, Highchairs Available$3-$6
La Dolce VitaPizza, Italian, EuropeanLunch, Dinner, Brunch, BreakfastVegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Highchairs Available, Whe elchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Cash Only, Free Wifi, Delivery, Reservations, Table Service$2-$12
Guererra RestaurantThai, Asian, Vietnamese, IndonesianLunch, DinnerVegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Free Wifi, Table Service, Takeout$5-$12
Hayahay CaféCafe, International, Healthy, IsraeliBreakfast, Lunch, Dinner, BrunchVegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Free off-street parking, Cash Only$4-$6
Peninsular Kape ArtMediterranean, European, SpanishLunch, Dinner, BrunchVegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Street Parking, Serves Alcohol, Cash Only, Free Wifi, Table Service, Takeout, Parking Available, Full Bar$4 – $12
CheckPoint Food PalaceAmerican, FilipinoBreakfast, Lunch, DinnerVegetarian Friendly Takeout, Seating, Parking Available, Serves Alcohol, Table Service$4-$10
J&A FishpenFilipino, Seafood, AsianLunch, DinnerTakeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Table Service, Parking Available, Serves Alcohol$2-$12
Paradiso Hillside Resort & RestaurantItalian, Pizza, Mediterranean, Neapolitan, Campania, Southern-ItalianLunch, Dinner, DrinksVegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Free off-street parking, Serves Alcohol, Wine and Beer, Cash Only, Free Wifi, Table Service, Seating$4 – $10
Photo: http://www.kurmafreedive.com/kitchen
Reference: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g701653-Camiguin_Mindanao.html

MEETINGS AND CONVENTIONS

  1. Paras Beach Resorthttps://www.parasbeachresortcamiguin.com/corporate-packages
  2. Camiguin Highland Resorthttps://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g701653-d630399-Reviews-Camiguin_Highland_Resort-Camiguin_Mindanao.html
  3. Nouveau Resorthttps://www.facebook.com/NouveauCamiguin/
  4. Bintana sa Paraisohttps://bintanasaparaiso.com/
  5. Summer Splash Resorthttps://www.facebook.com/summersplashresort/
  6. Villa Paraiso Resort & Waterparkhttps://www.hotels.com/search.do?gclid=CjwKCAjwz6_8BRBkEiwA3p02VRw8HaXo71ThPB7SbkRxIiTYLtRXp37cHjHe5hzcyTAdpKvX3oPfQRoC_foQAvD_BwE&resolved-location=CITY%3A10379203%3AUNKNOWN%3AUNKNOWN&destination-id=10379203&q-destination=Mambajao,%20Northern%20Mindanao,%20Philippines&q-check-in=2020-11-03&q-check-out=2020-11-04&q-rooms=1&q-room-0-adults=2&q-room-0-children=0&f-hotel-id=647552608
  7. YSLA Beach Camp and Eco Resort -http://www.camiguinyslabeach.com/
  8. Lanzones Cabanahttps://www.lanzonescabana.com/pricing/
  9. Villa Corraleshttps://www.agoda.com/villa-corrales/hotel/camiguin-ph.html?finalPriceView=0&isShowMobileAppPrice=false&cid=1844104&numberOfBedrooms=&familyMode=false&isAgMse=false&ccallout=false&defdate=false&voucherMode=false&adults=5&children=0&rooms=1&maxRooms=9&checkIn=2021-09-6&childAges=&defaultChildAge=8&travellerType=2&los=3&searchrequestid=16191731-6ad5-4c9f-9742-7ca64806a8fc
  10. Balai sa Baibaihttps://www.agoda.com/balai-sa-baibai-resort/hotel/camiguin-ph.html?finalPriceView=0&isShowMobileAppPrice=false&cid=1844104&numberOfBedrooms=&familyMode=false&isAgMse=false&ccallout=false&defdate=false&voucherMode=false&adults=2&children=0&rooms=1&maxRooms=9&checkIn=2021-09-6&childAges=&defaultChildAge=8&travellerType=2&tspTypes=1&los=3&searchrequestid=5435a11b-3933-4e3e-92e8-ac081d0dfe73

