A cab-bus-ferry ride away from Cagayan de Oro is Camiguin which I have mentioned in my previous entry as one of the heavenliest destinations there is in the Philippines. It is also next to Batanes as the second-smallest province in the country both in population and land area. It only has a total of 81,293 inhabitants and the province consists primarily of Camiguin Island and two surrounding minor islets which you will know about as this entry goes on. Every October, they have a week-long festival for the fruit that they are most known for, lanzones. Actually, the festival was just about to happen in a week when we went there! Too bad we missed it! Yay that's another reason to come back! lol
Anyway, sit back, relax, and enjoy as I tell you our second day in one of my most favorite travel destinations (from the ones I had so far!) - Camiguin.
We woke up at around 6am for our island hopping tour scheduled that day. If you have read my previous entry, you will know that we have availed a customized tour from Paguia's Cottages Camiguin and what we did was we dedicated our whole second day discovering the islands and beaches. A whole day is not enough as I think about it now but because of the limited vacation leave... It's best if we take it from there lol
Since the White Island Sandbar is just a 15-minute boat ride away from our accommodation, that was our first destination. I knew it was gonna be good since the first time I saw it on a travel blog but I didn't expect it was that GOOD. Oh boy, it's a beauty. You can stay there the whole day just looking at the stunning Mt. Hibok Hibok and Mt. Vulcan as it matches coherently with the white sand and the contrasting light and dark colors of the sea.
|5 minutes walk away from our cottages is our drop-off point :D|
|Such a sight even from afar!|
|Mt Hibok Hibok and Mt Vulcan facing the sandbar|
Since it can be really hot in the area esp during summer, a few kuyas from the baranggay who monitors the sandbar also provides colorful umbrellas (fourth picture) and tarp-like banigs to lie on (in case you forgot to bring a scarf or a malong with you!) for rental. The umbrellas are worth a hundred peso and the banigs are for P200. Both of it is pretty big because the four of us fit in there considering the three of us were big boned lol
If you also look closely in the fourth photo, behind the kuyas is another small sandbar. You can swim to go there but make sure you bring a life jacket if you don't know how, you might panic if you happen to pass thru a few deep parts. If you get bored (which will be unlikely haha), you can also try snorkeling on the other side of the sandbar, read a book while you wait for sunset, schedule a diving trip with your friends (YES, there is a diving site near the sandbar), or you can make yourself full with the sea urchins that the locals from the baranggay are also selling apart from the umbrella rentals!
We went back to Paguia's at around 10am to get our things and wait for our service, since we'd have to travel by road to get to our next entry point to Mantigue Island. It's a good 20 to 30 minutes multicab ride then another 30 minutes ride via small outrigger boat.
Even from afar, you can already see the trees and gorgeous white sand surrounding Mantigue. They have a marine sanctuary on the right side facing the island but before you go there, you'd have to register inside and pay for the entrance fee (P50) and the unlimited snorkeling fee of P100. Make sure to bring your own snorkel gear or rent from your chosen accommodation since it's pretty expensive in the area (P150).
We were supposed to have snorkeling first then go back inside to eat our lunch but since we had a bit of miscommunication with our boatmen we ended up going back to our entry point after snorkeling! lol but it was a satisfying 45 minutes stay nonetheless. By this time I have already learned how to swim but upon seeing how dark the water were to get to the snorkeling area, I opted to stay beside the boat and look at the few fishes and sea urchins while my friends went to see the giant clams and more.
Since the miscommunication happened, we went back earlier than expected at our previous entry point but we figured it was just right since we had to catch the latest scheduled ferry back to Balingoan Port at 4pm.
Shortly after our service arrived from lunch we went to the opposite side of the island for the Kibila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery which was our last destination in Camiguin. It is an area where they cultivate different species of clams and they had this ocean nursery where you can check out the clams from the smallest to the biggest! It's worth P200 but my friends (Eds and Mar) since they're the only ones who tried it said it was definitely worth it we should've come! The pictures were in Jamie's waterproof camera so unfortunately I won't be able to share it with you but make sure you don't miss out on this as well when you visit Camiguin!
