Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Beloved Camiguin

Growing up in a small island of Camiguin is such a pride. It used to be an unknown island, so remote that nobody ever recognizes that it exists. I remembered we don’t have electricity until I was 12 nor signal from any TV stations in our part of the island, Mahinog. People who have never been to the island thought we wear grass skirts- that primitive, huh?

Okay, here’s an overview of our beloved island:

The island-province of Camiguin is a pear-shaped volcanic island in the northern tip of Mindanao. It is approximately 90 kilometers north of the City of Cagayan de Oro. It is bounded to the north by Bohol Sea, to the west by Macajalar Bay, to the southeast by Gingoog Bay and to the east by Butuan Bay.

Camiguin is the smallest province in Northern Mindanao, with its land area pegged at 29,187 hectares. It is composed of five towns, namely, Mambajao – the capital town, Mahinog, Guinsiliban, Sagay and Catarman. The island plays host to seven volcanoes, including the still-active Mount Hibok-Hibok. According to the National Statistics Office, Camiguin has a total population of 74,232 persons- making the province the second smallest in the Philippines in terms of population.

The name Camiguin is derived from the native word “Kamagong”, a tree of the Ebony family that thrives near Lake Mainit in the Province of Surigao del Norte. The original inhabitants of Camiguin were “manobos” who migrated from Surigao. The old native language in Camiguin is called “Kinamiguin”, which is similar to the dialect spoken in Surigao.

The island is blessed with a few beautiful tourist spots and 2 other small, scenic islands with white sands.


The 250-feet majestic beauty cascades to a rock pool surrounded by ground orchids, wild ferns, trees and boulders. Its ice-cold waters provide an ideal summer splash to locals and tourists alike. Rock picnic tables, seats and cookout facilities are available for use. It’s surrounded by virgin forests where you can see a lot of primates playing.


The local hot spa is a natural pool of about 40 deg Celsius springing from depths of Mount Hibok-Hibok. It is ideal for night swimming, a place to rejuvenate both mind and body. This is my favorite destination.

Sto. Niño Cold Spring

It has a pool measuring 25 meters by 40 meters. It is 2 meters deep of cold spring water sprouting from the sandy bottom. I love this place too but it’s just too far from us. It’s at the other end of the island (from our place).

We do have our very own cold spring too called Macao Spring. It’s not developed- yet, it’s open to the public. I remembered every weekend we used to hang out there just to escape the warmth weather and get some refreshment.

Taguines Lagoon

Oh, I will never forget the Lagoon. I’m such a seafood eater, hmmmm. That’s the first place I visited. I really missed the kinilaw or our version of sushi and the crabs, yum! It has its own pond where the fish and crabs are cultured. You can fish and let the restaurant’s crew cook the fish that you just caught. Its cloak of limpid waters, rocky cliffs and huge boulders standing like sentinels, gently rolling hills with peaks covered by creamy clouds and a continually restive sea provide guests with a sense of tranquility and peace.

Mount Hibok Hibok

The only active volcano in the island, the 1250-meter slope is a challenge even to the seasoned mountaineer, as he has to contend with loose rocks and boulders. Mount Hibok-Hibok has a crater lake at the peak and has steam outlets abound. The peak also offers a breathtaking view of the islands of Cebu, Negros and Bohol.


A huge cross marker has been installed by the government to mark the community cemetery that sunk during the 1871 volcanic holocaust. Years ago, gravestones were visible during low tide. Today, it is an interesting diving site. With it’s crystal clear water, it’s really amazing to see school of fish playing around the area.

We do have a Soda Spring too. Soda or otherwise known as carbonated water found in most of beverages contains an amount of sodium bicarbonate - an alkaline, believed to have medical effects that helps neutralize an acidic stomach. It is a by-product of the normal atmospheric high pressure underground.

Oh, I almost forgot we still have the two other islands.


Two kilometers off the coast of Agoho, Mambajao is the Camiguin's popular sand bar. At times it is in the shape of the letter C, sometimes the letter I, depending on the ocean tide. It has the picturesque Mount Hibok-Hibok and Old Vulcan as its backdrop. It is ideal for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling.


Three kilometers off the shore from Barangay San Roque, Mahinog is an island four hectares of evergreen forest fringed with sandy beach. The boat ride to Mantigue is quite exciting, as one has to contend with strong diverging currents due to the open sea. One side of the island is ideal for swimming as it is shallow and has few corals. The opposite side is a deep drop off ideal for snorkeling and diving. I have fun memories in this islet since it’s more accessible to us. We spend some nights in the island when we are craving for more sea foods.

On the other hand, we have been known for the Lanzones Festival. Lanzones is a tropical fruit that grows abundantly on the north-central coast of Mindanao. It is said that the sweetest lanzones comes from Camiguin. The lanzones fruit has a pale brown skin and sweet translucent flesh similar to the lychees. This fruit ripens sometime during the third week of October. The harvest of sweet lanzones fruit is celebrated every year in October with a weekend of street dancing, parade and pageants in the main town of Mambajao. This festival includes an exhibit of agri-cottage industry products, barangay beautification, indigenous sports, tableau of local culture, grand parade of the lanzones which is the golden and extra sweet fruit found in the entire province of Camiguin.

Another popular Panaad - is an annual Holy Thursday and Good Friday activity. This is a gathering of people from all walks of life from Camiguin and nearby provinces for a yearly devotion to spend the Lenten Season by walking the 64 kilometer circumferential road of Camiguin and trekking Mt. Vulcan. In the climb up Mt. Vulcan they go through each of the life-size statues depicting the 14 stations of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ which are interspaced from each other. Thousands of Christian pilgrims make the island of Camiguin a Mecca in observance of the Holy Week as an expression of penitence.

9 Grateful Heart's Words:

earthlingorgeous said...

Wow! is this all found in Camiguin? Wow! The more I want to see the place. Thanks for sharing these photos and info:)

Da Old Man said...

The place is beatiful. And I appreciate your descriptions. They added so much to the photos.

Salamat said...

Yap, we have our own paradise! Thanks, guys!

Maya said...

One of the places, i want to see again.
love all your photos here. i'm love lanzones. even i'm still sleepy ,i'm dreaming to see it back.
Sorry ,shawie. my duck are not yet on alined.

John Painz said...

that looks like a wonderful place to be... wow. really great pictures, too! - J

mykidsinheritance said...

Simply breathtaking. Stunning -- there just aren't words....

fielsvd said...

wow! kanindot man diay ining camiguin no? wala pa ko kaanha dira pero nindot jud siya. basi next year moanha ko sa floating cemetery.

lareine said...

i would love to visit this place someday... particularly the falls and the two other islands :)

Velvet said...

and i am sooo grateful to have found your blog! I will be there next week and i cant wait to see these photos in real life.. and since you are from there can you suggest a great resort that either faces the sunset or sunrise? we're planning to stay at bahay bakasyunan but i have no idea if it is even accessible to the beach. hope you see this comment soon.. i'll be returning daily to check if you have replied.