Where there is no getting lost in walking – 11.28.15
This trip over the long weekend kicked off with straight-from-airport visit to an island called MANTIGUE so small like Potipot I walked and counted my steps around it – 1,322 in total at pace from 1:19 in the afternoon until about 2 (and okay, I got lazy recording the actual end time). Seabed was grassy (some area even had sea urchins!) but amazingly clear that I still did wade. It was a brief day trip but managed to squeeze in about an hour of snorkeling from a spot not so far from shore, not without a guide, of course.
I wish I had more than a day – a night at least to camp there (which sadly is not allowed) but okay, still quite a day to remember.
MANTIGUE ISLAND is conveniently a 20-minute boat ride away from a barangay less than 10 minutes away from the main port. Since going to the island was not part of the plan and I was just enticed last minute of its convenience before I go to town proper in Mambajao, I had no boat arrangement. Luckily or I guess because it was off-peak season, I managed to reserve a round-trip ride right there and then. Interestingly even, I had an entire family take me to the island it felt like a picnic.
I felt like an adopted Ate / big sister of this local family
And the mother was the one in charge
Our island destination
(And no, won’t be a grammar nazi this time)
It was a gloomy day when we arrived so my appreciation of the place took some time to kick in. While a cloudy day meant less chance of getting sunburned, I guess I just have this thing that beach days are meant to be sunny.
Anyway – as in most beaches, my instinct is to look for a place in the sand where I can sit; this spot usually where water where I can wade is near and in just the right amount of distance from the docked boats and people. I could not immediately find one though so I went to the resort reception to scope – which usually means just checking out whether they have beer. I discovered there though that they rent out snorkel gears and even if I did not know yet what to see, I got one. (This would later be extra useful when I did snorkel later that afternoon).
In hindsight, I could have stood in front of that “I” :p
From another angle
Sitdown spot found
Later that day, I would count steps around this round island
Already the busy part of the beach
Love for this beach eventually kicked in as soon as I found my spot. Having settled, I did get the chance to try the sea which was freakishly calm and clear. It could have been perfect for me except that I just wish there was less grass on the ocean floor. I had my aqua shoes so it was some sort of solution but it still felt kind of awkward stepping on life under water.
My love for this beach grew when I learned that the entire island is so small I can walk around it. This idea of walking around islands and counting steps started in Potipot way back in 2014. What I specially liked about Mantigue is how it had signs of local community unlike Potipot which is mainly a place for day trip guests and campers.
When I get my beach house, I would totally have my fence like this
Two Ys or two hands (one giving the sea the finger)?
Facing the sea, I started walking to my right, occasionally stopping to rest and sometimes wade.
These scary creatures though
After all the walking is this selfie
Meet with underwater
Around 3PM, I gave in to invite of the boatman to take me snorkeling in a spot visible from shore. Since I cannot swim and snorkel (hopefully just yet), the entire time I was holding on to a vest being ‘maneuvered’ by my Kuya Tatay for the day.
How I wish I can get closer, but then that requires some diving
Wee. I think I spotted Dory there
When snorkeling over, here’s a funny photo of me still holding on tightly to the lifevest
Because I realized my essentials for the day were too much of green
Since there is a limit as to how many hours we are allowed in the island and I do not want to arrive in Mambajao almost evening, I called it a day after snorkeling. It was a happy day which ended watching happy locals play volleyball by the beach.
Before I said goodbye
While waiting for my company
A happy kid after an impromptu trip
How to get there and other practical details
1. From Manila, take flight to Laguindingan Airport.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific has daily flights to Cagayan de Oro. If you have limited time, I suggest to take the earliest flights because travel to Camiguin takes time.
2. From the airport, take van to Agora Bus Terminal.
There are vans outside the airport that can drop you off at the bus terminal.
3. Ride a Butuan-bound bus and ask to be dropped off at Balingoan.
Ticket booth is within walking distance from the drop-off point. It’s within a busy street though and not easily noticed so best to ask.
4. From Balingoan Port, buy boat tickets to Benoni Port in Camiguin.
Schedule of trips to and from Benoni are posted in the ticket booth as in below. After purchase, one proceeds to the waiting hall and wait for boarding.
In case you get hungry (or bored that you feel like eating), there are stalls nearby. Just make sure you can still see fellow passengers. They don’t have a PA announcing when it’s time to board. You’ll just know when others in the waiting area are standing up to leave.
5. Find a comfortable seat during the almost 2-hour ride to Camiguin (and expect discomfort leaving the boat)
6. From Benoni Port, you may rent a tricycle or a habal-habal
Town proper (Mambajao) is to be traveled for about 30 minutes while port of boats to Mantigue Island is less than 10 minutes far.
7. Take the boat ride to Mantigue Island.
Travel time is less than 30 minutes. Fare is at Php550 per boat which can accommodate 6 people. (At the registration area, below is their list of other fees).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristina Correa (or more known to almost all people in her life as Teng) is based on the city of Manila in the Philippines and whenever she can, cools off with routine and gets her doses of happy someplace else. She doesn’t mean to inform and help plan (as obvious with her laziness with details) but hopes her stories and photos can inspire you to create your own.