It’s More Fun in Camiguin!
When In the Philippines, there are a handful of locations that boasts of the perfect balance between the comfort of the simple poblacion life and the raw beauty of nature. On top of my list is Camiguin Island, trapped between Visayas and Mindanao, a province that has maintained its pristine natural condition amidst the influx of a booming tourism industry.
The first time I visited Camguin was in 2008 as a segue to our stay in Cagayan de Oro. Hours of travel by bus and boat practically scrapped one day off our vacation. This time around, we flew in via Cebu Pacific’s Manila-Cebu-Camiguin connect flight which was launched April of this year. No bumpy roads. No seasickness. No wasted time. And as they say, time is gold.
This blog post is for people like me who are always on the go. If you’re looking for the essentials, this is it. This is Anthony Bourdain’s “The Layover” flattened and pressed into a neat 1000-something word essay of how to go, where to go, what to do in Camiguin. So here goes.
Going to Camiguin
The island of Camiguin is accessible by air or by sea. Ships and fastcrafts from Cebu, Bohol, and Cagayan de Oro travel to Camiguin on a daily basis. Two major ports operate in Camiguin: Benoni (from Mindanao) and Balbagon in Mambajao (from Visayas). Alternatively, Cebu Pacific flies into the Mambajao Camiguin Airport from Cebu via an ATR plane on an MWF schedule.
Upon arrival, it is a MUST to grab a free copy of the Camiguin travel brochure care of DOT-Camiguin to learn more about the island and the places you wish to visit.
Going Around Camiguin
Your mode of transportation around the small island should be based on two things: How many are you in the group, and where do you plan to go for the day?
When moving from Point A to Point B, you can hail a tricycle or multicab for less than a hundred bucks. If you’re worried about a driver jacking up the price (which is unlikely, because the Camiguin Tourism Office is trying their best to regulate the transportation sector in this regard), you can always ask two drivers how much it would cost and go for the cheaper one.
For day trips, the tourism office highly encourages hiring multicabs (6 to 8 persons) or Hi-Ace vans (8 or more – or you want to do things in absolute comfort!). A multicab costs 1,700 pesos for 8 hours while a van would cost 2,000 to 2,500 pesos for 8 hours, depending on the number of passengers.
Tricycles, while nice looking, are not advisable because (a) they’re not regulated for day tours, and (b) it would be difficult for them to reach the higher places, which are essentially the must-go places.
If you’re alone and familiar with the territory (or you’re just direction savvy) you may opt to rent a motor bike and cruise at your own pace. Again, ask around to get the best price for your buck.