Camiguin is one of the smallest island provinces in the Philippines yet it is accessible from many points and everyday travel is relatively straightforward. There is a well worn traveller’s trail to Camiguin from Manila by air arriving at Cagayan de Oro City where the remainder of the journey is completed by local ferry.
There is an airport on the island itself just north of the capital Mambajao. At present it is only used for private light aircraft charters but this could change in the near future as the island becomes ever more popular with foreign tourists and weekenders from Manila.
Cebu Pacific has daily flights from Manila and several services a week from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro or nearby Butuan. At both these destinations there are frequent buses to the port of Balingoan in Misamis Oriental which connects with ferries to Camiguin throughout the day.
The short crossing across the Mindanao Sea takes around 90 minutes and there are a dozen or so services a day to Camiguin’s three main ferry ports. There are frequent boats to Guinsiliban and Balbagon; however, most travellers head to the main terminal at Benoni, which is located close to the main town of Mambajao. Paras Sea Cat is the best bet, with modern fast craft leaving the mainland almost hourly and three times a week from Jagna on the island of Bohol. Fares cost around Php600.
Although the island is dotted with towering volcanoes, it is easy to get around along its 60 kilometre coastline which can be circumnavigated in around two hours by public transport. Outside the main town of Mambajao, island life is slow paced with virtually deserted roads. Venturing inland is a little more problematic with just a couple of sealed roads and little public transport.
Public transport on Camiguin is limited to multi-cabs and tricycles. Motorela is the local name for tricycles which can be found in large numbers at the ferry ports and in the centre of Mambajao. They operate on fixed routes either in a westbound or eastbound direction from the capital and cost around Php10 for a short trip. They can be chartered for a half or full day but always agree a fare beforehand.
Another option is to go by multicab, a small open sided jeep which can accommodate up to six passengers. These also follow set routes between the main towns and tourist centres and can also be hired by the day. Most hotels and guesthouses have their own set of wheels for pick up from the port and for island tours and you can expect to pay around Php1,500 for a full day’s itinerary.
For a more leisurely way to tour the island sightseeing trips can be booked through many travel agents and hotels and not a bad idea if your time in Camiguin is limited. WOW Camiguin Tours (website: www.wowcamiguin.ph) offers a range of days out catering to divers, nature and history lovers, boat cruises and general island tours. Prices start at Php800 per person.
The small port of Balbagon is the gateway to some of the most scenic offshore islands in the North Mindanao region. Just off the coast are White Island and Mantigue, both popular tourist spots and easily accessible by daily outrigger boat services. To access some of the more isolated beaches along this coastline, vessels can be chartered for the day from here and should cost no more than Php1,700 for up to six passengers.