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Camiguin (Island Born of Fire): Travel Guide + 3 Days Itinerary

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First of all, let me say that Camiguin Island is an extremely underrated destination in Mindanao. I wasn’t expecting much seeing as most local travelers only go here on a day trip, but my friend and I decided to stay here for 3 days, and oh boy, was I blown away. In particular, I love the amazing snorkeling spots in Mantigue Island and Giant Clam Sanctuary. I also liked the mountain island vibes that I wouldn’t mind staying here for several days in the future.

A little background about Camiguin:

Camiguin Island is a pearl-shaped island in the northern area of Mindanao. It’s dubbed the “Island Born of Fire” since it was formed due to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the past. Interestingly, it has one of the highest densities of volcanoes in the world — with a land area of 282 square kilometers (92 square miles), it’s home to 7 volcanoes with Mount Hibok-Hibok considered the remaining active volcano.

Mt. Hibok Hibok in Camiguin
Camiguin is home to seven volcanoes, including Mt. Hibok Hibok.

The island is blessed with nature attractions including white-sand beaches and sand bars, snorkeling and diving spots, natural hot and cold springs, and waterfalls tucked away in the mountains.

Here’s your complete travel guide to Camiguin Island! Don’t forget to read our separate post on Best Things to Do in Camiguin Island.

How to get to Camiguin

There are different ways to get to Camiguin Island.

Via Mambajao Airport

Camiguin has its own airport located in its capital Mambajao. Currently, flight schedules are only on selected days.

Via Laguindingan Airport (Cagayan de Oro)

Cagayan de Oro is a common jump-off point to Camiguin Island. From Laguindingan Airport, it takes about 5 hours to reach Camiguin Island.

  • From the airport, ride a van to Agora Terminal (P200 per person). Travel time is 45 min to 1 hour.
  • From the terminal, ride a bus or van to Balingoan Port (about P120 per person). Travel time is 2-2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can also ride a van in Gaisano Mall parking lot in the city proper.
  • From Balingoan Port, ride a ferry to Camiguin (P205 + 15 environmental fee). Travel time is 1 hour. Ferry departs every hour.

We suggest taking the bus instead of the van from Agora Terminal to Balingoan Port especially if you are the first passengers because waiting can take up to 45 minutes or more.

The earliest trip from Balingoan Port to Benoni Port is 4-4:30AM and the last trip back to Balingoan Port is 4PM.

Via Butuan Airport

From Butuan Airport, take a taxi to the bus terminal.

Ride a bus en route to Cagayan and get off at Balingoan Port. Travel time is 2 hours.

Others

Camiguin Island is also accessible from Cebu and Bohol via ferry.

How to get around

There are habal-habals, motorelas, and jeepneys you can ride for commuting.

For the island tour, here are your options (rates updated as of 2020):

  • Rent a motorbike. Make sure to bring your driver’s license. Rate is P500-600 a day.
  • Avail of a habal-habal tour, good up to 2 people. Rate is P1000 a day.
  • Charter a private car or multicab, seating capacity depending on the vehicle type. Rate is P1800 or above.

Tourist Spots in Camiguin

These are the top tourist spots in Camiguin Island. These can be explored in 2 days during an island tour.

White Island

This is the most iconic tourist spot in Camiguin Island, and it’s often featured in promotional materials by the tourism. It’s a naked sand bar ideal for swimming and sunbathing, not unliked Naked Island in Siargao. Mount Hibok-Hibok and Mount Vulcan can be seen in its backdrop.

To get here, take a boat from the port near Paras Beach Resort. Once you get to the island, you can find locals renting umbrellas or selling fresh seafood. The area facing the open sea has strong current and the other one is relatively calm. If you’re with children, you can take them to the latter.

Camiguin Island can be crowded especially on weekends and holidays. If you want to have it for yourselves, go here on a weekday. The best time to go here is in the morning when the sun isn’t too hot yet. That saying, don’t forget to bring your sunblock.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P50 / Boat rental – P450 (good up to 4 pax) / umbrella rental – P150 / mat rental – P50
White Island in Camiguin
White Island.
Sea urchin in White Island in Camiguin
Fresh sea urchin sold in White Island.

