Monday, September 15, 2014

Hello Camiguin!

Cebu to Camiguin via Cebu Pacific Aircraft ATR 72-500
Departs Cebu at 6:45am (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and arrives in Camiguin at 7:25am. The return flight will depart Camiguin at 7:45am and arrive in Cebu at 8:25am.
From Cebu, we took a direct flight to Camiguin – a pear shaped island off the coast of Northern Mindanao. A small province both in terms of size and population but definitely big in terms of tourist spots and potential.

On air, aboard Cebu Pacific, several mountains or volcanic formations welcomed our curiosity.  We had a not so good time in Cebu, that’s why we headed to Camiguin with somehow lame intent of chasing volcanoes, hot and cold springs, waterfalls, white sand beaches and marine life. Glad we were not disappointed except for some few pitfalls where we realized that the island, like most islands in the Philippines, is slowly waking up to the result, either good or bad, to the in flock of tourism.

As our plane landed in Mambadjao – Camiguin’s only airport which at this time is exclusive only to Cebu Pacific -  we were greeted with our much sought after simplicity. The morning dew still hangs on the air at 7, an indication that we are at somewhere pristine. We thank the good weather and while the sun is shining, Camiguin’s volcanoes and mountains provided a canopy of sort making us excited to explore the countryside.

Mambadjao Airport is still basking in its rural setting, clean, plain as if we arrived decades ago where all airports in the province is one great escape from the chaos that is Manila and Cebu. We could have gone to to Bohol, but the recent earthquake, made us think twice. While in that very disappointing hotel in Mactan, Cebu called Constabella, we booked a flight online to Camiguin. And here we are - admiring the beauty of the mountains, the greens and everything there is in Camiguin.

With the very few passengers aboard this small but steady propeller plane, we disembarked without any hassle.  I can count the passengers with my fingers and there was no long queue for the baggage. Everyone seemed to have the same idea that is better to travel where everything is hand carried. Travel light and easy.  Really, one good thing about Cebu Pacific is that they provide direct flights to areas not serviced by other airlines. Most of the time, barring air traffic and airport congestions, Cebu Pacific flights depart and arrive on time. In fact, we arrived in Camiguin a few minutes earlier than expected.

While there are few passengers aboard our flight, it is not of course an indication of the number of tourists that visits Camiguin. It was August – a declared lean month for tourism but I can imagine that during the Panaad (Holy Thursday and Friday), San Juan Hibok-Hibokan Festival (June 24) and Lanzones Festival (3rd week of October) the island is teeming with tourists and travelers.

At the airport, there is a small spot usually and commonly seen in other airports – a tourist and information assistance center manned by a very accommodating lady who gave us valuable information about the island and much needed help in taking our photos to document that we have finally arrived in this island “borne out of fire”.

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