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.
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
Day 3 – Iligan
– 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
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)
Here are some notes about this itinerary:
- Entry point is via Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro (CDO). Ideally, exit point is via Mambajao Airport in Camiguin.
- If your exit point 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. The most popular activity here is white water rafting in Cagayan River.
To know more about Cagayan de Oro, read our separate Travel Guide to Cagayan de Oro.
How to get here
- Take a local flight to Laguindingan Airport.
- From the airport, ride a van to Cagayan de Oro city proper (P200 per person). Travel time is 45 minutes, depending on traffic.
What to do
Start the day with 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. Then you’ll need to travel for 1 hour to reach the jump-off point for the rafting activity in Cagayan River. The activity involves riding an inflatable raft and navigating the river for 2-3 hours, depending on the current.
We thoroughtly enjoyed this activity. I’m a non-sporty person and I’m glad that this is something that I can enjoy. Our guides were very helpful and we also had amazing pictures from the activity.
Here’s a separate Adventure Guide on White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro.
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
I also suggest visiting the local market to taste original Cagayan dishes and snacks, including sikwate (hot chocolate) and suman.
CDO Bugsay is our recommended organizer for the white water activity in Cagayan de Oro.
- CDO Bugsay: Facebook | 09173284729
Day 2 – Bukidnon
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 includes visiting Limunsudan Falls in Bukidnon/Iligan and Sumilom Falls in Cagayan de Oro.
Take note that this requires trekking so you need to be physically fit.
To visit the two waterfalls, you will need to get to Talakag in Bukidnon. Limunsudan Falls is technically listed as part of Iligan City, but it is closer to Talakag. This is why Talakag Tourism handles visits to this falls. Sinulom Falls is in of Cagayan de Oro, but it’s nearest jump-off is also in the town of Talakag.
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
Start the day early. From Cagayan de Oro, ride the van bound to Talakag at 6 or 7AM. Get off at the town proper of Talakag. Meet your habal-habal guide and he will drive you to Limunsudan Falls.
From Talakag, it takes 1 hour to reach the jump-off point to Limunsudan Falls.
From the jump-off point, you need to trek for 10-15 minutes to reach the view deck where you can see the whole 2-tier waterfalls. This is the best place to take pictures of the waterfall. You can stay here or trek further down to see the bottom stream of the waterfall. The trek takes 1 hour one-way.
Have lunch to replenish yourself before heading to Sinulom Falls.
With your habal-habal guide, travel to Sitio Impakebel in Barangay Tingapoloan, Cagayan de Oro.
There are different jump-off points to Sinulom Falls. The easiest way to get there is to ride the habal-habal directly to the falls. Since the road is challenging only 1 passenger per habal-habal is advised.
Sinulom Falls has about 30 streams, with the highest at 30 meters.
Limunsudan Falls and Sinulom Falls are some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines. Although this itinerary may be tiring, it’s definitely worth it.
- Ít’s best to contact the Talakag Tourism Office ahead of your visit so they can assign a guide for you in advance.
- Talakag Tourism Office: Facebook
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. From Iligan Terminal, you can charter a habal-habal for a tour or commute via connecting jeepney routes.
We took the first option since it’s convenient for us. I suggest doing this too, unless you’re in a tight budget.
Tinago Falls is the most beautiful waterfall in Iligan City. You need to descend about 300 steps to get to the waterfall itself. Around the waterfall are stores selling food & water, including local fruits such as marangs. There are also tables for visitors.
Among the 3 waterfalls, this is the only place where you can swim. I suggest staying here for 2-3 hours.
We had a good time here in Tinago Falls. We took the raft to reach the waterfall stream and and swam in the freezing water. We stayed here for aro
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.
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.
For a while now, Maria Christina Falls has been closed to visitors but certain groups can still come in.
I have written more about this Day Trip to Iligan City.
- 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 touring 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.
There are so many things you can do in Camiguin including exploring waterfalls, white-sand beaches, trekking, and snorkeling.
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 are gigantic. 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.
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.
- I recommend skipping the Ardent Hot Spring. The Ardent Hot Spring is no longer hot due to a recent earthquake that is assumed to have blocked the water streams from underground.
- Bring your own mask and snorkel so you can save money from rental fees.
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.
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:
Most recommended hotels in CDO:
- Seda Centrio Hotel | Here is my review of Seda Centrio Hotel
- Malberry Suites Hotel
- Limketkai Luxe Hotel
There are various resorts and homestays in Camiguin.
We stayed at Bintana sa Paraiso – Binunsaran. It has lovely mountain views and you can see the White Island from afar.
- Bintana sa Paraiso – Binunsaran. Our review of Bintana sa Paraiso | Book discounted rates – Binunsuran
Budget and Expenses
Here are the major expenses in this trip:
|Cagayan de Oro||White water rafting: Beginner course – P1200 per person / Advance course – P1800 per person|
|Bukidnon /||Habal-habal and guide fee to Limunsudan Falls: P1000 (good up to 2 pax) + additional fee for Sinulom Falls|
|Iligan||Habal-habal tour: P600-700 per person|
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
|Camiguin||Chartered vehicle for tour: P1800 – 2300 per day depending on vehicle type|
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
Land attractions: P10-50 per person
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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