p My dear friend invited me for a trip along with her other friends, 4 of which I already met before. With the 8 of us altogether, the traveling expenses were pretty much easier to shoulder on. When she invited me, I had no idea what to expect. After all, this friend is not the adventurous type. Boy, was I surprised that she's finally braved riskier ventures.
Tip: For an island-hopping trip, the adage does find itself useful,
The more, the merrier.
It was a four-day trip. We were set to explore tourist destinations in Misamis Oriental (Cagayan de Oro City in particular), Camiguin and Bukidnon. Because I'm saving on every dime, I managed to spend only a total of P7725 including roundtrip airfare. It did help a lot that there were 8 of us to share on transportation expenses. The breakdown of expenses will be coming soon. Basically, our travel and activities went like this:
1st day: Arrival at Cagayan de Oro, travel to Camiguin Island for Mantigue Island, Ardent Hot Spring
2nd day: White Island, Sunken Cemetery, Guiob Church Ruins, Tuawasan Falls, Sto. Nino Cold Spring, an old Church
3rd day: Bukidnon: Dahilayan Adventure Park
4th day: Cagayan de Oro: White Water Rafting
I'll be putting some details so you'll have an idea of the flow of time.
DAY ONEI left home on June 23 at 0600H. My flight's at 0825H from Mactan International Airport with ETA of 0910H at Laguindingan International Airport, Cagayan de Oro City. I waited on my friends' arrival and by 0946H, we took a van that would take us to Balingoan Port. We're supposed to take either 2 taxis or a van that would take us to Agora Terminal and another one from Agora to Balingoan Port but we're lucky that our driver offered to take us from the airport straight to Balingoan Port for P3400!
We ate our lunch along the way. From Balingoan Port, we took a 1430H boat ride to Benoni Port for P185 (with terminal fee). Near 1600H, we hailed our already booked multicab service (on service until the next day at P2500). We arrived at the port for Mantigue Island and each paid the entrance for P137.5 (for each pump boat, registration is P550; we divided ourselves into a group of 4 each).
We then retired the night by checking in at Pabua's Cottages. Each room costs P1000. Since we already divided ourselves into two groups of four each earlier, four of us shared one room. Hence, I paid P250 for the night. Visit Pabua's website at www.pabuascottages.com.
Thus, the first day is over.
DAY TWOWe readied ourselves for White Island. We were already set at 0630H but upon arriving at the "station", we were told they're not allowing boat rides yet as the waves still look angry. We'll have to wait until the sea calms. So then we headed back and took our breakfast at Pabua instead, with corned beef silog and a cup of coffee for P100.
About 0900H-ish, we paid the entrance fee of P20 (registration) and P112.5 for the boat ride to White Island.
We were done by 1030H and each of us bought souvenirs. I bought a ref magnet worth P33.
My advice: If you're yet to tour the island of Camiguin, don't buy souvenirs from White Island station! You can buy a ref magnet near Sunken Cemetery for P15 only!
We took a picture at the base of the Station of the Cross (we didn't have time to walk the 3-kilometer Station of the Cross)...
and then went to Sunken Cemetery...
It's so funny. Residents in this area are masters at taking pictures of tourists with the cross behind. They can make you do a lot of things with the cross in the picture (putting the cross in your palm, enclosing the cross with your fingers shaped like a heart, picking the cross with your thumb and forefinger, et. al.). Trust these people. Trust your phone or camera with them. They know how to handle your phone more than you do. Don't worry, they won't run away with your phone. What's better? You don't have to pay a dime for letting them take your pictures.
Guiob Church Ruins...
Here, we had another encounter with a phone camera master. This local lady offered us to tour the old church ruins for free. She told us about this centennial tree and took a picture with it via a phone's panoramic feature. Most of my companions have never used panorama in taking pictures with their phone. They even claim their phones don't have that feature for which the lady retorted,
Meron yan, ate. Samsung yang gamit mo e. [That one has, miss. You're using a Samsung.]
