What’s not to love about Camiguin? The island province located off the Northern coast of Mindanao has seven volcanoes, unspoilt beaches (think: blue water with white sand), springs and waterfalls as well as fresh seafood you wish were available daily. And it’s easy to navigate, too – relatively safe AND Instagram-worthy at every turn!

As luck would have it, Camiguin also happened to be my mom’s hometown. So this makes for a really easy choice when deciding where we wanted to visit during Holy Week.

After a day trip covering the island’s top tourist attractions such as Ardent Hot Spring, Katibawasan Falls, Old Spanish Church Ruins, Walkway, Tuasan Falls, Magsaysay Island,  and the White Island, you’ll want to take it slow and get to know Camiguin on a deeper level.

Day 1: Guinsiliban’s Mt. Ilihan

Mt Ilihan Camiguin

Demystifying Mt. Ilihan

Guinsiliban is a municipality in Camiguin with little physical beauty to boast. No white sand beaches. No spectacular rice paddies. No awesome waterfalls.

Gladly, it has Mt. Ilihan. And whether you are fond of hiking or not, this small mountain will intrigue you as it did the locals. It’s among the popular spots young Kamigingnons go to during Holy Week. But the rest of the year, Ilihan’s camping site is quiet.

When we went to Camiguin last year for our Holy Week vacation, Neil urged me to hike this mountain. As expected, the trek involved a lot of walking and some climbing at the steepest part of the trail. None of the party (me, Neil and his youngest brother) whined.

As soon as we reached Mt. Ilihan’s lookout point, I beamed and cried,

What an amazing sunrise.

Isn’t it odd that we don’t pay attention to sunrises in the city yet we’re dying to get a fleeting glimpse of one from a mountain top?

No, that’s perfectly normal. Staring at sunrise from an office building window is not the same as looking at it from the peak of a mountain. Vantage point is everything. Watch it with us from Mt. Ilihan through this video:

Day 2: Trekking Binangawan Falls

It wasn’t happenstance that brought us to Binangawan Falls. Neil and I have talked about a trip here many times – even before we officially became a couple. The Holy Week break allowed us to finally discover this gem hidden within Camiguin’s dense forest.

The locals warned me about leeches but I met none of them along the way. April is a good time to visit because it’s mostly sunny around here. But the sun won’t burn your skin because tall trees and wide leaves act as cover. So, what do you need to survive the trail to Binangawan Falls?

A bottle of water (which you can refill with freshwater from the falls), food, and proper attire, ideally long sleeves and pants. Footpaths are clear for the trained eyes so bring a guide if you don’t want to get lost. Tread carefully as some walkways are hair-raisingly narrow, with cliffs on both sides. Get the picture?

I admit there were times I asked myself why I even dared go. Then I heard the rustling waters. “We’re close!” Neil shouted.

Binangawan Falls Camiguin

Braving Binangawan Falls

The next thing I knew, I had been enjoying the mild showers from the falls.

This is what I came to see.

Traveling to two of Camiguin’s off-the-beaten spots tested and strengthened my resolve. They filled me with wonder and awe, adding exquisite moments to my life that I’m sure I’d be proud to tell my grandkids or my students someday.

“Do what you can’t” is sure no non-sense advice. Until next time?

By Issa

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