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5 Days Itinerary to CDO-Bukidnon-Iligan-Camiguin

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Cagayan de Oro is considered the gateway to northern Mindanao. I went here with a friend (Joemar of Lakwatserong Irigenyo). Here’s our backpacking trip to Cagayan de Oro (CDO) including the nearby Bukidnon, Iligan and Camiguin.

P.S. Traveling here soon? Read about our separate travel guides for Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin.

5 Days Itinerary to CDO, Bukidnon, Iligan and Camiguin

Here’s our itinerary. You can read more about the daily breakdown below.

Day 1 – CDO
Flight from Manila to Langundian Airport (Cagayan de Oro)
:: Check in at accommodation in CDO
White water rafting
(Optional) City tour

Day 2 – Bukidnon / CDO
Limunsudan Falls
Sinulom Falls

Day 3 – Iligan
Chasing waterfalls:
– Tinago Falls
– Mimbalot Falls
– Ma. Cristina Falls

Day 4 – Camiguin
:: Check out at accommodation in CDO
Travel from CDO to Camiguin
Camiguin island tour:
– Mantique Island
– Katunggan Mangrove Park
– Giant Clam Sanctuary
– Tuasan Falls
– Katibawasan Falls
:: Check in at accommodation in Camiguin

Day 5
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
:: Check out of accommodation in Camiguin
Flight home via Mambajao Airport (Camiguin)

It’s easiest to take the return flight from Mambajao Airport in Camiguin. 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.

Day 1 – Cagayan de Oro

Cagayan de Oro is known as the City of Golden Friendship.

Read our separate Travel Guide to Cagayan de Oro.

How to get here

From Laguindingan Airport, ride a van to Cagayan de Oro city proper (P200 per person). Travel time is 45 minutes, depending on traffic.

What to do

The most popular activity in Cagayan de Oro is white water rafting. There are many rafting organizers and we suggest booking a joiner tour with CDO Bugsay at P1200 per person for the beginner course.

Your organizer will fetch you anywhere in the city via a service vehicle and you will have to travel for 1 hour to reach the jump-off point to Cagayan River. From there, you will ride an inflatable raft with other joiners and navigate through the river for 2-3 hours, depending on the current.

We thoroughly enjoyed white water rafting. It’s ideal even for non-sporty people.

Here’s a separate Adventure Guide on White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro.

Cagayan River in Cagayan de Oro
Cagayan River.
White water rafting in Cagayan de Oro
Bugsay!

The white water rafting activity has morning and afternoon schedules. Morning pickup is 7-8AM and afternoon pickup is 12-1PM.

If you arrive early, take the morning schedule for the rafting. In the afternoon, you can do a city tour and visit the ff:

  • Gaston Park
  • St Augustine Cathedral
  • Vicente de Lara Park
  • Plaza Divisoria (Golden Friendship Park)
  • City Museum
  • Museum of Three Cultures
  • Museo de Oro in Ateneo de Cagayan’s Xavier Center for Culture and Arts

Contact / Rates

  • CDO Bugsay: Facebook | 09173284729
    Rates: Beginner course – P1200 per person / Advance course – P1800 per person

Day 2 – Bukidnon / CDO

Most people take a half-day tour in Bukidnon to visit the Dahilayan Nature Park and Del Monte Farm. This is an alternative day trip which is ideal for nature lovers. Take note that this requires trekking so you need to be physically fit.

Limunsudan Falls is located in Sitio Limunsudan in Barangay Rogongon at the boundary of Talakag (Bukidnon) and Iligan City. It is technically listed as part of Iligan City, but it is closer to Talakag and Talakag Tourism handles visits to this falls. Limunsudan Falls is also called Mindamora Falls or Bayug Falls. It has 2 tiers at 870 meters high — it’s considered the second-highest waterfall in the Philippines next to Aliwagwag Falls in Davao.

