The island province of Camiguin, known as the island born of fire, is a popular tourist destination in the south region of the Philippines. Known for its clear blue waters and diverse wildlife, the island draws in visitors from all over the world who are looking for an alternative to the more fast-paced vacations islands in the Philippines.
Camiguin is the perfect place to get away and lose yourself, a more chilled and laid back type of island that still has plenty of activities for those who crave a bit of adventure.
Camiguin is the second smallest Philippine province after Batanes (link Batanes) in the north and is home to a population of roughly around 89,000 people. A large expat community also calls the island home.
Camiguin itself is a volcanic island with 7 dormant volcanos and 15 marine sanctuaries. The fertile soil is ideal for planting and the local Lanzones are renowned and sought after all throughout the Philippines. (Lanzones are a type of tropical tree which fruit tastes like a combination of grapes and grapefruit.)
Mount Hibok-Hibok has been designated as an ASEAN (Association Of South East Asian Nations) Heritage Park and the surrounding area is home to a number of waterfalls and natural springs.
Related Blog Post: Must-try Camiguin Food (and Where to Find Them!)
First Things First
We booked our PAL flight to Camiguin online at Traveloka which made it crazy easy for us to find the best prices for flights and hotels.
The convenience of booking online or via the mobile app cuts out the middleman and saves you time from queuing in long lines.
It’s an all in one place to compare prices and book your adventure. The Price Alert and Cheap Price Finder, are super convenient, and best of all, there is no need to worry about additional fees.
Camiguin is accessible by plane with daily flights to and from Manila via Cebu.
Book your next trip with Traveloka at https://www.traveloka.com/en-ph/flight
Multicabs are available for rental and we recommend if you are traveling in groups. They can be rented for a total of 8 hours and will cost around ₱1,500–1,700.
Tricycles are the most practical ways to get around and drivers are willing to shuttle small groups around for modest fees.
(Be prepared to haggle)
Jeepney’s also run the main roads on the island, and are the cheapest means of transportation. You can find Jeepney stations and tricycle stations along major roads.
If you are traveling in large groups, an entire Jeepney can be rented out for ₱3,000 for 8 hours.
Where To Go What To See
A small white sand island about 4 kilometers from Camiguin, Mantigue has a small jungle and picnic areas for guests.
The island is considered a marine sanctuary and also has a number of snorkeling areas for fish and sea turtle watching.
Traffic to and from Mantigue is highly regulated so the island doesn’t get too crowded. (Make sure to arrive early.)
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There is a small canteen in the interior of the island that sells snacks and water. You can also bring your own food and have it prepared there for a fee.
Try having a Filipino boodle fight, it’s the best way to enjoy lunch on a beautiful beach.
You can also take the very short but scenic nature hike through the interior of the island.
You can only reach Mantigue Island by light watercraft that seats a maximum of 6 persons.
Boats to Mantigue can be booked for a 3-hour tour from Brgy. San Roque in the small town of Mahinog, and will cost ₱600 round trip per boat.
A hotspot for locals and tourists, White Island is a large sandbar located 1.4 kilometers north of Mambajao.
The island itself isnt very large so visitors are allotted only a couple of hours to explore.
We arrived early and the island was pretty busy. One look at the place though, and you can see why.
The most northern tip of the island was the least busy, and the best place for relaxing or taking awesome pictures.
Make sure to bring your own water as there are no vendors on the island. We loved how our Vesxel bottles kept our water ice cold almost all day.
Like Mantigue, travel to and from White Island is regulated and boats can only be booked from Barangay Agoho or Brgy. Yumbing. Boat fare will run you ₱600/boat plus environmental fee.
Giant Clam Sanctuary
The Giant Clam Sanctuary was one of our favorite spots. It was cool to get to see these gargantuan mollusks up close. For a modest fee of only ₱150 (add ₱50 for entrance and environmental fees), you can get up close to the clams and observe them in some of the breeding tanks.
Our young guides were the best part of the tour, and we were surprised as to how knowledgeable they were.
For example, the kids explained that out of the five known species of giant clam, four are indigenous to the Philippines.
