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Author Topic: Quick trip to CDO and Camiguin Island  (Read 2409 times)

Offline scames

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Quick trip to CDO and Camiguin Island
« on: January 06, 2009, 07:42:10 PM »
Hello everyone, I have been lurking around the site for awhile and felt it was time to become more involved.  I am here in the Philippines on a 5 month visit, staying with Filipino friends in Los Banos, Laguna.  Just before Christmas a friend and I took a quick trip to Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin Island and I thought I would post my trip report here.
 
We flew into CDO and stayed at the Appletree Resort a little out side of the city, it was nice with good facilities but too far away from anything. We were there for 2 nights then moved to Camiguin Island located a few miles off from Mindanao and a great little place to stay. The hotel was about 2,300 pesos per night but there did not seem to be any place to eat other than the resort restaurant within walking distance. It was a 120 peso cab ride from the airport.
 
For us, the main attraction in CDO was white water rafting.  It is one of only two places in the Philippines that I know of where that is offered. The other is in Northern Luzon, I have not been there yet.  The rafting was organized through \"1st Rafting Adventure\"  They were the first company to offer white water rafting in the Philippines in 1995 and seemed very professional.  The 6 hour raft trip cost 1,000 pesos, about $20, meals and drinks not included.   We met at the McDonalds in downtown Cagayan at 8 AM so left the hotel about 7:30.  The cab to the McDonalds in down town Cagayan cost about 100 pesos and let us out next to the Jeepney with three rafts stacked on top.  After buying a last minute bottle of sunscreen we were off. The starting point for the rafting was about an hours drive out of town.  Along the way we stopped at The Macahambus Adventure Park.  It is a small area just off the highway.  Mostly it consists of a large Sinkhole about 150 to 175 feet deep where an underground river had carved out a cave in the limestone which had long since collapsed.  The Adventure Park had strung cable bridges from the edge of the sink hole across to the other side and we walked three of these bridges that were about  a foot wide with two boards to step on and ropes along the side to hang onto.  They swayed pretty good and with the long drop below, it was quite exciting.  The longest of the three bridges was  about 100 yards long and since the jungle had grown up in the bottom of the sink hole next to the now exposed river, it was like walking through the canopy of the forest.  It was very good and I had hoped to see some birds there but with all the activity from the visitors walking, talking and sometimes screaming from their fear of heights, not many birds stayed around. At the end of the last bridge was a Zip Line that lead back the 150 yards to the starting point.
 
Because of the height and perilous nature of the bridges we wore safety harnesses attached to a safety line to cross the bridges and this harness was then used to attach us to the zip line. I was the only non-filipino in the group of nine adventurers and a lot heavier than any of them.  I crossed first, I suppose that was to assure everyone that if the cables supported me, they were all safe.  Anyway, coming back down the zip line, I sagged the cable a little more than  normal so my feet drug through some of the tree tops. that turned me around so I was coming down the line backwards.  About half way down I heard people yelling for me to pick up my legs, not knowing what to expect I was able to twist around at the last second to see the platform I was fast approaching.  Instead of coming in and landing on the platform on my feet, I was down so low, my rear end just barely cleared it and I came in sitting down.  It was a great time, I have done zip lines before but never as steep as this one or as long and I was traveling a lot faster than I had done before, it was great. Shortly after I was finally on my feet and unhooked.  The others all came zipping down the line and everyone was having a blast.
 
The brochure for this place also advertised Rappelling down the trees into the sink hole, but their equipment for that was not in good repair and that was not being offered when we were there.  That is just as well, since this excursion had added about an hour to our rafting trip already. After paying the 300 pesos each for the that, we clambered aboard the Jeepney again and headed on towards the river.
 
