Travel and Food Living

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The Wonders of Camiguin Island

By April 24, 2010 ,

cobalt blue water and ivory sand of the White Island, Camiguin.

Camiguin is the second smallest island in the Philippines (next to Batanes) in terms of land area and population, it is only composed of five municipalities with Mambajao, the province's capital, as the largest, but it is a home to many wonderful tourist spots the country can be proud of. An island of varied ecosystem, rugged terrain, pristine beaches and untouched hinterland, Camiguin has a unique setting into the heart of the sea cradled by rugged cliffs and imposing mountains.

This relatively small island is geographically located off the coast of Northern Mindanao, bounding Bohol Sea and Misamis Oriental, the island has only one airport with flights coming from Cebu City but it is only seasonal, visitors may travel via Cagayan de oro city port and Balingoan, Misamis Oriental. Camiguin has a natural beauty of nature and its way of life is far from today’s highly urbanized lifestyle.

The province's profile is tousled with several volcanoes and two or three of these are recorded active, Mt. Hibok-Hibok had a last recorded eruption in 1953 which significantly reduced the population by 30%. Interestingly, Camiguin’s old dialect is Surigaonon, brought by the province’s first settlers coming from the province of Surigao del norte.

Historically, the name of the province is taken from the word "camagong" a large Philippine tree prominently grows in Surigao del norte.  Portion of the Camiguin land was buried during the May 1871 eruption of Mt. Vulcan Daan, it buried large part of the Catarman town including the ancient Spanish church, a tower, a bell and a cemetery. Today, the ruins of the church and the cemetery are two of the most popular tourist spots in Camiguin.

TOURIST SPOTS

 entrance leading to the ruins of ancient Spanish Church

The Ruins of the Old Church – according to the history of Camiguin, when Mt. Vulcan Daan ferociously erupted in 1871, it buried most of Catarman's land, the town’s landmarks wiped out including the ancient Spanish church, its tower, bell and the cemetery. Today, these two sites known to visitors as the Old Church and Sunken Cemetery. The old church site is a remnant of an imposing religious structure which was buried along with its history but largely remembered through the ruined walls that scattered with in the trimmed ground where visitors are free to wander with in the airy surroundings. Just few feet from the entrance area is a small church erected to mark its religious existence.
 The imposing site of the Sunken Cemetery

The Sunken Cemetery-This sounds creepy but this area is where the town's public cemetery located prior to the Mt. Vulcan eruption. To commemorate the sacredness of the place, a huge cross is erected few miles from the shorelines, it is a stark reminder that human bodies were once part of this historical site. The rampaging of the waves during high tide forever shrouded the graves of those passed away but remembered through this landmark which is elaborately constructed to mark the existence of the old cemetery. Tourists may visit this site by riding a boat along the coast line. But for people who have less tolerance on raging waves, they may choose to stay in the lobby-cliff above and view the area. The boat ride leading to the cross just cost P15.00.
Clear, refreshing water of Soda Swimming Pool

Soda Swimming Pool-This blithe Olympic sized swimming pool with a spectacular view of the highland, is fascinating which attract people to have a refreshing dip. With its breezy environment and clear, placid water, everybody is tempted to plunge, but during cold weather, the environment is somewhat chilling I have a second thought of diving into its alluring water during our tour. It has several cottages lined-up along the bank for a more private indulges. The pool is surrounded with trees and plants which pumped fresh sensation, providing visitors with a more relaxed adventure.
part of the water basin of Sto.Niño Cold Spring

Sto.Niño Cold Spring- The cold spring is split into several water basin in its sprawling area just beneath  trees and rainforest, it has an elaborate passageway, cottages and airy surroundings. Smacked in the middle of the forest , the cold water freely flows from atop and said to be, the most natural spring mother earth can offer, one may wonder how this truly gift of nature flows abundantly from its stillness to the ground without ceasing. Visitors may enjoy the area, aside from splashing, through organizing a dry picnic along its lined waiting sheds. Outside, this site is surrounded with stall market of food and souvenir shopping.
 (Ardent Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring. Photo credits:lakbaypilipinas.com)

Ardent Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring-Located at the outskirt of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, one of the province's active volcanoes, the hot spring is a perfect place to release tension and stress by stretching tired muscles along its warm fresh water gushing from the hills. It is divided into three portions, the middle part is the deepest with almost six feet deep and visitors are being warned to take extra precautions. The relaxing environment with varied trees and plants and the terrain, offers tranquility and peace of mind. Though relatively smaller than the space of cold spring and soda swimming pool, personally, hot spring is one of my favorites because of its therapeutic water effect. But due to the absence of improvements within the area, visitors should be cautious with falling branches of old trees or even coconut, it also lacked sufficient lights within the swimming area, but generally, this site is a wonderful choice for tourists for a more relax spirit.
The scenic view of Katibawasan Falls

Katibawasan Falls-A natural mountain wonder with a breathtaking site of raging waterfalls, Katibawasan falls site is surrounded with thick vegetation and a spectacular rainforest, this is closer to Camiguin Highland Resort, the premier resort in the island. It offers a clear, cold water where everybody can enjoy the calmness of the mother earth. It is almost located beneath the forest and a drive experience going to this area is a mixed of great anticipation and excitement. The rugged cliff detailing the area is a breathtaking site beckoning a more fulfilling adventure. Katibawasan falls' drop is as high as the Pagsanjan falls in Laguna streaming unpolluted and invigorating water from wilderness.
The pristine beach of White Island

White Island-A natural paradise, this is one of Camiguin’s pride, this breathtaking site of the province is framed in the middle of the clear blue water of Mambajao. Purely an island with powdery white sand, the beach is surrounded by the splashing of calm waves from the Pacific Ocean which water varies from cobalt blue to aquamarine green. Visitors often seen frolicking at the shoreline, posing for souvenirs with its amazing views. It has a picturesque panorama of mountains and the dramatic horizon. The experience is more soothing and captivating when this area is visited early in the morning where the glimpse of early sunrise dazzled through the sun-kissed beach and clear water.

For a fun-filled and relaxed adventure, consider Camiguin Island as one of your ultimate holiday destinations and enjoy a breathtaking trip with its lush rainforest and hinterland with a spike of happiness and fulfillment through its untouched coastlines.

I had visited the island last April 2010 with colleagues in the university (after our retreat in Cagayan) and it was amazing! Felt so relaxed...




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