White Island, a sandbar, and Mantigue Island, a smaller island off the shores of Camiguin, are great for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

Cool, refreshing waters amid trees, ferns, and boulders can be found at waterfalls like Katibawasan Falls, a beautiful clear stream of water dropping more than 70m to a plunge pool where you can swim and picnic. The few souvenir kiosks and concrete walkway means it doesn’t feel like a natural refuge. A special trip by jeepney or multicab from Mambajao will cost about P300 return; from the resorts around Agoho it’s about P350 return.

Sunset-in-Camiguin-Island

The more remote Tuawasan Falls which is previously unspoiled and beautiful spot has been disfigured by the construction of a paved road up and over the falls (part of a future all-asphalt cross-island road), which once thundered below into a canyon of boulders. There’s a cold-water pool in Bura on the way here.

Binangawan falls, the shortest of the falls on Camiguin, at 15m or so, is one of the most difficult to reach and only advisable with a guide arranged through your accommodation or the tourism office (P1500). The turn-off is just past the village of Sagay; from here it’s another 7km or so up until the road deteriorates and then another few kilometres at a steep pitch along a rough rocky path. Actually reaching the falls involves plenty of walking and bushwhacking with a machete because there’s no proper trail.

Just as refreshing is a dip in the Santo Niño Cold Spring. It offers waters at 20 degrees Celsius and small fishes that will give you a unique massage! There’s also the Macao Cold Spring and the Soda Water Swimming Pool.

Just before Bonbon you’ll pass the Old Camiguin Volcano, whose slopes have been turned into a steep and beautiful Stations of the Cross. There are great views from the top and a few souvenir stalls clustered at the bottom of the steps.

In contrast, there’s Ardent Hot Spring – 40 degree Celsius waters heated by Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano.Head out late in the afternoon when the air temperature has cooled down for the lukewarm to hot waters. The big pool is emptied for cleaning on Wednesday and takes the best part of the day to refill. The springs are in a lush but developed setting and get very busy on weekends.

Hikers and mountaineers will never run out of adventure here.camiguin-island-philippines-img_64381

The steep volcanoes are a trekker’s challenge, with one of them rising to a peak of more than 1,600 meters. There are forests and dive sites for exploring, too. This island is a nature lover’s theme park.Hibok-Hibok volcano (1320m), which last erupted in 1951 (when nearly 600 people were killed as a result), provides a dramatic spark – no pun intended – to the island’s interior. Housed in a building about 525m off the main road is the Philippine Institute of Volcanology & Seismology (Philvolcs) Station , which monitors the volcano’s activity. A hired motorcycle or multicab will take you there to see the lacklustre equipment and memorabilia of past eruptions. Just past here is a small shop-cum-cafe.

It’s possible to climb the volcano, but it’s a demanding three to four -hour steep, rocky climb (nearly the same time for the descent) and you should be reasonably fit (only possible in dry weather). From the peak it’s possible to see Bohol, Cebu and Negros on a clear day. Aim to leave around daybreak. The hike starts from Ardent Hot Springs.

As you trek, keep an eye out for what Camiguin is best known for – lanzones fruit, a sweet fruit about the size of a grape, with light brown skin and translucent flesh. Its harvest is heralded by the weeklong Lanzones Festival every October. Colorful costumes, street dancing, and parades mark the celebration.

Apart from the island’s natural beauty, stories of volcanic eruptions lend an air of nostalgic romance. Old Spanish-era churches, ruins of past towns, and ancestral homes from the Spanish and American periods are picture-pretty side trips to Camiguin’s history.

The uninhabited White Island (Medano Island), a pure, white-sand bar a few hundred metres offshore, is accessible by boats (P500, up to six people) that now only leave from a spot in Yumbing. At any time but the early morning, the sun can be brutally intense. The shape of the island is constantly evolving, fighting a constant battle against the tide, erosion and occasional sand theft.

With 7,107 islands, it’s hard for one to stand out. But Camiguin undoubtedly does.