Camiguin Island: A Travel Guide to the Island Born of Fire

On the northern tip of Mindanao in the Philippines lies the pear-shaped island of Camiguin, the smallest province in the third major island of the archipelago. Unique to the island is that it plays host to seven volcanoes including the fiery Mount Hibok-Hibok which is why the island is called “The Island Born of Fire.” The volcanoes past activities have rendered the province’s soil to be volcanic and very fertile. The rich and colorful lifestyle of the Camiguin residents alone is worth the experience of visiting the island province.

In this section you will find our Camiguin Travel Guide with information on what to see, do, eat, and where to stay.

Understand

Camiguin is an island province of the Philippines located in the Bohol Sea, about 10 km (6.2 mi) off the northern coast of Mindanao. It was formerly a part of Misamis Oriental province. Camiguin is the second-smallest in the country both in population and land area after Batanes. Mambajao is the capital of the province and its largest municipality both in area and population.

The province of Camiguin is divided into five municipalities and are further subdivided into a total of 58 barangays. The five municipalities are: Catarman, Guinsiliban, Mahinog, Mambajao, and Sagay.

The people of Camiguin are called Camiguingnon or Camiguinon. The dialects widely spoken in the province are Cebuano and Hiligaynon while only a few people speak Tagalog and fewer people still speak Kinamigin, the ancient tribal dialect of Camiguin. Only in the municipality of Sagay is where the people has retained the usage of the Kinamigin language.

How to Go to Camiguin

Port of Balingoan

Port of Balingoan

From Manila, fly in to Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental, take a jeepney ride to the Agora Bus Terminal located about 13.5 km (8.4 mi) in downtown Cagayan de Oro and ride an eastbound bus to the Port of Balingoan. Ferries from Balingoan has have two destinations in Camiguin. The closest is the Guinsiliban port for passengers which takes 45 minutes. The ferries to Benoni port takes about an hour and have more scheduled trips as it takes passengers closer to Mambajao. The time between trips varies during the day, the first trip is at 4:00 a.m. while the last trip is at 5:00 p.m.

From Cagayan de Oro, you may choose to take a catamaran plying the Cagayan de Oro-Tagbilaran City in Bohol route which stops at Camiguin.

Get Around

You can get around the island by taking a jeepney, multicab, or a tricycle. You may also rent a motorcycle if you know how to drive.

What to See and Do

The small island province has recently been getting a lot of attention, due largely to the fact that people are starting to recognize its beauty. Foremost of the attractions of the island is White Island, just off the coast of Agoho in the town of Mambajao. It is a sand bar which partly disappears during high tide which causes the island to change in shape from C to I and is a swimmer’s paradise with its clear blue waters. Snorkeling in its waters is also a worthwhile activity where one will surely enjoy the bounty of the seas hidden in its waters. If you travel to the island early enough, you will get the opportunity to view the sun as it rises from the horizon and if you stay long enough, the beautiful sunset is a photographer’s dream.

White Island

At White Island, an uninhabited white sandbar located about 1.4 kilometres off the northern shore of Mambajao in the volcanic island province of Camiguin in the Philippines

Just three kilometers off the shore from Barangay San Roque in Mahinog is an island of evergreen forests fringed by white sand beaches. It is indeed a paradise to most visitors where finding a secluded spot amongst the expanse of the nature trail allows one to experience a bit of heaven for a few hours. Leaving behind the lush forest cover, you can head on to the crystal blue waters fronting the perfect sand beaches of the island. You can choose to swim or snorkel to see the exquisite marine creatures hidden beneath the waters. A short boat ride to the Marine Sanctuary is also an experience that will last a lifetime and you can order grilled seafood from the islanders manning the cooperative which manages the island.

Both the Katibawasan Falls and Tuasan Falls are worth the visit. It is indeed a breathtaking sight to view the cascading waters of both falls as they hit the reservoir below. Katibawasan measures 250ft high and cascades down to a rock pool that is gloriously surrounded by magnificent orchids, ferns and lush trees. The cold waters in the pool provide a perfect spot for swimming and relaxation. The trek to the 25m high Tuasan Falls is tiring but the scenes along the way are well worth the effort. The thundering waters cascading from the top of the falls are awe-inspiring to behold and can very well be tapped as a mini hydro electric source.

The hot and cold springs of Camiguin are not to be missed either. Ardent Hot Springs is a natural pool that flows from the depths of Mount Hibok-Hibok. The vapors that rise from the hot waters of the mineral pool are said to have therapeutic effects and best bathed in during nighttime as you are surrounded by the cool mountain air. It is a perfect way to relax after a tiring day of fun and adventure in other places of Camiguin. The Sto. Niño Cold Spring has a pool measuring 25 x 40 meters. It is 2 meters deep where cold spring water rises from the sandy bottom of the pool. The water is very cold and definitely refreshing if you wish for a reprieve from the humid climate of the island. Both springs have picnic huts where one can have a leisurely lunch and lounge around before getting into the pools.

A visit to Camiguin cannot be complete without climbing Mount Hibok-Hibok but the 1250-meter slope can be quite a challenge. Seasoned mountaineers have some difficulty contending with the loose rocks and boulders along the trail. The volcano has a crater lake that is a site to behold and you can view the steam outlets that abound. You will also be provided an amazing view of the nearby islands of Cebu, Negros, and Bohol once you reach the peak. Definitely, there are lots of opportunities for the photo enthusiast.

Another place worth visiting in Camiguin if you still have time would be the Giant Clam Sanctuary where you can find six out of the nine giant clams of the world. The Old Volcano with its underwater lava formation is also quite interesting to behold. The Sunken Cemetery in Bonbon, Catarman is a chilling reminder of the wrathful side of the volcanoes that are responsible for creating the beautiful island of Camiguin.

Where to Stay

Camiguin Action Geckos Dive & Adventure Resort, Catarman Coral Dive Resort, Villa Paraiso Resort & Apartelle

What to Buy

Camiguin is known as the home of VjANDEP Pastel, a soft dough coffee bun.

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