CAMIGUIN | We Meet Again Island Born of Fire

It has been a forgotten-number of years from the first time I stepped on its sandy beaches, swam in the waters of the Sunken Cemetery, laid quadrants on its land areas, strategically placed mist nest to catch fruit bats and some innovative ways to catch insects and some sorts, and dry pressed some leaves and other plant parts from Camiguin. Yes. Camiguin Island used to be my playground — the open laboratory of experience and learning. I could draw Camiguin Island at the back of my hand and greet locals as if I see them everyday. I’ve loved every trip I did in this Island Born of Fire.
It is one island I could never get too much of. So I set off to visit and check out Camiguin, this time not with knowledge-hungry-but-chaotic-Bio-studes packed bus — but all by myself. 
My trip to Camiguin was a weekend warrior thingy I did — out of the blue, pushed by stress and more stress that I accepted a long standing invite and quickly packed my bags and went off somewhere. Here’s what not to do but end up doing productively

Camiguin Island, Tourist Map

Attractions, Distractions and Destination Spots in Camiguin:
Click on the highlighted links below for detailed posts with directions and rates.
CHURCHES AND OLD CHURCH RUINS.
Because I had to see more of the churches than just the Old Church Ruins. Churches are one of the old structures any place would have. Visiting parishes is like taking bits of glimpses of the locals’ life.
CROSS AND WALKWAYS
I had to see familiar places. The ones I only get to see on postcards and travel brochures for some time now. The ones that held memories, laughter, hopes, and dreams. I had to travel back in time and partly relive those moments.
COLD AND HOT SPRINGS.
For the love of water, I had to check them out. I may not have taken a swim at the cold spring resorts (with lack of time – boooo!) but I was rooting it all out for the hot spring.
WATERFALLS AND MOUNTAIN PEAKS.
I only get to visit Katibawasan Falls, the few more I reserve for my next visit. I wanted to stay longer and trek the mountains that I just marvel at the grounds. Duty called and I had to answer. I will have a date with Mt.Hibok-Hibok one of these days.
***Tour Guide Rate for Mt. Hibok-Hibok starts at 1000Php/group
ANCESTRAL HOUSES.
Proudly standing beside the highway. I could not get enough shots of them. Yes. They drained out my batteries. LOL! But nothing beats the old but still standing structures that were witnesses of time.

ISLAND HOPS.
But I was advised not to cross the waters. My hosts were concern with the bad weather that it was better not to island hop. After which, they made me promise to come back. Now, how was I to decline?^^
***Rates will be 400Php per outrigger boat/6 Pax
  • White Island
  • Mantigue Island
ANYTHING AQUATIC.
And because I refused to leave Camiguin without getting to know more of it. I went off the familiar road and trusted the local guides to take me somewhere else. The result was priceless! Yes, I may be easy to please and entertain but, then again, the locals had already won my heart.
Listed above are but a few to go around and get to see at Camiguin. The best way to tour the island is have a great big “round” around it, as the locals would say. It would be best to get a map with locations of the destination spots you want to visit.

TRANSPORTATION:
Multicab (Driver : Tour Guide)      1, 500Php/day
Motorcycle (Driver : Tour Guide)      600Php/day
Motorcycle for Rent                          400Php/day
These are the suggested rates for transport tour fees. Multicab seats 6-8 people and all rates are good for 8 hours rental.

ACCOMMODATIONS:
I stayed over at a friends house during my stay, but here’s a list of Camiguins Accommodations with room rates, facilities offered and contact infos that may help you and your company. I hope it will come in handy.

HOW TO GET THERE:
Detailed post with rates/fares and directions on how to get to Camiguin: CLICK HERE

Kabila Marine Sanctuary
PINAY TRAVELISTA’S MUST:
+ A visit and stay at Camiguin should not be less than 2 days. There’s so much of Camiguin to check out that you might not have enough time.
+ Bring your sunblock lotions and bathing suits ofcourse.
+ Hey! There are great diving spots there too. Bring your snorkeling gears and pack other diving essentials.
+ Your dry packs will come in handy. It will be nice to confidently island hop knowing your gadgets are safely dry.
+ Cameras with extra batteries is a must. It will be a whole day of frolicking under the sun. Better be equipped with extra camera life or be sorry.
+ Should you be traveling solo, don’t forget to bring your tripod. I had funny epic fail shots when I asked the driver to take it. LOL.
+ Trust your hired driver. They usually are the ones who, not only knows the place better, but can make you have the grandest time you’ll ever have. Tell them your itinerary and ask them if there’s anything else you need to add and must not miss.

