Monthly Archives: July 2014

Camiguin: Mantigue Island

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Located about 3.5. kilometers off the coast of Camiguin, this 4-hectare island features a forest, a white sand beach and a fishing village.  This is a must-see when in Camiguin because as you can tell from the succeeding photos, it offers exquisite views of the sun, the sand, and the sea.  That and of volcanoes with the blue waters at its feet.

Entrance to the island is at Php 20, while boat rental is at Php 550.  Here are photos of scenes taken from Mahinog, the jump-off point to Mantigue Island.  It’s mostly a mangrove-laden place with brownish sand.  I’ve also included a photo of all applicable rates when in the island.

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All these boats are waiting for tourists to bring to the island.  Tip, which is something I got from my guide, Kuya Criz:  Come early so that when you arrive at Mantigue, it’s not crowded with tourists (we were in Mahinog before 9 AM and true enough, I was their first tourist for the day).

These photos were taken en route to the island.  From afar, I could tell that the island is lush and has a long stretch of white sand.

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Mantigue is beautiful!  From the moment I arrived, I loved seeing the vivid blue waters with the outline of volcanoes as their backdrop.

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I loved its powdery white sand too.  And yes, I super loved the fact that when I was there, I had the whole island to myself (save for some locals)!

From the boat drop off to the island’s tourist information center, which is located in the center of the island, there were these welcome signs.  The view from the main arc was particularly beautiful.

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At the tourist information center is where the island’s tourist facilities like tables and sheds are located.  And yes, they do have decent comfort rooms here.

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Tip:  Kuya Ikoy, my tour guide in this island (see photo and his ID), was really so funny, knows the island so well and is a good photographer.  Request for him if you can, but be ready to be asked to climb trees, do a jump-shot and stuff when he takes your photos (see my collage of photos below).

Our first stop was the forest.  Kuya Ikoy pointed at trees and their names and uses (sorry, I wasn’t taking down notes so I couldn’t recap what he said, but I did take photos of what’s there).

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Note that since the local government is still working on improving the island’s nature park, not all trees are properly identified/labeled when we were there.

When we exited the forest, I was greeted by the beautiful view of blue-green waters lapping against a long stretch of white sand.  The coastline was dotted with pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) and other trees (the main photo at the beginning of this post was of my favorite view from here).

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This is where I spent most of my time at the island primarily because I enjoyed taking photos and secondly, because Kuya Ikoy kept on asking me to pose so I can have my photos taken.  LOL.

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Here are more photos taken from the same site, but at different vantage points:

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Our next stop is the fishing village where the most that I saw were some houses, fishing boats and fishing nets, and one fisherman at work.

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Note that as per my guides Kuya Ikoy and Kuya Criz, the local government is actually working on having the inhabitants of the island relocated since it was claimed that the growing population in the area is the primary cause of Mantigue Island’s degradation, but there are a few who resisted and refused to leave.  They’re still in a lockdown legal-wise so until this is settled, they were allowed to stay here.

On our way back to the island’s tourist center, we passed by the island’s glass bottom boat, which made a good focal point against the volcano behind it (lower right photo).

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Before we left the island, I took these photos and bid goodbye to Kuya Ikoy.

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Just beautiful!  Definitely one of the country’s islands that is worth visiting and going back to.

Camiguin: Sights and Sites from Day 1

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taken en route to Sto. Niño Cold Spring

Aside from seeing the Walkway to the Old Volcano, Sto. Niño Cold Spring, Tuasan Falls and White Island, which I have blogged about individually, here are bits and pieces of the sights I saw and the sites I visited during day 1 of my trip to Camiguin.

Old Vulcan
We had a quick stopover at the National Road to view the Old Vulcan and beach.

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Here, I was amazed at how tall the coconut trees were!

Bura Soda Water Park
This was touted as the one and only in the country where you can swim to a pool of soda water, but I read from various blogs that the name was just a misnomer because the water here does not taste like soda at all.

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Note that this was closed for maintenance and refill when I was there so I only took photos from its gate.

