Camiguin Island | Come Again, Like It’s the First Time
Camiguin Island is one of the many pretty islands in the Philippines that lets you drool over its white sand beaches, firey sunsets, quaint townscape & unique island cuisine. Albeit small, Camiguin is unbelievably packed with adventures —- from sea to summit & everything that come in between.
With all of its allure, I call it, an island of seduction & a half.
It is called the island born of fire because of its volcanic origin. In fact, Camiguin is made up of several volcanoes. Mt. Hibok-Hibok as well as Mt. Vulcan are the most popular ones & are still active today.
Camiguin Island, come to your playground.
White Island is the most adored attraction here & is definitely Camiguin’s most iconic landmark. It isn’t really an island but just a speck of sun-bleached sandbar floating on the wide Bohol Sea & framed by Mt. Hibok-Hibok on the background.
Another draw on the island is “suwaki” or sea urchin that boatmen usually sell to tourists. As rare as its spiky looks, its roe actually tastes as exotic as fresh oysters. Just douse it with vinegar & let its aphrodisiac power work the magic.
Not far from the sandbar is Sunken Cemetery, off the west-central part of the island. During the volcanic birth of Mt. Vulcan in 1871, it sank the cemetery of Bonbon into the sea like an underwater necropolis. It is commemorated today with a cross marker & is a favourite spot for snorkelling & chasing sunsets.
Inland across the Sunken Cemetery are the ruins of the old Gui-ob church that was also stomped by Mt. Vulcan’s destructive creation. The walls & belfry are what remain of this 16th century architecture today where creeper plants carpet it through the passing of time.
On the eastern side of Camiguin Island, fronting the town of Mahinog is Mantigue. It is a lushly vegetated island hemmed by sparkling white sand. Also, a small fishing community inhabits it & acts as stewards of its pristine environment. The biggest draws of Mantigue are its beach, snorkelling & dive sites.
Of Bubbles & Cascades
Whether you want it hot or cold, springs abound in Camiguin island. Sto. Nino & Saal cold springs are favourite spots to hole up for picnic. At night, wallowing on a natural hot spring in Ardent is how tourists do a nightcap on the island, usually over beer or shots of rhum.
Katibawasan Falls may only give hairpin cascades but it’s nonetheless pretty. If you’d like to trek a bit for bigger curtains of water, then head to Tuasan Falls in Catarman & Binangawan Falls in Sagay. Then there’s a unique soda pool too that mustn’t be missed on the island. This one’s a perfect spot for that much-needed mineral bath.
Traces of Colonial Memories
Camiguin Island’s quaint townscape is truly admirable. Especially in the capital town of Mambajao & Guinsiliban, heritage houses reminiscent of early 20th century homes still stand to this day. And they’re not in ruins but well-preserved homes.
Moro-moro watchtower & Sto. Rosario church are also among the best showpieces of its bygone era & surely worth paying a visit.
Surely, no one goes hungry in Camiguin Island as it also boasts of so many local gastronomic delights. Lanzones, also called “buwahan” is nowhere the sweetest & juiciest than here. And if you don’t know it, the island keeps a homegrown ice cream brand called La Favorita — this one’s really yummy.
Camiguin also the original home of the tastiest custard bun called pastel. This sweet hearty snack has undoubtedly gone around the country as a present whenever someone travels to Camiguin Island. Pastel is also widely available in Cagayan de Oro.
But above anything else, my personal pick is chicken sorol. This casserole dish is just like our old-time favourite “ginataang manok” or chicken stew in coco milk. But theirs uniquely come in coconut milk, chili & other herbs like oregano. And the best makers of it on the island is Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin.
Festival of Abundance
While the island is prepped year-round for you to bask on its paradise, every 3rd week of October is the best time to come as it celebrates the annual Lanzones Festival. This occasion revels the island’s bountiful harvest of lanzones & its colorful island culture.
Truly, Camiguin Island is the crown jewel of northern Mindanao’s tourism attractions. It’s small & easy to explore. It’s super-packed with all sorts of wonders & the people are so cool. No wonder why they say, “come again, come again to Camiguin”.
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Hello, I am PotpotNumber of Entries : 388
Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more