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Camiguin Island: Nature’s Hidden Gem

BY JOEL C. ESCOL, Managing Editor

Nestled in the Bohol Sea, off the coast of Northern Mindanao in the Philippines, lies a pristine paradise known as Camiguin Island. Often overlooked in favor of its more famous counterparts, this small but enchanting island boasts an abundance of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality that beckons travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path escape.

At just 238 square kilometers, Camiguin may be one of the smallest islands in the Philippines, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in sheer natural beauty. Known as the “Island Born of Fire,” Camiguin is home to seven volcanoes, including the majestic Mount Hibok-Hibok, which offers breathtaking views from its summit and provides adventurous souls with opportunities for trekking and hiking amidst lush forests and cascading waterfalls.

One of the island’s most iconic landmarks is the Sunken Cemetery, a hauntingly beautiful testament to Camiguin’s tumultuous volcanic history. Submerged beneath the turquoise waters just off the coast, the remnants of an old cemetery serve as a poignant reminder of the volcanic eruptions that shaped the island’s landscape. Today, the Sunken Cemetery is a popular snorkeling spot, where visitors can explore underwater sculptures and marine life thriving amidst the coral reefs.

But Camiguin’s allure extends far beyond its volcanic landscapes. The island is also blessed with an abundance of natural springs and waterfalls, earning it the nickname “Island of Fire and Water.” Among its most renowned attractions is Katibawasan Falls, a majestic 250-foot cascade surrounded by verdant forests, providing a cool respite for weary travelers and a picturesque backdrop for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

For those seeking a more tranquil retreat, the Sto. Niño Cold Spring offers crystal-clear waters surrounded by lush foliage, perfect for swimming, picnicking, and unwinding amidst nature’s embrace. Meanwhile, the Ardent Hot Springs provides a soothing sanctuary for relaxation, with its warm mineral waters said to have therapeutic properties, making it an ideal spot to soothe tired muscles and rejuvenate the soul.

Beyond its natural wonders, Camiguin also boasts a rich cultural heritage that reflects its diverse history and influences. The island is dotted with ancient churches, such as the centuries-old Guiob Church Ruins, which stand as silent witnesses to Camiguin’s Spanish colonial past. Meanwhile, the annual Lanzones Festival celebrates the island’s bountiful harvest of lanzones, a sweet tropical fruit unique to the region, with colorful parades, traditional dances, and vibrant street parties.

Yet, perhaps the most captivating aspect of Camiguin is the warmth and hospitality of its people. Known for their genuine smiles and generous spirit, the residents of Camiguin welcome visitors with open arms, inviting them to experience the island’s beauty and charm like a true local.

In essence, Camiguin Island is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered, a place where nature’s wonders and cultural heritage converge to create an unforgettable experience. Whether exploring its volcanic landscapes, relaxing amidst its natural springs, or immersing oneself in its rich history and culture, Camiguin captivates the heart and soul, leaving an indelible mark on all who wander its shores. ###

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