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traveling

CamiguinMarch 9 - 14, 2009

Camiguin

CDO to Camiguin
Camiguin was not in my itinerary. I didn't even know where it was, except that I was told on several occassions it's a beautiful place. While in Cagayan de Oro, I heard Camiguin was just a short distance away. The following day, I was already on the bus heading out for this place. I got off in Balingoan and boarded the ferry to take me to this island volcano.

Blessed with Nature's Bounties
Closer study of the island revealed it's natural bounties. It's home to mountains (Tres Marias, Mt. Timpoong, Mt. Mambajao, Guinsiliban Peak) and 2 volcanoes, one of which is the famous and still active, Hibok-Hibok Volcano. The entire island has a circumference of 64 kilometers - big enough to roam around, but small enough to be accessible by a mountain bike...if I only brought one. The hot and cold springs are abundant...the waterfalls are numerous. Dive spots? Choose your wild! The beaches? Many resorts to choose from.

Home?
Technically, I was still homeless, having left Sagada early March. As a potential home, Camiguin called out. Rent was reasonably priced, seafood cheap and abundant. Furthermore, there's that umbilical cord to the outside world - the internet! The presence of an expat community also says a lot about the locals' tolerance for outsiders.

Mambajao
The capital of Camiguin is Mambajao. It's here where much of the action is happening. The row of popular resorts are also lined up along the northern coast of Mambajao. It's not yet as cosmopolitan as most small cities in the country. You don't see the usual tell-tale icons - SM, Starbucks or McDonalds. It's still a big town wannbe city...but maybe it's for the better. Local hangout, to the extent there's one is Perry's Pizza Place.

Motorbike
With the absence of a mountain bike, the next best thing to discover the island is through a motorbike. A whole day's rental was P500 + gas. With mobility, I roamed around, mindful I'm not really a good motorbike rider. For the most part, the rideable part lies within the perimeter of the island. It's possible to go into the interior but it's roughing it.

Ardent Springs
One of the accessible hot springs in the island is Ardent Hot Springs. It has a big lagoon-type pool where water runs through. Additionally, a smaller and hotter section is available further down. Huts and rooms can also be rented. It's not cheap though. Within its vicinity, a path to Hibok-Hibok Volcano can be found. I was warned that for a first-timer, having a guide is best. I didn't climb as the guide fee was prohibitive.

Hibok-Hibok Volcano
On a different day, after asking around, I was told a friendlier jump-off to Hibok-Hibok can be found via the northwest coast of Mambajao. It was supposed to be intuitive I could get away without a guide. Early the following day, I was already on the trailhead. It didn't take long before I realized I was already lost. Fearing the worst, I headed back...darn! It's tough when there's not enough head count to split the guide cost. Perhaps next time I can download a GPS track and navigate through its waypoints...next time!

Katibawasan Waterfalls
One of the most fascinating features of Camiguin is the Katibawasan Falls. Towering at 250 feet, it's the highest in the island. It was a good 135 steps down to reach the base. I don't know how deep it gets. It was scary trying to swim to the plunge pool and dive down.

Sunken Cemetery
Back in 1871, a violent earthquake caused part of the island to slide down the sea...carrying the cemetery with it. Today, a huge cross marks the spot. It's a marine sanctuary now and marine life abounds, but there's no trace of the old cemetery.

Stations of the Cross
On the path to the peak of the old volcano, stations of the cross were erected. It was a fairly good climb leaving me panting by the time I reached the top. The view was spectacular. It would have made a sweet white-knuckle downhill ride...but they won't allow bikes.

Snorkeling
Being alone and not wanting to rent a boat for a dive, I piggybacked on scheduled dives...as I always do. I'd be the invisible passenger, making the most of where the dive is. Oftentimes, the dive spot is too deep I couldn't do much. That's what happened here. The best corrals were waaay too deep I was left to explore on my own within the shallow sections. Everytime the divers come back and talk about the awesome dive, I just feel being cheated out on life. Oh well, I cannot afford scuba equipment anyway.

Guiob Church Ruins
Magnificently preserved columns of the Guiob Church can be found at Catarman. It's that same earthquake of 1871 that also caused the destruction. Joy, a local tourist guide, explains the history and tours guests within the small confines of the area.

Ending Thoughts
I would like to explore Camiguin in greater detail next time...look for possible houses I could rent, maybe try biking the entire island, climb Hibok-Hibok with a GPS, snorkel on Mantigue Island...and stay there while it calls out. Then? Well, there's a new ferry service to Bohol. I haven't been there yet.

--- TheLoneRider

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Waterfalls/Spring Blogs by TheLoneRider

Reader Comments:

Elsbeth
(June 25, 2009) Another memorable adventure you had @ Camiguin. I've always wanted to go there. Haaay....kainggit ka!


PJ
(June 25, 2009) nice!


UP Mountaineers Environment Committee
(June 24, 2009) wow!



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