Aside from that, they also served us delicious food from lunch which you can buy from one of the houses nearby. The hut is worth P50, entrance fee is P25, and the food that we ordered amounted to a total of almost P1,000 I think. I was too hungry I forgot to take pictures but it was really good! If you don't feel like checking out the clams, you can also dip in the clear waters while you wait for your food.
We hurriedly went to Benoni Port after eating lunch. Jamie and I were able to take a shower but we left our clothes in the service and was too lazy to go back for it so we changed our clothes on the way to the port instead! Hmm hmm yes! On the way there! lol that's some traveling skills we've proudly acquired haha and since the ferry for 3pm was delayed for an hour we had the cutest blessing in disguise! Mind you, it was priceless!
It was one of the sweetest moments of our trip. I loved how the colors went from bright, to yellow, to purple-ish pink. We were all in awe of the magnificent view in front of us. We took countless pictures. It was really beautiful.
We got back in Balingoan Port at around 5 or 6 in the evening. Apparently it was difficult to get a bus back to the city proper since it's not really the terminal so we waited for about 45 minutes to be able to finally ride one! And that's not even a smooth process haha you'd have to push and shove! Oh for the love of traveling.
Since we can't move on yet from our extra rice disappointment, we agreed to eat at Jollibee for dinner! All I can say is, after that dinner I loved my friends more for being themselves. PERIOD. Upon arriving at our hotel Rich Manor Pension House, they had made an incorrect booking so we had to wait for a while before they find another room that can accommodate us. We were supposed to be in just one room but we ended up in two different rooms. It was still a good experience though! I loved how the room was clean and the bed was soft and how everything is within a short distance. Our oldies vibe sunk in as soon as we arrived so we all opted to sleep already.
Overall, Day 2 was a beautiful experience as Camiguin! Couldn't wait to share our third day with you guys! Meanwhile, here is our sample itinerary and expenses list.
DAY 2: SAMPLE ITINERARY
- 06:00am - Freshen up/prepare things/breakfast
- 07:00am - Go to White Island Sandbar to swim, snorkel, and chill
- 09:30am - Go back to Paguia's; service on the way to the entry point for Mantigue Island
- 10:00am - Arrival at the entry point; leave for Mantigue
- 10:30am - ETA at Mantigue Island
- 10:30am to 11:30 - Snorkel at the marine sanctuary; buy food for lunch
- 12:30pm - Lunch
- 1:00pm - Depart from Mantigue Island
- 1:45pm - ETA at Kibila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery
- 1:45pm to 2:45pm - Snorkel and swim
- 2:45pm - Wash up
- 3:00pm - Departure from Kibila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery
- 3:15pm - ETA at Benoni Port; buy tickets and pasalubong
- 4:00pm - Departure from Benoni
- 5:00pm - Arrival at Balingoan Port; ride bus going to city proper
- 8:30pm - ETA at Agora Market and dinner
- 9:30pm - Go to hotel/socials/beer night
DAY 2: ROUGH LIST OF EXPENSES
(Please note that this is individually quoted and based on the number of persons who traveled which is in our case 4)
- Island Hopping Tour from Paguia's Cottages (includes boat and multicab transfers, environmental fees, and the other fees except entrance fee to Mantigue Island, snorkeling fee, and hut rentals, accommodation w breakfast) - P1,350
- Umbrella and banig rental from White Island Sandbar - P75
- Entrance fee and snorkeling fee at Mantigue Island - P150
- Lunch at Kibila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery - P250
- Snorkeling with the clams - P200
- Hut and entrance fee - P37.50
- Ferry from Benoni Port to Balingoan - P130
- Bus from Balingoan to Agora Market (air-conditioned) - P130
- Dinner - P150
- Cab to Rich Manor Pension House - P50
- Accommodation (1 night) - 350
Again, these are only rough estimates and this is purely based on how I budget my money when traveling (notice the allotted money for lunch and dinner lol) so you can still minimize this or maximize according to how you prefer.