Ah yes, summer, that two month period where there’s nothing but sunshine and not a drop of rain. And the feeling is starting to creep up again – wanting to travel. For this year, the holy threenity (Jessa, Lala and I) have decided to explore the beautiful and mystical island of Camiguin.
Located off the coast of Southern Philippines, Camiguin is a small province known as an “ Island Born of Fire”. This is so because of its volcanic origins and eruptions, the island’s tourist attractions like the hot springs, the islets, the cold and soda springs, the waterfalls and sunken cemetery came into existence. source
Probably a month before we leave for Camiguin, we were informed that Lala would not be able to join us because she had an important family occasion to attend to, in the same day we leave for Camiguin. Our tickets were non-refundable and the trip can’t be rebooked. Hence, in this adventure – you’ll be seeing Jessa & I. We left the exact same day a year ago when we left for Siargao – April 7. This is getting to be an unspoken tradition for our little trinity. And crossing fingers for more!
We arrived with a list of places to see and curious hearts. It was a bit rainy when we waited for our flight at the airport, but the sweet sun managed to smile on us just before the plane took off.
We stayed in a private resort – private because they were not publicly open, but because we were already there asking, they took us in. Hurray! And it did not disappoint. Above is a photo of their patio/dining area with a lovely view. The fresh breeze hits your face like it’s the first time. The owner and caretaker were so gracious and warm. We spent hours talking about how the resort came to be, their families and how life teaches us that it’s important to stay loyal to your roots, because it’s the only thing you have when there’s nothing left. We only stayed there for one night since it was a bit pricey for our budget. For now, they’re still preparing for their public and grand opening, but they are initially called Aninipot Villa, lovely place.
We planned to chill and relax for the afternoon and will consume the day tomorrow for the day tour. Chill, we did.
It was a chilly morning, but it will never stop us from exploring this quaint and quiet island of Camiguin. We rented out this tricycle and kuya tricycle for a day – that’s PHP 1500 for one day, totally affordable for folks who did not bring any vehicles and it’s best to get the know the place better through a local guide. Camiguin is basically tour-able in a day.
We started our day off with breakfast – of course. Then we set course for the first batch of our itinerary. Noticing that there are several locals in the area whom I’d assume as tourists, it’s refreshing to know that they’re exploring the beautiful islands of the Philippines like us. I’d want to go off and see the Vatican, yes, but I’d like to begin with my own roots.
This is arranged literally on how we toured, yes I still remember, and on the photos it starts from top left to right and down left to right. Cloudy as it seems, you’d feel the harsh shiver of Mt. Hibok-hibok – a stratovolcano (made up of layers of lava and ash) and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. *yikes! Sorry I’m terrified of fire. But nonetheless, it was a beautiful sight from afar. In areas near Mt Hibok-hibok, they built strong concrete walla in case the volcanoes erupt and spews lava and rocks. We then moved to this underrated and haunting Old Church Ruins. Its moss-covered walls, cracked bell tower and it’s rich history tells us that it was destroyed by a volcanic eruption during the 16th century. It is supported by these huge century old trees that looked hauntingly beautiful. Not a bad place for a wedding, I tell ya. But that’s the romantic in me. I love how it was so damaged but it was so beautiful at the same time. We lit a few candles and said our prayers, then we moved along to one of my anticipated places to see – the Sunken Cemetery. Quick background and a tragic one at that, Mt Vulcan erupted and causing the place to sink below sea level. Meaning, a lot of people died which was why they built a huge cross in remembrance for the folks who died. A short boat ride would take you to the huge cross itself – giving you the Mt Vulcan view but we declined as it was raining a lot. We took a few minutes to witness this tragic yet marvelous spot, then we left. It’s a bit odd that they took this area in as a tourist spot as it had a tragic story behind it but it was a way to remember them, and if you haven’t noticed that in this life, it is very hard to recall something that’s in the past, specially when the memory is associated with pain. Enough of the sad and gloomy stuff!
Hmm, coffee sounds good? Amiright?
Tucked in and secluded somewhere in Camiguin is this gem of a cafe slash museum slash haven for wandering souls. And they have one of the best coffees I’ve tasted in my life. It was very authentic and I don’t know they made it but it was just heavenly. Just imagine – drinking coffee in a cold morning listening to the sound of the ocean waves. What’s not to love, right? I mean, come on. Not to exaggerate, but you’d have to visit The Beehive Museum and Cafe to know for real. It was such a nice place that we didn’t want to leave. If your favorite song had a tangible place – this was it. That’s how I’d tell it. Not quite sure where exactly it’s located but you can use Waze or Google Maps. Treasures are hard to find but they are totally worth it. We even bought packs of coffee before we left.
Since Camiguin is an island with a lot of volcanoes – understandably it had a lot of waterfalls, hot springs and cold springs. Now of course, to appreciate the places, we’d have to see and feel it with our eyes and not with our cameras. So we left our phones for this part. Jessa and I felt the warmth, we swam, we shivered through Tuasan Falls, Ardent Spring and Hibok hibok Spring. We left out Sto Nino Spring as hundreds of people swarmed the place and there’s always next time.
Off the coast of northern Mambajao is another gem you shouldn’t miss – White Island. And yes, it is literally white. It’s a naked sandbar! Well, that’s kind of redundant. It’s a sandbar!! We love sandbars not because it’s made up of two of our favorite words, but because it’s literally just sand and you’re surrounded by nothing but the sea. It’s a different feeling to see it for yourself. Truly, it was such a beautiful place. And standing on the sandbar, you can see the entire Camiguin island! Locals say that Camiguin is shaped liked a woman. Do you see it? The head, breasts, waist and legs? And they always say “Ayaw jud na palagota ang babay” which translates “Do not anger the woman”. Funny because it is an island shaped like a woman and it has active volcanoes which erupts. So, then – you’d know how a woman gets angry, you better hold on and just close your eyes and pray.
Before getting back to the resort, we noticed an interesting old purple house (wow for adjectives) by the road. We stopped by and realize it was a jewelry store called Treasures Camiguin that specialized in creating accessories using sea glass is considered as a livelihood for locals. Very interesting and peculiar objects, sea glass are polished and transformed into a beautiful pendants for necklaces, rings, anklets, bracelets, you name it! Odd as it seems, creating these items and made from “trash to treasure” is a resourceful way to make use of its natural resources, don’t you think? You’d only need a spark of creativity, sea glass and voila! You’ve got one of the tourism spots in Camiguin. And they sell it at their place (Purple House) or you can find it almost in any restaurant as it is one of the biggest tourism projects in Camiguin. Now that’s what I call innovation.
As our trip drew to a close, Jessa and I didn’t want to leave. It was as if Camiguin was our long lost soulmate who embraced us with big open arms. You’d never find any other place like it, that I tell you. We have felt both it’s breath of warmth and its bitter cold, but we won’t have it any other way. As much as we’d like to stay, we can’t. Will come back soon, fingers crossed!
Camiguin is definitely an underrated place, like a silent godmother who’d invite you back to her house only to see she lives in a castle with like fairy forests and stuff. Overall, our trip to Camiguin, you might have read or experienced with us – was one of a kind. It was a chance to re-unite with nature, history and with ourselves. I’m not getting any younger, and so are you kind reader, sometimes we need to be reminded of who we are and what we aspire to be. I’d hate to admit but in reality, there are days and weeks in my life that I feel lost, that there’s nowhere to go and hide. There’s always a part of me that has this need to escape and wander and thrive in wherever I am happily lost in.
But maybe we need to feel lost to find ourselves.