Northern Mindanao Escapade Summary and Expenses
A fisherman is fixing his nets in the morning. Before the sun sets, he will again brave the waves for the family’s dinner. If lucky enough, he would have more to sell for other necessities (Mambajao, Camiguin).
That 7-day adventure challenge has taught me to appreciate the rugged beauty of Mindanao, her lovely people, varied terrains, fine weather. I would compare this blessed land to an unpolished gem, the beauty is within, and only a keen traveler can see and find charm even in the most mundane of situations.
This particular trip is a practice, a glimpse of my big plan- 100 Days of Backpacking the Philippines, The Cheapest Way Possible.
Here I want to share with you how I pulled it off on a 500/day budget in chronological order. One will also learn about my itinerary, expenses and how I managed to save some pesos while on the road.
It could also be an itinerary for those who want to experience Mindanao, along with this are my tweets, blog posts, expenses (up to the last kwek-kwek I ate), and travel tips.
Day 1: Manila to CDO
-im nervous of my trip to mindanao later- not with security but with how i will manage to live within my scanty budget
-off to MNL to catch my late afternoon flight to CDO. another adventure in the making!
-greetings from rainy cdo. im in a jam-packed jeepney going to carmen,the town proper. paid P16 instead of P200 should i took a taxi.
Expenses (all in Philippine Peso):
16 Jeepney fare, CDO Airport to Carmen
6 Jeepney fare, Carmen to Scions
10 Trike to friend’s house
I always ask staff form the airport if there is a public transportation to downtown, jeepney or tricycle. So instead of paying up to P200 for the taxi to downtown, I only paid P16.
I also stayed in my friends house, this would also become my hub as I go around Region 10, Northern Mindanao
Day 2: CDO- Camiguin Island
-surprising jeepney fares here, just P6. amused by “palihug” (please) that is used in almost all sentences. going to balingoan port now.
-greetings from camiguin island. i found a very cheap traveler’s inn, P100/night, mambajao. i will tour the island tomorrow.
6 Jeepney to Gaisano
6 Jeepney to Agora (Market City)
50 Bus to Balingoan
10 Internet rental
7 Tricycle, Balingoan bus terminal to Talisayan
5 Tricycle, Seafood Area to Talisayan public market
44 Lunch, 2 viands & 2 cups of rice
7 Tricycle, Talisayan to Pantalan
20 Bread, merienda
115 Roro fare, Ferry boat from Balingoan to Benoni Port, Camiguin
3 Terminal fee
23 Jeepney, Benoni port to Mambajao
30 Instant Coffee and C2
25 Grilled Tuna Fish from the Public market
I took the non-AC bus from Agora to Balingoan, paid Php50 instead of Php80 should I take the AC bus.
I used my student ID to avail of the student fare on board a ferry, Saved me Php10.
I always buy bread if I’m hungry for merienda. In case of delays or no available cheap eateries, I can always rely on my bread.
If you have time, check out the public market for fresh food, its cheap and you get to see local life too.
Day 3: Camiguin Island Tour
-did some snorkling around sunken cemetery, nice soft corals below. now at the old gui-ob church ruins
-back in mambajao,camiguim. a bit disappointed bec i wasnt able to go to mantigue island, cant set up my hammock there.
-just came from ardent hotspring. it began to rain while im bathing, refreshing waters fr mt.hibok-hibok! gudnyt
7 Jeepney, Mambajao to Caves Resort (jump-off to White Island)
7 Motorela, Caves Resort to Naasag
5 Entrance fee, Walkway to Old Volcano
83 Grande and Peanuts, chillin’ with the locals of Giant Cross
40 Lunch- La Paz Batchoy, egg and bread
12 Motorela, Catarman to Sagay
15 Motorela, Sagay to Guinsiliban
40 Habal-habal (motorcycle), Guinsiliban to Mahinog (jump-off to Mantigue Island)
30 Entrance fee, Ardent hot spring
I managed to hitchhike while touring the island.
I met some local tourists from Mahinog, I befriended them and joined them to Ardent, saved transportation and met new friends.
Day 4: Camiguin to CDO
-eating camiguin’s pastel while waiting for the van to leave for benoni port. im going back to cdo. what’s next: iligan or bukidnon?
-on board a ferry vessel to balingoan port writing 10 things to do in camiguin island. i hope i can pitch this to a travel mag =)
-back at cdo..thankful to the very helpful people of camiguin! ang sarap ng pastel. night cafe & divisoria later.
-vicente de lara park in cdo is very sporty! some are jogging, a strip of chess players and a boxing ring is being set up.
-cdo’s divisoria is a mixture of baclaran and ukay-ukay plus hole-in-wall eateries. lovin’ the city vibe!
-cool party jeepney! loud sounds and bass, music videos on board, black light plus strobe lights. panalo! tugs tugs tugs!
