So you’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately about traveling solo and you feel like you really have to experience it ASAP. You’ve scanned countless sites to gather all necessary information to prepare for this. I know you’re a little anxious about the idea of venturing alone, and concerned too that your parents would totally disagree with your seemingly crazy idea. But if this is your dream, it would be an experience that is everything but boring, and probably something that you could consider as an achievement once fulfilled.
If you have gathered all your guts to pursue this, trust that it would be an amazing, totally liberating experience. And if you have decided to do it within the country, I would highly recommend that you head to the Island Born of Fire. Camiguin.
Here are 7 reasons why Camiguin should be your first destination as a solo traveler:
7. It is safe
This island, with an area of 29,187 hectares, is the smallest province in Northern Mindanao. And since the locals know who the locals are, crimes are rarely committed because, well, nobody wants to be the topic of the whole province, right? And although instances of petty crimes have been reported, no major crime such as murder, rape, and the likes have been documented (that’s according to my habal-habal driver).
6. Cheap accommodation
Camiguin offers various types of accommodation, from high end hotels to affordable inns. Prices range from 4,000+ php/night to 400php/night. With many cheap accommodations, this province is definitely a backpacker-friendly destination. In my case, I was able to get a decent fan room for just 800php which covered 2 nights worth of stay already.
5. The peace and quiet
If it is peace and quiet you want, it is peace and quiet you’ll get. Especially if you choose to find a place outside of the sentro, which is Mambajao. When I went there, I booked my accommodation in Benoni because of its proximity to the port. Its stillness at night will make you enjoy your hot cup of coffee even more, while sitting on a lodge’s balcony with a good book in hand.
4. You’ll enjoy motorcycle rides
A traffic-free and no-reckless-drivers main road (which encircles the island), will definitely, definitely make you enjoy the habal-habal trip. Add some fresh air and cool sea breeze and you get an amazing motorcycle-ride experience. Honestly, I guess it’s one of, if not the best, places to drive a motorcycle.
3. Fine white sand plus a rich and diverse marine life
Sounds pretty good? If you have a mental picture of this that you find already exciting, wait until you get to try snorkeling and paddleboarding in Mantigue island. This island and marine sanctuary boasts of fine white sand, super clear waters, and amazing marine life. I saw a school of almost-translucent fish, a blue starfish, and lots of colorful and happy-looking corals. Ha!
2. There’s so much to do in a day
Whether you’re a waterfall chaser, history geek, beach bummer, or whatever, Camiguin has you covered. Your tour can start from enjoying a dip in the cool water of Camiguin’s waterfalls, then another in a huge pool of spring water, and then some more in soda water; all crystal clear. After that, visit the church ruins in Catarman, then head straight to the famous cross market and sunken cemetery. End the day by relaxing in Ardent hot springs to soothe your tired muscles before heading back to your hotel or inn. Keep in mind, all these can happen in just one day.
1. The lovely locals
All the locals I have interacted with were polite and honest (based on my personal judgement). My then habal-habal driver, Kuya Junior, was an all-in-one package. He was my driver/tour guide/information provider and he even helped me secure a spot in a boat going to Mantigue island with a family from Cebu, so I won’t have to pay for the whole boat rental fee alone, and score a discount on my ferry fare going back to Cagayan De Oro (where I took my flight back to Manila). He never overcharged me for the tour package (of course I did my research prior to my trip) and has always been really helpful.
So, if you have reached this point and found yourself excited already, it only means one thing. Book that ticket because Camiguin is waiting for you.
Kuya Junior Bahala – habal-habal driver
Contact number: +63 906-783-0447