Camiguin Island Tourist Attractions
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Camiguin Island’s attractions are varied and unique ranging from religious, historic, natural and scientific. Only minutes from each other, the island is replete with hot & cold springs, waterfalls, black & white sandy beaches, a lagoon, rain forests, ruins and religious sites, dive sites, not to forget the seven (7) volcanoes and one volcano active at that! In fact, it is hailed as one of the top 25 tourist destination in the Philippines.
A sheer concentration of these natural wonders in one small island plus the bonus of meeting the simple, friendly and hospitable nature of its inhabitants lure local and foreign travellers to its shores. Many years passed since I last stepped on its soil, yet the island still retain its grandeur, simplicity and peaceful ambiance with a welcome addition of cemented roads and the provision of more accommodations, restaurants and the availability of viable transportation.
Ancestral House in Los Libertadores St., Mambajao is now the dwelling place of the Francisco Family. The house was built in the 1800’s.
Ardent Hot Spring is the most visited of all springs in the island. The water has a temperature of 40 degrees centigrade and serves as a natural hot spa in the locality. The pool is four-tiered with varying depths and warmth; the shallowest is the hottest and is located at the top portion. The water springs from the bowels of Mt. Hibok-Hibok. To provide convenience to visiting tourists, the municipality of Mambajao has provided cottages, a restaurant and dormitory facilities.
Black Beaches The coastline of the island is interspersed with volcanic structures and black sandy beaches. These black sandy beaches are deposits of past volcanic upheavals and can be found in the barangays of Agoho, Yumbing, Bug-ong and Cabua-an. The beaches are clean, spacious and unspoilt. The water is crystal clear, unpolluted and truly refreshing!
Binangawan Falls is located in the municipality of Sagay. The falls is fed by several miniature and gigantic waterfalls that gush through granite stones. The water converges into one main pool which is surrounded by unspoiled thick vegetation. Because of the mist continually created by the falling water, a rainbow is arched above the falls creating a sense of mystery and awe.
Burias Shoal is a spot for scuba divers although a bit tricky because of strong currents. It is only thirty minutes away on a speedboat and divers are rewarded with sightings of schools of Jacks, tuna, surgeons, mackerel and barracudas. The shoal also boasts of a lush black coral-covered bottom.
Camiguin Christmas Festival has become a tourist attraction in the island come yuletide season due to displays of “parols” and “belens” at all barangays lending a festive atmosphere to the island. Choral competitions and pastoral contests add to these highlights.
Camiguin May Festivals The whole island of Camiguin is decked with colorful buntings and flaglets in celebration for notable fiesta celebrations of almost all barangays in the island during the month of May. Each barangay have their own set of affairs or activities lined up in celebration of their fiestas.
Catarman Church Ruins The San Roque Church ruins is a monument of thick century-old adobe walls, belfry and convent reminiscent of the second Spanish settlement established in 1697 at Gui-ob, Bonbon, Catarman. The devastating volcanic eruption of Old Vulcan Daan in 1871 wiped out the Spanish settlement of Catarman leaving the ruins as a mute witness to its wrath.
Centennial House in Lakas, Mambajao which is owned by the Corrales Family was built in the 1800’s. Other ancestral houses dots the coastline of Camiguin; two others in Mambajao, one in Mahinog, two in Guinsiliban, three in Sagay, and one in Catarman.
Centennial Tree is a century-old pili nut tree situated at Sitio Lakas, Mambajao. The tree lies near the century-old home of the Corrales Family. It is a marvel how the tree survived after all the upheavals that the island experienced during the eruptions of its volcanoes.
Cross Marker and Sunken Cemetery
The cross marker was installed by the provincial government of Camiguin to mark the community cemetery that sank during Old Vulcan Daan’s eruption is 1871. The sunken cemetery lies 20 feet underwater in Barrio Bonbon, Catarman. Coral encrusted tombstones have now become a favorite site for snorkelers and scuba divers.
Jicduf Shoal is one of the best diving spots in Camiguin and lies approximately two (2) nautical miles from the shore of Balbagon, Mambajao. With a wide variety of aquatic life and excellent visibility, it is a diver’s paradise especially for underwater photographers. The shoal is about ten hectares in size.
Katibawasan Falls is a 250-feet high majestic cascading waterfall located at the foot of Mt. Timpoong, five (5) kilometers southeast of Mambajao. A large basin has been formed below the falls – carved out from solid rock from centuries of battering by the falls and serves now as a natural swimming pool, a favorite nook of both locals and tourists alike. For convenience, rock picnic tables, seats and cookout facilities are provided.
Lanzones Festival is held every 3rd week of October, the harvest time of the lanzones – a sweet rounded, light brown to light yellow fruit found to be the sweetest in the whole Philippine archipelago. Agri-trade fair and a street dancing contest featuring traditional dance, drum circles and colorful ethnic costumes are the highlights of the affair.
Macao Cold Spring is located in the barangay of Tupsan Pequeño, of the municipality of Mahinog. Three kilometers beyond Magting, is a sign leading to the spring which reveals a small natural swimming pool of very cold and blue-green waters. Huge century-old trees surround the pool, keeping it cool and shady.
