The Next Pitstop: Cagayan de Oro – Camiguin Leg 2010

Planning My Trip To Cagayan de Oro – Camiguin

Cagayan de Oro is a part of the province of Misamis Oriental, one of the provinces in Northern Mindanao. Nature tripping is a never-ending possibility in Misamis Oriental. From watersports and fine beaches to cave exploration and ethnic settlements, the list of nature-communing endeavors to be experienced in the province is longer than enough to fill a lifetime’s itinerary.

Seas and beaches offer a limitless aqua adventure. Go scuba diving at Duka Bay and Mantangale, also a primary dolphin and whale shark watching destination. Find glorious hideaways in the white sand beaches of Midway Beach, Maputi White Beach, and Opol Beach Fronts. Go white water rafting and tubing in the rapids of Cagayan de Oro River, one of the longest rivers in Mindanao. Or simply get picture-happy at the San Isidro/Sagpolon, Palalan, and Tiklas waterfalls as well as Sapong Spring and the Cold Spring at Lagonglong.

white water rafting in CdeO with only the best, Kagay

Moreover, it was a good thing that Cebu Pacific Air offered their Piso Rates, which I thought of Cagayan de Oro being my first choice! A multitude of choices await the nature love and adventurer. in us. The Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village in Cagayan de Oro, a cultural village in a botanical setting, is home to Region 10’s tribal communities and endemic plants and trees. Also in Cagayan de Oro is Macahambus Cave, a historical site dating back to the 1900s. Initao Cave is home to the split-nose bat and the Initao National Park is a forest reserve with a natural limestone formation and marine life. Shift into a more relaxed pace at the Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club, situated along Lumbia Road in Cagayan de Oro. Or explore this city’s museums, from the Xavier University Museum showcasing Muslim-Bukidnon culture to the La Castilla Museum featuring household heirlooms.

We have set our travel dates as June 16-19, 2010 for the Cagayan de Oro – Camiguin leg. I have been dreaming of going to this place eversince. The only thing that hampers me is the budget. Good thing, Sheila allowed herself to be immersed with the captivating beauty of this place. And so the hunt is on for the best bargains around CdO and Camiguin.

How Do I Get To Cagayan de Oro?

There are several ways on getting to Cagayan de Oro. The most popular are as follows:

a. By Air – since we’re coming from Manila, there are only 2 airlines that I know of that can fly you daily straight from Manila to Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro. The estimated flight duration is 1 hour and 35 minutes. The regular fares are really expensive by the way, but I’ll be posting their promo rates from time to time so please take time to read.

  • Philippine Airlines – PAL does not have any promo offerings at the time that I was planning to book my flight. Their regular round trip rates to CdO is Php4592.00. Wow! Very expensive!
  • Cebu Pacific Air – Cebu Pac recently launched (I believe that was in November) their 2-day Piso Fare to all of their destinations and I was lucky enough to be able to book for me and Sheila. Our round trip tickets cost us only Php312.00 each. That’s a great value for money indeed! Their regular round trip fare actually costs Php 4270.56. Konti lang ang difference sa PAL.

b. By Sea – the only shipping line that I know of is the SuperFerry. The travel duration takes almost 2 days aboard SuperFerry12. Their e-ticket for a roundtrip Mega Value aircon accommodation with food costs Php2989.81. It is quite cheaper than the traveling by air but it would take almost 2 days before you reach your destination. SuperFerry has promos from time to time, like their Todo Tawad promo where fares can go as low as Php500 on one way. But at this time, no promos offerings for Cagayan de Oro destination. Moreover, they have schedules for their trips. According to their website, their trips are Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.

c. By Land – The city has two bus terminals. The West Bound terminal caters to trips going to Iligan, Ozamiz, Pagadian and Zamboanga while the Agora Terminal caters to trips going to Gingoog, Butuan, Malaybalay, Valencia, Wao, Kidapawan, Davao and Camiguin Island (via Balingoan Port). Agora has a reputation among residents as being a somewhat more dangerous place than the rest of this peaceful safe city–don’t let it stop you from using the bus service, but don’t hang around Agora at night longer than you need to and keep cameras/phones tucked in.

