a seeker in search of Easter Eggs
Settling Down in Camotes Islands Feb 19, 2017

Settling Down in Camotes Islands

GPS waypoint: 10°38'45.95"N 124°22'53.72"E
Location Google Map: Camotes Islands, Cebu (province), Philippines

1 Month Down, 1 More to Go
After a month in Camotes Islands, I decided to renew my stay by another month. I'm ok to think I'll be here on a month by month basis - that's as far as I can stretch my here-and-now. Accordingly, I've settled quite comfortably in my rented room, developing my own routine, and even buying essential household things. This is as close as I get to having a home.

Camotes Islands isn't exactly a tourist destination so I don't come across travelers to hang with. But I'm good with the staff and owner of my lodging place. They're quite nice to me, inviting to come along if there's an event in the family or knocking on my door with food to share with.

Outside, I default to hanging out at Kayla Me food kiosk, manned by Mitchell, a Kiwi, and Grant, an Aussie. They have interesting projects in Camotes along the lines of organic, low-key, native and natural. Interestingly, they are open to having me being a part of their scene. This ties-in with a vision I have with my Cebu City friend, Jeanne, about having a yoga retreat here. Nothing concrete yet for me, but it looks promising.

I've also come within the orbit of Joy, Poro's tourism officer who was introduced online to me by our mutual friend from Cebu City, Bobette. Already, Joy and Abel took me up to Altavista for a scenic view of the neighboring islands from Camotes' highest peak. Again, I was invited to be a part of Abel's birthday gathering in Esperanza, Poro where I met their neighbors and colleagues.

This is as close as I get to a normal social life. When I was on the road, friendships take on a 48-hour shelf life.

Settling Down in Camotes Islands
exploring hidden beaches in Camotes Islands

I stumbled upon a parked bicycle gathering dust in a garage. I talked to the owner, offering to rent it for a month, on condition that I will have it cleaned, lubed and calibrated. Whatever part needs to be replaced, I will replace it. He liked my offer and agreed to rent it to me for a very reasonable P500/month. It's a Japanese surplus pink lady's bike with a basket. I don't care! What's important is that I have a bike to take me from point A to Point B. With a bike, my range exponentially increased, biking as far as Esperanza (San Fran), Poro, and most of the far flung barangays.

On the 2nd month, hoping to save my P500/month, I offered to buy it at P1,500 + 1 night for 2 at Aladin White Beach Resort, a luxurious beach resort at P3500/night. He didn't sell me the bike, but took the resort offer and instead, allowed me to use the bike indefinitely for as long as I am in Camotes. That also suit me well and good. At least I had no cash outlay. As for the resort accommodation, that was a credit balance from a separate barter deal I had with with resort owner. So far, things had been going my way and I'm able to conserve my precious and limited cash.

What makes San Francisco special in Camotes is the Baywalk and its surroundings (carinderia, food kiosks, market, stores, sidewalk vendors, etc.) where people gather and meet. It adds dimension and color to the place. I could just hang in Baywalk and chill, watching people go by and enjoying the fresh clean ocean air. The only downside to Baywalk is its numerous and blaring karaoke bars on full blast. When I reach my saturation point, I simply leave and ride my bike elsewhere.

Mornings, I bike to Baywalk for my morning workout where I use its open-air public exercise facility - dipping bar, monkey bars, horizontal bars and chinning bar. I also get to do my skipping rope. What's great about it is it's beside the ocean - fresh clean air as you gasp your breath. I follow my workout always with pranayama and meditation. With that routine, I could really feel my strength coming back.

With my bicycle, I ventured out to other resort pockets in San Francisco. En route, I would detour to obscure dirt roads leading to the water and come across signs about caves and beaches. That's how I came across Holy Crystal Cave and Timubo Cave. As a tag-along to my lodging staff, I spent time in Santiago Bay Beach, a stretch of white sand beach lined up with beach resorts, bars and restos. At Mangodlong area, I went inside 2 plush resorts to check-out their beach scene. At Esperanza, I came upon the Aladin White Beach Resort - an ambitious newly built multi-story resort fronting a white sand beach. Further up was the tiny island of Tulang Diot. I've only scratched the surface. With my additional month, I plan to scour the rest of the island.

