Camiguin – an Island Paradise in the Philippines
Camiguin (pronounced “Come Again”) Island, is one of the Philippines many well kept secrets. Despite its relatively small size there is no shortage of things to do or see. The island manages to squeeze in of seven volcanoes, beautiful beaches, several waterfalls, hot and cold springs for bathing, some charming little churches and a multitude of excellent dive and snorkeling sites.
One of the most interesting landmarks is a huge white cross that marks the site of the sunken cemetery. This was swept into the ocean by the eruption of a volcano in 1871. A short boat ride can be organised to the cross, which is hollow and can be climbed from inside. While the view from above is magnificent, the climb is not recommended for those who suffer from a fear of heights or enclosed spaces! The area surrounding the cross offers an excellent if somewhat eerie environment for snorkelling, with gravestones and tombs now forming the habitat for a wide variety of marine life.
An enjoyable way to explore the island is by hiring a motorcycle and riding around the island. Alternatively slower options are to hail one of the local “tricycles” or catch a “Jeepny”. Tricycles are a motorbike with a locally made shell so as to be able to comfortably fit 5 passengers, although often seen with upwards of 10! Jeepnys are a long vehicle which look like a Jeep in front, but have a rear that resembles an old style bus – with bench seats all along the sides. These are often seen with any number of passengers!
Most of the coastal attractions are accessible on excellent paved streets, however going inland is often by tackling more adventurous tracks. Although the local government claims the 64km circumferential highway can be completed in just one hour and a half, this seems somewhat ambitious seeing as most vehicles on the island travel at a much more leisurely pace.
Photo credits: , Holger Mette.