Top 3 list that has facilities for disabled guests:

  1. Paras Beach Resort. This venue can accommodate with a minimum of 20 guests and really good for family reunions. The rooms can accommodate big groups such as families with children. It has a garden where everyone can relax. The place has room service that is capable of assisting the guests especially with disabilities.
  2. Nouveau Resort. This venue has facilities for disabled guests and wheelchair accessible. The area is big enough to hold an event such as family reunions and weddings. They have room service and concierge which made available to the guests to better serve them.
  3. Villa Paraiso Resort & Waterpark. The venue has wheelchair accessible rooms, family friendly and offers childcare. The resort itself is enjoyable especially for kids.

RECREATION AND ENTERTAINMENT

            Camiguin Island is a small island that offers nature-based tourism. Camiguin is known for the Lanzones Festival, which they celebrate every October. That is when most tourists visit Camiguin to experience the week-long festival to witness the traditional dress-up, street dance with loud music, and more Lanzones eating. Tourists are also looking forward to experiencing White Island, where a small sand bar is surrounded by reef. This allows the tourists to do snorkeling, and the shape of the sandbar changes as the tide shifts where you can also do ball activities. The hot spring comes from the natural waterfall heated by the volcano, and the cold spring from which water is coming from the natural source deep in the ground. The falls are found in the jungle, open for everyone to swim and experience the natural water. Hiking, diving, and sightseeing from the air with Camiguin Aviation would also be fun to finish your island hopping to get the full view (https://www.thecrazytourist.com/15-best-things-camiguin-philippines/).

Water ActivitiesNatural WondersSports, Recreation & SpasArts, Culture & Entertainment
Boating & SnorkelingWhite IslandBeach Walk, Beach volleyballEnjoy the White Island sand bar
SnorkelingSunken Cemetery Explore and enjoy the ghostly feeling while swimming over skeletons
Beaching & BoatingMantigue Island Nature ParkGlass Bottom BoatEnjoy the boat that is floating over the reefs
SnorkelingGiant Clam Nursery Get a closer look of the giant clam underwater
 Mt. VulcanHikingEnjoy as you explore the 14 Roman Catholic Stations of the Cross along the way
 Mt. Hibok-hibokHikingGet a permit and hike the active volcano
DivingBurias Shoals Enjoy the natural reef paradise
SwimmingSto. Nino Cold Spring Enjoy the natural water from deep in the ground
SwimmingArdent Hot Spring Enjoy the relaxing hot spring that is steaming that is heated by nearby volcanoes
SwimmingTuasan Falls Enjoy the most popular falls in Camiguin Island
Photo: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Camiguin

ITINERARY


Itinerary for Adventurous Travelers


This itinerary is more efficient if you a vehicle or rented a van to make the tour smooth and less waiting. Allocate Day 0 for travel time to the province. If you traveled from Manila to Cagayan de Oro to Balingoan Port, consider Day 0 as your travel time to the province the night before Day 1. Regardless of whether you choose accommodation in Mahinog or Mambajao area, it’s totally fine. This itinerary is flexible. But if you don’t want to carry your luggage the whole first day, you may consider choosing accommodation in the Mambajao area since most of the attractions are located there. And if you decide to stay in the Mahinog area, don’t worry about the distance since you will be renting a motorbike/multicab.

Day 1 – Mantigue Island (Mahinog) & White Island (Mambajao)
Mantigue Island is a nearby island in Camiguin that may take less than 30 minutes boat ride. To enjoy the island, it is best to allot the whole morning exploring Mantigue. Since Mantigue Island is almost 2 hours away from White Island, it is better to eat lunch already in Mantigue Island to relax during the travel to White Island.

