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Backpacking in Camiguin Island

Camiguin, also known as the Island Born Out Of Fire, is an island one passes by on a boat ride between Cebu and Cagayan de Oro City. This small island has seven volcanoes, several waterfalls, and hot and cold springs. People visit Camiguin to primarily enjoy the water spots, but there’s more to the island than testing its waters.

Also known as the island of fire because of its many volcanoes, Camiguin is rumored to one day simply sink should there be a terrible eruption. But before that happens (and hopefully not), its best you know that Mt. Hibok-Hibok – the most active among the seven volcanoes – has been dormant since it erupted last 1951. Scientists are monitoring the volcanoes as well, as a cautionary measure and for study.

You can either fly in Camiguin or take the ferry. Most visitors usually stop in Cagayan de Oro City first, take the two-hour bus ride to Balingoan, and then ride the ferry to Mambajao.

Mambajao is the capital of the city, and still retains its small town charm. It is what makes Camiguin so appealing compared to other beach destinations in the country that have become too commercialized.

If you won’t stay too long in one place, you can actually go around Camiguin in a day or two. But should you wish to linger and enjoy the charming scenery, backpacking, renting a bike or even ziplining in Camiguin Island is a great way to enjoy the place.

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The waterfalls are a sight to see. Katibawasan Falls near Mambajao and Tuwasan Falls near Catarman are must-sees. Surrounded by lush foliage, these places can seduce you to a swim. Just know that the temperature is pretty cold.

There are two springs that both locals and tourists frequent. Should you time your visit early morning to midday, the St. Nino Cold Springs is sure to combat the heat of the tropic sun. If you want to visit late afternoon to evening, wallowing in the Ardent Hot Spring is a great way to relax after a long day.

The small islands should not be missed too. Island hopping is also one thing you can enjoy in Camiguin. White Island, whose land area lessens as the tide rise, and Mantigue Island, an island surrounded by corals, are notable spots to visit where you can find clear blue waters to wade in.

The Ruins of Gui-ob Church and the sunken cemetery are historical sites to visit. The present churches in Camiguin are wonderfully preserved and great spots to learn about architecture and history, as well.

If you’re to visit Camiguin, pack light and keep things simple. Bring change and cash, since ATMs are hard to come by. Extra shirts and shorts will come in handy if you plan to swim in most of the water spots. A light towel or wrap will work to dry you off or cover you from the winds. It’s okay to walk around in slippers the whole time. Just be sure to lather on sunscreen and bring water so that you won’t be dehydrated. Last, keep your plans flexible and light. Camiguin Island is a place best enjoyed in a languid manner.

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