As for my first post, I would like to share my very first solo travel experience.
It started with the 0.15 PHP airfare promo of Cebu Pacific Airlines last January 1, 2015 (I get this restless feeling whenever there is an airline promo). After checking the flights, I decided to book a ticket bound to Cagayan de Oro and then go to Camiguin.
But something unfortunate happened in March that made me quit my job. I tried to look for a new one so that I'll still be able to earn money and add it to what I've already saved for my up coming trips, but it's hard breaking this kind of things to companies who are looking forward to slave you (Yes! slave you!) for the next six months when you get hired. So, I stopped and decided to just take the trips first before starting to work again.
Months passed (April and May), and here comes June. I'm left with five days to tell my Dad that I'll be going to Camiguin. Two days before my trip, I told him I'll be going to Camiguin with my friends (Which was a lie, but I have to, or else he won't let me! Sorry Daddy!).
And on June 6, 2015, with a limited travel funds, I went to the airport and hop on that plane. The plane left Manila at 8:00 A.M. and landed on Laguindingan airport in Cagayan De Oro around past 9:30 A.M.
Got my boarding pass! Landed on Laguindingan airport.
Day 1 Begins!
From Laguindingan I rode a van for 199.00 PHP going to Agora (This is where the terminal for buses going to Butuan are located, but there are vans too, routed directly to Balingoan Port). It took almost an hour from the airport to Agora terminal. Then, rather than taking the bus routed for Butuan, I opted to take another van that will drop me off directly to Balingoan Port for 100.00 PHP (This was 2-hours drive).
Upon arriving at Balingoan Port, I bought a ferry ticket going to Benoni Port for 170.00 PHP and paid 15.00 PHP terminal fee. The ferry ride took an hour. The trip from CDO to Camiguin was a bit exhausting and fun at the same time.
At past 2:00 P.M. (I think it was almost 3:00 P.M.) when I finally landed on Benoni Port and set foot on Camiguin Island. But I don't have my accommodation yet. I just have a list of a couple of cheap places to stay at while in Camiguin and what I know is that most of them are in Mambajao. So I just took another van going to Mambajao (My butt is starting to hurt now!).
|Ferry ride from Balingoan to Benoni Port|
The van fare from Benoni Port to Mambajao town proper is 30.00 PHP. The driver will drop you off at the market, then, you can ride a tricycle (which are color coded) - Orange for places on West Route and Green for places on East Route (as far as I can remember :D). However, since I don't have any accommodation yet and I was too scared to ride the tricycle or "motorella" as they call it, I asked the driver if he can drop me off to some of the cheap accommodations I've listed and it became a special trip for 100.00 PHP (Sorry! I was an amateur. :( - learn from this). I was supposed to get a room at GV Hotel but this would mean that I have to stay at the town proper. I wanted a sea side location, so, I ended up at Medano Resort at Yumbing, Mambajao. I decided to get the dorm type room for 350.00 PHP/night and shared it with 2 British backpackers (Nose Bleed!). The place was new and decent. The dorm type room is good for 10 people. They also provide lockers for your things (if you are not comfortable leaving them in the room). The place also has a rooftop bar (this is where the free wi-fi is at) in case, you are too lazy to roam around. The owner Sir Rolly was very accommodating and was like a Dad to me.
I felt exhausted after settling in so I was not able to roam around and look for a place where I can buy a cheap meal. So, I decided to check out the bar on the rooftop and just hang out there. Unfortunately, the meals are too pricey for me, but I have no choice because I was already hungry. I ordered Potato Salad for 95.00 PHP (this served as my breakfast, lunch and dinner) and just watched the Sunset. At around 8:00 P.M. I took a shower and then, went back to the rooftop by 9:00 P.M. to check out the acoustic set from a local singer. Finally, slept around 11:00 P.M.
|Pamphlet of Medano Resort ( Sorry, I wasn't able to take a picture of the room and the actual place)|
|Selfie! Potato Salad and Views from the rooftop.|
Day 2. Around Camiguin.
I woke up by 6:00 A.M. and started to prepare for my Camiguin tour. Roaming around in Camiguin is usually done via motorcycle. If you'll be the one to drive around, you can rent it for 400.00 PHP for the whole day. But since I was an amateur, (I'll admit I'm scared to get lost) I asked for a driver which cost me additional 350.00 PHP. After eating breakfast (for 150.00 PHP because I was too shy to say no to Sir Rolly when he asked me to have it first before starting the tour), I was off to see what Camiguin has to offer. My first stop was at the Walkway to the old Volcan and Stations of the Cross. You have to pay 5.00 PHP for a 30-minutes hike to the top to see that rewarding view (you'll be able to see the Sunken Cemetery Cross from the top). I had a funny and a scary moment when I did the hike! First, I almost climb the slope because I didn't look left and I thought that was the only way to go to the top. Then, while on the way down, a snake passed before me.
|Going around in Camiguin.|
Next stop was the Sunken Cemetery. I paid 250.00 PHP (includes 100.00 PHP environmental fee, 150.00 PHP guide fee and 50.00 PHP snorkeling set) for a swim here.
