Welcome to the Island of Fire

Aaahhh, Camiguin.

A tiny island in my province that has so much to offer. If you want a quick escape from the concrete jungle that the City of Golden Friendship has been turning into, the Island of Fire should be in your list!

It’s a few hours away from my city and can be reached via a boat ride from the port of Balingoan (which is a 2 to 3-hour drive from Cagayan de Oro City). My family and I visit the place at least once a year. It gets crowded during summer vacation in the Philippines which is scheduled at the end of March till first week of June, but summer doesn’t really leave the country so you won’t really miss anything if you visit the island during non-peak months.

The most recent visit was due to my dad’s profession (had to attend a court hearing) but since my mom and my sister wanted to tag along, we decided to stay for a quick 2-night stay. We booked an entire home via AirBnB called “Ila Vicente” located in Catarman, Camiguin. It’s a bit far from the usual touristy Mambajao but it was well worth it. In all honesty, we spent more time at Ila Vicente than going out to explore the island (partly because, like I’ve mentioned, we annually visit the place haha). I mean, who wouldn’t? Just look at this place!

You can ask their in-house staff and the owners, Willy and Vicente, to whip up your meals for 175php/head. It’s way economical and less stressful than having to go out to find a good restaurant to satiate your hunger. And believe me, the food Tita Willy and her staff made was one of the reasons we stayed put at Ila Vicente than go out hahaha! She makes sure all the main ingredients used are fresh and up to her visitors’ tastes. This is what I love about the island life! Here are a few photos of what they served us:

If you want some fresh air, you can laze around their spacious payag or ask the staff to call in a local masseuse. You can also request that you take your meals at the payag, too!

Aside from just hanging around Ila Vicente, we did manage to visit the Beehive Camiguin and Driftwood Cafe which is also located right in Catarman (woohoo!). The cafe is right beside the sea, is vegetarian-friendly, and also sells a wide array of local products from fresh fruits to coffee. The decoration and design of the cafe make me feel like a hippie mermaid that decided to have a bit of out-of-the-water food for a change. I definitely recommend trying this place out and gaze out into the sunset while you much on healthy goodness!

We also went to check out Tuasan Falls and the Old Church Ruins out of my mother’s insistence that our short island stay wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t visit at least one body of fresh water and a known tourist destination.

After roaming around under the heat of the sun though, I needed something cold for recovery. I needed ice cream! A quick google search made me find an article talking about the ice cream at The Northern Lights being one of the best in the island so we set out to look for it. It’s a bar and restaurant that’s more known for its pizza but also makes home-made ice cream. It’s in Agoho, Mambajao so we had to go around the island to get there before heading back to Ila Vicente to call it a day. I ordered 3 flavors to-go, Mango, Avocado, and Chocolate. That blogger wasn’t kidding when it said the ice cream was good, creamy and not too sweet, and at 15php per scoop, who am I to complain? To my Zero-Waste Warriors, please forgive the use of plastic; I didn’t want more processed sugar and unnecessary carbs from having to eat the wafer cone (plus they didn’t have anything else to put the ice cream inside for take away).

Aaaaand that’s pretty much all about our short trip to Camiguin!

If you’re interested in booking Ila Vicente for your stay, you can book via AirBnB by clicking HERE.

For more photos of the food we ordered at Beehive Camiguin & Driftwood Cafe, click HERE.

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Get Lost: Osaka

One really random night, after watching a bit of anime to soothe my weary soul from all the insults and quips I have been enduring from law school since the first day I enrolled, I dreamt about gallivanting around the Land of the Rising Sun; “soaring, tumbling, freewheeling!” (in the words of Jasmine from the Disney movie, “Aladdin”) with not a care in the world for codal provisions and jurisprudence. The next morning, I woke up in an apartment near Kami-Shinjo Station in Osaka. Like what the-? Did I just really transport myself to Osaka, Japan while I was asleep?! OH. MY. GOD.

Of course not.

It took months of planning and preparation because I need a visa to even step foot there now.

Moving on, I stayed there with my family for about four (4) days. Note, though, that since this was a family vacation without a tour package (meaning, I had a set of middle-aged parents who are not used to long walks anymore, three [3] siblings of different ages wanting to see totally different things, and I was the tour guide… who always got lost), we couldn’t really cover everything everyone on the internet has raved about as the “TOP THINGS TO DO AND MUST SEE” when you’re in Osaka. Besides, I like to take my time to take in my surroundings instead of rushing from one point to another because of a darn list of places to go to.


We arrived at Kansai International Airport, also known as KIX, at around lunch time. After grabbing a quick bite at McDonald’s (for some reason, I find it funny yet ironic that the first thing that welcomes me at KIX is a cheeseburger and fries) we went to buy our Surutto Kansai/Kansai Thru Passes at the Tourist Information Center (I’ll discuss more about this pass in another post) headed to Umeda Station where my friend, Chinumi, met us. After that, we headed to our apartment located near Kami-Shinjo Station (we rented an apartment using AirBnB). The Kami-Shinjo area is, honestly, a little far from the busy parts of Osaka; it’s 15 minutes to Umeda and 25-30 minutes to Minami-Namba via train. However, I can’t complain because three blocks away from our place is a grocery store and a takoyaki shop that sells one of the best I’ve tasted during our stay.

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The train ride to Umeda Station from KIX took about 2 hours via the Nankai Train so when we got to the apartment, it was already around 5:30pm or so. After we were settled at the apartment, we decided to head for Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. We took a taxi (which I will never recommend that anyone do because it is expensive af) because the aquarium’s schedule for last admissions was at 7:00pm and taking the train from our place to Kaiyukan would take more or less an hour. PS We paid 3,000+ yen for a ride from Awaji Station. 

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For more info, please check back for the link on my main post on Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan!


For the rest of our stay in Osaka, we went to check out other places like Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori. Shinsaibashi is a shopping district in Minami (Namba) and has a lot of establishments. It kind of reminds me of the anime, Tamako Market. Shinsaibashi-suji has a Disney outlet and I bought my Mickey Tsum Tsum pillow there! While a little ways away from Dotonbori, and getting lost in the process, we also had a little side trip to Daiso, that famous global 100-yen shop we all know and love.

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Gotta catch ’em all including Totoro!

The next destination was, of course, a visit to Yodobashi Camera! One of the largest chain stores for electronics in Japan with one humongous building which sells electronics (every kind that you can imagine!) as well as novelty stuff. It would take one whole day to see everything Yodobashi has to offer (and I’m not even exaggerating)! After our trip to Yodobashi, we checked out the Pokemon Center in Daimaru and Kiddy Land in Hankyu Umeda. All three are in the same neighborhood and are a few minutes away from each other. At the basement of Hankyu is Donguri Kyowakoku which sells official Studio Ghibli merchandise in Osaka (please check back for a separate post on how to get to the Pokemon Center and Donguri Kyowakoku in Osaka).

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On our last day in Osaka, we took the limousine bus from Umeda Station to Kansai International Airport Terminal 2 where we were boarding a domestic plane to Tokyo. It’s best that you go really early because the bus ride takes at least an hour and a half to Terminal 2 from the train station.

Stay tuned for more of our crazy Japan adventures!

Next posts include A Daytrip to KyotoOur Stay in Tokyo, and other various much needed information you need to know before you head for the Land of the Rising Sun.

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