For Pasalubongs: Vjandep Pastel and island souvenirs
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We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.
-Anais Nin
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Check out the rest of the CAMIGUIN SERIES post:

CAMIGUIN Transportation Guide | How To Get There & Directions

Getting back on the road was my break from the stress that I was carrying around my back for some few weeks then. So when I got an invite from a good friend to visit Camiguin, I was quick to say yes. Okay. So she has been inviting a group of us to visit the island but we could never agree on a date, so the timing was  all too perfect to distress that I travelled with no itinerary but only a map of the island and memory to serve me right — by myself.
Camiguin is an island province in the Philippines and is one of the backpackers destination places that is off the northern coast of the Northern Misamis  Oriental. It is the second smallest province both in population and land area — and one of my favorite islands. Visiting Camiguin for the nth time has been more of a laid back catching up with a good friend thingy for me. Seeing how far life has progress and the comfort that Camiguin is still the Camiguin I remembered from my previous visits was a thumbs upper.


Directions, and How to Get There Details for  Camiguin:
***Fares may change depending on approved rates. 
*** POST DATE: January 2012
       UPDATED: April 2014

ILIGAN CITY to CAGAYAN DE ORO:

      ::: Private Vehicle
               Travel Time: 1H 30mins

      ::: Bus: Northbound (Iligan) – Bulua (CDO) Bus Terminal
               Travel Time: 2H
               Travel Time Interval: 15mins.
               Fare: Regular      150Php
                        SP/Senior  115Php

via CAGAYAN DE ORO:
1] Flights/Ferries Bound for Cagayan de Oro:
      ::: From Manila  Travel Time
               Flight: ~1H 20mins
               Ferry: ~30H
      ::: From Cebu  Travel Time
               Flight: ~30mins.
               Ferry: ~16H

 2.a.] From Laguindingan International Airport to CDO City Proper ( READ HERE!)
                  CDO City Proper – Agora Bus Terminal
          ::: Taxi: Travel Time: ~10mins;  Fare:  ~120Php
          ::: Public Utility Jeepney: Lapasan Route
                Travel Time: ~20-30 mins. depends on traffic ^^

2.b.] From Pier to Agora Bus Terminal
          ::: Metered Taxi/Van: ~150Php
          ::: Public Utility Jeepney: Travel Time: ~20 mins. depends on traffic ^^
         
2.c.]Bulua Bus Terminal – Agora Bus Terminal
      ::: Public Utility Jeepney (within the terminal): Tavel Time: ~20 mins; ~15Php
      ::: Taxi: Travel Time: ~15 mins; ~120Php

CAGAYAN DE ORO to BALINGOAN: (80km)
      ::: Bus: Agora (CDO) – Balingoan Bus Terminal
         – Take either  Butuan, or Surigao bound buses
                 Travel Time: 2H;  Fare: ~150Php

1.] Balingoan Bus Terminal – Port Area
      ::: Motor:  Travel Time: <3mins; Fare: 7Php
      ::: On Foot
                   Travel Time: <5mins.
                    Fare: Carbon Footprint Saver ^^

BALINGOAN to BENONI, CAMIGUIN
      ::: Ferry Boat
                    Travel Time: ~1H – 30mins. – 2H
                    Travel Time Interval: 1H
                    Last Trip: 5PM
                    Fare: Regular               170Php
                             SP                      145Ph
                             Senior Citizen     135Php
                             5-11 y.o. Child     85Php
                    Terminal Fee: 2.25Php

So I swallowed my pride on having “photographic” memory, using that as my guide to remembering details on my trips. This time, I took with me a little white notebook and a pen and constantly taking notes along the way. LOL. I never got it with people who take down notes when on the road — until I became one. Thanks to a random conversation/interview I had with a travel blogger friend. Hope this one helps guys. 

ILIGAN CITY | Restructured Face of Iligan by TS Sendong

It has been a month since that morning when I woke up with the sun peeking from the clouds. It rained continuously the days before that. And the night before was no different. Rain poured and strong winds howled. I was asleep for I loved to curl up with rain battering on  the rooftops. But that was a month passed, when rain has been a comfort for me and, maybe, to some people too —- things are different now.
http://www.gwapito.com 
Tropical storm Sendong (Washi) struck Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City. On the night of December 16, 2011, its strongest at around 11P.M. – 1 A.M. the following day, when everyone was asleep and innocent of such danger. Typhoons are never an occurrence in Iligan City as it is naturally barricaded with mountain ranges — or so what Iliganons thought. There’s always a first in everything. TS Sendong was the first typhoon that hit Iligan City, and it took more than what anyone could have imagined — residences, establishments, public infrastructures, took away and rob people of the lives they used to have. By the morning of December 17, 2011, the sun shined on a blue sky at the devastated Iligan City.