From Cebu City, I brought my mini rice cooker. With it, I was back to being a guerilla chef, doing creative kitchen things with only my Swiss Army knife. I have cooked pizza from scratch. More often though, my rice cooker is my water kettle, my oatmeal maker, pasta cooker and everything essential.

Documentary Films
The free time that became available to me by settling down allowed me to view as many film documentaries as I could possibly devour from Youtube, Top Documentary Films, etc. I would eat them all up from cutting-edge science (holographic universe, absolute zero, light, quantum mechanics) to spiritual (Krishnamurti, Sadguru, Bashar, Yoga) to politics (Bernie Sanders, Duterte, Trump, world events), etc. I was a kid lost in a candy factory.

Responsive Web Design
Lastly, and it's my bad, I had been way behind in web design technologies. While I have continued updating my sites, they were essentially copy-and-paste functions from pre-existing templates that were dated to begin with. Finding time to catch up, I realized how far behind I've lagged. Now, I make time to learn HTML5, CSS3 and Responsive Web Design. By the time I leave Camotes, I should be able to hand-code from scratch, a responsive website compliant to the latest W3C standards, SEO best-business practices and emergent design trends. The operative word being, "hand-code from scratch" - not from a template (like Wordpress or Bootstrap). Nowadays, there are few web designers who can hand-code - this will be my unique edge.

Ending Thoughts
The freedom to travel has been Holy Grail to most people toiling the 5-9 routine. But ironically, with my newfound freedom at settling down, I feel the liberation from the bondage of travel. I liken myself to a prison inmate released from incarceration with time on his hands to pursue many things put on hold.

At some point, I know I'll feel restless and it would be time for me to pack-up again and hit the open road. But that hasn't happened yet. For now, I am enjoying this borrowed time.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Next stop: Tudela and Busay Falls

morning workout at the Baywalk at Danao Lake Park a lady making the local banig made with soli-soli ice cream guys waiting for the bell to ring a hut by the beach discovering an isolated beach cove...many such in Camotes Islands Bakhaw Beach....a series of public beaches close to Esperanza, San Francisco roads are being paved in Camotes Islands guy on a hammock on a hot day a view of the Tulang Diot Island coffee break at the San Fran Poblacion live music on weekends at Carlito's Pizza live music and a cold beer...simple life in Camotes discovering a native hot-cocoa and puto maya place in San morning habit fruit market...lakatan banana at P70/kilo...while saba banana at P15/kilo...I always get the saba colorful reef fish are now fair game...sign of the hard times at Danao Lake Park with Joy, Abel and Rey...friends from Poro Joy introduces me to Mayor Rama of Poro going up 3 Peaks in Altavista discovering another obscure beach cove in bike takes me places hanging out with the local fishermen in Dapdap while rumors of a Jomalia Ship capsizing spread like wildfire...just a rumor this barangay is smack right on the beach stopping by Mangodlong Rock Beach Resort...the waves were angry checking out Mangodlong Paradise Beach Resort getting creative with my cooking...clam chowder pizza from scratch....from a rice cooker at Kayla Me with Mitchell, Grant and their partners make that 2 lechons....sorry for the pig....then after tasting, thanking the pig my digs in San Fran....with the water just beside students belting it in the karaoke fronting my room....aaaaahhhhhh my modest mini kitchen inside my little room exploring Tudela on a bicycle even though its a pink ladies' bike with a basket, it got me places

Reader Comments:

Dulce CapadociaDulce USA
(Feb 21, 2017) Have classes by the sea on top of your yoga retreat, amigo!!! Enjoy your sweet refuge for awhile!

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
  • 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

  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

  • George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
  • Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am,, 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).
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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
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