Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Camiguin: A come-again island

I believe this would be my longest post so far, narrating experiences I had last summer.

The plan to go to Camiguin was only realized early April. My family and I aren't the type who splurge money on travels especially since we have other more important things to spend it on. Nevertheless, since I thought I could leave from work, I decided we might as well take the opportunity to have our vacation after five long years of having done so. That agreed, I bought tickets for our Cebu to CDO trip. Since we have relatives there, we decided to go via Cagayan instead of direct Camiguin. I was happy enough with the promo fare we got to avail of, an air-conditioned Super Ferry 12 accommodation at P699 per pax.

April 18. My aunt Betty's birthday. Also turned out to be our departure date.
Departure time is 9:45am. We got to the pier an hour earlier, as advised by the ticketing office so we'll have ample time to go through terminal procedures. As expected, the port terminal is a picture of chaos. I really wonder why there's no systematic process since for me Cebu is a well-developed city at that. Anyway, on the security side, I do acknowledge their efforts of making sure our bags are scanned and sniffed by canine dogs and our picture was taken before we can proceed. Since my mom is a senior citizen, we got to skip the long line of waiting to be given a priority number and instead our tickets got stamped with priority boarding. After that, we were ushered to a shuttle bus which will bring us to the ship's location. It took less than 5 minutes for us to get there.

On board, I got the chance to continue reading the book I brought - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Once in a while, my mom would want me to accompany her to the CR since the female toilet is relatively far from the decks we were assigned to. We were able to tour around the ship. We heard that Superferry 12 is the biggest. It is a relief that we are traveling through calm seas. The prices of foods in the ship's canteen are twice or triple the usual when we're on land. No wonder since you have no choice but to buy there should you need something that you weren't able to bring. Note to self: Bring every necessity with you when traveling, to avoid the costly purchases. Despite that, mom decided we buy a bottle of C2 to have something that tastes sweet since we're only able to bring mineral water. It cost us P50 (now that made me wish we bought one at the supermarket). The consolation though is that it's cold. Just what we need.

We arrived in Cagayan de Oro at around six o'clock in the evening. Got to spend the night in my grandparents' home to get some rest before leaving for Camiguin right on the next day. Expect an early start when on a trip, it gives advantage in securing transportation. From Balingoan - CDO to Binoni - CAM port took more or less an hour aboard a Shuttle Ferry. I'm not sure of the fare since grandpa arranged it for us, yay! This vacation by far is where I took the most number of pictures. I wanted to remember every part of it as much as possible. It's really a good thing that relatives joined us, "the more the merrier" rule really apply when you're on travel mode.

My mom and aunt were surely happy to visit their birthplace. I am just fortunate to be a daughter of a mother who lives in Magting, Mambajao, Camiguin. It's always a relief to have a place that's ready for us to settle in. The home that belonged to my maternal ancestors has this welcoming aura I've never forgotten since I was a child. Considering the limited time we have for time flies faster when you're enjoying, we immediately planned an island tour. It would be convenient if you have a transpo ready to take you anywhere you want to go. I saw posters near the pier advertising multicab and vans for hire which service costs around P1,500 for a whole day trip. That's worth it already right?

First we dropped by Sagay Church.
 According to Grandma, Sagay brings back wonderful memories of her relationship with Grandpa. I was touched by her story and inspired by their almost fifty years of marriage.

Second, the Old Church Ruins.
The place still did not fail to amaze me the second time I went there. It's a miracle that after being wrecked by the lava of Mt. Hibok-Hibok some years ago, you can see that the chapel is still standing. 

Third, the Sunken Cemetery.
Relatives tried the boat ride to the huge cross. My folks and I didn't since we're done with it before and decided to just relax while waiting for the others.

Fourth, Sto. NiƱo Cold Spring.
I bought souvenirs here for my loved ones in Cebu. Also tried "kiping", a delicious treat made from cassava.
Fifth, Ardent Hot Spring.
This is where we decided to stay longer. Dipped into the warm water to our heart's content.

White Island
I'm curious about this island alright. Just that mom won't let me go there. I only saw it  while taking photos by the seashore. Nonetheless, I hear many positive feedback about it. You might want to give it a try while in Camiguin. The natives advise though that early morning is the best time to be there and it's time to leave before the sun sets.

I have been a witness of the reunion of my mom, aunt and uncle - the brother that they haven't seen and been with for years. Circumstances separated them till that time. I am happy to somehow made it work with God's help that the turn of events were in our favor.

Thinking how plenty of passengers would book tickets on a Sunday, we agreed that the best option we have is to leave on Saturday which we did. Paras Sea Cat didn't fail us with its speed going to Bohol from Camiguin. Aside from that we also enjoyed watching cool men riding jet skis alongside the vessel. We literally just passed by Bohol en route to Cebu via Oceanjet. I only had the chance to take pictures of Bohol while aboard a V-hire. Perhaps someday I'll go back there with loved ones to really tour the island as well. And we didn't forget to buy calamay!

Did you know that Camiguin is said to be a fairy island and that it is home to thirteen volcanoes? Some also claim that looking at the island from afar, it's like a woman lying down. I have yet to dig a picture of that. Below is a continuation of the amateur shots I took using Olly D during our vacay.

(I chanced upon tree leaves that formed the shape of a heart with the moon in the middle!)

(Balbagon seashore)

(Mt. Timpong and Mt. Hibok-Hibok)

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