Mantigue Island is otherwise known as Magsaysay Island. It lies three (3) kilometers off the shore of Barangay San Roque, Mahinog and is blessed with four (4) hectares of forests fringed with a white sandy beach. It is a place both for swimming and diving; one side is shallow and has a few corals which are ideal for swimming while the opposite side has a deep drop off ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving.
Moro-Moro Watch Tower lies at the beach of the municipality of Guinsiliban. The tower is very old and was used as a watchtower to warn the inhabitants of the coming of Muslim marauders that often come to inflict them with much damage. The tower lies a few meters from the coastline and near to the Guinsiliban pier.
Mt. Hibok-Hibok is one of seven volcanoes in Camiguin and the only active volcano in the island. It has a 1250-meter slope which poses a great challenge to mountain climbers. The lake at the volcano’s crater, the steam vents, and the panoramic view of the whole island at its peak is reward enough to any mountaineer. On a clear day, the islands of Bohol, Negros and Cebu can be seen.
Mt. Ilihan is located at Barangay Butay of the municipality of Guinsiliban. It is a three-hour climb uphill where at its peak one will have a majestic view of the bluish-green ridge of the island’s mountains and slopes. The peaceful ambiance at its peak is an ideal camping site.
Old Vulcan lies thirteen (13) kilometers west of Mambajao where life-sized statues representing the Fourteen Stations of the Cross dot the trail up to the volcano’s peak. The last station portrays the burial of Jesus and a tomb was carved out of volcanic rock at this juncture.
The place now serves as a religious site especially during Holy Week where locals and tourists do the “Panaad” (Promise) of solemnly trekking up and down the rugged slopes in a show of penitence and in reparation for sins committed. A part of the volcano is underwater and this unique underwater lava formation that drops off to 7080 meters is a favorite scuba diver’s nook because of rich coral-covered molten rocks which are home to various species of fish.
Pamunglo River lies north of the municipality of Sagay and is a favorite spot for swimming of the local folks.
Panaad is a Holy Week observance of the Catholic faithful. Tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims initially flock either at the Old Vulcan or Mt. Ilihan then walk around the 64 kilometer circumferential highway to pray, make reparation for sins committed or to fulfil a vow.
Philvolcs Observatory Station houses a seismograph that monitors the activity of the island’s active volcano – Mt. Hibok-Hibok for the sake of visitors and residents of the island. The station is located 1,300 ft (400 m) up the slopes of the volcano. Guests to the island are advised to visit the station first before attempting to ascend Mt. Hibok-Hibok.
San Juan sa Hibok-Hibok Festival is held every 24th of June in honor of St. John the Baptist. A fluvial parade, religious processions, Novena masses, parades and water sports are the usual highlights of the festival.
Sto. Niño Cold Spring is located four (4) kilometers north uphill from Catarman proper and consists of a large stone pool with a two-meter deep sandy bottom. The pool measures 25 meters by 40 meters and is being fed by many springs; a major one sprouting from its sandy bottom. Smaller pools were built for the children. Because of a steady influx of tourists to the place, other facilities were added such as picnic huts, cook-out facilities, restrooms and a store. A minimal fee is collected upon entrance to be used for maintenance of the place.
Santo Rosario Church is located in the municipality of Sagay. It is a century old church and newly renovated to its old grandeur. The church was built in 1882.
Tanguines Lagoon This man-made lagoon is located at the municipality of Mahinog near the port of Benoni. The limpid water of the lagoon is surrounded by craggy cliffs and huge boulders with rolling hills and the volcano peaks in the background. The lagoon’s serene ambiance makes it an ideal place for fishing and boating and plain lazing around for true relaxation. The J&A Fishpen can be found in the lagoon. The Lagoon Travel Lodge situated at the outskirts of the lagoon offers accommodations, a restaurant and a conference hall.
Tangub Hot Spring is often called by the locals as the Ocean, Old, or Mainit Hot Spring which is a three (3) kilometer walk from Naasag via a cement road. Water temperatures turn cold, hot or lukewarm depending upon the tide. From the spring, the sea is virtually only a few steps away and is an ideal place for snorkelling. Scuba diving is good about 1020 meters in a gradual drop off.
Tuasan Falls is a much shorter waterfall compared to Katibawasan Falls yet with the same strong cascading waters. This 25 meter high falls is located 6 kilometers northwest of the municipality of Catarman. A basin has been formed below the cascading waters forming a natural pool. Because of strong rapids, there are plans to build a mini-hydropower plant in the area.
White Beaches Aside from the white beaches of White Island and Mantigue Island, a white beach can be found also in Guinsiliban and is called the Kobila White Beach. The beach is near the place where giant clams are cultured and offshore is a beautiful site for diving.
White Island is otherwise known as Medan Island and lies two (2) kilometers off the coast of Agoho and Yumbing in Mambajao. It is in fact a sand bar blessed with powdery white sand which is shaped as a letter C or and I, depending upon the ocean tide. It has no vegetation whatsoever. Native huts have been recently added to provide shelter to guests who come to frolic in the waters and to sunbathe. The white sand bar is available in the morning and is usually underwater in the afternoon when the tide comes in.
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