It took me a month to actually blog about what happened in full confidence that I will be able to finish and publish it. It has been hard to write about the destruction of Iligan when Pinay Travelista was inspired by the roads and adventures of this city. I have more than a few drafts about the Sendong but it was too depressing to have it published. Gwapito did say that, “not all blog posts are happy posts”, and that it is okay even if it was and is depressing. But I could not find it in me to inject depression on people who already feels distress over the matter. All I could do was to continue on through the campaign ran by Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc that started at the very same day a month ago. One For Iligan started as out as a call for One Dollar for the Victims of Sendong in Iligan City. Social media and networking proved to be undauntingly supportive, after all this is their bread and butter — and it did not fail.

Click to View; For More Photos: CLICK HERE
The outpouring of support and overwhelming donations came in — sharing it was task not to be toyed with. It was like having an army at your back eagerly helping you out. Volunteerism spread like wild fire. People who had the time offered their days to help distribute the donations and services to affected areas and evacuation centers. Local Government Units, Non-Government Organizations, groups, and families sacrificed their comforts to help and share what little to the generous resources that they could share for the victims of Sendong in their own respective ways. Care and concern for others well being is emanated through heroic, selfless, and backbreaking acts.
   Click to View; For More Photos: CLICK HERE
Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc. received a call for donations for affected areas that were still not accessible by land. In the hinterlands of Brgy. Rogongon, relief operations were flown and delivered to the area via the Philippine Air Force UH -1H (Super Huey) Military Transport Helicopter. The aerial view we had of the hinterlands showed why the massive uprooted trees and amount of soil was coursed through the Mandulog River that caused destruction on the highly residential low areas of Iligan City. It was as if a giant had unleashed his anger and scratched on the faces of the mountain sides – tearing trees, grasses, and soil off of it.

Click to View; For More Photos: CLICK HERE
Checking parts of Mandulog River from an aerial view was scary. The widened river glistened from above, not from white waters but from gravel of the river bed now exposed and bared, without its’ topsoil. The contours would show how strong the current was and how massive the volume of water plus soil and debris was carried downstream during that fateful eve. Iligan City was and is scarred by TS Sendong and it will take a while to get back on normalcy.

Click to View; For More Photos: CLICK HERE
With the threat of rain, we headed back to the camp. I was the only passenger seated on the floor with no seat belt on in the open chopper. The other male passenger asked if I had flown in such before, I answered “No, this trip is my first time to do so”. I guess he could tell that I was enjoying the ride — for I was the eager-to-fly passenger, shutterbugging (taking photos) to my hearts content. But I actually was scared and a bit heart broken — not for the flight but because of what I just saw during the experience. But the smiles you get from the people you extended help, encouraging nods from other volunteering groups and organizations and from the pats on the back from the people who supported you is worth it all. 
Click to View; For More Photos: CLICK HERE
I see hopeful faces who will remember this grey period of Iligan. They will know the extent of loss and pains  everyone will and has gone through to move on and get back on their lives. It has only been a month and my hopes are up on the scales. It may never be the same in my hometown and in the lives of those who lost loved ones and the lives that they are now rebuilding. Iligan City, yes a bit bruised, and scarred by Sendong but will rise above it all.
Bangon Iligan! Sidlak Iligan!


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“The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, 
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
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NOTE: Blogger is also the Web Content Manager for Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc.  Photos from One For Iligan above is taken by same blogger and compiled at IBS Fanpage Photo Albums together with works of Lovette Jam | Travel Jams for the One For Iligan Campaign by IBS, Inc.


Eco-Friendly Human Heart Nature Travel Essentials

In the sea of “natural” products, I see myself swimming in the pool of Human Heart Nature. It was Eileen Campos | The Super Tourists who introduced these, now-travel-essential stuff, when I won her blogsary contest. Using it got me hooked! My friends have been so into it that they got some for me too. Now I have bottles of them waiting for the next trip out. And now that my stocks running low, I will be knocking on Human Heart Nature online shop to restock it — this time though, it will be smart to get the 500ml size products and just refill the little bottles I travel with.
Human Heart Nature has principles that sold me out: Pro-Philippines, as it is 100% manufactured in the country; Pro-Poor, with its goal to provide livelihood for Gawad Kalinga residents and communities and more importantly; and Pro-Environment, being serious nature’s steward . I hope you get to try them out, and maybe like them enough to include on your travel kikay kits!