Pure sands, sun, sea and a whole lotta fun is what one can expect from this almost unadulterated White Island Camiguin. At first I wasn’t really excited to return to this island but once there, the only thing to do is enjoy. Best visited at low-tide when more sand would emerge and the waves would shape the island like a horse shoe seen from the sky. The high tide however gives an exciting opportunity to traverse the shallow sand bridge to both edges.
“Why would I want to do that?!” Chele, one of our comical and lively companion in Camiguin exclaimed with a ghastly expression on her face when I broached the idea of snorkeling at the Camiguin Sunken Cemetery. I couldn’t blame her since the thought of venturing in the cemetery at daylight already creeps some people out, what more on the deep-sea water. But curiosity got the better of me and I’m already have a firm resolve that I would snorkel here one way or another.
Five years are enough time for a place to change. Such is the case for Mantigue Island in Camiguin, North Mindanao. With Cebu Pacific Air’s direct flights from Cebu recently introduced last April, I was lucky enough to join a band of bloggers raring to explore the island wonders to promote its flight accessibility and tourism. I guess its serendipity that I go back to Camiguin as I was yearning to go back to Mantigue Island since I had a memorable visit there in 2008. As our boat launched under a hazy mid-morning sky and a sentimental air, I can’t help wonder what does the island look now? Is the family where we stayed in still there? After a mere 15-20 minutes boat ride over medium swells, the island was there to answer.
From Zamboanga City our next stop was up north of Mindanao to the twin cities of Dipolog and Dapitan. It was a long 8 hour ride from an ordinary air cooled bus. Departing mid-day and arriving a little past at 8 in the evening. It was tiring since we were expecting it to be shorter. Spending a night in Dipolog, moving the next day to neighboring Dapitan. It was rainy in these parts already when we got there and was only able to take photos of the beautiful church of Dapitan.
Coming from Mantigue Island, we headed back to the main island of Camiguin and stayed at the Islet Resort in San Roque, Mahinog near Benoni Port. We got a good price there for very basic accommodations, but the Kho family owners are very hospitable and has lots of stories to tell. We rested a bit and then decided to head to one of the off-beaten-track destination in Camiguin, the Tuasan Falls.
It was a few days before our Camiguin travel when I saw a Howie Severino feature on Mantigue Island on TV. The island has a controversial issue regarding long time island residences who refuses to leave the island since the local government and tourism wanted to convert the whole island into a protected area. Since we were in Camiguin, we decided to check this out on ourselves. Things fell easily on place as our habal-habal driver, Jun, is a neighbor to a relative of a residence on the island. We easily secured a boat and a place to stay there for the night.
The early morning downpour have deterred our original plan to visit White Island just off the cost of Yumbing where we were staying. Since it was raining and there was nothing left to do, but catch back some sleep. There’s no use fighting the weather. But waking up mid-morning to a sunny day was surprising. So after a quick breakfast at the nearby eatery, we headed off to Camiguin’s White Island.