Camiguin—the second smallest province in the country after Batanes—is often visited as a side trip from mainland Mindanao. But trust us, this is one getaway you shouldn't miss out. This tiny island is home to seven volcanoes, two of which are still considered active, and packs a ton of natural wonders. And since it's not yet on everyone's radar, life here is still laidback and the natural attractions are mostly untouched. Here are the places you absolutely shouldn't miss:
WHERE TO GO
1. Sunken Cemetery
A trip to Camiguin wouldn't be complete without seeing the white cross that marks the location of the Sunken Cemetery, the province's most famous landmark. A huge volcanic explosion rocked the island in 1871, causing some areas in the town of Catarman (now the municipality of Bonbon), including its cemetery, to sink under the sea. While you're there, you might as well stop by the Old Catarman Church Ruins, which was also brought about by the 1871 eruption.
2. White Island
Since no Philippine island adventure would be complete without a trip to the beach, you have to visit White Island when you're in Camiguin. It's not really a proper island, but a curved sandbar siting a few hundred meters off the province's northern shore. Go here in the morning or in the late afternoon—the midday sun can be brutal.
3. Katibawasan Falls
This majestic 250-feet waterfall drops straight into a refreshing pool surrounded by vibrant greenery, making it a great place to cool down during the hot summer months.
4. Mt. Hibok-Hibok
Feeling adventurous? Set aside a day to hike up Mt. Hibok-Hibok. It's not a very difficult hike, but its status as an active volcano makes the climb a lot more thrilling.
5. Ardent Hot Spring
End your day by taking a dip at the Ardent Hot Spring, which is heated by Mt. Hibok-Hibok. Want something colder? You can opt to go to the Sto. Niño Cold Springs or the Bura Soda Water Swimming Pool (which apparently used to really taste like soda!).
WHERE TO STAY
There aren't any well-developed backpacker digs in Camiguin yet, and lodging can be a bit pricey, especially if you're traveling solo. Marianita's Cottages and D & A Seaside Cottages are great for a seaside stay, while Hilltop Camiguin and The View Hotel and Restaurant are wonderful options if you want to stay on the mountain.
WHAT TO EAT
Camiguin is best known for its lanzones, but you should also try their kiping, a thin, crispy pancake-like dish generously drizzled with latik.
Vjandep Pastel buns are a staple pasalubong from CDO, but its flagship store is actually in Mambajao Town, Camiguin. Don't miss the chance to buy a box (or five) for everyone back home!
HOW TO GET THERE
If you're coming from Manila, we apologize for the bad news: There are no direct flights from Manila to Camiguin. Here are the two easiest ways to get there:
Option A: Cebu Pacific offers direct flights from Cebu to Camiguin daily. This is a good option if you've got the cash to spare.
Option B: On a budget? Fly to either CDO or Butuan, take a bus to Balingoan Port, and catch the ferry to Camiguin.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
If you get the chance, visit Camiguin during the Lanzones Festival, which is celebrated on the third week of October.
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