Philippines Travel: Camiguin Island

Spent a couple of days just hanging out in Gingoog (not pronounced at all how it looks…try “HE nuh-og”) getting ready for a 4-day scooter outing to Camiguin Island, just off the coast of northern Mindanao. My friend John was in the hospital when I arrived with a bit of a pain scare in his abdomen, but the doctors are pretty sure its nothing super serious so we decided to go ahead with our plan to visit the island.

After a bodacious breakfast, we met up with a couple of other guys…Virgil and Alfred..and on Tuesday morning, we headed out to the ferry. They each had their own bikes, and I was on a loaner from some buddy of John’s. We dubbed ourselves “The Little Motorcycle Gang”…not a ‘little gang’, but ‘little motorcycles’…the largest bike among us was John’s 200CC scooter. My bike needed some work (the back wheel was on crooked, the chain was far too loose, there was a broken tail light and the brake fluid cylinder was bone dry so it barely had brakes), but we stopped at a little sidewalk garage and had all those things fixed for under P200, which is less than $5 US.

The 45 minute ferry ride was nice and relaxing, and when we got to Camiguin, we drove about 15 miles along the shore road to our accommodations. Had a nice evening drinking beer and eating Italian food, and retired for the night. The next day, we did a little circumnavigation of the island, with a stop at an amazing waterfall, saw a church that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption, a cemetery that sunk into the ocean during the same eruption, and visited a few little resorts along the way.

The most amazing things about Camiguin are the hidden gems: a visitor could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a boring little dilapidated place with nothing special going on, but if you know the lay of the land (as John does), you start discovering lots of very amazing and creative spaces. There’s great architecture, amazingly great food, and stunning little pubs/restaurants. It’s like a little Woodstock from the ’60s but with a modern eco-tourist touch.

Like one guest house/bar that is entirely built as a multi-story treehouse, with hammocks, winding staircases and lots of funky little rooms. Or the restaurant/bar that was built by a boat builder, so it’s got lots of boat hardware and paraphernalia tucked all around. Or the amazing place that has the best view of the ocean for sunsets, with lots of little nooks and crannies for sitting.

Tomorrow we explore the beaches….seeing giant clams and maybe some exotic fish, and then visit the volcano observatory. Camiguin is reputedly the most volcanically active piece of real estate on earth, with 7 active and 3 inactive volcanoes on an island that is only about 10 miles across.

Pictures are worth a thousand words: here’s a little of each.



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