Where Can I Stay In Cagayan de Oro?

I have tried to look for several budget inns or hotels around Cagayan de Oro and in fairness, there were a number of them scattered within downtown area where the proximity to business establishments are very near.  Luckily I was able to find 2 websites that proved to be helpful in planning our trip to Cagayan de Oro. You may visit in Cagayan de Oro or cdoguide and you’ll find all the necessary answers to your questions particularly places to stay at and places to visit while in Cagayan de Oro.

Among all the inns and hotels shown on these websites, these are my choices as far as the accommodations are concerned because they are the most notable, in downtown area and budget-friendly that I have seen. Please be reminded that the rates posted here are the prevailing rates and they might have changed over time so it’s better if you give them a call or message them for inquiries especially with their rates:

  • Casa Isabella Hotel – their economy air-con room starts at Php550 per night. Inclusions for this rate are comfort rooms with hot and cold shower, cable TV and free wifi service. Their rooms have windows and a telephone (free if within city limits).
  • Park View Hotel – the economy air-con room starts at Php400 per night and the executive suite is like Php1,100 per night which is good for 4 persons. This lodge is located in Plaza Divisoria near the Amphitheater.  It has recently expanded and added new rooms at the ground level. Inclusions for this rate are comfort rooms with hot and cold shower, cable TV and free wifi service. Their rooms have windows and a telephone (free if within city limits).
  • Vines Pension – the standard double room is Php650 per night. They have limited services but their rooms are larger and are furnished in bright summer colors. Inclusions for this rate are comfort rooms with hot and cold shower, cable TV and free wifi service. Their rooms have windows and a telephone (free if within city limits).
  • Fort Santiago Pension – they have standard twin air-con room charged at Php575 per night. But this one is located within a subdivision so I’m thinking that it might be far from the business district or from downtown area. Inclusions for this rate are comfort rooms with hot and cold shower, cable TV and free wifi service. Their rooms have windows and a telephone (free if within city limits).
  • Casa Crystalla – they charge their standard air-con room at Php750 per night. The hotel is near Xavier University and Magsaysay Park. The area is concentrated with student-related establishments such as Internet cafes, school supplies and photocopying facilities. Inclusions for this rate are comfort rooms with hot and cold shower, cable TV and free wifi service. Their rooms have windows and a telephone (free if within city limits).
  • K Condotel – this is the budget-friendly version of the 4-star Hotel Koresco. It is located near the airport area and is withing the Hotel Koresco complex, very far from downtown area. They have a promo at that time Php1,200 for their standard air-con room which includes breakfast for 2 persons. Their amenities include comfort rooms with bath tub and hot & cold shower, kitchenette, refrigerator and cable TV. Moreover, the rooms have their own terraces which has a view of Pueblo de Oro Golf Course.

The Itinerary For Cagayan de Oro-Camiguin Trip

This is the proposed itinerary for our Cdo-Camiguin Leg. Please note that this is subject to change depending on participants’ concerns, which is only Sheila and Me.

Day 1 Arrival at Cagayan de Oro

This is our arrival day at Cagayan de Oro City. Janyl and I will be on seperate flights, so just like what happened with me in Busuanga, I would have to wait for Janyl’s arrival. Today’s activity will definitely have to be the white-water rafting. This is actually 3 hours and most of the package that I have seen range anywhere from Php700-1000 and this does not include the lunch yet. I guess we’d have to eat lunch prior to the rafting. For this adventure, I found Rafting Adventure Philippines. This was one of the agencies showcased in the Philippine Travel Mart held last September 2009 in Megamall. Their website features all of their activities including the rates for the adventure. I chose their Group Rafting which is described as follows:

Group Rafting Trips

Get hyped and gear up your day as you go paddling the wild waters of the spectacular Cagayan de Oro River while building up amity with in your friends, officemates and colleagues in your companies. We customized your river trip by doing “Team Building” activities along the way. This trip is good for firms, big groups and company outings.