Sinulom Falls is in of Cagayan de Oro, but it’s nearest jump-off is also in the town of Talakag. It has about 30 streams, with the highest at 30 meters.

How to get here

From CDO, head to Carmen and ride a van to Talakag, Bukidnon (P70 per person). Travel time is 45 minutes to 1 hour.

What to do

Take the early-morning van ride to Talakag at 6AM – 7AM. From the town proper of Talakag, a habal-habal guide will meet you at the terminal or municipal hall.

Travel for about 1 hour to reach the jump-off point to Limunsudan Falls. From the jump-off point, trek for 10-15 minutes to reach the view deck where you can see the whole waterfalls. This alone gives you the best sight of Limunsudan Falls. You can choose to stay here or trek further down to see the bottom stream of the waterfall. The trek takes 1 hour.

Limunsudan Falls or Mindamora Falls
Limunsudan Falls, also called Mindamora Falls.

From Sitio Limunsudan, travel to Sitio Impakebel in Barangay Tingapoloan, Cagayan de Oro. There are different jump-off points to Sinulom Falls. It’s possible to take the habal-habal directly to the falls, but since the road is challenging only 1 passenger per habal-habal is advised.

Sinulom Falls, Cagayan de Oro
Sinulom Falls. (Photo credit to Carlos Antonio)

Contact / Rates

  • Talakag Tourism Office: Facebook
    Rates: Habal-habal and guide fee to Limunsudan Falls: P1000 (good up to 2 pax) + additional fee for Sinulom Falls

Day 3 – Iligan

Iligan City is also called City of Majestic Waterfalls. You can do a day trip in Iligan City to visit its 3 most popular waterfalls: Tinago Falls, Mimbalot Falls and Maria Cristina Falls. These are also called the Tourism Triangle.

How to get here

  • From CDO, head to Bulua Terminal and then ride a bus to Iligan (P100 per person). Travel time is 2 hours.
  • At the terminal, you can commute your way to the 3 waterfalls or get a habal-habal to tour you for the day. The habal-habal drivers will greet you as you get off the bus.

What to do

This is a pretty relaxed itinerary so you can start your commute from CDO to Iligan at 7 or 8AM. Once in Iligan, we find it easiest to charter a habal-habal tour rather than memorize the jeepney routes.

Tinago Falls is the most beautiful waterfall in Iligan City. You need to descend about 300 steps to get to the waterfall itself. Once there, you can find tables and stores selling food & water, including local fruits such as marang. You can swim and take the raft to reach the waterfall itself.

If you’re following this itinerary, this is the only place you can swim. I suggest staying here for 2-3 hours.

Tinago Falls in Iligan City
Tinago Falls.

Mimbalot Falls (also spelled as Mimbalut Falls) is a small waterfall where locals hang out. There is a lot of boulders at the base of the fall and the man-made basins for swimming are shallow and a bit dirty. We only took pictures here and then left.

Mimbalot Falls in Iligan City
Mimbalot Falls.

Maria Cristina Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the country. It’s also used as a power source by the Agus Hydro Electric Plant for Iligan City. Guests can also take pictures in the view deck.

Maria Cristina Falls, Lanao del Norte
Maria Cristina Falls. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)

Contact / Rates

You can charter a habal-habal at the terminal in Iligan.

Habal-habal tour: P600-700 per person

Entrance fees:

  • Tinago Falls: entrance fee – P30 / lifevest rental – P50 / table rental – P50 / rafter’s fee – no standard rate (we gave P200)
  • Mimbalot Falls: donation only
  • Maria Cristina Falls: entrance fee – P50

Travel Tips

  • If you’re looking for a place to eat, there’s a series of seaside restaurants near Mimbalot Falls where you can order freshly cooked seafood.

Days 4-5 – Camiguin

Camiguin is also called the Island Born of Fire because it was formed due to volcanic eruptions in the past.

