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Thank You, Camiguin!

I first learned about Camiguin during our intro to creative writing class back in college. That time, we were tasked to read a couple of creative nonfiction pieces, including a travel essay called “Camiguin”. Written by Clinton Palanca, the said piece employed a grumpy tone, implying that the persona didn’t really enjoy staying in the place.

That piqued my curiosity, of course. Why would the persona talk about it that way, in the first place? Was it that bad? To find out, I tried Googling it and was stunned by its beauty captured in the photographs. I fell in love with it and promised that someday, I’d also visit it and, unlike the persona in the essay, I would not complain no matter how hard it would be to get there. I thought it would always be worth it.

Guess what? I was right.

I was able to visit Camiguin last weekend with some friends and while we were not so lucky for it rained, I could tell that it was still a great experience. Sure, we had to sail into stormy seas but it was worth the risk.

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To get to Camiguin, we had to fly to Cagayan De Oro first then we took a bus going to Balingoan. After two hours, we reached Balingoan Terminal and took a short walk going to Balingoan Port, where we took a ferry bound for Camiguin. An hour passed and we finally reached Benoni Port.

There, we boarded the vehicle provided by our host. We had to travel for another 20 minutes to reach the vacation house we booked via AirBNB.

We checked into the place as soon as we got there. We also left our stuff, had a quick lunch, and began our Camiguin adventure right after. We only had 48 hours on the island so we thought we’d better make the most of every second.

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Our first destination was the Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort. It looked interesting, although we could have had a better experience soaking in the water if it weren’t raining so hard.

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After that, we went to Katibawasan Falls. It was grandiose and the volume of the water falling was also impressive. My friends tried to bathe in its pool while I chose to just take photos of it, because I could sense that my body could no longer handle the coldness of the water.

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Before we head to our next destination, we took a quick snack break and tried Kiping glazed with arnibal.

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Then, we went to the Sunken Cemetery. The original plan was to just watch the sunset from the viewing deck but eventually, we decided to take a quick boat ride to the cross itself. It was a bit scary, though, for it was raining so hard. The wind was also strong.

On our way to the vacation house, we dropped by the wet and dry market in Catarman to buy food for dinner, as well as some essentials we needed throughout our stay.

Since there was a power interruption that night, we were not able to stay up late. Instead, we took the opportunity to rest and prepare our bodies for the adventures that were yet to come.

The following day started early. Our service arrived around 7am and we left shortly. First, we went to Tuasan Falls but learned later on that it was not open yet. And so, we decided to go to the White Island in the meantime.

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The boat ride to  and from the White Island were a bit intense, for the waves were merciless. The sky was also dark and as soon as we got to the island, we noticed how gloomy the place looked like. But of course, the even the weather condition wasn’t enough to hide the beauty of the place.

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Mantigue Island was our next destination. We had another arduous boat ride to get to the island but it was all worth it. Apart from its fine white sand, the island also had a very chill vibe which helped us relax after everything we had to go through earlier that day.

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We also enjoyed our lunch there. Then, before we left, we had a forest tour through which we learned about the trees on the island as well as its history.

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As soon as we got back to the pump boat station, we drove to Tuasan Falls. Its cold and clear water wowed us.

We decided to rest in the vacation house after. We didn’t even mind the power interruption that time, since we just wanted to chill after a long day packed with fun activities. I myself just chose to catch the sunset from where we were staying.

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Our Camiguin experience ended that day. Around 1pm, we left for Benoni Port and from there, took a ferry bound for Balingoan then a bus going back to Cagayan de Oro.

All in all, we spent only 48 hours on the island. It was short, sure, but it was enough for us to fall in love with it. And though we were sad to go, all we could do was hope to come to Camiguin again as soon as we could.

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