TheLoneRider
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Daghang Salamat (Many Thanks) Camotes Islands, Goodbye Apr 6, 2017

Daghang Salamat (Many Thanks) Camotes Islands, Goodbye

GPS waypoint: 10°38'44.1"N 124°22'58.9"E
Location: Camotes Islands, Cebu (province), Philippines

Travel Fatigue
Having traveled non-stop across Southeast Asia for years, sometimes packing/unpacking every 3 days, spending an obscene amount of time in transit, I felt travel fatigue that could only be quenched by staying in a picturesque place where rent is cheap and wifi is available. I would not have to continuously think about transport schedules, a roof over my head, laundry, water source, and all the trappings of life on the open road.

Camotes on the Radar
It was during this state of wishful thinking that I accidentally stumbled upon Camotes Islands. Yes, Camotes wasn't in the plan. From Danao, I would have gone straight to Cebu City but it would mean I would arrive during Sinulog fiesta - no way (my 2014 Sinulog experience is enough for me). I learned that there was a ferry from Danao to Camotes Islands. I thought I would stay in the island 2 nights before resuming my trip to Cebu City. That 2 days extended to nearly 3 months.

Daghang Salamat (Many Thanks) Camotes Islands, Goodbye
on the diving board of Buho Rock Resort in Poro

Legacy
My stay in Camotes Islands has been extremely productive, having accomplished the following:

  1. rest - I knew I needed rest but didn't realize how badly until I actually found Camotes to take rest with. I would wake up and do my workout instead of pack or be in transit. I was in no rush for anything. I could take my time and enjoy my coffee or watch an interesting documentary. I could take a bike ride out in the country if I wished. Leisure like this is golden.
  2. responsive website - now, given all the time I spent in Camotes learning how to code a website from scratch, whose layout changes according to the device being viewed on, I'm back in the web design game. It wasn't easy. Technology has changed so much - leveraged browser caching, sprite images, HTML5, CSS3, media queries, etc. It was initially overwhelming, but as I persevered, it began to make more sense with every passing day. I can now knock on the biggest corporate doors and develop responsive websites in full compliance to the lastest standards.
  3. calisthenics - inspired from what I've seen in Youtube about doing human flag, planche and muscle-ups, I woke up every morning gungho about going to Baywalk to do my workout. I would start at 6:30am and finish after 2 hours. I was a regular fixture at Baywalk and became a regular sight to the locals. No, I haven't come to the point where I could do any of those - they were insanely difficult despite my fitness level. But, in the process, my body bulked up, my cardio capacity increased and I could feel my fitness and strength enhanced.
  4. bio-hacking - this is a new buzz word introduced to me by Aussie David Lloyd that best describes what people do when they use their own bodies as a working laboratory to try out new and exciting concepts that they may have come up on their own by weaving together different ideas into a unique singularity. Or follow what another has done successfully that might initially seem impossible. But until I met David, I didn't know that there is already a word for it, and that there are a multitude of extreme bio-hackers out there with thousands of followers. Example? Wimhof uses breathing and meditation to subject the body in sub-zero temperature with no thermal protection!

    link: 77 Top Bio-Hackers

    To a lesser extent, I bio-hack myself when I come upon diverse ideas that could possibly be put together into a discipline. It's not because I'm daring, but because I'm curious and there's only one way to find out - to do it. Example? There are established eye exercises to enhance eyesight - rolling the eyes, fast blinking, near-far fast focus, etc. In yoga, it is said that inversions enhance eyesight. Bio-hacking possibility? What if I go into a wall-supported handstand and do all the eye exercises upside-down? Sometimes, I don't realize I'm doing something stupid until I hurt myself. It has happened a few times.

    Taking this bio-hacking paradigm only increased my awareness for all the hacking possibilities around me - even for just increased efficiency. Hacking life! But I'm sure the word Life Hacking is already established. Already, I've stumbled upon a few sites devoted to life hacking - presenting new and innovative ways to doing the same old thing.
  5. resolve - when I intervened to have the Zesto staff pay the young girls for the work they've done, I didn't know I'd be at odds with the local organized crime. I could have wavered, but it wasn't a choice - I had to stay the course and put focus on these abusive practices by big business against those who are vulnerable. When was the last time someone stood up for those kids? And if I stood there doing nothing, then what is all this yoga for? just a workout on the mat?

Peoplescape

peoplescape
beautiful faces of Camotes Islands

I didn't meet too many people in Camotes - definitely not the travelers I usually engage with while on the move. But the ones I met, they are special and they painted a wonderful Camotes for me. The owner and staff (Elena, Jovie, Nanay and Yang) where I stayed have treated me as an extra member of the family, inviting me whenever there's an occasion, whether a birthday or town fiesta. Back at Baywalk, there is Kayla Me, a food kiosk where I hangout with Mitchell, Grant and their lovely +1s. This would also be a gathering place for their expat friends whom I've met. Of course there is the Poro couple, Joy and Abel, who took time and effort to show me around the island - even introduced me to the mayor. There were visiting friends from Cebu City as well - Maro, Nandinii +2 (Argo and Kayla) and Vien. Some locals drift by and that's how I met Alyssha and Charlotte. We got along well and started hanging out and planning things together - beach picnics and pizza parties. In a short time, I've developed a deep bonding with them - and I will miss them for sure. I am rich from all the friends I've met here.