Tongatok View Point

This is a viewdeck you can pass by on your way to the Walkway or Sunken Cemetery. It offers mountainside and coastal views. It’s easy to miss, but the guides are familiar with the island and know about this spot so just tell them you want to stop by here.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – none
Tongatok Viewdeck in Camiguin
Tongatok Viewdeck.

Walkway to the Old Volcano

This is a hiking trail to the old volcano aka Mount Vulcan. The trail is about 1.4 km long and goes up to a third of the elevation of the volcano. Along the route, there are displays of the 14 stations of the cross. The latter trail is steep, about 90 degrees inclination. The summit offers a view of the surrounding mountainside and ocean, including the Sunken Cemetery.

The trek to the summit takes 30-40 minutes depending on your pace.

The Walkway is also considered a pilgrimage site and people flock here during the Holy Week.

Make sure to bring a bottled water with you. If you’re not an active hiker, you don’t have to reach the summit. Just trek up to the 9th or 10th station of the cross, where you can already see the Sunken Cemetery.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P10
Trail on the Walkway to the Old Volcano in Camiguin
Trail on the Walkway.
View from Walkway to the Old Volcano
View from the 10th station.

Sunken Cemetery

The same volcanic eruption that buried the Old Church Ruins also submerged the province’s cemetery. To commemorate this, the government erected a giant cross a few meters away from the shore.

The Sunken Cemetery is another good spot for snorkeling. From the shore, it’s a short 50 meter swim to reach the cross and the underwater tombed stone where you can see a sculpted head. The surrounding areais filled with a variety of corals and fishes, as well as giant clams. The water is shallow so it’s ideal even for beginner snorkelers.

The Sunken Cemetery is also a popular place for sunset watching.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – none / Boat ride to the cross – P100 (good up to 5 pax)
  • Snorkeling fee – P100 / Guide fee – P150 / Lifevest, mask and snorkel, fins – P50 (all-in)
Sunken Cemetery in Camiguin
Sunken Cemetery as viewed from the old cross.
Snorkeling in Sunken Cemetery in Camiguin
Snorkeling area.

Sto. Nino Cold Spring

Sto. Nino Cold Spring is a great place to stop by if you want to take a respite from the island heat. It features a large pool up to 7 feet deep. The water flows down from Mount Mambajao. It’s cool and clear, with schools of small fishes in the water.

There are cottages and tables for rent inside the resort. There are also food stalls where you can buy food & drinks.

Another place you can visit is the Saay Cold Spring.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P50
Sto. Nino Cold Spring in Camiguin
Sto. Nino Cold Spring.

Bura Soda Spring

This is another spring pool area where you can swim and relax. The water here is said to taste like carbonated water. The pool isn’t as cold as that in Sto. Nino Cold Spring, so depending on your preference you might want to swim here instead.

The resort has a tap specifically where you can drink the spring water. There are also cottages and tables, food stalls and restaurant where you can order meals.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P50

Ardent Hot Spring

This resort features a cascade of six hot springs. Recently, the water from the springs have gone lukewarm. Local says a recent earthquake might have blocked the source of hot water.

This is the only place we skipped in our itinerary.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P50

Old Church Ruins

Also called Guiob Church or Catarman Church. This is the remnant of a 16th-century Spanish Catarman Church, which was buried during the eruption of Mount Vulcan back in 1871. The eruption wiped out the island’s then-capital, Cotta Bato.

You can still the main church structure, bell tower, and chapel. As with other buildings at that era, the structures are made with corals.

Century-old trees surround the old structures.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P10
Old Church Ruins in Camiguin Island
Old Church Ruins.

Mantigue Island

This is one of my fave spots in Camiguin Island!

