Camiguin Island is divided into 5 regions:
- Mambajao: the most populated area and home to the majority of tourist accommodations.
- Catarman: the second most populated region of Camiguin. Catarman shares the west coast with Mambajao.
- Sagay: home to springs and waterfalls.
- Guinsiliban: at the southern tip of the island, Guinsiliban has some beautiful views of fields and mountains.
- Mahinog: seafood capital of the island.
Mambajao is the capital of Camiguin, and Catarman is the second largest town on the island.
The island of Bohol is just a small ferry ride away.
This island is definitely off the beaten track for travelers. It is a real gem and feels extremely safe compared to its neighboring islands.
English, Visayan languages (or Bisayan languages) of the Philippines, along with Tagalog.
The ports in Camiguin are located in Guinsiliban, Benoni and Balbagon. There is also an airport located west of Mambajao. There are ferries from Cagayan de Oro, Balingoan (15 daily, 75 min), Misamis Oriental, Cebu City and from Jagna in Bohol. There are a few flights weekly to Cebu operated by Cebu Pacific.
As of Nov 2014, Ocean Jet no longer runs the Jagna-Benoni line. So the only way to go directly from Bohol to Camiguin is with the Asian Marine (formerly Super Shuttle Ferry). The ferry has been suspended for a while, but resumed in service at April 19, 2015. Please note that schedules often change, depending on demand and the season. As of 25 June 2015 the slow ferry leaves Jagna at 08:00 AM (arrival 12:00 PM in Balbagon) and back from Balbagon to Jagna at 13:00 PM (arriving 17:00 PM in Jagna). The ferry does not run on tuesday and thursday. It's recommended to make sure this line still operates prior getting to Jagna. The journey takes four hours (450 PHP). Upon getting to Jagna with bus/jeepney, you can walk to the port, no need to take a tricycle, as it's a 5 minutes walk.
Ask your hotel/hostel for information about renting motorcycles. Expect an informal process. Usually 300-500pesos/day. There are several gas stations around the island, along the main road.
Take a jeepney around the island. A jeepney within Mambahao, from your hotel to town, costs 8-10P.
RENT multicab to tour around the island ( www.camiguintransport.blogspot.com). The mulitcab from Mambajao town to Benoni Pier costs 25P.
The island of Camiguin is part of the Northern Mindanao earthquake epicenter. It is basically volcanic in origin and is entirely made up of deposits attributed to its volcanoes.
Most resorts on camiguin offer food of some kind to their guests. Of the few that are also open to outsiders, Paras resort ( filipino food mostly), Camiguin action gekkos ( western and some filipino) and Casa roca inn (western food) are the most frequented places. If you choose to dine outside your resort, you have quite a few options from full restaurants to roast chicken shacks and barbeque stands.
Filipino and Filipino-style restaurants
"Value for money" is often used by Filipino diners when they approve of a restaurant.This generally translates to : large portions of really really cheap food. Quality, presentation, freshness, creativity are not part of the definition and this is an important thing to understand for westerners. But rather than condescend to this fact of life in the country, remember that when you are on a certain budget and have to feed many people, this way of dining makes perfect sense. What is more curious is that most the food served in restaurants that fit this description are easily prepared in the home without much trouble or culinary training.
Most of the restaurants that usually appeal to Filipino tastes and budgets are located in and around Mambajao, Camiguin's capitol. Buffets are often available. There are also several inexpensive establishments stretched along the main road from the town all the way to barangay yumbing, where white island and most of camiguin's resorts are.
These mostly serve localized versions ( not likely to appeal to non-locals that is) of pizza and a mixed and often random selection of western dishes--along with the usual filipino noodle, rice and soup staples. These restaurants , apart from location are more or less the same in quality in food and service, both of which are what you'd expect for budget establishments. Among these are :
Checkpoint: --a frozen and processed food lover's paradise. Has some retail on ground floor, none of which adds to the lack of ambiance. Yumbing, Camiguin.
Camiguin Northern Lights: --decent views cannot be saved by some really average food and mind-numbingly slow service. On the main road in Yumbing and in central Mambajao, Camiguin
La isla cocina: some really uninspired mexican and spanish dishes mix with the usual pinoy food. Nice old house but food is really sub par. In bug ong on the main road
Terrasse:mostly filipino food. Expect to see a lot of drunk looking foreigners. Along the main road in yumbing
Pat's pizza;pat's makes the crusts for all the copycats not making their own pizza , which is most the island. They have a small hut serving the same. On the main road in Yumbing
Samuel:from the chieftains of the islands #1 edible souvenir, the pastel. Higher end than the other filipino-style restaurants. . Filipinos looking for familiarity and a sit-down family meal will be comfortable here. The proprietors are certainly trying hard to impress. And for foreigners, this might appeal , or it may come off as "trying a bit too hard.". When Filipinos try to emulate upscale western styles, it too often ends up forced, amateurish and tacky. Central location in urban and concreted mambajao offers little ambiance given the natural wonders Camiguin offers. Rooftop dining area feels more like a basketball court.
