Mount Hibok-hibok as seen from White Island

The Budget Travel Guide to CAMIGUIN, PHILIPPINES

The cold wind that blew as I stood at the balcony of our hotel was quite a refreshing surprise. Although the sky was bright and the sun was inching its way from the horizon, the temperature remained friendly in the shadows of Mt. Hibok-hibok, the most prominent landmark in Camiguin.

Mount Hibok-hibok as seen from White Island

Camiguin: The Island Born of Fire

Camiguin is the smallest province in Mindanao and the second smallest in the Philippines. But don’t judge it by its size. Often dubbed the Island Born of Fire, Camiguin harbors seven volcanoes, including Mount Vulcan and Mount Hibok-hibok. Its landscape has been continuously shaped and reshaped by volcanic activities, giving this island paradise countless natural attractions.

These restless volcanoes also play a part in the molding and evolution of the province’s culture. Although often quiet, Camiguin has experienced its volcanoes’ many violent rumblings that have changed the way its people live. Despite its fiery past, the island remains enchanting and intriguing especially with attractions like the Sunken Cemetery and the Old Catarman Church Ruins.

Ardent Hot Spring
Sunken Cemetery

Yes, Camiguin may be small but it is big in beauty and wonder, making it an ideal destination for a weekend getaway.

 

How to Get to Camiguin

Flights via Cebu. Camiguin has its own airport that can be reached by flying Cebu Pacific Air via Cebu. (No direct flights from Manila yet. You will have to connect in Cebu.)

Via Cagayan de Oro. Most major airlines fly to Cagayan de Oro City (Laguindingan Airport), the most usual gateway for tourists visiting Camiguin. The most important note to consider when booking a flight to Cagayan de Oro is the schedule. You will need to decide first how you plan on reaching Camiguin from CDO before booking a flight: on Fastcraft or via Balingoan Pier.

OceanJet ferry passengers from Cagayan de Oro city center (Macabalan Port) to Camiguin (Benoni Wharf).  OceanJet took over Paras SeaCat’s schedule at 8:30am. Fare is P900. (Note that this might have already changed. Please call +63 (32) 255 7560 to confirm.

There is another way of getting to Camiguin that doesn’t have that much of a time pressure. One can travel to the Balingoan Pier and take a ferry to Benoni Wharf in Camiguin.

  1. At the airport, take a shuttle to the city center (P199)
  2. At the Agora Bus Terminal, ride the bus bound for Balingoan (Fare: P110, Travel time: 1.5-2 hours)
  3. Board the ferry to Benoni Wharf, Camiguin!

From here you can take a multicab to your resort or hotel. More details here.

Places to Visit in Camiguin

Here are some of the tourist spots in Camiguin that may be worth your time.

White Island
White Island

Mt. Hibok-Hibok
Mt. Hibok-Hibok

Sunken Cemetery
Sunken Cemetery

Walkway to Old Volcano (Mt. Vulcan)
Walkway to Old Volcano (Mt. Vulcan)

Katibawasan Falls
Katibawasan Falls

Gui-ob Ruins
Gui-ob Ruins

Ardent Hot Spring Resort
Ardent Hot Spring Resort

Sto. Nino Cold Spring
Sto. Nino Cold Spring

Bura Soda Pool
Bura Soda Pool

Other attractions: Mantigue Island, Jicdup and Burias Shoals, Cantaan Giant Clams Ocean Nursery

Preparing a 3D/2N Camiguin Itinerary

Camiguin is such a small island and many of its most popular attractions (not including dive sites) can be visited within a day or two.  If you’re budget conscious, you might not want to hire a travel agency or a tour guide because I am pretty sure you can do it yourself. All you need to do is hire a multi-cab and you’re all set. The drivers know exactly where to take you and they are very friendly and accommodating (or at least the driver we hired).

White Island
Katibawasan Falls

Here’s how our initial itinerary looked. Unlike what usually happens to me, I was able to follow this itinerary well.

Day 1: GETTING TO CAMIGUIN, and WHITE ISLAND
03:00 am – Check-in NAIA Terminal 3
04:10 am – ETD NAIA Terminal 3 – Manila (via Airphil Express)
05:35 am – ETA Lumbia Airport, Cagayan de Oro City
06:00 am – Book tickets to Camiguin at Paras Seacat/OceanJet Ticket Office at CDO Pier
06:30 am – Breakfast somewhere  near the pier
08:30 am – ETD: Cagayan de Oro Pier
10:00 am – ETA: Camiguin!
11:00 am – Check-in at Paras Beach Resort, settle down
12:00 pm – LUNCH at Hibok-hibok Restaurant
01:00 pm – White Island
04:00 pm – Back to the resort

Day 2: CAMIGUIN ISLAND TOUR
06:00 am – Wake up call
07:00 am – Breakfast
08:00 am – Start of Island Tour (Ardent Hot Springs, Katibawasan Falls, Sunken Cemetery, Old Catarman Church Ruins, etc).
02:00 pm – Buy pasalubong and sample street food
06:00 pm – Dinner
07:00 pm – Swim at Paras Beach Resort pool

