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.