Regular Rate:

Beginners Php700/pax

Advance Php1000/pax

Packages are negotiable


Free Transportation vice-versa

Safety Gears (Helmets, Buoyancy aid, Paddle) and

Dry bags for valuable things (e.g. mobile phones, wallets, wrist watches, cameras, etc.)

Schedule: Any day of the week

1st Trip: 8:00 a.m.

2nd Trip: 12:00 noon

What to wear and bring?

Beach Attire preferably quick dry clothes

Rash guards or Long sleeves

Extra Clothes and Toiletries

Personal Zip locks

Aqua Shoes, Sandals or Slippers (preferably with straps)

Sun blocks or Sun screens

SLR or Digital Camera’s (dry bag will be provided) and

Your Sense of Humor

Other options for the day which can be squeezed into our 1st day would be a trip to Macahambus Adventure Park. Adventures lined up for this park includes rappel and zip-line across trees a hundred feet above ground. If we still have time we can probably drop by the Mapawa Nature Park which is ideal for horseback riding, biking, zipline and nature trekking. After all these adventures, we can try to experience CdO’s NIGHTLIFE!

with the crew of Kagay

Day 02 and 03: Camiguin, Island Born Of Fire

As part of the Cagayan de Oro tour, Camiguin is the smallest island in Mindanao that should not be missed. Camiguin is actually derived from come again. As a natural paradise, the island of Camiguin is perhaps unmatched anywhere else in Southeast Asia. This exquisite island province of varied ecosystem stirs the imaginations and baffles the mind. Camiguin boasts kilometers on untouched coastlines with swaying coconut trees and is dotted with hot and cold springs. Fine beaches offer sun-filled days of relaxation and the clear blue water, enchanting marine life and coral reefs beckon diving enthusiasts from all over the world.

Brief History of Camiguin Island

The first major Spanish settlement established in 1679 was called Katagman of Katadman (known now as Catarman). This settlement grew and prospered to what is now Barangay Bonbon. On May 1,1871, Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted and destroyed the town. A portion of the town center is presently located. Today, all that remains of old Catarman are the ruins of the ancient Spanish church, a convent and a bell tower which is now the infamous Sunken Cemetery.

On July 4 1946, the country gained independence from the United States of America and became the Republic of the Philippines. From 1946 to 1958, Camiguin was part of the Province of Misamis Oriental. In 1958, it became a Sub-Province and in 1968, a full-fledged Province with Mambajao as its capital.

From 1948 to 1951, Mt. Hibok-hibok constantly rumbled and smoked. Its minor eruption in 1948 caused little damage and loss of life. In 1949, its eruption caused 79 deaths due to landslides. In the morning of December 4, 1951, the volcano erupted again. This time, however, its unleased boiling lave, poisonous gases, and landslides enough to destroy nearly 19 square kilometers of lands particularly in Mambajao. All in all, over 3,000 people were killed. Before eruption of Mt Hibok-hibok in 1951, the population of Camiguin had reached 69,000.. After the eruption, the population was reduced to about 34,000 due to massive out-migration.


Getting to Camiguin Island from Cagayan de Oro is quite easy but is time-consuming I should say. From the posts that I read, there are 2 easy ways on how to go about this trip back-packing style.

