In 2004, the lakwatsero in me traveled down south, on my first foot steps to Mindanao, to experience the rare adventure and witness nature at its best, at Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental and Camiguin. Here is the account of my travel.
Day 1: On the Road to Camiguin
Camiguin is so called “the island born of fire”, it is a volcanic island on the north-eastern part of Mindanao… the island is blessed with nature’s gift and warmhearted people.
From Manila, we took the earliest flight to Cagayan de Oro City that departed Manila at 0500H. We arrived at Lumbia Airport of CDO at 0700H and from there we went straight to Agora Market (P300) via van, and then transferred to another van to Balingoan Port (P100/person), the journey took us three hours. Buses bound to the port are also available at Agora Market at P85. Balingoan Port of Misamis Orriental is separated from Camiguin by a two-hour ferry ride at P70/person.
| Early PAL flight to Lumbia Airport.
| Balingoan Port, Misamis Oriental.
| Port of Benoni, Camiguin.
| Yummy Pastel.
| Multicab Tour.
| Sto. Niño Cold Spring.
| Gui-ob Church ruins.
| Sunken Cemetery.
| Ardent Hot Spring.
By lunch time, we were already in Camiguin. We contracted a multicab to tour us in the island for P800/whole day, with the half day tour scheduled the next day. The multicab took us first to where we will stay overnight, Paguia’s Cottages in Mambajao, right in front of Paras. The rate is at P1400/night, good for 6 persons. The house is near the shore fronting the white island, contrary to the common assumption, there are no white sand beaches in Camiguin per se, since it is a volcanic island, the white beach we usually sea in post cards is a separate island/sandbar that can be reached via 5-10 minutes pump boat ride from Yumbing, Mambajao.
After lunch, we started the first half of our multicab tour. Multicab ride is fun, you will get to experience the fresh air in a traffic free circumferential highway of the province. We went to Sto. Niño Cold Spring, Gui-ob Church Ruins, Sunken Cemetery, Via Cruzez with the 14 Stations of the Cross to Old Volcano, and last stop, Ardent Hot Spring at sundown.
Day 2: The Perfect Storm Experience
We woke up before six in the morning to witness the sunrise in the white island, we went there via a pump boat docked at the breakwaters for P300/boat back-and-forth. The pump boat can accommodate up to 8 persons. The white island sunrise was breathtaking, the uninhabited island is a really spectacular place with the volcanoes of Camiguin as its backdrop. The island is not as big as Boracay, nor bigger than the Mall of Asia; you can see it from end to end, but the place is truly captivating.
After spending two hours at the white island, we continue our island tour, this time a trip to Katibawasan Falls with clear stream of water cascading 70 meters into a rock pool surrounded by ground orchids, wild ferns, trees and slippery boulders.
| To the white sand.
| Postcard perfect white sandbar of Camiguin.
| Fine sand.
| Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano.
| Welcome to Katibawasan Falls.
| Katibawasan Falls.
By noon, we went back to our room and prepared for our return to Cagayan de Oro. The trip back to CDO was around 4 hours, via boat (70php) to Balingoan and a bus (P85) to Agora Market. From the market, we took a taxi to Lauremar Beach Resort in Opol, Misamis Oriental, a 30-minutes ride from the city (P100.00). We availed the palakbayan promo of PAL and ended up sharing P800 each for a room of three persons. The hotel is located in the beach, that is ideal for surfing with its big waves especially during late afternoon.
Day 3: The Big Day
This was our scheduled rafting day. We met the team in CDO’s Divisoria. On our way to the starting point of the rafting, we dropped by at Macahambus Park where we tried the canopy walk and the zip line. The canopy in Macahambus is not the real thing found in Claveria, but it was fun. At the other end, one needs to zip back to return.
At 1000H we arrived at the starting point for the white water rafting. It is a three-hour rafting ranging from class 1 to 3 rapids. The scenic view of the surrounding as viewed from the river is picturesque. We stopped at around 1200h for a sumptuous kamayan style lunch.
While rafting, we passed by a 20 feet bridge where we jumped. I felt the adrenaline rushing through my veins when I jumped off the bridge. But the suicidal tendency in me loved the experience so I jumped twice. Other highlights of the rafting were seeing a snake off the river wall, river crossing across strong current rapids, go-with-the-flow with the smooth water current and a rodeo style rafting.
At night, we were all tired so we just took a very good sleep, but we sneaked out at night to buy a cake to surprise the “shaolin kids”. We bought a mango cake at the Gaisano CDO and put a magic candle on it. They had a hard time blowing the candle off. 😉
Day 4: Leaving CDO
We woke up early to avail the complimentary breakfast at Lauremar. Their hot chocolate drink is a must try. We still had some time to waste, and spent it on the beach. By noon, we headed to the airport. Along the highway, our van was hit by a jeep. We were lucky that we incurred no serious injuries, and so, we just hired a taxi to get us to the airport.
*The rates mentioned were during 2004