Solo Backpacking Diaries: Camiguin

She carries a lot of backpacks/suitcases but all of them are empty because she’s expecting to completely fill them with life by the end of this trip and then she’ll come home and sort everything out and do it all again.

Storypeople

I have always thought of travelling alone, but never really had the balls (or the vajay-jay) to do it until recently.

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Before Camiguin, I’ve had way too many cancelled flights or to clearly put it…unused flights.  I had to cancel one I had for Palawan because I got caught in a vehicle accident just two days before the Departure Date. Despite bumping my head on the ground and experiencing a lot of nausea, I pleaded my mom and the doctor If I could possibly leave the hospital by Saturday just in time for the flight (I was desperate!).  I know what they’d say, but hey it was worth a try.  I stayed in the hospital for more than a week for monitoring.  Sheesh, talk about wrong timing.
I booked tickets for Albay too. I was so excited to visit Mt. Mayon with friends and do a CamSur side trip to the Caramoan islands, but yes…you guessed it; It got cancelled too.  The town got hit by a typhoon a day or two before our flight.
I also booked a flight to Cagayan de Oro (side trip Davao and Bukidnon), but I guess you know what happened next. A family member got sick, so I had to use the allocated budget for the trip. I was penniless and couldn’t afford to travel.
I was still hopeful for the ticket I booked bound for Bacolod scheduled later that year though. Then again, it also went unused.   I was denied an extremely long time off at work because I was involved in a huge project that needed to get done ASAP.

I told myself so many times I will never again get into details about my flights and why they were cancelled, but I guess I have typed them in already. LOL. I still get really emotional thinking about the wasted tickets. The money, the time, the energy…*sigh

So, okay. Where was I? Yes, yes…Camiguin. So this solo backpacking in Camiguin didn’t really excite me much. I wasn’t that hopeful even. I knew something’s going to come up to avoid me from travelling and the same travel-frustration cycle would soon surface. At the back of my mind, I have already opened myself to the idea of any type of cancellation news, especially when there were news flashes about an upcoming typhoon.

The 1st of July came and to my surprise no cancellation notices whatsoever. “Is this for real, dear God? Are you allowing me to travel now?” I thought to myself with a big grin in my face as I waited in Lounge 8 at the airport with ‘HaHa’ (that’s my backpack’s name) on my side , an egg bun in my right hand and a cup of coffee in my left.  I took a bite of the sandwich, then leaned back,  satisfaction and excitement slowly creeping up my spine.

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DAY 1
6:45 AM Camiguin Airport
I arrived 30 mins earlier than the ETA. I was so happy Kuya Norman was already waiting for me when I made my way out of the airport.
(I prearranged transport and accommodation.I will provide links at the bottom of this post.)
Around ten minutes later, I reached Brgy. Yumbing and was dropped off at Pabualan Cottages where Kuya Teddy was waiting for me. He just finished cleaning the rooms.

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The lodge is conveniently situated a few meters from the road. This is the view that’ll greet you when you walk in and out the premise.

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A cozy room with air conditioning, cable TV, a clean bathroom and free WIFI. What more could I ask for?

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The Pabualan Cottage lawn

I left my backpack and prepped up for the first day of my adventure.

1: Tongatoc Cove

First stop!

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Breathtaking view, ain’t it?

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2. Walkway to the Old volcano and Via Crucis
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I wanted to try and take the 1000 step challenge up the hill/mountain, but I was chasing time. I still had a lot of places to visit so, I decided to take the challenge on my way back instead.

I forgot to tell Kuya Norman about taking the challenge  earlier so I ended up not taking it at all. I only remembered when we were way past the walkway. Hah!

3. Sunken Cemetery

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This area reminds of that scene in Game of Thrones where Bronn trained Jamie Lannister to fight with just one hand. Sans the stairs and the stone railings, of course. 😉   (view GOT image here)

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The black sand and the huge waves crashing in the shore, I admit it looked a bit creepy. I started to imagine floating dead bodies and zombies coming out of the water. Don’t mind my thoughts; I’m a little too imaginative sometimes.

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I’m so used to white sand beaches that black sand appeals to me. It’s sooo pretty, but has this mysterious vibe.

4. 16th century Guiob Church Ruins

“CATARMAN CHURCH RUINS-famous for the name Ruins of Gui-ob Church located in Barangay Bonbon, 16 kilometers from the center of Catarman town. What remains are ruins of adobe walls, belfry and convent that are testimonials to the devastating 1871 earthquake and volcanic eruption which wiped out the illustrious town of Catarman established earlier as a Spanish settlement in 1697.”

