In 1871, an earthquake and a deadly volcanic eruption razed the central town of Camiguin Island destroying houses and churches. More than a hundred years later, the ruins of the devastation are still evident in the remains of an old church and a sunken cemetery.
Camiguin is an island in the southern part of the Philippines, north of Cagayan de Oro City. It is accessible via ferry from Balingoan, Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro port. We left Davao City on Holy Thursday in what we call an air-land and sea travel. There are travel options to get to Camiguin if you’re from Mindanao. You can travel by land or take the plane. We opted to take the Davao-Cagayan de Oro flight since traveling by land with kids can be exhausting. From the Lumbia airport in Cagayan, we traveled by van to Balingoan port for two hours and from there, boarded Oceanjet bound to Jagna, Bohol. Oceanjet just started its operation in Benoni port in Camiguin last April 18. Travel by Oceanjet costs PhP 250 per head but it’s less crowded, more comfortable and much faster (time of travel: approximately 30 mins from Balingoan to Camiguin) than the bigger barge (at 150 pesos).
Where to go
Here is our three day itinerary while we were in Camiguin. I hope the photos will give you an idea what’s in store for you if you visit Camiguin:
Ruins of the old church
In the photos below are the remains of an old church that was ruined by the historic volcanic eruption in 1871. Its walls are made of corals.
I don’t want to promote any resort in this post but if you’re going to Camiguin on a holy week, make sure to do your accommodation hunting early and book at least three months in advance. I called our preferred resort last week of February (that was about two months before our holy week stay)and I was advised it was already fully booked so we resorted to getting a nearby accommodation. We stayed in a small newly built concrete cottage with two beds (one for husband and me) and the other one was occupied by our kiddo. The cottage has cable tv, air conditioning, refrigerator, private toilet and bath and a small veranda for 2,000 a night. It could have been a more comfortable stay if there’s free breakfast, towels, hot shower, a power generator in case of blackouts and an easily accessible wifi ( the free wifi doesn’t reach our cottage).
Mt. Vulcan/Old Volcano
Soda water pools
Why is it called soda waters? The water has a one of a kind sour taste that is different from regular water. Locals say the waters have healing properties.
Arden hot springs
Hibok Hibok Volcano Observatory (Philvocs)
I recommend that you visit Philvocs because you will learn a good deal about volcanoes, earthquakes and how Philvocs now detect volcanic activities. You’ll also get a closer look at one of the two active volcanoes in the island, Mt Hibok Hibok.
Mt Hibok Hibok as seen from Philvocs
J and A Fishpen
What do you do here? Eat
Things I appreciate about our Camiguin Trip:
1. I finally got to see and taste a cattle fish
2. I learned more about volcanoes and the current technology used by Philvocs to detect volcanic eruptions
3. I tasted the original pastil bread and saw the home of Vjandep bakeshop.
3. I drank the sour soda water.
4. I tasted a different version of kinilaw.
5. I saw a (ruined) church made of coral walls.
6. I swam in the white sand beach of an island without any tree
7. I set foot in an island formed by volcanic eruptions
What to Eat
Camiguin is the home of the Vjandep pastel, a bun with a yema filling. Its available in many SM stores nationwide but it’s much cheaper here at PhP 125 per dozen.
When in Camiguin, however, I recommend the Sweet Island Pastil because its bread is softer and the filling is not very sweet. You can’t also find the sweet island pastil sold anywhere in the Philippines but in Camiguin.
Dried pusit also abound in the island and the k-ping is popularly sold in most tourist spots.
and you can try sea urchins. There are vendors selling spiky tuyom for food in White Island: