GPS waypoint:10°40'15.54"N 124°19'15.46"E Location: Nonoc, Union (barangay), San Francisco (municipality), Camotes Islands, Cebu (province), Philippines Admission: donation based
Camotes Islands Caves Camotes Islands offer just about everything - secluded beaches, mountain-top views and caves. There are many caves but only a few established ones open for tourism. With my push-bike, I took a ride and stumbled upon Holy Crystal Cave.
Discovery This was discovered in 1996 when the owner was gathering firewood. The opening was covered by rocks but when the owner saw a crab come out of a hole, he explored the hole and discovered the hidden cave.
Mr. Formentera A visit to this cave felt more like a ritual with land owner/cave guide Mr. Formentera beginning the tour with a prayer, calling out all saints (including St. Francis of Asisi) for their blessings. He weaves-in his life story (and his woes) as he explains the cave features. He sees divinity and invokes a saintly image on just about every formation. His eccentricity was an added attraction to the cave.
Inside the Cave It appears to be a shallow cave with one sizeable chamber where glitters emanate from the cave formations. There was also a discovery of human bones which he claimed was 5,000 years old. Mr. Formentera was very particular about NOT touching the sensitive parts of the cave saying the stalactites/stalagmites are still alive and growing. There were 2 more promising openings that lead much deeper, but Mr. Formentera did not include that in the tour.
Ending Thoughts This is not as heavily promoted as the other caves but still worth a visit if you're in the area. For the more daring, the 2 openings promise an adventure unto itself.
Camotes Islands is a group of islands composed of 4 municipalities:
San Francisco - this is the biggest municipality covering the West major island. Its town center is the busiest with the market, eating places, live music and the Baywalk. The beach resort clusters, however, are concentrated in Santiago Bay, Mangodlong and Esperanza
Poro - Poro is on the other big island to the East. It has its own port and the town center is likewise busy
Pilar - this occupies the small north east island
the busy area where most of the social gatherings take place, eating places, is located at the Baywalk area of San Francisco, 30 mins by motorcycle from the Consuelo Port. Travellers usually stay in their resort outside the Baywalk
the resorts in Camotes Island are scattered around the island. There are none around the Baywalk area of San Francisco
perhaps the only downside to Camotes Island is the inescapable deafening sound of karaoke - it is played very loud and it's everywhere. In Baywalk, there are 3 karaoke bars beside each other going full blast all at the same time
Camotes Island Cost Index
(US$1 = Php 49.82 as of Jan 15, 2017)
PHP 100 habal-habal ride from Consuelo Port to San Francisco
PHP 55 Pale Pilsen beer
PHP 10/pax regular fare for habal-habal within San Francisco
PHP 500/tour habal-habal rate for island tour up to 2 pax
PHP 800/tour tricycle rate for island tour up to 4 pax
Cebu City to Camotes Island
via Poro - from Pier One in Cebu City, take the Ocean Jet for Poro, 2 hours, daily trip - 6am and 3pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), 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).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
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
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
George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, email@example.com, 0918.898.2188
Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Danao to Camotes Island
via Consuelo - at the Danao Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), 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).
via Poro - at the Danao Port, take the Super Shuttle Ferry for Poro (Camotes), P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 9:00am and 5:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
Camotes Island to Danao
via Consuelo - 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).
via Poro - take the Super Shuttle Ferry in Poro (Camotes) for the Danao Port, P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 5:00am and 1:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).