Isla filete resto steak house-average, straight from the freezer steaks and mostly typical filipino food. On the main road , just outside mambajao
J & A Fishpen & restaurant: in Benoni, Mahinog, Camiguin is unique in that they allow guests to choose from live seafood from their pens. Crab is sometimes available but is probably the most expensive dish on the island. While located well far away from most resorts, it can be made part of a motor bike tour of the island. Preparations are mostly filipino style and this can be disappointing to foreigners. Locals with a little money tend to enjoy.
More for westerners and foreigners
La Dolce vita: is run by an italian gentleman who also does most of the cooking. It offers some freshly made pasta and pizza. Decor is "native al fresco" and being on the main road, there is not much to look at other than the airport terminal across the street. Ambiance is spartan and it can get loud if a large family of locals pops in or when trucks roll by. The pizza is a cut above filipino style pizza, which uses processed cheese and premade tomato sauces, rather than the fresh and imported ingredients used at Dolce. This accounts for the higher prices and the scattering of foreigners mixed in with the mostly local clientele. The chef owner is welcoming and is usually present, but may be better served with more presentable attire than the sleeveless shirts he often wears. Located across from the airport just outside of mambajao, Camiguin.
La luna ristorante is also run by an italian and was the original establishment serving pizza on camiguin well before it became copied by nearly every other restaurant. Most consider Luna's pizza to still be the king of the hill. Brick oven pizza is the specialty and those who like the crispy charred crust will be pleased. Pastas and a few filipino dishes are also served but do not stand out like the pizza. Decor is mostly al fresco but the views of the surroundings are obscured. The lighting is fiesta like and those who like the native outdoor vibe will enjoy luna. The place appears to need some refurbishing,as shown by rusty tins roofs and worn furniture. Prices are a bit high for camiguin but well worth it. Service can be uneven particularly when ownership is absent, which is a regular occurrence. Located on the main road in yumbing, around Paras resort.
Guerrera restaurant-yumbing, camiguin is an Asian restaurant that mostly caters to foreigners. It is located in a rice paddy, on the beach ,and the natural views are impressive. Mount hbok hbok looms large on one side, white island on the other. Ambiance is cozy and natural. The small , ( some say too small) , under-stated menus reach international levels of creativity and quality. Service is casual and owners are hands-on.They cook Thai, Vietnamese, and other Asian foods, but curiously not Filipino , and they grow their own produce right on the premises. Best for foodies, couples and small groups as large gatherings, (particularly Filipinos) may feel they get more bang for their buck elsewhere. The brief rough patch of road one must travel can be a challenge at night and in the rain. In yumbing, directly across from white island, down the street from paras resort and yumbing national high school.
Casa roca restaurant--on a wind swept cliffside, diners enjoy mostly western dishes served with a side of hospitality. View of the water far below is limited to a couple of tables but the garden and property has an appealing natural touch,with elements of carved rock and driftwood. The menu is basic comfort food, heavily studded with meat and potatoes and sides of veggies. One can find similar dishes around the island but the service is at least "awake" at casa roca and justifies its considerably higher prices. Owners are usually there to lend a hand. Local retirees, many of whom are on pensions, appreciate the hospitality, and don't mind paying extra for it. Casa roca also has a few rooms to let right on the property so if you like the cuisine, you'll feel right at home. Location is on the outer edge of the mambajao , and you will need a motorbike to reach it. Returning at night can be an adventure. Volcan eco resort is just next door and they too have a mixed western menu.
The main pier serving ferries leaving Camiguin is Benoni Pier. A multicap from Mambajao city to Benoni costs 25P.
To/from Mindanao: Benoni Pier has excellent ferry connections to Balingoan on Mindanao. From Benoni Pier, ferries depart from 4am to 6pm, leaving every 30-45 minutes. There are a total of 21 ferries, alternating fast/slow boats. Ferries from Balingoan on Mindanao travel to Benoni from 5:15am until 5pm. The slow ferry costs 170P. The ferries run every day, including Sunday.
To/from Bohol: Goldenbridge Shipping Inc (032-420-5467, 032-420-5468) and Ocean Jet (032-255-7560; 032-255-0115) operate a few ferries per week from Benoni Pier to Jagna on Bohol at 10:30am, the journey takes 2.5 hours. From Jagna to Camiguin, there is a ferry at 1:30pm, several times per week. The cost is 350P and the journey takes 2 hours. It is best to call and confirm what days the ferries are going. Note that ferries from Bohol arrive into Mambajao, not Benoni. As of May 2013, there is no longer a fast ferry service to/from Bohol.