and a little of Cagayan de Oro
30.01.2011 - 01.02.2011 22 °C
La Nina in January will not stop me from exploring...and this time it got me to that part of the Philippines I haven't been to – Mindanao!!! Yey, now I can say I have been to Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao!!!
After a plane ride, 10 minutes of taxi haggling, 2 hours of road trip along the Northern Mindanao stretch, and 3 hours of ferry ride (should have been an hour if not for the very challenging weather)we have reached Camiguin.
Behind the motorcycle driver, with rain drops trickling down my face, me and my friends went off to the Giant Clams sanctuary... amidst the gloomy weather, the sea still reflects it beautiful blue hue, clear white sands and the sound of the crashing waves on the shore...pure indulgence to the eyes, if I may say. The road to the sanctuary isn’t that accommodating, sloping, meandering and bumps along the way but the sight was worth the pain.
Next, we went on to the main itinerary which is the tour of the island... again, rain drops kept falling on our heads but well, what’s a little "runny nose" trip by-product?
First stop, Katibawasan Falls... and no, there’s no trekking required for this one. A few meters walk from the entrance is the site itself; and though it was cold, we can’t help but plunge into the welcoming waters...I can say that this is one of my favourite falls.
Then, we went on to the Sunken Cemetery... brought about by the catastrophic volcanic eruption ages ago, the whole cemetery was submerged and now part of the sea. A marker though was built on top of one of the highest point. It was eerie to try and look below the calm water because again it used to be a cemetery and I don’t think anyone would want to swim in there.
After, we went on to visit the old church ruins and the station of the cross, both offer solace for reflection in their own way.
The last stop for the day, Ardent Hot Springs where we had such a sumptuous dinner, something we never expected...and a late night dip into the hot springs to calm our already tired muscles...thanks to old age. The day trip not only brought us to the various hot spots, but made us appreciate the quaint towns of Camiguin... living in simplicity and some nooks and crannies bring about the image of "colonial" Philippines... truly magnificent to say the least.
We stayed at one of the lesser known resorts, but I can definitely say that it is one of the biggest and cleanest I’ve been to and the owner is very accommodating and hands on... They even arranged for our boat trip to the White Island.
The next day is White Island Day, though the sun is a little shy, we enjoyed our beach bummin’ activities... only 5 minutes away from the main land, this sand bar is a good place to relax, because there aren’t that many people, the long stretch would provide your own secluded place. If only we could stay longer... they also offer Sea Urchin to snack on for just P10 a piece... now, that’s bizarre foods in the making!
Though we would want to stay longer, we have to move on and catch our ferry home, otherwise we will be stranded because of the typhoon threats in the area, so off we go to Vjandep to get our Camiguin pastel and the truly delicious baked siopao...yes you read that right, not steamed, not fried, but baked. Again something that caught me off-guard because I can’t help but grab another to go.
The trip back to CDO was fairly short, and again thanks to the helpful locals, we were able to grab a taxi away from the terminal, where we wouldn’t have to haggle. Since it was our last night in Mindanao, we decided to splurge on food and so off we go to one of trendiest restaurants in Limketkai.
Going back to Manila, I can definitely claim that my first ever Mindanao trip, even with the typhoon threat and gloomy skies, was one of my best DIY activity ever.