I went with a friend (Joemar of Lakwatserong Irigenyo) on a backpacking trip across Cagayan de Oro (CDO), Bukidnon, Iligan and Camiguin. Here are the details of our trip.
How to get here
Cagayan de Oro is considered the gateway to Northern Mindanao. Once you arrive here, it’s easy to transfer to other places in this area.
For this itinerary, I recommend:
- 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.
5 Days Itinerary to CDO, Bukidnon, Iligan and Camiguin
Here’s a sample 5 days itinerary to CDO and its neighboring provinces. This is close to our actual itinerary — I changed a few things for improvement.
You can read more about the daily breakdown below.
|Day 1 – CDO||Flight from Manila to Langundian Airport (Cagayan de Oro)|
Travel from airport to CDO town proper
Check in at accommodation
White water rafting
(Optional) City tour
|Day 2 – Bukidnon / CDO||Chasing waterfalls:|
– Limunsudan Falls
– Sinulom Falls
(Alternative: day trip to Bukidnon)
|Day 3 – Iligan||Chasing waterfalls:|
– Tinago Falls
– Mimbalot Falls
– Ma. Cristina Falls
|Day 4 – Camiguin||Check out of 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)
Day 1 – Cagayan de Oro
We arrived in Laguindingan Airport in CDO. From there, we rode a van to CDO proper and then settled in our accommodation (casual room I booked via Airbnb).
The most popular activity in CDO is white water rafting. Some locals even told us you haven’t properly visited the city if you haven’t tried it, so of course it was our first activity!
We booked a joiner tour with CDO Bugsay, for a beginner course that involves 2-3 hours of navigating the rapids along the river on an inflatable raft. The service jeep fetched us in our accommodation and then picked up other joiners as well. Then we rode for 1 hour to the jump-off point for the activity in Cagayan River.
White water rafting in Cagayan was so much fun. I highly recommend for anyone to try it. I’m a non-sporty person and this is something that even I enjoyed. Our guides were very helpful and we also had amazing pictures from the activity.
We arrived late in CDO and booked the afternoon slot for the tour, so it was night time when we arrived back in the town proper. If you arrive early in the morning, you can still do a half-day city tour to visit the following:
- 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
If you’re close to the market, I suggest trying out original Cagayan dishes and snacks, including sikwate (hot chocolate) and suman.
Day 2 – Bukidnon
Most people take a half-day tour to Bukidnon to visit the Dahilayan Nature Park and Del Monte Farm. Joemar and I have already been there on separate trips, so we thought of visiting nearby waterfalls instead.
We went to Carmen in CDO and rode a van to Talakag (Bukidnon). The ride took 45 minutes to 1 hour. From there, we met up with our guide to Limunsudan Falls.
Limunsudan Falls is an amazing, beautiful waterfall. As far as I know, it’s rarely visited due to its location — or perhaps it’s just unknown. It comes in other names: 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.
From the jump-off point, we walked for 15 minutes to reach the view deck where we could see Limunsudan Falls in its entirety. This is the best place to take pictures of the waterfall. We opted to stay here instead of trekking to the bottom stream since the trail was muddy due to a recent rainfall.
Visiting Limunsudan Falls takes half a day. If you have more time, I also recommend visiting Sinulom Falls. Sinulom Falls is part of CDO, but its nearest jump-off is also in Talakag.
To get there, travel to Sitio Impakebel in Barangay Tingapoloan, Cagayan de Oro. From the barangay, there is a road that leads directly to the falls.
Sinulom Falls has about 30 streams, with the highest at 30 meters.
Day 3 – Iligan
Early in the morning, we headed to Bulua Terminal and then rode a bus to Iligan. The ride took 2 hours.
Once in Iligan Terminal, we chartered a habal-habal each for the waterfalls tour. It’s also possible to commute via connecting jeepneys, but we didn’t want the trouble.
Our destinations are Tinago Falls, Mimbalot Falls and Maria Cristina Falls. These are also called the Tourism Triangle of Iligan.
The first place we visited is Tinago Falls. From the jump-off point, we went down about 300 steps to get to the waterfall. Tinago Falls was worth it — it was easily one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’d seen in the Philippines!
According to our guide, this is the only stop where we could swim so we took our time here. We took the raft to reach the stream and swam in the freezing water. Then we bought food from the stores. If you haven’t tried marang yet, look for a fruit vendor here!
From there, we went to Mimbalot Falls. We only took pictures here and then left.
For lunch, we stopped in one of the seaside restaurants near Mimbalot Falls where we had freshly cooked seafood. This is one of the reasons I like visiting provinces. 🙂
Our last stop was Maria Cristina Falls. This is one of highest waterfalls in the country. It’s used as a power source by an electric plant company for Iligan City. Although it’s not open for swimming, guests can take pictures in the view deck. Unfortunately, it was closed when we visited.
We highly enjoyed this trip to Iiligan. It was also pretty relaxed.
Days 4-5 – Camiguin
Camiguin is our favorite stop during this trip. I see a lot of people going on day trips to Camiguin and, let me tell you, you’re missing out! In fact, this became one of my favorite places in the Philippines.
We checked out in our accommodation in CDO. We headed to Agora Terminal and then rode a van to Balingoan Port for 2-2.5 hours. Since we were there super early (around 4-5AM), we were the first passengers and the waiting time was atrocious. If you’re going to Camiguin early, I suggest taking the bus instead.
We booked in a beautiful mountain resort called Bintana sa Paraiso. For 2 days, we went on an island tour c/o Kuya Lehmann of L&M Camiguin Tour Services.
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-of-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.
We actually stayed for another day in Camiguin, so we could spend the last day at the resort.
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. We booked a casual room via Airbnb in the city proper.
Here are the recommended accommodations in CDO:
Most recommended hotels in CDO:
If you have the budget, I highly recommend staying at Seda Centrio Hotel. They have good amenities including a pool and one of the best hotel breakfast buffets I’ve tried.
There are various resorts and homestays in Camiguin.
I highly recommend staying at Bintana sa Paraiso – Binunsaran. It has lovely mountain views and you can see the White Island from afar.
Reminders and Tips
Here are some important reminders and tips before your trip!
- I recommend booking your tours in advance.
- If you’re planning to visit Limunsudan Falls and/or Sinulom Falls, contact the Talakag Tourism Office ahead of time so they can assign a guide for you.
- If you like snorkeling, bring your own mask and snorkel so you can save money from rental fees.
Budget and Expenses
Here are the major expenses in this trip (Updated as of 2020):
|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.
Here are some useful contact details for your trip:
- Talakag Tourism Office: Facebook
- (White water rafting) CDO Bugsay: Facebook | 09173284729
- (Camiguin tours) Kuya Lehmann of L&M Camiguin Tour Services: Facebook | 09156498840
I highly recommend CDO Bugsay for white water rafting. Their guides are helpful and professional. We had a fun experience.
Kuya Lehmann offers complete packages for Camiguin, 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 people, so it’s best to contact him directly for quotation.
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!
What to read next:
Planning a trip to Cagayan de Oro? Here are our guides!
- Cagayan de Oro: Travel Guide and Itinerary
- Cagayan de Oro Tourist Spots + Things to Do
- Where to Eat in Cagayan de Oro
- Where to Stay in Cagayan de Oro: Seda Centrio Hotel
- White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro
Other related articles:
Don’t forget to read:
Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).