After ‘braving’ the beginner rapids in Cagayan de Oro City, we left early the next day for the island province of Camiguin.
Camiguin (pronounced ka-mi-GIN), is the second smallest province in the Philippines (after Batanes). It is famous for its islets with white sand beaches and the sweetest lanzones in the world.
From Cagayan de Oro, it’s a two-hour drive to the coastal town of Balingoan in Misamis Oriental where one can take a ferry to Camiguin. On board, we saw these boys calling out to us to throw coins at them which they would catch or dive after.
The ferry left port at around 8:00 AM.
The island of Camiguin, which has an area of only 92 sq. miles (238 sq. km), is of volcanic origin. Its most prominent geographical features are its seven volcanoes and volcanic domes.
An hour after we left Misamis Oriental, we reached the town of Mambajao, Camiguin. We saw another group of boys preparing to dive for coins.
The sun was already bearing down on us and our friend suggested that we go to Mantigue Island and not, as originally planned, to White Island where ‘there is not a single tree to shade us’. So delicate, we are. 🙂
From Mambajao pier, we took a ride to Barangay San Roque where we hired a pumpboat to take us to Mantigue Island. The boat ride took only 20 minutes and was “manned” by two kids who could not have been more than 15 years old despite their claims to the contrary.
IN MANTIGUE ISLAND
The boys let us off at the white sand beach. It was almost 10am and when I took off my shades for a few seconds, I thought I would go blind, haha.
There is only a small strip of beach on the four-hectare island.
But it’s a dazzlingly-white strip.
Inside the tree-shaded area, a store sells fresh seafood, drinks and junk food and rents out tables. We ordered our lunch, walked along the beach and did our best to make our already sunburned skin even crispier.
The Mr. lost no time in
stripping down for my benefit going for a swim in the ultra-clear waters.
Look, Ma, no jellyfish!
The lunch we ordered was served soon enough and it was so good it deserves a separate blog post.
An aside: We ate under the shade of this pandan tree. Yes, tree.
We know pandan as a plant with leaves that are used as an aromatic and flavor-enhancer for rice. The tree, according to the island’s caretaker, has leaves that are tougher and are woven into mats. (You learn something everyday.)
Before noon, the boat boys came back for us and in less than 20 minutes we were back in the main island.
(Next: church ruins, a sunken cemetery, a sunrise, and some tips)