Camiguin Island: Return to Paraiso

Seven years after the Island Born of Fire first awed me, I went back to Camiguin and I realized that not much has changed. I was relieved. Camiguin is still a paradise as it was, wearing its old allure that captured my heart and guarantees to capture others. It’s been so long since I first felt her warm welcome, and since then, I was so anxious to renew my attachment to her… even for a weekend.

For the past years since my first visit, my connections to the island were limited to its equally enchanting underwater world. Camiguin had been always almost another experience, but I was always into diving. Not this time though, with Team Lakwatsero (Trabz, Kenneth, Denise, Mark, Sara, Alvin, Del, Zane and Kathie), Camiguin was for real.

Camiguin
Camiguin… still a paradise.

It took us six hours from Cagayan de Oro airport to reach Camiguin including all the transfer, break and waiting time. We followed the still popular route of going there – bus ride from Agora Market to Balingoan and boat ride from Balingoan to Benoni. The multicab of Paguia’s Cottages fetched us from the airport and brought us to our home in the island, it was near sundown and our day in Camiguin was just about to start.

Before sunset, we made it to the island’s famous landmark, a sandbar off the coast of Barangay Yumbing. It is a stretch of white sand that submerges substantially during high tide with Mt. Hibok Hibok on the background, a picture perfect scene. We were greeted by a man selling live sea urchins for P10 each, Kenneth and Trabz gave it a try, I declined. After a tiring day of travel from Manila, the sand, sea and waves of the white sand were great relief.

Camiguin
Raw sea urchins at P10 each

We left after the sun set, just enough to round up our day. Our dinner was at Luna Ristorante, the famous diner in the town with Italian Menu. I had a Luna Pizza shared with Trabz and a glass of Iced Tea, and paid P140 for my share.

We woke up early the next morning for a day tour of the island. Everybody was excited but I felt the opposite, it was my day of return to Manila. Breakfast was at a nearby eatery. Corned beef, sunny side up and steamed rice that cost us P45 each.

The multicab first brought us to Via Cruces or the walkway to the Old Volcano, with plight of stairs and rocky uphill trail that ends up on what used to be the crater of the old volcano with the 14 stations of the cross depicting the passions of Christ along the way. It was my first to finally reach the end. The trace of the crater and signs of any volcanic activities in the past were already erased by time but the breathtaking view of the northwestern side of Camiguin was a sight to behold and worth the effort.

Camiguin
The Cross Marker of Sunken Cemetery

Next stop was the Cross Marker of Sunken Cemetery. For P20 per person, we got to cross the water and reach the cross. Another first because the closest that tourists can see the cross marker seven years ago was at Gui-ob Church Ruins. Now, small paddle boats bridge the Cross Marker and the island, a very short ride that let us also see the underwater tombs that are now covered with corals. This part of the island started to sink when Mount Vulcan erupted in 1871.

It was almost noon and I had to catch the 12PM ferry from Benoni to Balingoan for my 5PM flight from Cagayan de Oro to Manila. I managed a short stop at the Gui-ob Chuch Ruins before the team dropped me at Barangay Sto. Niño where I chartered a habal-habal to Benoni Port.

Camiguin
The old belltower of Gui-ob Church

The fastcraft’s travel time was just an hour but it was the longest one hour of my life as I imagined the team who most probably were enjoying Katibawasan Falls or perhaps dipping in the cold water of Sto. Niño Spring, and the activities lined up for them on the following days. I really envy them but then I found another reason to come back.

It was short but sweet memories of Camiguin: the beautiful white sandbar with the stunning Mt. Hibok-Hibok as backdrop; the great foods of Luna Ristorante; the trek at Old Volcano; the old church ruins with its tragic story; and the unique charm of sunken cemetery. How I wish I stayed longer to experience more.

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How to Get to Camiguin

There are no direct flights to Camiguin, to get here catch a flight to Cagayan de Oro or Butuan.

Via Cagayan de Oro
From Lumbia Airport of Cagayan de Oro, ride a van (~P200.00) or a cab (~P200.00) to Agora Market where you can catch a bus (~P140.00) or a van (~P200.00) to Balingoan for a two hour ride. Get off in Balingoan Terminal and walk to the port. From there, ride a ferry (~P150.00) to Benoni Port, Camiguin. Ferries from Balingoan Port to Benoni, Camiguin leave almost every hour from 5Am to 5PM, travel time is two hours.

Alternatively, you can ride a fast craft from Cagayan de Oro’s Macabalan Port straight to Camiguin. Paras Sea Cat departs Cagayan de Oro everyday (except Thursday) to Camiguin at 0830H. Regular fare is at P550 for View Deck (non-aircon) and Main Deck (aircon); P750 for Business Class.

via Butuan
From Butuan airport, catch a motorella or taxi to take you to the bus terminal and hop to any Cagayan bound bus. The bus will make a stop at Balingoan Terminal. From the bus terminal, walk to the port and ride a ferry to Camiguin.

27 Comments on “Camiguin Island: Return to Paraiso

  1. So enjoyable and relaxing – Ma. Cristina and Tinago falls of Iligan, the water rafting in CDO, Drop Zone and Zipline in Dahilayan Bukidnon and of course the scenery of White sand in Camiguin. All these and more of Roel Paguia’s tour packages. You can reach him through cf line 09173107085…

  2. Check this number 09173107085 guys! for safe, enjoyable vacation in Cagayan de oro, Bukidnon, Camiguin and Iligan…

  3. hello! thanks for your helpful articles. please post recent referrals on people to contact and places to stay in camiguin. :-)

    and if i need to make a reservation or pwede na ang walk-in sa mga hotel/cottages/place to stay.

    salamat po!

