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Camiguin

Capital: Mambajao

No. of towns: 5

Land area: 229.8 sq. km.

Location. Bounded on the north by Bohol Sea, in the east by the northwestern part of Gingong Bay, on the south by the northern part of Majalar Bay and Bohol Sea on the north.

Camiguin Island maps

Map of Camiguin Island, Philippines

Brief history. Old Spanish documents indicated that the great explorers Ferdinand Magellan and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in Camiguin in 1521 and 1565 respectively, but it was not until 1598 when the Spanish settlement was established in what later came to be Guinsiliban (now one of the municipalities).

The first major settlement of the Spanish era was Catarman in 1679. This settlement grew and prospered what is now Bonbon. The 1871 Mt. Vulcan Daan eruption destroyed this town and the remains of which are the ancient Spanish church, convent and belltower ruins. After the eruption the settlement was moved to the present town center of Catarman.

Sagay was formally established as a town in 1848, Mambajao in 1855 and Mahinog in 1860.

The name "Camiguin" is derived from the native word "Kamagong", the name of a tree in the ebony family. Original inhabitants were Manobos from Surigao.

Geography. Camiguin is a pear-shape volcanic island lying in the Bohol Sea, some 54 kms. southeast of Chocolate Hills and some 90 kms. north of Cagayan de Oro airport, 120 kms. southeast of Mactan International Airport and 10 kms. north of MIsamis Oriental.

Camiguin is about 300 sq. kms. or approximately 29,000 hectares; its length measures 33 kms; width at widest point is 14 kms. with road circumferential measuring to 64 kms.

Political Subdivisions. Politically, Camiguin Island used to be part of Misamis Oriental. It became a separate province in 1968.

The province consists of five municipalities: Mambajao (Capital town), Mahinog, Catarman, Sagay, and Guinsiliban.

Climate. Cool climate is attributed to vegetation and natural springs. Daytime temperature averages at 26.9 °C. Coldest months are December, January and February. Maximum rainfall had been recorded on months of June to December.
Dry season starts in April and lasts to one or three months.

Language / Dialect. Dialect spoken in Camiguin are Cebuano, and Hiligaynon, but a few people in Sagay and Guinsiliban still speak the old Manobo tribe dialect - Kinamiguing.

Major industries. Main occupation of the people are farming and fishing. Other produce coconut, abaca, lanzones, fruit trees, rice.

Points of interest

Old Catarman Church Ruins (Brgy. Bonbon, 16 kms. from center of Catarman). Remnants of the Vulcan Daan eruption in 1871, the monument with its thick century-old walls, belfry and convent stand reminiscent of the second Spanish settlement established in 1697. Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) has placed a marker to commemorate the many lives that sougt refuge in their place of faith during the tragic event.

Cross Marker & Sunken Cemetery. Located 16 kms. from Bonbon, Catarman proper; a huge cross was installed in 1982 to make the community cemetery which sunk during the 1871 volcanic holocaust. Years ago grave stones were visible during low tide. The place is also good for snorkeling.

Cultural

Mambajao Municipal Gym. Where various activities are held like cultural dances, sports, dramas, musical entertainments and pageants.

Natural

Katibawasan Falls. Located 5 kms. southeast of Mambajao center. Waterfalls which measures 250 feet high cascades to a rock pool surrounded by ground orchids, wild ferns, trees and boulders. Its cold water provides an ideal summer splash to bathers and picnickers.

Tuwasan Falls. Located 6 kms. northwest of Caterman. The approach to the 25 meters high and strong waterfalls entails a very scenic hike passing thru the quaint Barrio of Mainit. The falls can be tapped as mini-hydro source of power.

Esperanza Ardent Hot Spring. Located 6 kms. southwest of Mambajao proper. The hot spa off the locality is a stoneswimming pool with water about 40°C Coming from the bowels of Mt. Hibok-Hibok. Developed by the Municipality of Mambajao, a multi-purpose building with restrooms can provide visitors accommodation and catering services. Ideal time for swimming is early morning or late afternoon. Due to hot temperature suggested lenght of bathing is not more than 20 minutes.

Sto. Niño Spring. Located 4 kms. north uphill of Catarman proper. The stone pool measuring 25m x 40m is 0,5m to 2m deep of cold spring water sprouting from the sandy bottom. The area has native stores, picnic huts and toilets fro picnickers.

Tangub Hot Spring. Located 12 kms. west of Mambajao. A volcanic hot spring and part of the sea. The small area is formed by a pool of sea stones and corals. Water temperatures turn to cold, hot and lukewarm as tide changes to high, low and medium, respectively. Diving is good to about 10-20m; a gradual drop off; and ideal place for scuba diving.

Mt. Hibok-Hibok. Approach is thru base of Barangay Esperanza in Mambajao. It is the only active volcano among the 7 others in the islands, the 1,250 meters slope is a challenge even to seasoned climbers as the trek entails skillful maneuvers in loose rocks and boulders. A crater lake and steam outlets on many places of the peak; and clear view of the entire island and Bohol are among the conquests.

Old vulcan. Located 13 kms. west of Mambajao where the old volcano drops into the sea and the natural road high above the ocean; the place has a sheer drop off that goes 70-80m; a ledge of shallow water and few rocks to sit on and sunbathe. Rich corals abound in the place.

White island. Located 2 kms. across the sea from Agoho or Yumbing. An uninhabited small white sandbar with the picturesque Mt. Hibok-Hibok and old volcano as its backdrop, the island is ideal for swimming, sun bathing, snorkeling, and shell collecting.

Mantigue Island. Located 3 kms. off shore across from Barangay Hubangon and San Roque in Mahinog. The island is 4 hectares of evergreen forest fringed with white sandy beach. A fishing village and seaweed culture is found on the northside of the island. One side of the beach is shallow with few corals while the opposite side is a deep drop off for snorkeling and diving.

Cabua-an Beach. Located at the right side of the old pier in Mambajao. It is the nearest beach in Mambajao proper. Nice corals are found 75-100 meters from the shore.

Agohay Beach. Located 7 kms. from Barangay Agoho, Mambajao. One of the favorite sandy beaches in the island. Native cottages, multi-purpose building and motorized pumpboats are available for visitors; likewise it has a good camping area for Mt. Hibok-Hibok mountaineers.

Religious

San Nicolas Church. Built in Mambajao during Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

Holy Rosary Church. Built in Sagay during the Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

San Roque Church. Built in Catarman during the Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

Festivals

Lanzones Festival (Mambajao, Camiguin). The main source of livelihood by the town's residents, lanzones, is celebrated in this apt though amusing festival. For a week, lanzones is seen all over tied to windows and poles, decorating carrozas that parade around town, and adorning any vacant space where it could fit. Among the activities are folk dancing, cultural presentations, and the selection of a festival beauty queen. Throughout the festival, street revelers uniquely attired in lanzones leaves stomp and dance to the amusement of spectators.

St. John Hibok-Hibok (June 24). Held to honor the John the Baptist. Venues of the festival are usually Cabuan-an and / or Agohay Beaches. Watersports like boat races and fluvial procession / parade and coronation of Miss Hibok-Hibokan are conducted.

Panaad (the week before Easter). A gathering of different civic clubs in Camiguin and other nearby regions with a yearly devotion to spend the Holy Week (specially from Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday) by trekking the tedious old vulcan peak as expression of penitence and religious retreat.

How to get there. Philippine Airlines flies daily to Cagayan de Oro City, where there are buses that ply the 90-kilometer Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin route. One can also fly from Cebu City, where there is a connecting flight to Cagayan de Oro City four times weekly.