Day 3: THE WAY BACK
06:00 am – Wake up call
07:00 am – Breakfast
08:00 am – Pack up, check out
08:30 am – Buy tickets to Cagayan de Oro
09:15 am – ETD Benoni Wharf, Camiguin
11:30 am – ETA Balingoan Port, Misamis Oriental
12:00 pm – ETD Balingoan Terminal, Misamis Oriental
02:00 pm – ETA Lumbia Airport, Cagayan de Oro City
02:30 pm – Check in
03:55 pm – ETD Lumbia Airport, CDO (via Airphil Express)
05:20 pm – ETA NAIA Terminal 3, Manila

We didn’t really veer that much away from our initial itinerary. Although had we had more time, I would’ve wanted to also visit Mantigue Island but I guess that left us one more reason to go back.

If you have more than a weekend or more than three days, I urge you to also enjoy Cagayan de Oro City and the province of Bukidnon!

Budget Breakdown

I didn’t spend much because this trip was a birthday gift to me. (Hallelujah for generous friends!) But just so you could have an idea on how much to spend, here’s the breakdown of expenses had I paid for my half.

Transportation, Accommodations, and Tours

  • P679 – Airphil Express roundtrip tickets to Cagayan de Oro (P100 SALE)
  • P200 – Terminal fee at NAIA 3
  • P60 – Cab fare to Macabalan Port
  • P550 – Paras Sea Cat/OceanJet ticket to Camiguin
  • P125 – Multicab to Resort from Benoni Port (P250 per multicab)
  • P2500 – Superior Room at Paras Sea Cat (P2500 per night for 2 nights, divided by 2 pax)
  • P200 – Boat ride to White Island and back (P400 per boat, can accommodate up to 8 pax)
  • P600 – Island tour (P1200 per multicab, can accommodate up to 10 pax)
  • P900 – Total food and drinks
  • P250 – Multicab ride to the ro-ro port
  • P135 – Ferry ticket
  • P110 – Bus ride from Balingoan to Cagayan de Oro
  • P60 – Taxi fare to Airport
  • P30 – Lumbia Airport Terminal fee
  • P6,399 – SUBTOTAL
Entrance Fees/ Donations
  • P20 – White Island Fee
  • P5 – Walkway to the Old Volcano Envirenmental Fee
  • P20 – Santo Nino Cold Spring entrance
  • P15 – Life buoy rental at Santo Nino Cold Spring
  • P20 – Soda Spring Swimming Pool
  • P30 – Ardent Hot Spring Entrance Fee
  • P15 – Katibawasan Falls Entrance Fee
  • 125 – SUBTOTAL

That’s a total of PhP 6,524.

Hmmm. That’s pretty expensive for a weekend trip.

But hey, I cannot stress enough the fact that there were only two of us on this trip. Having more people on this trip will make a LOT of difference. For example, the boat to White Island can accommodate up to 8 people but we had to shoulder the whole boat cost because there were only two of us. The multicab, too, can also accommodate up to 10 people.

Just to prove a point, let’s assume that you are a group of 8 and you’ll do the exact same things that we did. Here’s how the breakdown will look like:

  • P679 – Airphil Express roundtrip tickets to Cagayan de Oro (P100 SALE)
  • P200 – Terminal fee at NAIA 3
  • P30 – Cab fare to Macabalan Port
  • P550 – Paras Sea Cat/OceanJet ticket to Camiguin
  • P31 – Multicab to Resort from Benoni Port (P250 per multicab)
  • P1500 – Superior Room at Paras Sea Cat (P2500 per room, 4 people per room, 1 extra bed)
  • P50 – Boat ride to White Island and back (P400 per boat, can accommodate up to 8 pax)
  • P150 – Island tour (P1200 per multicab, can accommodate up to 10 pax)
  • P900 – Total food and drinks
  • P31 – Multicab ride to the ro-ro port
  • P135 – Ferry ticket
  • P110 – Bus ride from Balingoan to Cagayan de Oro
  • P30 – Taxi fare to Airport
  • P30 – Lumbia Airport Terminal fee
  • P125 – All entrance and environmental fees
  • PhP 4,421 – TOTAL

That’s 35% cheaper. And you can still bring it a lot lower by choosing to stay at a less expensive resort or hotel or using cheaper modes of transportation.


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Yoshke Dimen

Captain Dreamer at PhilippineBeaches.org
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 Philippine Blog Awards and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.

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  • Afrhill Rances

    Thaaaaaaanks!!! Can’t wait for my trip!!!

    • The Poor Traveler

      No problem! Watch out for my post fleshing out the details of my budget! :)

  • Travelism.pinoy

    I like my stay in camiguin, the memories will be treasred forever.

    specia thanks to: mr. teddy pabualan, he is the one who arranges our tour in camiguin ( m: 0939-400521/ teddybird2005@yahoo.com)

    • The Poor Traveler

      Thanks for sharing your contact!

  • http://camiguinislandresort.blogspot.com/ lyn

    I’ve been to a lot of places but I always ended going back to camiguin island :)