At the river, we were issued life vests, crash helmets and paddles then given a quick safety briefing before boarding the rafts and heading down stream.  I was the only one in the raft other than the river guide who had ever rafted before. The river had up to Class IV rapids but the water level was pretty low and most were Class III or less.  I sat in the front as we headed down stream and the guide took us through different small rapids to acquaint us with the process for paddling and getting into the raft if we fell out.  It was not expected that the raft would turn over, so we did not flip it in practice.  On the trip down river we navigated through over 20 rapids with some of them pretty rough. The low water was very evident as we would hit bottom in places. The rapids were separated by fairly long stretches of calm water were we would see people living along the banks and the little kids swimming or bathing in the river would all wave and yell hello.  At one point a water fall plunged into the river out of a cave in the cliff face.  A small underground stream emptied into the river here and we were able to paddle up under the water fall for a cold-water shower.
 
About 2 PM we pulled out rafts out of the river and the Jeepney with our dry clothes was waiting for us.  A small restaurant was set up there with changing rooms so after changing I grabbed a cold drink and some snacks until we got back to town and we could have a good late lunch.
 
The next day was a lazy morning, after breakfast it was just walking along the beach and then swimming in the pool until checkout and then a cab into town.  There we went to the bus station to catch a bus for the 2 hour ride to the small town of Balingoan.  The two hour Air-Conditioned Bus ride at 110 pesos each cost less than the 120 peso cab ride from the hotel.  In Balingoan we through our bags into a Tricycle and headed to the port.  There we paid about 100 pesos for the 45 minute ferry ride to Camiguin Island.  The boat was not in too bad a condition but did have a lot of running rust along the sides and had seen better days in its long career that may have started as a Japanese fishing boat. It carried maybe 100 passengers on wooden  benches on two levels in the rear and maybe 6 vehicles in front. I am sure I saw some boxes marked to contain life vests but never looked inside to verify that.  My biggest concern was over loading but from what I could see, they were pretty good about keeping a manifest of the passengers and there didn\'t seem to be more people than seats.  The ferry company may not always pay that much attention to detail but about a week earlier a similar ferry had sunk near here with more people on board than were manifested and I think the Port Authorities were paying more attention, at least for the time being.  Anyway, the sides were open so we had lots of fresh air and the sea breeze made it a very comfortable crossing.  Once at the island we were swamped by touts offering assistance with everything from carrying my bag to recommending hotels, resorts and their service as tour guides.  I let my friend handle all the negotiations and we soon had a mini-van for the two of us and two drivers (Nondo and Jun-Jun) taking us across the island to check out several resorts.
 
We stopped at Sabacajan Cottages in the small Barangay of Yumbing.  We had a cottage with porch, beds, and bathroom for 1200 pesos a night and close to some other resorts and restaurants and a market down the street.  There was no coffee maker but the owner was very good about bringing a pot of hot water when ever we asked.  This turned out to be very nice little place to stay,  very quiet most of the time except when someone was repairing a chain saw on Friday afternoon, no nap that day.  By the time we checked in it was 6 PM and we found a little local restaurant on the street with about a dozen covered pots on the counter and 4 tables with 12 chairs inside.  After picking out rice and a few items from several of the pots, we were seated and eating.  They didn\'t have cold drinks but when we ordered cold Coke and Sprite, they were able to run up the street to a small store and get two bottles for us. I think the whole meal was bout 100 pesos for two of us.
 
The next day, Jun-Jun who had driven us to the resort, was back to take us on our day of sight seeing.  First stop Katibawasan Falls, a water fall about 200 feet high with a nice pool at the bottom for swimming.  Then to the Ardent Hot Springs, a very well developed hot springs with several pools of different temperatures.  We spent most of the morning there.  After lunch it was a fast paced tour as we saw the ruins of a 16th century church destroyed by a volcano eruption in the 19th century, a cemetery that was now under about 10 feet of ocean after the same eruption, a stair way up one of the 7 volcanoes on the island that is also a pilgrimage sight for people who climb the steps to the 13 stations of the cross built along the way up the mountain.  The stations of the cross were actually the last stop of the day, before that we stopped at Santo Nino Cold Springs where we swam in cold mineral water that had a natural effervescence.  That was the last swimming stop so we were able to change into dry clothes there. At the end of the day, we were pretty tired but had a great time.  There is not much on the island other than beaches, hot springs, cold springs and volcanoes.  We called it a day and had cup of noodles and rolls for dinner in the cabin.
 
