Just a few days after Carpet Head and I arrived from our Euro trip, I was off to another adventure! This time it was to somewhere close to my hometown and with people dear to my heart. Last week, I flew out to my hometown Cagayan de Oro (CDO) where I met up with my soul sisters and we hopped off to the amazingly beautiful island of Camiguin! YAYYYY.
Some years back, my friends and I decided that we should organize an out-of-town girls getaway each year. We don’t always get to go out of town and we’re never complete because, you know, LIFE HAPPENS (a.k.a. weddings, babies, etc.), but we’ve had a few awesome trips. We’ve been to Cebu, Boracay and Puerto Princesa, and it’s been a couple of years since we’ve gone out of town so we’ve been planning this trip for a while.
First, a little tidbit about Camiguin
Camiguin is a small island off the coast of Northern Mindanao. It’s the second smallest province in the country in terms of population. It’s also a province of volcanoes – there are seven and one’s still active (Mt. Hibok Hibok) – and most of the island was formed through volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. It’s basically paradise and has everything – beaches, cold springs, hot springs, waterfalls, diving spots, mountains, hiking trails, Spanish-era structures (and ruins), and delicious things like the lanzones, the fruit it’s best known for. Seriously, it’s a great place for a vacay.
Here we Cams!
That, by the way, was the name of the Facebook event that my friend created for this trip. Hilarious, right? I didn’t realize the Bisaya-laced pun right away because apparently I’m slow these days. Hah. Seriously, I wanna talk about my being slow but will save that for another post. :D
Anyway, so we didn’t really have a detailed itinerary for this trip. We agreed on the dates and the resort and that was it. It was all good though cos we knew it wouldn’t be that hard to get around the island and we all just wanted to chill and relax all weekend.
Our vacay started early Friday morning on the same week Carpet Head and I arrived from London (that’s two Fridays ago). My girlfriends and I left CDO around 3 AM and rode a hired van for about an hour and a half to Balingoan Port where we took a ferry to Benoni Port in Camiguin. From Benoni Port, it was easy to find and hire a multicab to take us to our resort and then on a tour around the island.
First we stopped at our home for the weekend, a.k.a. Paras Beach Resort, to check in, drop off our bags and have a quick breakfast. Then it was off to our island tour!
Day One: Island Tour
Our first stop was the Walkway to the Old Volcano and Via Cruzes (Stations of the Cross) – we only went up to the first station. We also stopped by the Cross Marker of the Sunken Cemetery but we didn’t take the boat to the actual marker. Then we visited the Guiob Church ruins where a fabulous lady offered to take our photos in different areas of the site. She knew what she was doing and was very creative with the pano setting. We were so impressed we gave her a good tip! We then stopped by Tuasan Falls where all but one of us took a dip in the nice cool water. And from there we headed to our last stop, the Santo Niño Cold Spring, where we stayed a bit longer to have lunch and play around in the freezing pool.
We were back in our resort by mid-afternoon and just hung out in one of the huts near the pool and had some cold drinks. Let me tell you right now, there’s going to be a lot of “lazing around” in this story. ;)
For dinner we decided to check out La Dolce Vita, an Italian resto located just across the airport. I think it was easily the best meal we had that weekend. We had the bruschetta, pizza milano, pizza alla romana and the pasta alla vodka and they were soooo good! Allessandro, the chef and owner, was also very friendly and accommodating. I know I won’t pass this place up the next time I find myself in Camiguin.
Day Two: White Island
Our second day was even more relaxed than day one. In the morning we went to White Island, which was a mere 10-minute boat ride away from our resort (we can actually see the famous sand bar from our resort). We didn’t stay long. We took a dip in the water and took lots of pictures before heading back.
We lazed around the pool for a while then went to check out Viola’s Snack Bar for some halo-halo and ube cake. I’m not a fan of halo-halo so I had an avocado shake and siopao. Ha! My friends ordered ube and chocolate cake though so I was able to have a couple of bites of those. They were gewd!
We had to wait for one of our friends to arrive on the island (she couldn’t travel with us the day before) and had time to kill, so we walked a few blocks to Vjandep House, maker of the famous pastel (sweet buns with custard filling). After buying goodies to bring home, we went back to Viola’s to wait for our friend who arrived not too long after. We all went back to the resort and lazed around the pool some more before having dinner at another Italian resto near the resort. Our overall dining experience there was just okay so I don’t want to say any more. Hehe.
Day Three: Mantigue Island
We saved the best for last and on our last day in Camiguin, we visited Mantigue Island. It’s a tiny island and, boy, is it gorgeous. It’s also a marine sanctuary and we had the chance to check out some of the marine life. We had one set of snorkeling gear and one of us brought two pairs of swimming goggles so we took turns. The highlight, for me, was seeing four giant clams. Hah! I’m just really amazed by all the pretty fishies and other marine life there. I hope Mantigue stays as it is for a long time or, better yet, becomes even more healthy with marine life.
We didn’t stay too long in Mantigue and that was fine. We still got to enjoy and appreciate it. After that, we went back to the resort, checked out of our nice family loft and headed for home.
Capping off the weekend
When we got back to CDO, the final thing on our list was to go to a photo studio to have our group pic taken. Hah. I know, it’s so high school, but it was something we talked about the night before we left for Camiguin. We wanted to re-create one of our studio group pics from years ago so we did – from tacky tie-dyed background to shirt color theme.
After having our pictorial session (yaasss), I had to say goodbye to my girls so I can meet up with the familia and spend time with them since I was flying back to Manila the next day. We watched Ice Age, by the way, all 9 of us! That means me, my sis, my parents, my bro and sis in law, my niece and two nephews. The only one missing was Carpet Head! Aww.
Aaaand that was it. Another girls’ weekend for the books. We already have a destination for next year. Yay! Can’t wait!