06:00 am – ETD from Balingoan Port
08:00 am – ETA Benoni Port, Camiguin
08:15 am – Quick breakfast; buy packed lunch
08:45 am – Boat ride to Mantigue Island
09:00 am – ETA Mantigue Island; Explore island; Picture taking
10:00 am – Snorkeling
11:00 am – Early Lunch
12:00 pm – Leave for White Island in Mambajao
Note: Mambajao is still an hour’s drive from Mahinog. And White Island is a 10-min boat ride from the port.
02:00 pm – ETA White Island; Explore sandbar; Picture taking
05:00 pm – End of tour
06:00 pm – Dinner
10:00 pm – Lights off

Day 2 – Inland Attractions Day Tour (Mambajao & Catarman)
As mentioned above, this itinerary is possible with a car or van rentals. As most of these places are not far from each other, it is easier to go to one place to another rather than waiting for public transportation as it does not have a specific time when it arrives in the waiting area.
06:00 am – ETA Katibawasan Falls (Mambajao); Quick breakfast nearby
08:00 am – ETA Ardent Hotspring (Mambajao)
10:00 am – ETA Tongatok Cove Viewpoint (Catarman)
10:30 am – ETA Old Spanish Church Ruins (Catarman)
11:30 am – Early Lunch nearby
01:30 pm – ETA Tuasan Falls (Catarman)
03:30 pm – ETA Bura Soda Water Pool (Catarman)
05:00 pm – ETA The Sunken Cemetery (Catarman) for sunset viewing

Day 3 – Chill Time + Taguines Lagoon
Since the island is small, Day 3 is not busy as Day 1 and Day 2. The whole morning is the time to rest before getting to the finale adventures on the island.

Whole morning – You can wake up anytime you want but also give time to explore your resort/BnB
12:00 pm – Check-out accommodation; Lunch
02:00 pm – ETA Taguines Lagoon; Zipline/paddleboard/kayak
04:00 pm – ETA Benoni Port, Camiguin
06:00 pm – ETA Balingoan Port

References:
https://www.thepoortraveler.net/2012/04/preparing-camiguin-itinerary-flights-trip-travel/
https://www.thepinaysolobackpacker.com/camiguin-island-travel-guide/
https://www.howshewanders.com/camiguin/camiguin-diy-itinerary-budget-travel-guide/

SWOT ANALYSIS

STRENGTH

  • Camiguin Island is one of the preserved islands in the Philippines that is protected from mass discovery.
  • Prices are lowered.
  • They are endowed with natural cold and hot spring.

WEAKNESS

  • Long travel time to the destination.
  • Bad signal for WiFi and phone services.
  • There is sometimes a looming power on the island.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Students can make educational field trips, such as field sampling for Marine Biology students.
  • Sports activity can be developed, which can make the travel more fun.
  • Increase daily flights so that tourists have an option and at their convenience in visiting the island.

THREATS

  • There is a probable volcanic eruption as there is still an active volcano on the island.
  • High threat of terrorism as it is part of Mindanao.
  • The Philippines has many beautiful places, and there is a lot of competition for tourist spots.

CONCLUSION

Camiguin Island is a small island that offers big adventures to tourists. The locals are very kind and hospitable. You can always ask them for directions and give you the right answers as most of them are very familiar with what they have on the island. Camiguin Island adventure is one of the cheapest adventures you will ever experience as the island’s prices from food to tourists spots are lowered. The volcanic eruptions formed a beautiful hot spring that you can enjoy. This historic place preserved what the Spaniards built when they first landed on Camiguin Island. And one of the most awaited times of the year on this island is the Lanzones Festival. It is the time where you celebrate with the locals their most abundant fruit called “Lanzones.” You will witness loud music and street dancing as they showcase their local costumes and dances. So if you are looking for a low-cost paradise experience, Camiguin Island is waving.

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