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free neck exercise! 😛

A Brief Account of Mt. Volcan Eruption (May 13, 1871)

6:00pm
Cotta Bato, the capital of Camiguin Island was a quiet and attractive town, verdant in its natural wonders. Its peaceful shores provided strolling grounds for its inhabitants as they basked under the gracious moonlight. Suddenly,

Tranquility came to a halt as sub-terranean rambling sowed undescribable terror. Hundreds of houses and churches crumbled into pieces, the ground rolled and broke into deep crevices with horrifying earthquake served only as prelude to the destructive climax, a cataclysm never witnessed before. Mt. Volcan gave out its fiercest and most violent outbreak.

6:20pm
Cotta Bato was but a dreadful pile of ruins. The single volcanic eruption buried a beautiful town into obscurity.
Hundreds of lives were lost while the survivors sought refuge in the open country that gave them hope for tomorrow.”

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Wouldn’t it be awesome if the walls could talk? I bet they’d have an awesome story to tell.

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5. Bura Soda Waterpool

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The perks of travelling on a weekday.  I had the entire place all to myself! *insertevillaugh

6. Mt.tres marias closer view

I saw Mt. Tres Marias, but didn’t bother taking a photo. Tsk. That was a dumb move, I know.

7. Tuasan Falls

The road is still under construction, but I guess it’s almost done. Kuya Norman mentioned of on-going renovations for Tuasan Falls which explained the piles of excavated soil and rocks in some areas. With a beautiful view like Tuasan, I honestly think they should’ve placed the road a little far from the falls.  It’s nice to do a quick challenging trek to a place like this; that way it’s more fun and more in touch with nature.

But, that’s just me.

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The waterfall was so loud that I seriously started to shudder. It honestly scared me a bit.
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So beautiful.
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8. Sto Nino Cold spring

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The water is really cold, but not freezing. A great place to refresh.
I love the big fish spa too.
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See the small fishes?
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Pretty as it is, I wish the place had less development. (Does that sound right? Am I making sense? lol) I just think that some great magic has been lost by developing the natural spring for mass public use; wish I could have seen it before the concrete and all.

9. Ardent Hot Spring

I stayed in Ardent for almost 3 hours.

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Found out the hottest (or warmest) pool is 36 degrees. I was expecting it to be around 40 but it wasn’t that bad.

Then, it rained. HAHA

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This little pool right here is where I stayed for most of the three hours. I could dip myself here the entire day.

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10. Late Lunch at the Checkpoint’s Restobar

I stayed here for a while just to enjoy my meal and the view. I also had the chance to chat with the attendants. Good, good conversations.

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After two hours of chilling at the Checkpoint, I walked my way back to the lodge. When I came in the door…boom!*makes explosion sound  with mouth* it rained again. HAHA

I spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and watching TV.

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The glass window is love.

DAY 2

I’m used to waking up at 2:30 in the morning thanks to my work schedule, so I was up really early. I watched a few movies and shows while I prepared and arranged the stuff in my room before quickly heading to the Checkpoint at around 6 am to eat breakfast.

1: Checkpoint Restobar 
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toasts, bacon, eggs and coffee….YUM!!
Breakfast buffet was only P150.00. And again, the view is just…*inserthappyface
A super hearty breakfast indeed.
2. Katibawasan Falls
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Stayed here for almost an hour. It rained hard just after taking a few shots of the waterfall. It felt like a rainstorm and I was in the middle of nowhere.
FUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNN 😀
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We call this salvaro in Cebu, or so my mom calls it. My grandmother brings a lot of these on some Sundays. I like the term ‘kiping’ better. From now on, I’m calling this ‘Kiping’.

2. Ostrich Farm

Inside Camiguin’s Provincial Animal Breeding and Ostrich Production Center is the Ostrich Farm. The place is a research center for improving the breeding of ostriches as well as other farm animals in Camiguin.

I decided to skip the place. I have nothing against it and I actually support the cause. But, I preferred visiting animals in their natural habitat or in a hundred acre sanctuary rather than in a small area.  I don’t like to get teary-eyed in the middle of the farm; I’m not even joking.

3. Mantigue island

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The motorcycle ride was ‘YOLOishly’ fun! It was still raining hard when we arrived at the boat station in Benoni.

The boat ride costs 550 and if you can see that little bump just behind the green boat in the photo, that’s Mantigue Island.

4. Taguines lagoon, j&a fishpen,  zipline zone

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Seafood and Zipline!!!

5. Kibila Giant Clams

A little girl, around 8 to 12 years old, gave me a tour to the tanks where a few clams were placed. She told us everything she knew about the clams — from their scientific names down to their colors, sizes and etc..

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This giant clam in the tank is smaller compared to what’s out in the nursery.
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Kibila Giant Clams Conservation and Ocean Nursery is a non-government project and all proceeds go to the sanctuary and the people who maintain the place.

Entrance Fee is P25.00.

You can also rent snorkeling gears and lifevests for around P300 (Mask and Snorkel – 100, Flippers – 100, Goggles – 50, Floaters – 50, Lifevests – 100). Note that they don’t allow guests to snorkel on their own to prevent accidents.

I tell you folks: If you won’t snorkel, you’re missing out a lot!

