Northern Mindanao Extreme Adventure! PART 1

Number 1 on my things-to-do for 2011 was to go river-rafting in Cagayan De Oro, and I’m so happy to report that I can now tick that one off my travel list! Not only did I brave the 22 rapids of Rio Grande de Mindanao, I was also able to take this trip to the next level – courtesy of those ATVs at Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon! : )

It all started when we scored some seat sale at Airphil Express last July. Since we only have a 20k budget, there’s only one way to go: backpacking!

I checked a lot of other local travel blogs to build our own itinerary, I decided to go with Camiguin-Bukidnon-CDO-Iligan route for our 5-day trip. I also had to do some research on how we can get to one place to another, since we cannot afford to rent a car service.  One advice I can give to people who are planning to go to that part of the country is to bring your friends along, it will definitely bring the costs down. It can get a little tricky planning the trip for two, but still manageable.

perfect weather condition!
…and we were off!

Day 1: MANILA-CDO-CAMIGUIN

There are two ways to go from CDO to Camiguin.You can opt for the easier one which is the Paras Sea Cat Ferry at CDO Port, but there’s a catch. Paras Sea Cat’s only schedule going to Camiguin is every 8:30AM in the morning, and 4pm  back to CDO. If you miss it, you’re screwed. I also heard that its currently under maintenance so I think the only option as of now is the long route. The long route is the RORO in Balingoan Port at Misamis Oriental, which is a 2-hour bus ride from CDO.

From Lumbia Airport, we rode a taxi cab going to Agora Public Market (close to an hour worth of ride).

Agora Public Market, such a clean market place!

Agora Public Market also serves as the bus terminal wherein various buses, vans, multicabs, motorelas and pedicabs going to nearby provinces such as Davao, Butuan , Bukidnon, Iligan are found. What we did was to ride the bus going to Butuan (yellow buses) and asked the conductor to drop us off at Balingoan terminal.

After the 2-hour ride, Balingoan Terminal!

The Balingoan bus terminal is just a few steps away from the Balingoan Port we soon found out, we weren’t sure at first where so we decided to ride a pedicab to be sure.

Balingoan Port Passenger Terminal
Before boarding :p
Balingoan Port waiting area
Ferry to Camiguin!

The RORO at Balingoan Port leaves every hour, unlike Paras Sea Cat. From Balingoan Port, you will traverse the sea for an hour to finally reach Benoni Port in Camiguin.

Benoni Port, Camiguin
Another view of the Benoni Port

We rode a waiting van bound to Mambajao when we reached Benoni port, which probably took another hour.  The van dropped off us at the Mambajao Market.

Mambajao Vans

Before heading to our resort, we had a late lunch at Vjandep Restaurant. There were a lot of raves on the blogosphere about this one so I made it a point to include it in our itinerary. I was a bit disappointed when we got there because there weren’t a lot of food to choose from (maybe because it was already 2 or 3 in the afternoon), but we were tired and hungry so we had no choice but to stay.

Vjandep Restaurant
Vjandep bibingka
Vjandep torte
Vjandep Beef and mushroom

 After resting and having our fill at Vjandep, we took a motorela to Secret Cove Beach Resort where we will be staying for two nights.

Secret Cove

September was one of CDO and Camiguin’s off-peak season, so we got to enjoy discounted rates on our hotel and resort accommodations!

If you’re with a group, you can easily hire a van, multicab or jeepney for your island tour with the price of 1,300 to 2,500, but since we are only two in company, hiring such big vehicles is out of the question. Good thing the motorela we hired to bring us to our resort offered to take us on a whole day tour for only 900.

We asked him to pick us up 6am the next day.  Since we were tired from all the travel we did to get to Camiguin, we just decided to just stay at the hotel, wait for the sunset and prepare for the adventure ahead.

Beach view

Read: Northern Mindanao Extreme Adventure! Part 2

Here’s our expense breakdown for the day minus food (x2 already):
TAXI FROM CUBAO TO NAIA TERMINAL 3 – P215
NAIA TERMINAL FEE- P400
CAB RIDE TO AGORA MARKET BUS TERMINAL –P200
BUS TO BALINGOAN PORT- P286
PEDICAB TO PORT- P14
FERRY TO CAMIGUIN (BENONI PORT)- P340
PORT TERMINAL FEE – P4.50
VAN TO MAMBAJAO- P60
MOTORELA TO SECRET COVE RESORT- P80
CHECK IN SECRET COVE BEACH RESORT (2 NIGHTS)- P2400

Published by antonettecheng

An Enthusiast of Life

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