*Tip: This can be cheaper if you'll be able to join a group that will do the same activity.
|Current and Original Cross of Sunken Cemetery, Old Volcan and Mt. Hibok Hibok background and some underwater shots.|
I also checked out the old church ruins which was also destroyed when the old volcan erupted and Tuasan falls but I skipped the soda water park and Sto. Nino cold spring. I decided to grab a lunch from a small eatery (paid 90.00 PHP for 2 meals - mine and for the driver), then head out to Mantigue Island.
|Old church ruins (altar, bell tower and convent) and Tuasan Falls|
The boat station to Mantigue Island is in Barangay San Roque which is near Benoni Port. The fee for the boat is 550.00 PHP and it is good for 6 persons. And because I was alone, this is too much for me to pay. Luckily, I was able to join a group of 4 people from Cebu who are going to the island on that exact time. I ended up paying 110.00 PHP for the boat fare and 20.00 PHP environmental fee (this will be collected once you hit the island). The boat ride is around 20-30 minutes.
*Pros and Cons of joining a group: You have to follow their time. I suggest you ask the group how long they plan to stay on the place.
|Panoramic shot of Mantigue Island|
I guess I was really lucky because the group I met stayed on the island for 3 hours. So, we get to roam around, take pictures and swim. They even invited me to have dinner with them for free! The place where they are staying was just a 2-minutes walk away from where I'm staying. We even found out that one of my British roommates also joined them on their 1st day in Camiguin :D. I went back to my accommodation at around 10:00 P.M. and the group went back to Cebu the next day.
|Met Carl, Dale, Rio and Hai Dy of Cebu :)|
Before having dinner with them I also went to Katibawasan Falls (there is a 30.00 PHP entrance fee). I was the only one on the place when I got in. It felt like the falls was mine! :D
Then, my last stop was at Hibok-Hibok Hot Spring (also has 30.00 PHP entrance fee). Unlike in Katibawasan falls, the place was full (I think the place was ideal for family picnics). I still took a dip since I already pay to get in and stayed for 10 minutes. Before heading back to Medano Resort and prepare for the dinner invite, me and my driver ate "Isaw" (roasted chicken intestine) first.
|Katibawasan Falls and Isaw|
Day 3. Last Day!
This is the day I planned to visit the White Island Sandbar. I was up at around 6:00 A.M. even though, they strongly suggest that you visit the island as early as 5:00 A.M., but this is my last day, and I'm not in a hurry. The boat station for White Island is just 5-minutes walk away from where I'm staying. I went there before 7:00 A.M. The boat fare is 450.00 PHP which is good for 6 persons. You also have to pay 20.00 PHP entrance fee. And again, since I was alone, I asked the boatmen if I can join any group going to the island. They let me join a family, so, I just paid 100.00 PHP.
When we arrived at the island, the family and I went separate ways (I still have to join them when they get back to Yumbing). and started to experience the sandbar on our own. I rented an umbrella (for 150.00 PHP) and bought a beer (for 50.00 PHP). Found a perfect spot to chill and started taking pictures. Then, I laid on the sand and started listening to my playlist (And everything was SO PERFECT!!!). However, by 9:00 A.M., the family told me that we will be heading back to Yumbing. This was the sad part of being a plus 1, because I was planning to stay there until noon but I have no choice :(.
|White Island Sandbar, Camiguin|
I went back to Medano Resort first and upload some of the photos before heading out to look for an eatery to have lunch. I found a small eatery near the school and I had a pancit (stir fry noodles) and rice (for 20.00 PHP). Then I rode the motorella going to Vjandep bakery in Mambajao town proper to buy the famous pastel for my family in Manila. The fare was 10.00 PHP and the driver was so nice that he just wait for me, so, that I don't have to ride another motorella going back to Yumbing.
After getting into town and back, I went for a walk on the shore took some pictures during the golden hour and waited for the sunset. Then, I went to the rooftop and drink the last bottle of beer I bought while in Camiguin.
|Rode the motorella! Sorry for the puffy eyes I took a nap before heading to the shore during the golden hour. Stayed there until sunset. :D|
Day 4. Going back to Manila.
I left the resort at 5:00 A.M. I rode a motorella going to Mambajao market where the van was dropping me off on my first day. Unfortunately, there was no van at that time so I was forced to just ride the jeepney (the fare is 23.00 PHP from Mambajao market to Benoni Port) because I don't want to pay for 150.00 PHP motorcycle fare just going to Benoni Port. But we didn't leave until it was 6:45 A.M. and now I'm starting to get worried because I still have to take 5 hours of travel to get to Laguindingan airport and I might have to hustle to catch my flight to Manila.
When we arrived in Benoni Port the ferry was already leaving and I don't have any choice again but to wait for the next one which will leave after another hour. I felt like crying at this moment. I started to pray that I'll be able to arrive at the airport before boarding time, and God has a way of answering prayers. I met Sir Manu, a local in Camiguin but he also has a house in Cagayan De Oro. He was also traveling to CDO that time and he assisted me by talking to the boatmen in the ferry and try to convince them to leave earlier. When we arrived at Balingoan, he immediately talk to a van driver and told them that I'm in a rush to get to the airport and request to assist me. He also asked for my contact number so that he can check on me.
I arrived at the airport at 12:55 P.M., 5 minutes before the boarding time. I can't describe the relief I felt that time. While getting on the plane, I received a call from Sir Manu and thanked him once again for looking after me. He also told me to contact him in case I'll be travelling back to Camiguin.
1:30 P.M. the plane left from CDO and arrived safely in Manila at 3:30 P.M. There was a 45 minutes delay due to the queue of landing planes on NAIA.
I was able to survive the whole trip for 4,500.00 PHP which could have been lesser if I wasn't too amateur. :D