Mantigue Island is a 4-hectare island about 20 minutes boat ride away from the mainland in Barangay San roque in Mahinog. The island is fringed with white-sand beaches and the whole area is considered a marine sanctuary. You can snorkel and see various types of corals, tropical fishes, sea turtles, and stingrays.

This is one of the best snorkeling areas I’d seen so far. It’s even better than the places we’d been to in Cebu, particularly Pescador Island in Moalboal. The corals were colorful and healthy. It has one of the biggest table corals I’d seen.

You can snorkel on your own, but if you’re not a good swimmer I suggest getting a guide who will tour you with a buoy and show you around the snorkeling areas, including where the giant clams are.

There are cottages in the island. Snorkeling gears are available for rent.

Maximum stay in the island is 4 hours. Overnight is not allowed.

Rates:

  • Boat fee – P600 (good up to 6 pax) / environmental fee – P30 / guide fee (snorkeling) – P300 / snorkel and mask rental – P100

You also have the option to add P200 to the boat fee so the boat can go around the island and you can take picture of Mantigue Island with the mountains in the backdrop.

Mantigue Island in Camiguin
Mantigue Island.
Snorkeling in Mantigue Island
Snorkeling in Mantigue Island.

Katunggan Mangrove Park

A small mangrove forest where you can see the species of black mangroves. There’s a pathway that goes around the mangrove park and cottages where you can sit down and rest. You can also swim in the water among the mangroves during high tide or in the open sea.

It’s similar to the Mangrove Park in Bantayan Island in Cebu.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P20
Katunggan Mangrove Park in Camiguin
Katunggan Mangrove Park.

Giant Clam Sanctuary

Here’s another favorite! The Giant Clam Sanctuary is home over a thousand giant clams.

A guide will take you to the nursery area where there are young giant clams a few months old and then to the deeper part of the ocean where you can see giant clams spanning as much as 4 feet in length. The corals here are also impressive — they are HUGE and thriving.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P25 / clam viewing fee – P150 / Mask and snorkel – P100 / lifevest – P50 / fins – P50
Giant Clam Sanctuary in Camiguin
Giant Clam Sanctuary.

Tuasan Falls

This is a 25-meter-high waterfall located along the mountain roads in Barrio Mainit. It used to be a secret, but road developments have eventually led to its public discovery. Tuasan means “natuklasan” (discovered). The waterfall has a knee-deep basin where you can take a short refreshing dip.

There are no establishments around Tuasan Falls.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P50
Tuasan Falls in Camiguin
Tuasan Falls.

Katibawasan Falls

Katibawasan Falls is a 70-meter-high waterfall with a small man-made basin. The flow of water has weakened over the years, but it’s still worth visiting even if only for taking pictures.

There are cottages around the waterfall where you can rest or have a picnic.

Rates:

  • Entrance fee – P50
Katibawasan Falls in Camiguin
Katibawasan Falls.

Other Things to Do in Camiguin

Here are other activities you can do in Camiguin Island. For a complete list, I have written a separate guide for Best Things to Do in Camiguin Island.

Beach bumming

Camiguin is home to numerous beaches, including white-sand and black-sand beaches. It also has beaches filled with boulders.

Hiking

Mount Hibok-Hibok is a popular hiking spot in Camiguin Island. It’s an active stratovolcano with an elevation of over 1300 meters.

The usual jump-off point is Ardent Hot Springs. From there, trek for 3-5 hours to reach the summit depending on your pace. The summit offers a view of the Ilihan Crater and White Island, as well as neighboring islands of Siquijor, Bohol, and Surigao.

Registration fee is P200 per person, guide fee is P1200.

Diving

Camiguin is one of the best diving spots in the Philippines. There are numerous accredited dive shops in the island.

For beginners, the best dive spots are Mantigue Island, Sunken Cemetery, and Tangub Springs. Advanced divers can head to Burias Shoal, Jicduf Shoal, Old Volcano, and Black Forest.

3 Days Itinerary to Camiguin

Here is our actual 3 days itinerary to Camiguin.