6. White Island Sand Bar

Boat Rental is P450.00. Snorkeling gears and lifevests are available for rent at the nearby stores.

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It was sad that all boat ride schedules to White Island were cancelled that day.

Why now, bad-weather-because-of-an-upcoming-storm!? Why?????

7. San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish

I always make it a habit  to visit churches whenever I’m travelling.

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After lighting a few prayer candles, I then went to Mambajao Market to buy some Pastel.

DAY 3

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I moved from one room to another. This was my second room.  A little small than the previous one, but still has good air-conditioning, WIFI, a clean bathroom and cable TV!
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Motorcycle ride to the airport

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Good Morning, Camiguin Airport!
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The vacation was too short. I’ll miss the mountains — everywhere I turn naa jud sa view with matching clouds sa peak, the lush green roadsides and landscapes nga bisan makuyawan ko kay naa unyai GH I grew to love it because it somehow makes me smile and it compliments the view and the mountains sa likod, especially kanang maglakaw ko gikan checkpoint…naa pa jui lain laing birds ko masugatan everytime maglakaw na ko pabalik sa lodge…kanindot!
The sound of the wind rustling through the trees and plants…hayahay pas hayahay, ang mga chicken and chicks og ducks and ducklings nga masaag sa yard…saba but cute paminawn, ang mga stray dogs (the island is rabies free fyi) nga magpatunga sa dalan and adto mag sun bathing and matulog nga ma lerke ang driver sa motor hahaha.
Breakfasts and lunches at the checkpoint: lami ang food and nindot ang imo panlantaw while nagkaon…naka muni muni kog kadaghan, ang bakery sa mercado nga di jud mugamit og plastic as putos, the friendly people mapa local or expat– the restobar attendants nga makachika nako everytime ko mu eat, si attentive ate na owner sa sari sari store across checkpoint where I buy hard-boiled eggs everyday, the tempura vendor that brightens the Yumbing HS students and MY afternoon with well-done tempura, yummy sauce and funny jokes, the bread, the students nga magtambay and the friendly tigbantay sa bakery, the mini grocery where I run everytime a craving strikes, the fun motorcycle rides rain or shine padayon! kay YOLO (nakapasilong bitaw one time…one time ra :P), etc etc.

I can’t enumerate all…but I will surely miss everything about this place.
Thank you Kuya Teddy, Kuya Norman and the friendly Camiguinons for endlessly making me feel at home.
Till next time, Camiguin.

Of all the travels I’ve had this has been the most fuss-free. EVER. I’m an ambivert so I’m half and half; I love people as much as I love my solitude. I mean who wouldn’t want to spend time alone with themselves?
Although I’ve always traveled with friends and family and that it’s a lot of fun to be with them when seeing new places and sights, sometimes, it’s a little hard to exercise independence.

Travelling alone, you only have yourself. Unfettered and free, you can do what you want, go where you want, when you want and at your own pace. You also get to build more self reliance and more self confidence, even if you already have a ton of these. And ironic as it sounds,  you are never lonely when you’re travelling alone. You get to meet lots of other solo backpackers too! You also get to interact more with the locals(immersion yeah!)
It’s a wonderful feeling to blend in the place, and just, you know, let them think you are just from around the area. It’s a whole lot better than being touristy and all, imho.

Ahhhh, solitude. That sense of liberty and solace.

Travelling Solo is one awesome sensation.

I WILL DEFINITELY DO IT AGAIN!

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I made arrangements with Kuya Teddy of Pabualan Cottages for my accommodation and on how to get around the island.  You can contact Kuya Teddy at 0939-2440521 and 0917-5219391. You can also send him an email at teddypabualan@gmail.com or visit his page by clicking this link.

You can also contact Kuya Norman at 0936-7268796

EXPENSE BREAKDOWN:

Accomodation and Transportation
2 nights aircon accommodation – 1,400 ( 700/night)
all entrance fees to tourist spots – 200
motorbike 2days tours+transfers (with driver) – 2,000
boat white island – 450
boat mantigue island – 550
total ==================4,600
Extra:
Day 1
Fare to Airport – 14
Bunwich and Coffee at the Airport – 120
Puto at Sto Nino Spring – 10
Lunch at Checkpoint – 35
Bread – 14
total ==================193
Day 2
Breakfast at Checkpoint – 150
Kibili Giant Clams tip – 50
Pastel at Mambajao Market – 150
Candles at San Isidro Parish – 15
Lunch at Checkpoint – 50
Groceries (Coffee, bread, water, nuts, bread) – 150
Dinner – 25
total ================= 590
Day 3
Kuya Norman Tip – 500
Extra Pasalubong (pastel and piniato) – 150
Terminal Fee – 50
Coffee at Airport – 60
Fare Home – 15
total ================ 775
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Accomodation and Transpo – 4600
Extra – 1558
EXPENSE TOTAL : 6158.00
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