You can also go snorkeling from Cantaan Kabila Beach for an additionalv200 (for snorkel and fins). A guide will lead you to the Clams conservation area where you can see them in their natural habitat.
Guiob Old Spanish Church Ruins
The old church ruins are overlooking a steep cliff into the ocean and are a nice place to take photos or hang out with the family.
Considered a historical sight, the ruins are maintained by the local government and can be found in the town of Catarman.
The Sunken Cemetery
Located in Barrio Bonbon, Catarman, the Sunken Cemetery is probably Camiguin’s most notable landmark and a sort of icon of the island.
The cross, a major tourist spot, was erected in 1982 as a marker for the cemetery that was submerged during the formation of Mt Volcan in 1871-1876 and boasts the best sunset on the island.
Arrive 30 minutes early to get a good spot for sunset watching as it can get very crowded.
Where To Eat
Kurma Eco Beach Resort
Kurma is known for serving up a healthy menu of vegan and vegetarian-friendly food with Coconut Burger as their speciality.
This delicious vegetarian burger blew us away made with a patty of ground coconut. Topped with a mango salsa, this burger is a thing of beauty that tastes fantastic!
Make sure to get one while you are on Camiguin because you’ll be hard-pressed to find these anywhere else.
BBC (Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin)
BBC is one of the more high-end resorts on the island that is known for their unique take on the local dish Surol by incorporating oregano. The local dish is a coconut-based soup typically made with chicken or fish. (similar to tinola)
The coconut and oregano combination is something you won’t find in Filipino cuisine and it is absolutely delicious!
Guerrera Fine Asian Street Food
It’s always a pleasant surprise to find an authentic SE Asian restaurant in the Philippines that uses traditional methods for preparation and presentation. If you’ve ever traveled through IndoChina the flavors at Guerrera are perfect representations.
Order the Ban Xiao, Vietnamese fried pancake and the Thaitini cocktail.
A local NGO that upcycles sea glass and transforms them into beautiful works of wearable art.
The project started in 2015 to help bring livelihood to the women of the Brgy Bug-Ong and Agoho communities. Treasures Camiguin acts as the retail outlet for the Komunidad sa Baibai Foundation.
For more about Treasures Camiguin check out their Facebook here —> @seaglasspacificjewelry
The showroom is set up so you can actually see how the glass is sorted and then made into jewelry.
The process can take days for a single piece.
But the end results are pretty extraordinary.
The jewelry prices range from ₱250 – ₱5,000 plus depending on the rarity of glass and if it’s made using silver.
Pasalubong sa Camiguin
The best spot to buy Pasalubong (souvenirs) is at Pasalubong sa Camiguin. You can find all sorts of snacks and trinkets.
Vjandep Back Shop
Located right beside Samuels Hotel And Restaurant in Mambajao. The Vjandep Bakeshop’s flagship store is a perfect place to buy Camiguin’s renowned Pastels.
The pastels can be found almost everywhere on the island, but be warned, supplies are limited as these things seem to always be out of stock.
Where To Stay
Volcan Beach Eco Retreat & Dive Resort
Volcan Beach is a quiet Eco Resort that offers a wide array of activities on Camiguin, especially diving which is their speciality.
The resort attracts lots of foreign tourists and the price is pretty decent around ₱2,500/night.
The rooms can comfortably fit 2 persons and are airconditioned.
Visit http://www.camiguinvolcanbeach.com/resort/about-us.html for more information.
(Book your stay with Traveloka for competitive prices!)
Camiguin is a quiet island that is home to a warm and welcoming community.
It’s easy to see why visitors fall in love with the island, and why people born here flock back whenever they get the chance.
There are plenty of things to do and see, and a number of attractions that will keep visitors busy and entertained throughout their stay.
We love how clean the island is and how involved the local government is when it comes to regulating the tourism traffic to some of the more busy attractions. (A model that other provincial governments should consider.)
We were kind of hindered by the lack of internet available on the island, but on second thought — who really needs internet in paradise?
Camiguin is a perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a more laid-back alternative to some of the more crowded destinations in the Philippines, and we recommend visiting the island at least once.
Live an Awesome Life,
SEAN NOLAN of Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure:O ur flights and hotels are courtesy of Traveloka. We paid for our own meals. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.