I see a lot of people going on day trips to Camiguin and, let me tell you, you’re doing it wrong! Camiguin is our favorite stop during this trip. In fact, it’s definitely one of my favorite places in the Philippines. It’s blessed with so much resources — the marine life is particularly amazing. We actually stayed here for 3 days, but this itinerary is for those who have a shorter stay.

Read our separate Travel Guide to Camiguin Island.

How to get here

Camiguin is about 4 hours away from CDO city proper.

  • From CDO, head to Agora Terminal and then ride a bus or van to Balingoan Port (about P120 per person). Travel time is 2-2.5 hours.
  • 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 to Balingoan Port instead of van especially if you are the first passengers because waiting can take up to 45 minutes or more.

Camiguin also has its own airport (Mambajao Airport), which you might want to consider if you’re heading here directly.

What to do

Since Camiguin is a few hours away, take the early trip at 3AM so you can start the tour at 7-8AM. An island tour takes 2 day at least. We highly recommend getting the tour from Kuya Lehmann of L&M Camiguin Tour Services.

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

Our favorite experience here is definitely snorkeling. The snorkeling area in Mantigue Island is the best I’ve seen — with healthy corals, fishes and even sea turtles. The Giant Clam Sanctuary is also a one-in-a-kind experience. The sanctuary houses about a thousand giant clams, some over an arm’s length. The corals here are also impressive. A lot are gigantic — it’s like exploring a gigantic underwater world. There is also a snorkeling area in the Sunken Cemetery which is ideal for beginners since it’s shallow and filled with various corals and small fishes.

Kat in Camiguin Island
Come again to Camiguin!
Giant Clam Sanctuary in Camiguin
Giant Clam Sanctuary.
Snorkeling in Mantigue Island
Snorkeling in Mantigue Island.
Snorkeling in Sunken Cemetery in Camiguin
Snorkeling in Sunken Cemetery.

We also enjoyed the other land attractions, particularly the Sto. Nino Cold Spring and Tuasan Falls. The much-hyped White Island was okay. We weren’t particularly impressed about it because we’d already seen similar sand bars (such as Naked Island in Siargao) and it was too crowded for our taste.

White Island in Camiguin
White Island.
Tuasan Falls in Camiguin
Tuasan Falls.

What to skip: The Ardent Hot Spring is no longer hot due to a recent earthquake that is assumed to have blocked the water streams from underground.

Contact / Rates

There are different vehicles you can charter for the island tour, including habal-habal, multicab or cars.

Here is our recommended tour service:

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

Kuya Lehmann also offers complete packages including transportation, accommodation 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 above.

Entrance fees:

  • Mantigue Island: Boat fee – P600 (good up to 6 pax) / environmental fee – P30
  • White Island: Boat fee – P450 (good up to 4 pax) / entrance fee – P50
  • Giant Clam Sanctuary: Entrance fee – P25 / clam viewing fee – P150

The rest of the tourist attractions have an entrance fee of P50 per person. Katunggan Mangrove Park has an entrance fee of P20 per person. Old Church Ruins and Walkway to the Old Volcano have an entrance fee of P10 per person.

Travel Tips

  • Bring your own mask and snorkel so you can save money from rental fees.

Where to Stay

Cagayan de Oro

Cagayan de Oro is the gateway to its neighboring provinces so you can book your stay here even when taking day trips to Bukidnon, Iligan or Camiguin.

I suggest staying in the city proper so you are close to establishments such as malls and restaurants and also several minutes away from the terminals. Here are some accommodations you can look at:

Budget options:

Most recommended hotels in CDO:

Camiguin

There are various resorts and homestays in Camiguin.

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

We stayed at Bintana sa Paraiso – Binunsaran. It has lovely mountain views and you can see the White Island from afar.

Budget and Expenses

Budget depends on how many you are in a group. For 2 people for a 5 day stay, a safe budget is about P10,000 per person.

 

That’s our itinerary for CDO, Bukidnon, Iligan and Camiguin! Do you have any questions or suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

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