  4. Me and my family spent a few nights at Pabua’s Cottages, next to Paguia.
    The cottages were clean, cheap and very comfortable. Pabua also arranged our island tour.
    Real value for money! I can therefore recommend them.
    I

    • please give the contact number of the place wherein you spent ur camiguin vacation. im also planning to bring my whole family there and im currently doing my research on the place. would appreciate your help. Thanks!

  5. It’s more Fun in Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin and Bukidnon for 3 days and 2 nights for a tour package at a very affordable price. We are group of 20 and we contacted Roel of Paguia’s Arranged Tour Packages. They have Cottages in Camiguin and Van for hire in any point in Mindanao..The Van has internet inside,a tv monitor for video and sounds.. His contact number is 09173107085.

  6. We are from Manila Call Center, a group of 12 ladies and we had a great experienced with Roel (cf no.09173107085) nag avail kami sa tour package niya from Iligan, Bukidnon,Cagayan and Camiguin eh dahil sa nasira ang ferry na sinakyan namin on the way na sana kami sa airport we were not able to catch up our flight bound to Manila on that day. Maraming salamat talaga sa kanya hindi niya kami iniwan. Naghanap kami ng mapag tirahan sa CDO at libre ang charge niya sa Van hanggang kinabukasan pag hatid sa airport. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND HIM for your travel. Kudos to you Roel!!

  7. We went to Camiguin last Sept 15-16 with a package tour of Php950 each for a group of 11 who had an overnight and a plus one (Php300) who only did the day tour. We booked our trip with Sir Ted Pabualan.

    Inclusions are:
    -port to cottage transfer and vice-versa
    -entrance fees
    -boat rides
    -island hopping to mantigue and white island
    -breakfast (in fairness, ang sarap ng breakfast namin!)
    -spacious 3 aircon rooms with toilet and bath / with TV
    -countryside tour with no time limit (one multicab with capacity of 18 passengers)

    super sulit na rin! our driver was kuya allan and because we were satisfied with his service, we gave him a tip of php 550. highly recommended ko talaga sila dahil maayos kausap at maganda ang service beside the fact na cheapest na yung rate nila for our camiguin trip. dalawang island na yun on different days.

      • I didnt get to see your comment right away. btw, here’s kuya ted’s contact number: 0939-244-0521.

  8. We’ve been to camiguin last week grabeh ang ganda ng isla,, super nice talaga…. especially ang white island sand bar dont miss to visit this place parang sa boracay. We book kuya teddy pabualan’ s cottage- “pabualan cottage” super tipid kasi 900 lang price per night then i think 6persons ang capacity ng cottage eh 3 lang kami hehehe ang laki pa ng space.

    I just want to share my travel itirinaries and expenses:

    day1
    **taxi ride to agora bus terminal………. 250 (good for 3persons)
    **terminal fee……………………………………. 2.50
    **aircon bus to balingoan port…………. 145
    **ferry to benoni port……………………….. 170
    **countryside tour w/ kuya teddy multicab…1,500 (teddy offers no time limit for tours)

    day2
    **teddys cottage………………..900
    **breakfasts………………………100
    **white island boat……………400
    **trans-out to benoni port….400 via kuya teddy multicab
    **tip to kuya teddy……………..300 for being smiling and serve as photographer during the tour.
    **ferry to balingoan…………..170
    **van to cdo………………………100

    contact person: camiguin tour…………… teddy pabualan 0939-2440521
    pabualan cottage………………………………. jennifer pabualan

  9. Gosh! I thought magada ang cottage ni teddy pabualan ang li-it li-it, pag tingnan mo sa picture maganda pero pag andon kana hindi pala… most of the time pictures are deceiving. may package siya sa amin ng bf ko pag dating namin duon hindi kami nag tuloy, duon nalang kami sa paras beach…hindi sila nag sabi ng totoo!!!barat…I DO NOT RECOMMEND HIM. he’s not honest…

  10. Pingback: Itinerary: Four Days &Three Nights in Camiguin, Bukidnon and CDO | Lakwatsero loves Pilipinas!

  11. ito nga pala number ni kuya teddy 09392440521. highly reccommended yung service nya.

  12. hi lakwatsero,

    thanks for the info for camiguin, we’ve been there last novenber 24 2011. Sa paguia kami nagstay pero kay kuya teddy pabualan ang multicab service na kinuha ko may mga good feedbacks kasi xa sa mga travel forums, then 1,500(may 200 discount pa, so 1,300 nalang) yung tour niya sa paguia 2,500 eh ang mahal.

    godbless and more power

  13. Nakaka-miss ang Camiguin! Gusto ko yung pagiging mysterious yet beautiful niya. all in one hehe thanks also to your travel guide. Yun ang ginamit namin kaya successful ang aming first attempt to visit Camiguin :D

  14. The place is so amazing! I’m glad to be part of this trip with team Lakwatsero. This is one of the best trip I ever had so far. Thanks Angel and more power to you! God bless! :)

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