The next day was the last full day on the island and we planned to visit White Island just off shore which is a great snorkeling spot.  It is really just a sand bar with no trees or any shade at all.  That was not a problem that day however because it was the only rainy day of the trip.  We spent about two hours swimming in the warm clear water, but didn\'t see much.  The water was clear and shallow but not much in the way of sea life. Out farther it was deeper with a coral reef but the wind and rain removed that as an option.  Back on shore we ate a late Breakfast at the resort next door to our place then spent the rest of the day relaxing and a quick trip into the capital city of Mambajao to buy some souvenirs.  
 
Saturday we were picked up by Jun-Jun and Nondo again for the trip back to the port.  This time though we were taking the new Paras Sea Cat, catamaran fast ferry directly to Cagayan de Oro.  This cost about 400 pesos each and took 2 hours at 22 knots, but it was air-conditioned and new.  Also since it went straight to Cagayan, we did not have to take the 2 hour bus ride.  We landed, had time for a quick lunch then a cab to the airport and flight back to Manila. We found it impossible to find a cab to the airport that would use the meter, they would rather lose the fare.  They all said because of the steep hill to the airport, they used too much gas to use the meter.  Most offered the ride starting at 300 pesos, but we found one who took 200.

We flew in and out of CDO on Cebu Pacific, service seemed as good as can be expected on a discount airline but the A-320 seemed in good condition and all went well.  Both flights were delayed because the plane was late arriving.  

 All in all the week had been a lot of fun with some good adventures, I definitely can recommend it to anyone but would recommend that unless you want the solitude of a resort hotel, find a place in CDO. On Camiguin Island that was not a problem because the resorts are the really the only places to stay, and the little town is nothing to write home about. Since it was before the Christmas holiday, there were rooms and cabins available everywhere so you can find accommodations in all price ranges from fancy resorts to little places like the one we used.  Many people seemed to have two or three little cabins in their garden with a resort saying resort, but some looked very comfortable with very reasonable rates.
 
The worst ride of the trip was getting back to Los Banos from the Airport.  It was Saturday before Christmas so it seemed like everyone was leaving Manila for the provinces.  The traffic was terrible.  We landed about 4 PM and at 6 we were just getting out of the city so we stopped for dinner at a Pancake House then back on the road.  We got to Los Banos about 9:30 PM.  The usual hour and a half to 2 hour drive had taken over 5 hours.
 
That was my week of adventure, a long story but I hope you enjoyed it.  Since I am traveling around the islands during my stay, I will try and post some more of my reports.

Enjoy the Journey
Scames
Scames
Enjoy the Journey

Offline ilovecdo

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Re: Quick trip to CDO and Camiguin Island
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2010, 07:45:12 AM »
Yeah, CDO\'s famous for whitewater rafting adventures, and Camiguin\'s said to be overrated! hahaha...
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Offline c_a_p_t_a_i_n_r_o_n

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Re: Quick trip to CDO and Camiguin Island
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2010, 05:46:23 PM »
From my point of view, Camiguin was very pleasant 4 day stay whereas CDO was just a big city, not too impressed, couldn\'t see any reason to stay more than 3 days.
Can\'t see ANY reason to return to CDO, except to visit some of Glo\'s cousins.

Even the report states you have to get an hour OUTSIDE of CDO for the whitewater rafting.
You might as well stay in Malaybalay for the whitewater rafting, certainly cooler, fresher air.

Offline fharz

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Re: Quick trip to CDO and Camiguin Island
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 02:14:46 PM »
Just try to visit here in CDO. I\'m sure you will love it. hehehehe...
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Offline c_a_p_t_a_i_n_r_o_n

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Re: Quick trip to CDO and Camiguin Island
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2011, 09:00:49 AM »
Like I said \"Can\'t see any reason to return to return\"

BTDT!