  • The first option is to get to Camiguin Island via bus then ferry. From the airport or your hotel, a jeepney or taxi ride will take to Agora Bus Terminal, where there is a bus going to Balingoan, Misamis Oriental.  Balingoan is a coastal town that serves as a entry point to Camiguin. The air-con bus fare from Agora Bus Terminal is Php135 for one way. It takes about 2 hours of travel from Agora to Balingoan.
  • From Balingoan Port, one will ride a roro or ferry going to either  Benoni Port or Guinsiliban Port in Camiguin Island. It costs Php135 one way per head. It takes an hour to cross the port of Benoni, or 45 minutes to cross towards the port of Guinsiliban.
  • The second option is to ride the Paras Sea Cat from Cagayan de Oro to Camiguin Island direct.  Departs daily from Cagayan de Oro to Camiguin @ 830am. Rates are Deck @ Php 400, View Deck @ Php 400 and Business Class @ Php600. For booking and inquiries don’t hesitate to call (088) 8572727 because I think you would have to reserve your slot 2 days in advance.


There are several accommodations that I have found for our stay in Camiguin Island. However some of them did not indicate whether it’s a budget or splurge accommodation. I was told that there are a lot of things and places to visit at Camiguin. Moreover, there are also several beautiful resorts to stay at which is really easy on the budget. Since we’ll be staying for one night in Camiguin, I will also have to look for a resort who allows one night of stay, probably one of the cheaper ones in the area. I did not try to make any reservations but I did inquired about their rates, inclusions and location. Some of them replied but most of them did not. But here are my choices for the Camiguin Island leg:

  • Jasmin By The Sea Resort – they have air-con and fan accommodations. Offers budget to mid-splurge accommodation in this area
  • Secret Cove Beach Resort – they have air-con and fan accommodations. Offers budget to mid-splurge accommodation in this area
  • Paras Beach Resort – they have air-con accommodations and one of the pricey accommodations in this area
  • Camiguin Beach Club – they have air-con accommodations and one of the pricey accommodations in this area
  • Villa Paraiso Resort – they have air-con and fan accommodations. One of the pricey accommodations in this area
  • Bahay-Bakasyunan sa Camiguin – this would probably be one of the best fan and air-con accommodations according to reviews. Their rates are a bit pricey though
  • Golden Sunset Beach Club – this one does not have its own website but offers budget to mid-range accommodations
  • Pabua’s Cottages – they don’t have a website though but you can check out my post regarding their accommodations and rates.
  • Paguia’s Cottages – no website but you can check the review for this budget accommodation.
  • Tabada’s Home – no website as well but it’s just in front of Paras Beach Resort. Their air-con room starts at Php1000 for non-peak season, good for 2 persons. They don’t have wifi access though.
  • Gamorot Pabololot’s Cottages – one of the budget accommodations that can be found in Camiguin Island. You may check out the review on their cottage.


Here’s our 2-day Camiguin Island tour:

7:15AM ETD from Balingoan Pier Cagayan De Oro

Note: Ferry schedule 7:15am, 9:00am, 10:15am, 1:15pm, 2:50pm, 4:15pm

8:15AM ETA @ Benoni Pier Camiguin

9:30AM @ Bgy. Yumbing, Mambajao Camiguin, checked in Pabua’s Cottages

11AM -12PM Vjandep Restaurant & Bakeshop (must try pastel)

12PM – 6:30PM have a day tour of these tourist spots, arranged chronologically as follows:

1. Katibawasan Falls (swimming)

2. Ardent Hot Springs (swimming)

3. Old Guiob Church Ruins (sightseeing)

4. Soda Springs (swimming)

5. Sunken Cemetery (can dive  here)

6:30PM-8PM Luna Ristorante for dinner

Katibawasan Falls, Mambajao, Camiguin Island

on our way to Catarman, Camiguin Island

Sunken Cemetery in Catarman, Camiguin Island

Luna Ristorante in Mambajao, Camiguin Island

sunrise at White Island, Mambajao, Camiguin Island

The Following Day 3:

4:00AM Wake-up call

4:30AM off to White Island Camiguin

Note: Make sure to bring food and shade

7:00AM ETD from White Island Camiguin

10:30AM ETD from hotel going to Beroni Pier (going back to CDO)

12PM ETD @ Beroni Pier

1:30PM ETA @  Balingoan Pier CDO

3:30PM back to CDO

Plaza Divisoria Night Cafe every Friday and Saturday nights

And the rest of the day would have to be used for exploring more of Cagayan de Oro. I heard that ukay-ukay in CdO is one of the best. So I’ll never let this ukay-ukay opportunity pass by!

