Wanderlust: Camiguin 2014

17 Jun

When I was younger, a year would not be complete without heading to my grandparents’ favorite island, Camiguin.

I have the best memories of our Along family trips there. All my cousins. All the great home-cooked meals our caretaker Manang Sela and lola would prepare. The swing by the coconut trees at our garden. My grandparents’ 50th anniversary when we all performed for them on the steps of our cottage. Story telling sessions with dads and titos. My favorite person, my lolo, at the porch drinking his Tanduay with his sons. My lola busy preparing food and activities for the next day. Paras Beach Resort where we would sometimes stay. Their Pizza Paolo. White Island, my favorite place. My mom getting kicked by a horse while carrying me when I was still a baby (lol). The first and only time I saw falling stars. Ardent Hot Springs. Sto. Nino Cold Spring which was my favorite tourist spot when I was younger. The Blue Lagoon. Long walks on the shore with my tita-slash-mom Ninfa while picking seashells. The rocks where we used to hang out at (or you could say on :p). My brother Desi’s beautiful wedding on the very same rocks.

Yes, I can go on and on to share more priceless memories about this place but I would bore you to death because that will take forever. The bottom line is this place will forever hold a special place in my heart as it reminds me of my grandparents and my childhood.

So when I was told we would go there for a day, I could not help but be extremely excited about it. You see, the last time I went was five years ago when my brother chose to marry the love of his life on the rocks in front of Paras Beach Resort where we used to go to, play at, and hang out at as kids. Yes, five years ago! So even though I only had one day to enjoy there, I was more than thrilled to go despite the long travel time.

For those who have not gone, below is a breakdown of hours to get there from CDO:

*Road trip from CDO to Balingoan – Approximately 2 hours (We left at 9 am, got there before 11 am)

*Boat ride from Balingoan to Camiguin – About an hour and 30 minutes (We left at 11 am and go there at about 1 pm)

*Our cottage and the resort we stayed in, Paras Beach Resort, are both in Yumbing and the road trip going there took about another hour or less.

The travel time was well worth it though! Even just spending a few hours there got us so relaxed, it was definitely a day well spent!

Sharing some pictures with all of you from my most recent quick trip to Camiguin.

Our grandparents’ quaint little cottage. When they were around, you’d see my grandfather always at the porch and my grandmother either busy with her beautiful garden or busy cooking the most delicious meals at our kitchen. The rest of us were out and about, either at White Island, by the rocks, or walking along the shore.

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What we normally do is stay at Paras Beach Resort and have our meals at our cottage. Manang Sela, who is still our caretaker, cooks amazing fresh dishes which you can mostly only have in provinces like Camiguin. Below are pictures of Paras Beach Resort. Oh and by the way, our room which is good for six individuals was only for P3,500. It’s a loft-type unit which is perfect for friends traveling around the island. My brother Jackie and I wanted to take home their pillows because of how comfortable we were, which we didn’t do of course. Jackie who spent his holiday drinking nights away found himself asleep at 9 pm. Yes, that’s what Camiguin does to you.;)

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When we were younger, it was a must to go to all the tourist spots. Now though, the only place I really always want to visit whenever I’m there is White Island. It’s a 15 minute ride away from Paras Beach Resort which only costs P450 for the boat.

You’ll see why I love this sand bar just by looking at the pictures.

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We stayed at White Island from 3-5:30 pm. Oh, and by the way, we bought drinks before heading to the island.

By the time we got back, all we really did was have dinner, a few drinks, and we slept early.

The next day, we had Manang Sela’s cooking for breakfast. She makes the most amazing scrambled eggs, by the way, and we hung out till we had to leave at 10 am.

Our last stop was one of my grandfather’s favorite restaurants in Camiguin which is what we often call The Blue Lagoon. We didn’t have the time to eat but we had their coconut shake which was really good.

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For those who are going for the first time, a day is simply not enough! There are so many places to see! Below are a few suggestions:

1. Ardent Hot Springs – I suggest you go here at night. Quite a relaxing experience, if there aren’t a lot of people around of course.

2. Sto. Nino Cold Spring – It’s nice to have a picnic here with the family. Be prepared, the water is extremely cold but I used to love it when I was younger.

3. Katibawasan Falls – I don’t remember much about this place because it’s been a while since my last visit but I remember this being beautiful and cold! Be prepared to hike though as it is part of getting there.;)

4. The Sunken Cemetery –
I feel it’s necessary to share the history of this tourist spot with you, so here
‘s TripAdvisor’s description of the place:

“The whole capital of Camiguin, with its cemetery, sunk under the sea. In the following years, the sunken land and the gravestones can still be seen. when the tide is low. But in 1948 until 1953, Mount Vulcan erupted again, sinking the whole area deeper, to around twenty feet. In 1982, a large cross was built on the solidified lava to mark the site that became the graves of the ancestors of the Camiguin people. It has become a sunken cemetery.”

Source: http://www.silent-gardens.com/camiguin-sunken.php

5. Old Gui-ob Church Ruins

This is to witness a bit of the history of the island. Here remains the remnants of the 1871 Vulcan Daan eruption. It gives you a glimpse of how Camiguin was during the Spanish era.

6. White Island – Which I have already mentioned above. The pictures I’ve shared are, I believe, enough to convince you to go!

7. Vjandep Bakeshop – I know it’s a bit odd to include this but I’ve witnessed the growth of this bakeshop and it’s just nice to see where it all started. When I was younger, we’d normally have this as our last stop so we could bring home boxes. The business grew exponentially and all I hear from people when I travel to CDO is “Please bring me Pastel.”

I believe the first bakeshop is still there, but I didn’t get to go during my last trip so I’m not exactly sure. The boxes of pastel are also available at their bakeshop in CDO, almost all the stores in the said city, the Laguindingan airport, and even here in Manila.

8. If you are going during the Holy Week, you’ll see quite an interesting sight! Loads of people walking around the island with one goal in mind: to go around just by foot for their religion. Some also, which I’ve done before with the family, hike up the Stations of the Cross. It’s always crowded during this time of the year but, again, it’s great
to witness all the activities that they have during this time.

9. They also have the Lanzones Festival which is held every third week of October. It’s to celebrate the Lanzones fruit, which constitutes the most important livelihood in Camiguin. Street dancing competitions, parades, parties, and beauty pageants. That’s the list of activities you’ll enjoy if you go at this time!

10. Last but definitely not the least: Do yourself a favor and try out their Lechon there! It is, by far, the best lechon I’ve ever had. In fact, whenever we’re there, we always have it. I’m not scared to claim this but, for me, it is even better than the Lechon from Cebu.:p

Those are my suggestions for you if you ever choose to go. Sometimes I think I’m a tad bit biased because I am completely in love with this place for obvious reasons. I mean I did grow up having summer vacations there with my family.

When people used to ask me to describe it years ago, I’d always say “untouched, virginal, our little paradise away from home.”

I’m proud to say that now, even years after, I can still say the same thing.

Camiguin is the place to go to if you’re seeking a little paradise far away from the city. Yes, it is still very much untouched and virginal. It still is and will forever remain one of my favorite places in the world.

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3 Responses to “Wanderlust: Camiguin 2014”

  1. sistasfromcali June 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    beautiful pictures!
    http://sistasfromcali.com/social-media-sites/

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  1. Wanderlust: Camiguin 2014 - June 17, 2014

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