Day 1
Arrival via Mambajao Aiport / Pickup from Benoni Port
:: Early check in / bag drop-off at accommodation
Camiguin island tour:
– Mantique Island
– Katunggan Mangrove Park
– Giant Clam Sanctuary
– Tuasan Falls
– Katibawasan Falls

Day 2
Continue island tour:
– White Island
– Tungatok View Point
– Walkway to the Old Volcano
– Sunken Cemetery
– Sto. Nino Cold Spring
– Soda Spring
– Old Church Ruins
– Ardent Hot Spring

Day 3
Free time
:: Check out of accommodation
Flight home

We spent 3 days in Camiguin which I feel is just enough. On our third day, we just rested in our accommodation in Bintana sa Paraiso.

Here are other things to note:

  • If you’re coming from CDO city proper, it’s best to leave at 3-4AM so you can arrive at the island at 7-8AM. Similarly, if your return flight is via Laguindingan Airport in CDO, make sure that it’s a late-night schedule because the airport is about 5 hours away from Camiguin, not counting the traffic.
  • I recommend spending at least 2 days here for the island tour. If you plan on doing other activities such as hiking or diving, extend your stay for a few days more.

Where to Eat

There are various eateries in Camiguin. Here are the most recommended ones:

  • Check Point Camiguin. A BBQ style restaurant.
  • Hagahay Cafe. A restaurant that serves juices and smoothie bowls.
  • Penisular Kape Art. A restaurant that serves Spanish dishes.
  • I 8 See Food. A local favorite that serves seafood. Group meals are available.

Where to Stay

Most people stay in the capital of the island: Mambajao. It’s considered a tourist hub with resorts & homestays, restaurants, and shops. That saying, there are plenty of good accommodations around the island depending on your preferences.

Kat in Bintana sa Paraiso - Binunsaran
Pool in Bintana sa Paraiso – Binunsaran.

We stayed in Bintana sa Paraiso – Binunsaran, which is a luxury mountain resort.

Others

Here are the best budget options:

Here are the best midrange and luxury options:

  • Paras Beach Resort. This resort features a swimming pool with an ocean view. It’s located beside the port to White Island. Book discounted rates here.
  • Tongatok Cliff Resort. This resort is located on a cliffside overlooking Tongatok Bay. Book discounted rates here.
  • Volcano Houses. It’s located on the mountainside of Mount Hibok-Hibok, a few minutes away from Bintana sa Paraiso – Binunsuran. Book discounted rates here.
  • Balay sa Baibai. Private villas you can rent for a cozy, luxurious stay. Book discounted rates here.

Where to book your Camiguin Tour

Kat in Camiguin Island
Come again to Camiguin!

We recommend getting the tour service of Kuya Lehmann of L&M Camiguin Tour Services. Kuya Lehmann was our guide during our 2-day island tour. He’s very friendly and professional and he gave us tips on how to maximize our vacation in the island.

He offers tour via car or multicab, excluding entrance fees.

  • Rates: Multi-cab – P1800 (good up to 10 pax) / Car – P2300 (good up to 4 pax)
  • Contact: Kuya Lehmann (L&M Camiguin Tour Services): Facebook | 09156498840

He also offers complete packages including accommodation, transportation, and entrance fees and boat fees. You may also include meals and snorkeling gears you can use for the duration of your stay. Rate depends on the number of pax, so it’s best to contact him directly.

Let him know that I (Katherine / Tara Lets Anywhere) referred you!

Budget and expenses

Budget depends on how many you are in a group. For a group of 4-5 people, a safe budget would be P3000-4000 per person.

Travel Tips to Camiguin

  • It’s best to travel with a group to save costs. If you’re solo, you can share boat rentals with other joiners.
  • Bring your own mask and snorkel so you can save money from rental fees.
  • The best time to go here is during the summer months. During bad weather, boat tours may be cancelled.

 

Has this travel guide to Camiguin Island been helpful to you? If you have questions or suggestions, let us know in the comment section below!

 

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