6 Motorela, Traveler’s Inn to Van terminal
60 6pcs Pastel, breakfast
30 Van, Mambajao to Benoni port
115 Ferry boat, Benoni to Balingoan
60 Bus, Balingoan to CDO
6 Motorela, Agora to Gaisano
6 Jeepney, Gaisano to Scions
71 Dinner, Chicken Inasal
If visiting CDO for the first time, try walking allong Velez St. from Vicente de Lara Park towards the Night Cafe and Divisoria (available only during Fridays and Saturdays). Its one hotchpotch of CDO city culture.
Day 5: CDO to Iligan City
-on my way to iligan city passing thru the coastal towns of misamis or. the rural scene here is very relaxing. studentfare: P80
-amazed at the great twin falls- greetings from ma.cristina falls! the current is powerful,very powerful. parang ang sarap tumalon
-the best waterfalls i experienced so far- tinago falls. have a nice weekend, wow philippines in lanao del norte
-lovin’ the city of waterfalls! ma.cristina, tinago & mimbalot falls in one day. definitely one of the highlights of my north mindanao trip
6 Jeepney to Bulua, West bound bus terminal
15 Bread, breakfast part 1
80 Bus, CDO to Iligan (student fare)
6 Jeepney to Mercado (public market)
6 Cassava cake, breakfast part 2
40 Entrance fee to Ma.Cristina falls and shuttle fare
75 Lunch, lechon infront of Macaraeg-Macapagal Ancestral house
36 Jeepney, fare to Tinago falls
25 Habal-habal to Tinago falls
10 Entrance fee to Tinago falls
25 Habal-habal to Timoga falls
10 Entrance fee to Timoga falls
15 Internet rental
Try to haggle while transacting fares with the habal-habal driver.
I stayed with friends while in Iligan, saves you a lot.
Day 6: Iligan City – CDO – Bukidnon – CDO
-treating myself with a nice view of kitanglad mountain ranges, towering pine trees & bottomless pineapple juice. hello fr delmonte golf club,bukidnon
6 Jeepney to bus terminal, going back to CDO
100 Bus, Super Five (regular fare, AC)
25 Breakfast, pandesal and pancit
6 Jeepney to Agora
30 Bus, Agora (Market City) to Alae, Bukidnon
15 Jeepney, Alae to Camp Phillips
6 Multicab, Camp Phillips to Coop
10 Jeepney, Coop to Del Monte Golf Club
20 Bottomless Pineapple juice
10 Jeepney, Golf Club to Phillips
5 Multicab, Phillips to Coop
50 Van, Coop to CDO downtown
30 Medicine, I’m already sick here.
27 Goto, dinner
6 Gaisano to Scions
That bottomless pineapple juice drink sure helped me while I was feverish.
If the place where I am going is just a kilometer or less away, I would just walk it.
Instead of eating in the fine dining restaurants, I try to look for carinderia where the food is very cheap. Carinderias and food stalls in the province are clean and serves good food.
Day 7: CDO Whitewater Rafting and Back to Manila
-capping the 1week escapade with advance white water rafting! adrenaline rush talaga.. ganda ng mindanao!
-touchdown manila! total expenses during my 1week north mindanao escapade: P3,187 (455/day) covering 4 provinces, misamis orienal, camiguin, lanao del norte & bukidnon
6 Jeepney, Scions to Carmen
15 Graham crackers
1000 Whitewater rafting fee, advance course 1
20 Shower fee at the end point
5 Hot water
30 Terminal Fee
You would always see that I buy bread, its my main source of carbohydrates aside from the rice I eat. Peanuts are my source of protein.
I still have some instant coffee with me so while waiting for my flight, I bought a cup of hot water, coffee to kill time.
Straight from the rafting adventure, I asked the driver to take me to the airport as it is just on the way. Of course, I already brought all my stuff with me.
If you arrived too early at the airport, you can ask the check-in agent for an earlier flight. Usually they allow passengers to take the earlier flight as most seats are not yet taken.
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Total Expenses: Php 3,212
Day 1- Php 75
Day 2- Php 476
Day 3- Php 403
Day 4- Php 394
Day 5- Php 364
Day 6- Php 397
Day 7- Php 1,103
Php 3,212.00/7days = Php 458.86/day = SUCCESSFUL!
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I have a similar account when I did my Php250/day backpacking challenge around Western Visayas.
I hope this would be of great help to solo travelers and those who want to travel but with limited budget. Better yet, share or retweet this to friends to encourage them to experience a once in a lifetime adventure.
If you have question on itineraries, travel tips, or anything about backpacking in the Philippines, just contact me and I will try my best to help you out. Or maybe if you are lucky, I can tour you anywhere in the Philippines, I can be your travel buddy (but there’s a catch). Until the next challenge?!!!
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NORTHERN MINDANAO ESCAPADE. A series born out of my adventures in Region X last January 19-25, 2011 where 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.”