Guiob Church Ruins
This was built sometime in the 16th century.  Here, one can see ruins of a bell tower (upper right photo), ruins of a convent (center photo), and a century old tree beside the ruins o the convent (upper left photo).

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Entrance here is free, though there’s donation box if you want to give something to the community.

Lanzones (Lansium parasiticum)
Outside the ruins are some locals selling souvenirs and since I had been wanting to taste their lanzones (Camiguin is the Philippines’ lanzones capital), I bought 3 kilos for only Php 100.  Wow.  A hundred pesos for a kilo?  That’s really quite a bargain as elsewhere, lanzones is sold at Php 40-50 per kilo and they’re not even as sweet!

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Note that these lanzones photos were not taken at the ruins.  I chanced upon this tree en route to Tuasan Falls so I asked Kuya Criz to stop so I could take photos.  The photo on the upper right, though, is the photo of the lanzones I bought outside the ruins.

Sunken Cemetery
This large cross marks a cemetery swept into the sea by Old Vulcan Daan’s eruption in 1871.  This is perhaps Camiguin’s most famous attraction (it’s always featured in their brochures and my image of Camiguin has always been one of a beach with a giant cross).

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Note that there’s no entrance fee if you will be just by the viewdeck, but if you want to go to the cross itself, you can rent a banca for Php 100.  I chose not to do this since we were in a rush to get to White Island as Kuya Criz said there’s a cut-off for bancas going there.

More Sights and Sites
Whenever I travel, I make it a point that I’m comfortable so I always charter a vehicle for my tours.  One of its conveniences is that I can always ask the driver to stop by somewhere that has taken my fancy so that I can take photos.

Here are random photos from Day 1, which is of anything from a coconut-dotted beach to coconut-lined roads, to one dramatic leave-less trees with branches that extend towards the beach.

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I’ll end this post with a photo of Camiguin’s most known attraction.

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Surreal and serene, isn’t it?

Camiguin: Casa Roca Inn

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After enjoying White Island’s sandbar and views, I asked Kuya Criz to bring me to Casa Roca Inn for dinner.  I chose to dine here since TripAdvisor ranked it as the number one restaurant in Camiguin.  It was also the number one accommodation under the B & B category and I initially wanted to stay here, but they were already booked for my preferred dates so I opted for Enigmata and Camiguin Action Gecko for my accommodations.

I loved the casa’s quaint and rustic accommodations.  It looked very homey.

We were lucky that when we arrived, the setting sun was still visible so I headed straight to their viewing deck by the beach.

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I loved how the plants and trees framed the colorful sky.

After taking photos, I headed back to Casa Roca’s dining area to order my dinner.  I chose Chicken Mushroom Pot Pie at Php 220 and Kuya Criz had Asian Chili and Garlic Fresh at Php 180.  We had Pepsi for our drinks at Php 20 per 8 oz bottle.

While waiting for our food, I took photos of the dining area.  I also met a new friend.

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I marveled at how friendly their dog was that it let me pet him.  And all throughout my meal, it stayed at my feet, looking at me with those warm, trusting eyes.

When my order arrived, I excitedly dug in.  I love English pies and their menu’s description of my order being “a pastry pie made from scratch with tender boneless chicken breast” made me think I was in for a treat.  I was disappointed though because the chicken was overcooked, the crust was too thick, and it tasted bland.  Good thing there were fries for me to eat.

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I asked Kuya Criz how his meal was and he also didn’t like it.  He said it was too spicy.

Though my meal here was a disappointment, the service was prompt and the server was friendly.  The Caucasian owner and his Filipina wife, who we were told does the cooking, even waved hello.

A tip to those who want to dine here:  Contact them first if they are open since as per the food attendant, when the couple is away, they do not accommodate diners.  And oh, do bring insect repellant and smother yourself with it.  There were so many mosquitoes when we dined!

I’ll end this post with my favorite sunset photo taken at their view-deck.  It’s of the colorful skyline fringed by cogon grasses.

