SUNRISE AT WHITE ISLAND, SUNDOWN AT CdeO
We woke up 30 minutes after 4AM and hurriedly transformed ourselves from sleepy heads to enthusiastic wanderers in our record breaking time. I surely don’t want to miss the sunrise from White Island, the next stop for our Camiguin tour. I have told Mrs. Pabua the day before that we would like see how the sun rises in Camiguin, and luckily she knows where it could be best viewed at. She has pre-arranged for someone to take us there at twilight. True to her words, the bangkero has been waiting for us since the first tick of hour 4.
Armed with food and water stash from our dinner the night before and of course my camera, we then traveled via pump boat to this mysterious island Mrs. Pabua is talking to us about. We were escorted by the bangkero to an off-road track and was ushered to seat comfortably on a pump boat big enough to carry around 10 persons the most, not including the bangkero. Travel time from the mini wharf to the island’s shoreline is no more than 20 minutes. With the cold breeze sweeping our faces, the views are just as spectacular! Far flung from how I imagined it to be.
How would you like to have an island even just for an hour or two? We were lucky to have the entire island all to ourselves that day, sans the bangkero and the souvenir vendor. I even found myself dancing to Paula Abdul’s Promise Of A New Day song which made Janyl laugh to her heart’s content. That was one of the rare occasions that I danced in public, though there were no people around! Was able to enjoy the cool waters and the white sands. We ate our food and drank our water stash on the makeshift stall built on the island, and swam some more. After about 2 hours in the island, we felt the need to hurry again to be on time for our roro trip back to Balingoan Wharf.
The trip back to our cottage was filled with long faces from both of us since we still wanted to stay. The thought of going back to the city filled my mind and saddened my heart. But what can I do? As what have been said, some good things just never last.
I paid Mrs. Pabua P400 for the pump boat rental, took a bath and fixed my things. I stashed my wet clothes inside my bag and after about an hour we bid farewell to Mrs. Pabua, Barangay Yumbing and the wonder behind me. We rode a tricycle which picked some other passengers along the way to Mambajao, alighting at Vjandep’s bakery to purchase 2 dozen boxes of pastel. I also bought their empanada and it was really good! Really perked me up and realized that Vjandep is another wonder that only the Camiguin Island can boast of! Breakfast was again spent at Vjandep’s Restaurant consisting of beef and rice with their bibingka. I spent an average of P40 per meal at Vjandep’s, a true value for money, and it’s worth it!
After we were done with our breakfast, we trudged to the nearby Mambajao Terminal and located the van going to Benoni Port. There were only 5 of us inside the van but luckily the driver decided to carry on, didn’t filled the van of its maximum load. By 10AM we were waiting in line to purchase our roro tickets at the Benoni Port. The roro however roared its engines to life and left Camiguin Island at exactly 12 PM though reaching Balingoan Port around 130PM. We walked our way through the bus terminal and waited for about 30 minutes for the bus heading back to Cagayan de Oro City. It was a rainy afternoon travel back to the city. We thought that it was the best time to have a dose of advance rafting, however it’s far too late to be reserving for one. Upon reaching the city, we took a cab and instructed the driver to take us to Park View Inn. We were lucky, there’s only one double room left at this inn. After paying our dues at the front desk, we were ushered inside our modest room. I found that it’s bigger from the one we had previously, lucky!
We were told that that the typical Night Cafe in CdeO is held every Friday’s and Saturday’s. Lucky! It’s a Friday night and I’m not going to let this opportunity pass. Janyl dashed dashed to the bathroom to erase the day’s weary while I’m trying to figure out my outfit (typical girl). In less than an hour’s preparation, we were set to conquer the Night Cafe.
Initially, I thought Night Cafe was like a name of a famous local bar in CdeO. And I was totally wrong. Plaza Divisoria that night was lined with a number of food stalls, ukay-ukay stalls, and some other Kagayanon stuff for sale. It is some sort of a night market which became sort of a tradition for Kagayanons every Friday’s and Saturday’s. They also feature Kagayanon bands to play for 2 nights. What really moved me was the number of people for the night. Amazing! Festive! Happiness!
Inihaw typically was the way of cooking. So you need to sort of like window shop first to check out the menu offerings from each and every store. Once you’ve chosen a gastronomic entity on a certain stall, you pick it up, hand it over to the tindera to cook it for you. The various offerings from each stall made it hard for me to choose. The aroma from the cooking makes it all the more harder. But the price range was actually the hardest part I should say. Food is really cheap and because of that, it made me excited to have a taste from them all!
To cap the night, we found ourselves heading our way over to Bo’s Coffee Club. Had a caffeine and dessert fix there while watching families, teen-age groups, best friends, lovers head for their way home. It was a gastronomic night I should say and what could be a better fix? Walk.
We’re both glad that we did. On our walk back to Park View Inn, we saw this cloth stream dangling over one of the newer buildings adjacent to ours. Our eyes sparkled and in unison screamed, “Spa!” What a way to cap the night, a nice body and facial spa!
Our excitement grew as we entered the reception area of the spa. Since it’s a quarter past 11PM and they’re about to close the shop, we asked the attendants if they will still be able to provide service for us. They didn’t hesitated and the next thing I found myself doing is signing off their waiver sheets. The price range for their services are competitive. We availed of the Dead Sea Salt whole body scrub costs Php550 and the regular facial spa is Php350. It was worth it!