If an urbanite reaches Camiguin Island, much of his first impressions would dwell on its small and quiet place that could lead to thinking of it as a boring place. But once Camiguin is explored, it leaves its visitors speechless.
Known as the island “Born of Fire” due to its volcanic origin, the island-province was formed from a series of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes thousand years ago and created what is now a spectacular destination full of natural wonders and historic sites.
There are more volcanoes in Camiguin Island than towns, seven against five to be exact. Two of these volcanoes are active: Mt. Hibok-Hibok (from an old Kinamiging word that means “that which heaves”; that last erupted in 1952), and the smaller peak Mt. Vulcan (first and last eruption in 1871); which is the island’s last-formed volcano.
What was once an obscure destination became a top tourist destination in the Philippines as it spreads the flame of its glorious appeal, especially after it became an internet sensation in 2017, thanks to the viral tourism campaign.
Read on to know more about this majestic place in Northern Mindanao.
Places to visit in Camiguin Island
1. White Island Camiguin
White Island Camiguin is one of the most iconic spots, the province’s scene-stealer and classic crown jewel.
The immaculate White Island Camiguin is actually a sandbar, not an island. At first, you’d think there is nothing unique about sandbars as there’s a lot in our archipelago. But this one gives guests the front-row seat to view the height of Mt. Hibok-Hibok.
2. Mantigue Island Nature Park
Another top tourist attraction in Camiguin is Mantigue Island Nature Park. It is a protected marine sanctuary with four hectares of evergreen forest surrounded with white sandy beaches is ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
There is a fishing village located on the northern side of the island, while a white sand beach with powdery coral sand and corals offshore on the other. You can rent a paddleboard to explore its pristine waters.
3. Sunken Cemetery
Located in the town of Catarman, Sunken Cemetery marked by a huge concrete cross serves as a commemorative marker for those who lost their lives; and the Walkway to the Old Volcano (Vulcan Daan), a stone staircase with 15 Stations of the Cross.
Sunken Cemetery was formed in the 1870s when a Camiguin volcano, Mt. Vulcan erupted causing the cemetery, the capital city and old town of Catarman, to sink. The Sunken Cemetery, along with the ruins of the Bonbon Church complex, were declared last year by the National Museum to be National Cultural Treasures.
4. Tuasan Falls
Tucked in the midst of an unspoiled jungle, near the Sto. Niño Cold Spring Resort, you can also visit Tuasan Falls, the most popular waterfall destination in Camiguin Island.
As you trek, you’ll see a bed of big boulders and small rocks that you’d have to climb and hobble over to reach the waterfall basin. This 82 feet high rapid waterfall entails a very scenic hike passing through the quaint Barrio Mainit. If you want to make your Camiguin tour fun, don’t miss the Tuasan Falls.
5. Burias Shoal
Camiguin is considered as one of the best diving sites not just in the Philippines but also in the world. Burias Shoal is a natural reef paradise and pro or beginner divers won’t deny this. Unlike others that have only one flatbed of coral on the bottom of the ocean floor, Burias Shoal is sprawled across slopes and steep walls where large schools of colorful fish swim all day. You can also see a variety of colorful corals from black and white to red and yellow.
6. Treasures Camiguin
Treasures Camiguin is an ancestral home-turned curio shop and gallery by social entrepreneur Cocoy Bajuyo, who introduced the idea of upcycling sea glasses or decades-old bottle fragments into elegant jewelry and ornaments.
7. Ardent Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring
As a volcanic island, Camiguin has several hot and cold springs. One of the most popular is the Ardent Hot Springs that has several pools with fresh and hot sulfuric waters heated by Hibok-Hibok Volcano. The 33°C to 40°C water comes right out of the forest and gets mixed with colder water into the separate pools arranged in cascades. If you want a cooler experience, you can also visit the Sto. Niño Cold Spring Resort or other Camiguin resorts.
Things to Do in Camiguin Island
1. Diving and Snorkeling
Given the rich aquatic biodiversity, Camiguin Island makes a great spot for diving and snorkeling. Burias Shoal is one of the top diving spots in the province. Whether you’re a pro or a beginner diver, you will definitely be in awe when you see the majestic underwater world of Camiguin.
2. Beach bumming
The fact that Camiguin became famous for its pristine sandbar at White Island, there’s no reason to miss its pristine beaches. If you’re not into adventures and just want to relax, Camiguin’s beaches are your best bets.
3. Celebrate with the locals during the Lanzones Festival
Camiguin is known as the province that produces the sweetest Lanzones in the Philippines. If you’re traveling to Camiguin in October, make sure to plot your dates to their Lanzones Festival for a vibrant and festive trip.
4. Eat Kiping
Kiping is a popular delicacy in Camiguin Island. Unlike Kiping in Quezon Province that is made from ground rice, Kiping in Camiguin is made of sun-dried cassava paste, cooked until fried, and sprinkled with latik (a processed syrup made from muscovado and coco milk).
5. Take a sightseeing tour from above
If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure and want an ultimate adrenaline rush, tour Camiguin from above through Camiguin Aviation’s sightseeing tour and aerobatic flights! This will let you see the island from a different perspective and will definitely give you a pumping ride!
Best time to visit Camiguin
Camiguin has generally good weather with seasonal rain showers. Fine weather is guaranteed from April to June, while the coolest is from November to January.
How to get there
Camiguin Island is accessible both by air and water. The quickest way to reach it is by booking a direct flight to Camiguin airport.
CDO to Camiguin
As of writing, there is no direct flight from Manila to Camiguin. Cagayan de Oro City is the gateway to Camiguin. What you can do is book a flight from Manila to CDO. From CDO to Camiguin, the travel time is approximately over two hours including the land and sea travel.
With many natural wonders, old-world charm and contemporary living combined, Camiguin is undoubtedly a must-visit destination.
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