Camiguin Island is part of Northern Mindanao, an “isla nació del fuego” (island born out of fire), in fact there are seven volcanoes in this small island, Mt.Hibok-Hibok, Mt.Vulcan, Mt.Guinsiliban, Mt.Mambajao, Mt.Timpoong, Mt.Tres Marias, and Mt.Uhay (more about this here). It was during my college days that I saw photos from this beautiful island, back then it was just a dream to visit Camiguin. Seems like dreams are to be fulfilled, right?
Camiguin island is the second smallest province in the Philippines, roughly 64kilometers in circumference, so small you can tour it half day. But this particular circumferential tour took me a whole day because I stopped on “touristy” spots and did some “untouristy” stuffs (more on this on the following posts). I guess what make this tour different is that it is probably the cheapest Camiguin Island Tour ever done.
The Cheapest Camiguin Island Tour
I started the tour at the provincial capital, Mambajao. Here you can also find most of the accommodations in the island.
- Mambajao – Caves & Dives. I took the multi-cab neat the public market to go to the jump-off point of White Island, Caves and Dives Resort. Fare: Php7.00
- Caves & Dives – Naasag. During this particular trip, I am practicing my plan of 100-days of Philippine Backpacking so I have to live within the Php500/day budget. When I inquired about the rate of outrigger boats to White Island (see northwest of the map below), its Php450. Definitely, I just have to say next time and just take a picture of the island from a far. I just walked back to the highway and waited for a motorela to take me to Naasag. Fare: Php6.00
- Naasag – Bonbon. People in Camiguin are so nice, I was able to ride a jeepney, as I was about to pay the driver said that I don’t have to. That’s an accidental hitchhking! I ask to be get off when I saw the Old Volcano Walkway. I did some trail running at the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) and just walk my way until I reach the Sunken Cemetery, the Big White Cross and the Guiob Church Ruins. Fare: n/a
- Bonbon – Catarman. A lot of things happened while I was at the Giant White Cross, then I walk just a few meters to the ruins of the Gui-ob Church. From there I hitchhiked with some locals going to Catarman on board a small truck, elf. The driver thought I was with the locals. We also passed by a lot of tourist spots jump-off points to Tuwasan Falls and Sto.Nino Cold Spring Fare: n/a
- Catarman – Sagay. I went off at Catarman to have my late lunch and hopefully find a cheap room. I didn’t find a room that is within the budget so I kept on going. Took the motorela once again from Catarman to Sagay. Fare: Php12.00
- Sagay – Guinsiliban. When I arrived in Sagay, I was still looking for a cheap room, but to no avail. I wanted to go directly to Brgy.Mahinog so I can go to Mantigue Island but there are no public transportation available during that time so I took another motorela to Guinsiliban. Note: Public transportation is not readily available especially during the late afternoon, take the motorcycle or try your luck in hitchhiking. Fare: Php15.00
- Guinsiliban – Mahinog. I hurriedly boarded the habal-habal (motorcycle) and asked the driver to bring me to Mahinog as I want to see Mantigue Island (a white beach island east of Camiguin, see map above). It was already past 4:00pm when I reached San Roque. Unfortunately, the island is open only until 5:00pm. Actually, the most hour you can stay in the island is 4 hours. Add to that, I have to pay Php550 should I go to the island on board an outrigger. No way I will pay that amount so I talked to some locals who are living in the island, I asked them if I could just go with them as I want to experience staying overnight in the island on my hammock to save expenses. Too bad, the tourism officer didn’t allowed me to. Seems like I have to ask permission from the Mayor. I have no choice but to go back to Mambajao. Fare: Php40
- Mahinog – Mambajao. I really don’t want to spend anymore so I prayed to be able to hitchhike again. Luckily, the last tourist that came back from Mantigue Island are going back to Mambajao with their rented van. I asked if I could tag along. They happily agreed. Thanks Sir Ariel and co. Fare: n/a
Total Cost of the the tour: Php80.00 (less than US$2.00), of course excluding the food I ate during the trip.
So I guess this is the cheapest trip ever around the island. Please let me know if you know someone who did it cheaper than Php80.
Helpful Tourist Infos:
Camiguin Island Tour Cost. During this tour, you go around the island stopping on tourist spots. The tourist is given the chance to stay longer or continue the trip. You can ask your hotel/guesthouse for reservations. Alternatively, you can deal directly to multi-cab owners or motorcycle rental shops in Mambajao.
Multi-cab Rental (seats up to 10 pax) – Php 1,300 (tour doesn’t include entrance fees to tourist spots). It is better to negotiate the cost and time allotted for the whole tour before starting the trip.
Motorcycle Rental (up to 2 pax) – Php 500-600. You can opt to have a driver or rent the motorcycle and drive it on your own. I suggest you go on your own as you would discover a lot, although it also helps to have a local driver with you so someone would explain the spots you see.
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NORTHERN MINDANAO ESCAPADE. This post is part of a series born out of my adventures in Region X last January 19-25, 2011. I also challenged myself to live within Php500 or less/day budget (food, transportation, accommodation, etc.) as I am preparing for my “The Cheapest 100 Days of Backpacking around the Philippines.”
CDO- The Ride of my Year / Divisoria & Night Market
Iligan City- Ma.Cristina Falls: A Dream Fulfilled / Tinago Falls: The Best Waterfalls So Far