Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Sun-kissed in Camiguin

CAMIGUIN is aptly nicknamed as the Island Born of Fire because anyone who comes here will surely leave a tad darker, bearing the mark of sun-kissed skin.

Keep this little charming province in Mindanao on your radar because, aside from the popular White Island beach, it offers a lot of outdoor attractions.

I’m not really a water baby, but the many times I’ve gone there, the island has not disappointed me one bit. This hot spot is definitely best enjoyed with family and friends!

Keep in mind that there are no big five star resorts in the area like Discovery Shores, Astoria, Henann, or Shangrila.

This is not like Boracay or Panglao where bars and restos abound right next to each other by the beachfront. There are only a handful of small resorts and a few smaller inns, with some even offering bed-spacing.

Don’t expect Balesin type of amenities and service either. Most resorts in the island are clean, homey, and offer a relaxing bed to crash on after a long day of exploring.

Please note that from what I’ve experienced coming here so often, there is no party scene with loud music, booze, and nonstop music. This quaint little region offers peaceful and relaxing island living, where you can actually hear crickets at night, savor the ocean waves as they hit the shore, and enjoy the quiet solitude amidst the twinkling stars decorating the night sky!

The hotel where we always stay is one of the oldest ones operating in the area, Paras Beach Resort. My husband has been going there since he was in college.

They renovated recently, giving the lobby an overhaul and repainting the rooms. We got wind that they did so because they hosted Miss Universe Candidates when the pageant was held here in the country last year.

It is the closest resort to White Island and the one that’s most conveniently located near the other attractions such as: The Sunken Cemetery, Stations of the Cross, Tuasan Falls, Soda Cold Spring Swimming Pool, and Ardent Hot Springs.

The White Island is one of Camiguin’s main selling points. I’ve always wondered why they call it an island when it is really a giant sand bar.

There are no trees, other types of fauna, or permanent structures that offer shade. It’s just really all sand, sea, and sun! The only way to get there is to ride your own jetski or rent a boat, with the ride only lasting a few minutes.

If you don’t want charred skin, the best time to go is at 5 a.m. Giant umbrellas are for rent at around 200 pesos.

The morning sun is the most ideal for those who don’t really fancy a tan. After 10am towards 3pm, then you’re guaranteed to burn into a crisp. Some of the boatmen shared that foreigners typically stay from sunrise up until everyone has to vacate the White Island at around 5pm.

Keep in mind that there are no snacks or water for sale in White Island. Bring your own water and food, but please take your trash with you when you leave.

The only thing they sell there is sea urchin (uni) at 3 for 50 bucks. Sometimes, they even harvest these critters while you wait. That being said, it is best to always wear protective beach shoes or sandals.

If you have a snorkeling set or even just simple goggles, take them with you. Even at the shallow area, there are a variety of fish that are a feast for the eyes.

A little farther from Paras Beach Resort near the Benoni Port is Mantigue Island. This is also a part of the Camiguin province, which can be reached via a small bangka. It is famous for its powdery white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and amazing coral reefs that make it a frequent spot for diving enthusiasts.

Compared to White Island’s bare beauty, Mantigue has lush vegetation.

Here, tables are available for rent under a canopy of trees and fresh seafood can also be purchased for grilling.

There are many other attractions in Camiguin such as Mount HibokHibok, Katibawasan Falls, Sto. Nino Cold Springs, Old Catarman Church Ruins, J&A Fishpen, and the like.

These places are easily accessible because tourists can rent a motorcycle or a multicab for ease of travel. On top of that, Camiguin is easy to navigate because the land area of the province is not excessively vast to begin with, plus there’s virtually no traffic.

There are 7,000 plus islands to see in the Philippines, and Camiguin should be on top of that sight-seeing list.

If you haven’t been to the island, what are you waiting for? And if you have, then please come again. After all, say it with flair and Camiguin really sounds like…come again.

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