Day 4: A Trip To Nearby Iligan City or Bukidnon

We were told that it is a must to drop by at Bukidnon and experience Del Monte Farms’s cooking and the zip lining at Dahilayan Adventure Park. Be among the first to brave Asia’s Longest Dual Zipline and fly like Superman from a launch point at 4,700 feet above sea level. With speeds of up to 90 kph, zoom through lush greenery and breathtaking views only found in the mountains of Dahilayan . Guaranteed safe and fun for every age, Zipzone has become the ultimate adventure destination for young and old alike. Since its opening in September 2009, Zipzone has been visited to over a thousand enthusiasts, including a courageous 2 year old and a 77 year old grandpa. Get the thrill of your life with Zipzone’s 840m scream inducing ride! Bond with families and friends amidst Dahilayan’s cool and foggy weather. This is one amazing adventure you will never forget!

Tinago Falls is a waterfall in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Iligan, a city known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls. Legend has it that there once lived an influential and powerful Sultan Agok and her wife. They were appointed by their people as their king and queen. But they become too proud of themselves and became selfish rulers of their kingdom. When the sultan’s wife was pregnant, an enchantress, disguised as a beggar, begged for their help but instead they exiled and rejected her. Because of this, the enchantress cursed the couple that the child will become ugly but they did not took it seriously and permanently banished the enchantress.

Tinago Falls in Iligan City

When the child was born, the child did become ugly. The couple was sad and disappointed, expecting the baby to be as lovely as her mother. They hid the child in a cave to avoid embarrassment and named the baby Tin-ag, which means “hidden face”. They visited and took care of the baby in the cave. When the child grew up, she came out of the cave and became amazed at what she saw. The enchantress, who cursed her parents, saw her and made an offer to transform her into something of great beauty and splendor. She accepted the offer and became the Tinago Falls.

Going to Iligan City takes about an estimated 1.5 hours by bus from Cagayan de Oro City. It is located in a deep ravine in Barangay Ditucalan, Iligan City. Other falls to see would be the Maria Cristina Falls along the Agus River. Both are sources of hydro-electric power for most of Mindanao.


2 comments on “The Next Pitstop: Cagayan de Oro – Camiguin Leg 2010

  1. COME this summer at PAGUIA’S COTTAGES…A New Place to Visit, A Nice Place to Live. It is located in front of White Island at Rocky Village, Yumbing, Mambajao, Camiguin. With contact numbers: 088-3879018, 09173107085 or 09198942681. It is owned and managed by the Paguia’s Family. To assure great services the Paguia family members personally serve you for your needs. They can accommodate up to 200 persons for a spacious rooms and cottages at a VERY AFFORDABLE price. They serve meals or you can cook food if you want. They also have Vehicles (Brand new Van and extended multicabs) , Pump boats to White Island for hire. Extending there services from Camiguin to the mainland of Northern Mindanao, Roel Paguia the son of the owner is the incharge for bookings in Cagayan de Oro for City Tour, Water Rafting and Mapawa extreme adventure. He will be your driver, tour guide and photographer for your trip in Bukidnon particularly in Dahilayan where you can experienced the Asia’s longest Zipline, Drop Zone, ATV, luge and more great adventures. He will bring you to an exotic places in Iligan City where you can enjoy swimming across the virgin beauty of Tinago Falls, Timoga cold spring and the historical scenery of Ma. Cristina Falls. All these and more only at PAGUIA’S COTTAGES…So what are you waiting for call or text them now and enjoy your Summer vacation with your Family and Friends…

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