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Casa Roca is located in National Highway, Baring, Naasag, Camiguin.  Contact them via their official website.

Camiguin: White Island

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White Island is perhaps Camiguin’s best known beach.  With Mt. Hibok-Hibok as its backdrop, it is one picturesque uninhabited island.

Most people come here in the morning but my guide, Kuya Criz, suggested that we come here in the afternoon because then, it would be low tide so the sandbar is bigger.  Note that going to the island is dependent on weather and tide conditions.

After paying Php 420 as entrance and banca fees, we set sail to the famed White Island.  I loved it at first sight.  It was such a long stretch of sandbar (the longest that I’ve seen so far) surrounded by clear blue-green waters.

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When I alighted from my chartered banca, I was pleased to discover that its sand was fine, though still not as fine as Boracay’s.

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The best part about this visit?  White Beach was not crowded at all!  I counted only about half a dozen bancas and maybe only a dozen tourists.

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Kuya Criz was right.  Not only was it low tide in late afternoon, but there were so few people it was easy to find my own secluded spot and just watch the world pass me by while listening to some music  (I would have preferred listening to the crashing waves but the waves here were just gently  lapping against the shore, frothy, and almost soundless).

I didn’t feel like swimming so I just took as many photos of Mt. Hibok Hibok at different angles.  I loved watching the sea and the sand at its feet.

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I had fun too writing my name on the sand and doing my best to photograph it before the crashing waves could erase it.

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The sight of docked bancas was also beautiful to look at, especially since they’re colored yellow, white, blue, or red, thus blending well with the sea’s azure color.

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At around 5:30 PM, our respective banca drivers told us that it’s time to head back because once darkness settled, it would be quite a challenge to make our way back to shore.  Hearing this made me sad as I could already see the sky with streaks of yellow-orange and was looking forward to sunset.

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But safety always comes first so I grudgingly followed my guide.

Here’s a collage of how the island looked like as we were leaving.

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Our ride back was interesting because I could see the sun gradually setting and painting the sun in vivid shades of red and yellow.  It was beautiful!

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Here’s my favorite sunset photos:

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Isn’t it beautiful to look at the sun meeting the sea in the horizon?

Camiguin: Tuasan Falls

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Tuasan Falls is located 6 kilometers northeast of Catarman.  It was our next stop after Sto. Niño Cold Spring Resort.

This natural attraction is still undeveloped and Kuya Criz mentioned that this particular falls is more beautiful than Katibawasan, but it’s unknown to most tourists due to its inaccessibility, though when I was there, the roads were already being fixed.  So was the access point going to the falls.

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Kuya Criz dropped me off about 30 meters from the falls’ drop (previously, the drop off point was about thrice this and one has to navigate through lush foliage to get to it).

From where I was dropped off, I could already see the falls.

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Looking at it, I was amazed at its high drop and the flash of white against the dark green of the forest made it more beautiful to look at.

As I navigated through the rocky river bed, I took my sweet time taking photos of lush greenery and clear waters.

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The water was cold and the rushing water in some areas was very strong, even deep so prepare to get wet even when you have no plans of swimming.  The rocks were also slippery that twice, one of my flip-flops was swept away by the current.

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I admit that I was disappointed that there were about half a dozen people when I went here though they were so nice they offered to take my photos and encouraged me to take a dip.  I declined.

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By the way, I spoke with their guide and was told they were priests.  Interesting.

I wanted to come close, but the falls’ impact was too strong I could feel splashes of water 5 meters from its drop.  And boy, was it cold!

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Just look at the mist surrounding its drop!

I must say that Tuasan Falls is a must-see when in Camiguin.  Its rugged beauty is just amazing!  Just look at this succeeding photo, which is my favorite photo from this set.

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You must have noticed the different composition of this photo, and it’s because I used HDR mode and edited this using PicsArt.

Isn’t it beautiful?  I just feel sad at how it’s being developed because it might end up like Sto. Niño Cold Spring Resort or Katibawasan Falls, which are now too commercialized a destination.