Wednesday, June 01, 2011
When we arrived at the Port of Benoni and were greeted with several multicab and motorcycle drivers until we were able to choose Manong Rey and his motorcycle to take us to Paras Beach Resort in exchange of P200.00.
Camiguin is hot. The Port of Benoni as approximately 21 kilometers (or more!) from Paras Beach Resort. I was amazed of how the roads of Camiguin are all cemented and well taken care of. Some minimal erosion and are being attended to by the people (city employees, probably). Almost all places, tourist destinations and spots are readily accessible because of their cemented roads.
Paras Beach Resort is one of the medium-to-high-priced resorts in Camiguin. But their prices are reasonable considering the quality service and facilities of their resort. It's also very convenient because you can pay through debit and credit cards. Banks and automatic teller machines are far from the resorts area.
Any Camiguin trip would not be complete without visiting the White Island. So, White Island is on top our list. After waking up on May 12, 2011, we hurriedly prepared to go to White Island. Paras Beach Resort charges P450.00 for a round trip boat use to and from the White Island. Their boat could accommodate up to 8 persons. There is an entrance fee of P20.00 per person in White Island. It's really mysterious how this white island came to be. The Camiguin Island is about 95% black sand and just a few meters away, there is this island with just plain white sand. Nothing but plain white sand.
I was amazed by it but did not really enjoy my White Island trip that much because it was soooo hot! There are no trees there, you can rent umbrellas, though. Also, there are a few stalls selling seafood (sea urchin) and snacks so don't worry if you feel hungry. Also, there wasn't much to see in the sea except rocks and small fishes. What I enjoyed in this trip was that the White Island is picture perfect!
When we got back to Paras, we decided to tour Camiguin Island. We hired a motorcycle for P700.00 to take us around the island.
We first went to the Walkway to the Old Volcano. We decided to climb up the 1.5 kilometer trail and taking breaks in between the Stations of the Cross. The last Station (Station 15) is where you can see the statue of the risen Christ. The trail is not that steep but since I am currently living a sedentary lifestyle, I found myself catching my breath on the 7th station. Halfway, the trail is cemented and you just need to have enough energy to climb up the stairs. There is a really great view of the sunken cemetery from the mountain.
After sweating out profusely, we went to the Sunken Cemetery. On our way, we say ruins from old structures which were damaged by the eruption in 1870's. Also, the sunken cemetery sunk because of such volcanic activity. I forgot how much it cost to hire a banka to get to the large cross. Anyway, the price is really affordable and the people really really friendly.
Next Stop: Cold Springs. We went to two cold springs: Soda Water Cold Spring and Sto. Niño Cold Spring. And when they said cold spring, they weren't joking!!! Soda Water was friendlier of the two cold springs. The water is cold but tolerable. I just figured out that I (or anybody else) am not bouyant in cold water! Hahaha! I was amazed at how clear the water is! See for yourself.... At the center of the pool you can see where the water is coming from. The entrance fee is just P20.00 per person.
At Sto. Niño Cold Spring Resort, the water is really really very very cold. Hahaha! It was tolerable but I was really chilling! The entrance fee in Sto. Niño Cold Spring Resort is also just P20.00. Too bad I didn't remember how much it cost for their cottages but I assure you that it is really affordable.
It was almost 3:00 P. M. when we left the cold springs for another set of adventure. I was debating with our driver, Manong Rey, on where to take us next. Since we only have one day to tour Camiguin as we will be going back to Cagayan the following day, I insisted that Manong Rey take us to the Ardent Hot Spring and then maybe also take a peek at the water falls. But we were informed that the way to the hot springs and water falls is not very ideal as it tends to get dark late in the afternoon. And the entrance to the water falls is allowed only until 4:00 PM. However, Manong Rey made a bargain to take us instead to Cantaan.
I didn't know what to expect about Cantaan except that I was a little disappointed that we won't be going to the hot spring and water falls. But we were on vacation so I just told myself that being surly won't do me any good.
And Manong Rey just gave me the shock of my life. I think Cantaan is the only place in Camiguin Island (except the white island and Mantigue Island) which has white sand. In Cantaan Centennial Multi-Purpose Cooperative, they preserve various species of clams. They have a laboratory where you can see giant clams and baby clams. Children (with ages of about 12 to 16) were the ones giving us a tour. It's nice because even the children in their community are involved in the preservation of clams.
I can say that this visit in Cantaan is the highlight in our Camiguin tour. Snorkeling is not really among my favorite things but my mind changed because in Cantaan, you don't just see fishes, you can see a lot of clams, of various sizes and colors and I was really in awe seeing a lot of clams! We were informed that the preservation area houses about 2,700 clams, and counting.
We went back to the resort very tired but also very happy. But before we actually went back to Paras, Manong Rey took us to this place in Cantaan Yacht Inn Restobar and Guesthouse. The accommodation ranges from P300 for electric fan rooms to as high as P1,500 for airconditioned rooms. There is this air conditioned room with a very good view of Camiguin. Had I known of this resort, I should've stayed here.
May 13, 2011. We woke up and surprised to see a breakfast buffet in the Paras Restaurant. The breakfast buffet is cheaper at P250.00 per person, including taxes. However, breakfast buffet is only available if the resort has a lot of checked in guests. Our last morning stay in Camiguin was spent on billiards (in house games are free in Paras Beach Resort, you can also try table tennis) and then a quick swim at their pool.
Before finally going to the port, we stopped by at the original VjAndep Bakery to buy some much-loved and always-requested Pastel, or yema-filled buns. They are really delicious! But watch out if you're diabetic!
So, finally, we went to the port, still with Manong Rey. The ticketing office is a little far (about 50 to 100 meters) away from the terminal area but Manong Rey was kind enough to purchase the tickets.
That was my Camiguin experience.