After a morning of white sand and clear waters in Mantigue Island, we freshened up and went on a ‘joyride’ around Camiguin. Literally around it — the province’s main road draws a path along the coast and Camiguin is so small, it takes only an hour to drive around it.
We gawked at the beautiful ancestral homes along the road. The island, like the rest of Mindanao, is hardly ever visited by typhoons, and older families have been able to preserve the elegant buildings that date back to the Spanish and American colonial periods.
The island’s volcanoes, however, were not always so benevolent. In 1871, the charmingly, redundantly named Mount Vulcan erupted and almost completely buried the first major Spanish settlement on the island. The church, belfry and convent were destroyed.
Portions of the church and convent walls are built with corals.
The belfry. Or what used to be the belfry.
The earthquake that accompanied Mt. Vulcan’s eruption also caused a huge chunk of the area to fall to the sea, taking the town cemetery with it. The site, a short distance away from the church ruins, is now marked by a giant cross which can be accessed by boat.
They say, on days when the sea is extraordinarily calm, the gravemarkers and headstones can be clearly seen under the water. Too creepy for us so we passed, haha.
Next, we went to Sto. Nino Cold Springs. We weren’t planning on going for a swim so we asked the ticket clerks if we could just look around the place and maybe take some pictures, but they wanted to charge us Php20 each just for peeking through the gate! So we left, but not before I discovered ginanggang.
Then it was on to the marketplace and a couple of out-of-the-way stores because I wanted to tick off my checklist of must-buy foodstuff in Camiguin.
For dinner, our hosts served us some octopus and sea urchin or tuyum, both prepared kinilaw style (kinilaw is similar to ceviche). It was, uh, interesting. My palate violently resisted the slimy sea urchin, haha.
Early the next morning, we took the ferry back to Misamis Oriental. Before we left port, we saw the gorgeous sunrise and watched tiny fishing boats push out to sea.
Need to Know:
The annual Lanzones Festival in Camiguin happens every October. This year (2011) the festival is on October 16-23.
How to get there
Camiguin is accessible by ferry from Bohol (via Tagbilaran City) and Misamis Oriental (via Cagayan de Oro City). In Cagayan de Oro, take a bus or hire a van to Balingoan, Misamis Oriental. The Balingoan port is only a short walk away from the bus terminal.
Ferry routes from Balingoan to Camiguin start at 6 AM with the last trip at 5 PM. Ferries leave Camiguin to Balingoan as early as 5 AM. Crossing takes an hour.
Getting around the island
At the pier of Mambajao (Camiguin’s capital), multi-cabs and vans may be hired for the day for Php1,500 – Php2,500. For short rides within the town, you can hail a motorella (a tuktuk look-alike). Routes between towns are served by jeepneys and multi-cabs.
How to get to Mantigue Island
From the Mambajao pier, take a short ride to Barangay San Roque in Mahinog town. For Php550, pumpboats (good for six people) may be hired to take you to Mantigue and back. The boat ride each way takes 20 minutes (or less if the waters are relatively calm).
Try to get to Mantigue Island as early as possible when it’s still not too hot and you have a better chance of having the place to yourselves.