Camiguin · Philippines · Travel Tales

The Long Road to Camiguin (and back again)

The Island Born of Fire. I mean really, as far as provincial titles or taglines here in the Philippines go, Camiguin’s is the runaway winner for being the most badass. The title itself conjures images of flowing lava and pyroclastic material, but one look at Camiguin from the approaching ro-ro would reveal something quite different: crystal blue waters, verdant rice fields and forests, and several mountains on such small space. Nature would always right itself.

How to Get to Camiguin

Fly direct to Camiguin from Cebu via Cebu Pacific Air.

How to Get to Camiguin the Longer but Cheaper Way

  1. Fly to Laguindingan Airport, which services Cagayan de Oro.
  2. Take a shuttle service to Cagayan de Oro. There are many shuttle services right in front of Laguindingan Airport. We chose to ride the Magnum Express because, you know, if we were going to a place with a badass name, then we had better do it right. A one-way ride would cost you P199. It leaves immediately upon being filled up by passengers. You get comfy seats and WiFi access all the way, perfect for tweeting “Touchdown CDO!” the way I did. This will take you about one hour.
  3. Get dropped off at Agora Bus Terminal.
  4. Take a Bachelor Tours bus (the yellow ones) which goes all the way to Butuan. Your destination is Balingoan. One-way fare is P148. This will take you all of two hours.
  5. Walk or take a very short tricycle ride (P7) to Balingoan Port.
  6. Purchase ferry tickets. A ro-ro ride to Benoni port in Camiguin is P170. This will take you one hour.
  7. Hire a multicab to get to your guesthouse in Mambajao.

In going back to Laguindingan Airport from Camiguin, just do the above in reverse, except that you can take a shuttle that’s not Magnum Express at the Agora Market. Otherwise, you have to take a jeep from Agora Terminal to Limketkai Mall, where you could catch the Magnum Express back to the airport.

Now, in Benoni port, you have to go to the municipality of Mambajao, where most of the resorts and guesthouses are. You have to hire a multicab to get there. Tricycles are not allowed to go too far — for good reason, I was to realize later, as it took us about 40 minutes to get to our resort!

A one-way multicab ride (for a maximum of eight people) from Benoni to Mambajao is P450 while a one-day island tour is worth P1700. It’s pretty steep, but this is the published rates by the local DOT unit. (This is why I would totally recommend touring Camiguin with a group, unless of course you have money to burn.) What we did was to hire the same multicab for going to Mambajao and for touring the island the day after, for a discounted rate of P2000.

20140503-115413.jpg
View of Camiguin from nearby Mantigue Island

 

In Mambajao, we stayed in Agohay Villa Forte, a quaint resort by the beach. Its cheapest room is the fan room which they call Ocean Cottage (P850). I loved sitting in its restaurant (excellent food, by the way) and typing away while staring at the sea and hearing nothing but sea waves and birdcall. It was a beautiful respite from the noise of the city. I miss it already.

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