Ending Thoughts
My leaving Camotes Islands was largely because what I came there for has been done. The writings on the wall made it clear for me to leave and go where something else is in store for me - the invite to teach yoga on another island renowned for its dive spots, having already learned how to hand-code a responsive website, bringing my fitness back through calisthenics, deepening my yoga through pranayama, bandhas, mudra and meditation (not so much asana anymore). The final straw was perhaps reaching a saturation point with the island's noise level - but that's my issue, not theirs.

Camotes Islands will remain special. I don't know if I can come back, but it's a tempting thought. Perhaps by that time, Mitch and Grant's backpacker place is fully setup in Altavista. Perhaps I can even hold a few yoga classes there. Lots of perhaps. All I know at this point is that I have benefitted greatly from this place. Thank you Camotes Islands! Until I see you again.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Cebu City



Reader Comments:

Joy LajaJoy Laja
(Apr 6, 2017) nice meeting you. If you are still in town today, lets have dinner... enjoy your travels and see you again anytime soon!

MitchellMitchell
(Apr 6, 2017) ...farewell brother. I will keep a set of ear muffs for you in case you return here ra

Zy Gonzales BorlasaZy Gonzales Borlasa
(Apr 6, 2017) Hope you had fun Git. God bless you and we hope we can travel with you soon

Chai MateoChai Mateo
(Apr 6, 2017) Where to next? See you in Cebu City?

Grant LawlessGrant Lawless
(Apr 6, 2017) If I dont catch up Gigit before u leave have a great time where your travels take u and look forward to seeing u back on Camotes.

Alyssha AlemanAlyssha Aleman
(Apr 6, 2017) We will miss you, Git! 😃

Google Map Camotes Islands, Cebu, Philippines

tourist attractions in Camotes Island tourist attractions
  • Lake Danao Park in Camotes Island Lake Danao Park - inland twin lakes in San Francisco
  • Santiago Bay Beach in Camotes Island Santiago Bay Beach - stretch of fine white sand with a cluster of beach resorts
  • Buho Rock in Camotes Island Buho Rock - dive boards perched from a high rock outcropping, Poro
  • Tulang Diot in Camotes Island Tulang Diot - white sand beach on a tiny island just 10 minutes by boat from the main Camotes Island
  • Busay Falls in Camotes Island Busay Falls - groomed plunge pool, dirt trail walk with 2 stream crossings, Tudela
  • Capasanan Spring in Camotes Island Capasanan Spring - crystal clear open spring water source in San Jose, Poro. Free
  • Hagnaon Spring in Camotes Island Hagnaon Spring - clean drinking water coming out of the rocks, dipping pool you might share with carabaos in San Jose, Poro. Free
caves in Camotes Island caves
  • Timubo Cave in Camotes Island Timubo Cave - groomed trail inside cave with lights, swimming inside, limited penetration
  • Bukilat Cave in Camotes Island Bukilat Cave - cathedral-like caverns, top lighting from cave openings, high tide swimming
  • Holy Crystal Cave in Camotes Island Holy Crystal Cave - cave formation glitters, human bones, limited penetration
  • Paraiso Cave in Camotes Island Paraiso Cave
places in Camotes Island important spots
  • San Francisco San Francisco - town center, wet market, municipal hall, eateries, live music, bar, Baywalk
  • Poro Poro - town center of Poro Municipality, port to Cebu City and Danao
  • Tudela Tudela - town center of Tudela Municipality
  • Pilar Pilar - town center of Pilar in the island of Ponson Island
  • Consuelo Wharf Consuelo Wharf - port for Danao ships
  • Poro Port Poro Port - port for Danao and Cebu City ships
hotels in Camotes Island resort hotel

Camotes Island FYI / Tips

Camotes Island Cost Index

(US$1 = Php 49.82 as of Jan 15, 2017)

Cebu City to Camotes Island

Camotes Islands to Cebu City

  1. Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
  2. Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City

Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat

Danao to Camotes Island

Camotes Island to Danao

Currency Converter

Camotes Islands Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Daghang Salamat (Many Thanks) Camotes Islands, Goodbye Apr 6, 2017
  2. A Culture of Noise Apr 5, 2017
  3. Exploring Tulang Diot (Little Island) Apr 2, 2017
  4. In Search of the Hidden Beach Apr 1, 2017
  5. Pizza-Making Party in Camotes Islands Mar 25, 2017
  6. Zesto and Exploited Child Labor Mar 20, 2017
  7. The Bayot (Gay) Construction Worker Mar 20, 2017
  8. Yoga Calisthenics in Camotes Islands Mar 3, 2017
  9. Bathing with the Carabaos at Hagnaon Spring, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  10. Taking a Dip at Capasanan Spring, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  11. Exploring Bukilat Cave, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  12. Exploring Tudela and Busay Falls, Camotes Islands Feb 21, 2017
  13. Settling Down in Camotes Islands Feb 19, 2017
  14. Clam Chowder Pizza from Scratch on a Rice Cooker Feb 15, 2017
  15. Exploring Timubo Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  16. Exploring Holy Crystal Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  17. Exploring Camotes Islands of Cebu Jan 13-14, 2017

"Goodbye" Blogs by TheLoneRider

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