After that, we passed by this cliff along the way:
We then head over to Tuawasan Falls:
We then finally went to Sto. Cold Spring wherein we paid the entrance of P20. You can dive safely as the deepest part is seven feet. I was only able to dive 5 times since the cold smacks me in the face.
Merchants offer to cook food from the outside of the establishment. We then ordered half kilo each of Sinuglaw (smoked pork or liempo + spiced raw fish), Pork Sinigang and Garlic Chicken, and a kilo of rice for lunch. We each chipped in P104.
Thus, the end of our Day Two activities at Camiguin Island.
Time to go back to Cagayan de Oro City.
Again, we paid P185 on a boat ride from Benoni Port to Balingoan Port.
From Balingoan Port, a parked van would take us to the city only for P100 each. It's not an exclusive ride. It's a common passenger van where you get to ride with other people. That's how we met the driver of the old van, Kuya Popoy.
To cap off the day, we checked in at New Dawn Pensionne House. Four of us again shared one room. We each paid P783.5, good for two nights of rest.
DAY THREEWe were able to haggle with Kuya Popoy an exclusive ride from our hotel to Dahilayan Adventure Park and vice versa for the duration of the day for P2500 only!
We went to Dahilayan Forest Park first with an entrance of P100 per head. I didn't avail of the ATV but my friends did.
Now, Dahilayan Adventure Park doesn't have an entrance fee. If you want to know the various attractions/amusement activities, you can check them out at dahilayanadventurepark.com. Anyhow, here's the popup price list from their website:
I availed the ZipChallenge Package which costs P1000. It comprises of All Zip + Dropzone + Python Roller ZipRide.
Every Photo Certificate Costs P100.
This shot is from the Drop Zone:
Dahilayan features a 120-ft Frefall into a manmade lake. Swoop to within feet of the water surface making it an adrenaline-pumping screamer of a ride. This is the Philippine's first extreme pendulum swing of its kind.
At Dahilayan Adventure Park, there's no other place that you could get food but from the restaurants inside which cost a lot! We had no choice but to eat lunch outside the park's premises just like every driver who parked outside.
I managed with P30 with a piece of chorizo, a cup of rice and a small bottle of soda.
Before leaving Bukidnon, we bought pasalubong near Del Monte at Camp Philips.
After an hour or two of rest back at Cagayan de Oro, by nightfall, we then bought pasalubong at VjAndep (the big pastel or dozen costs P140 while the small one or half dozen costs P75). We had dinner at Borg's (can't remember the full name). For P65, you'll get a meal of sizzling sisig, just add P10 if you want to pair it with garlic rice. Service water is free if you want to save. Fortunately here, there's no 10% service fee charge.
DAY FOURWell, this is the last day of the trip. My good friend did save the best for last. Since we're not yet experts at water rafting, the group opted for the basic/short course. Since there's 8 of us in the group, we each paid P700 for the package. We availed our package from Great White Water Tours. They offer pickup to and fro the hotel. Originally, there were 8 of us but our guides included in our group 3 other people for which only 2 of them know each other. This was the part where we earned 3 new friends. Overall, we were divided into two groups. It was fun!
The short course covers rafting from Mambuaya to Cabula which takes 3-4 hours and will pass 14 rapids ranging from class 2-3 as the flyer suggests.
For booking and inquiries, you can access their website at www.riverraftingcdo.com.
It was raining hard the previous day so we were lucky since it made the currents stronger.
For optimal experience, when you hit that rock from the above picture, your raft is supposed to capsize. That is done so rafters will have the experience of getting blown away by the current without drowning (life vest + following proper instructions). Alas, our friendly guides didn't properly orient us with this that we chose not to capsize. Being envious that the other group had their raft capsize, our guides let us experience flowing with the river by making us all drop off shortly after the next rapid. What happened to our group was actually better since we all floated, get carried away by the current in the river for so long. Kudos to our guides for making it happen! But first, we had to sit like this on our raft:
We didn't have pictures from flowing in the river since they're not allowed to take pictures of that but let me dump some other photos:
Our water adventure was fun. Our guides Kuya Felix and I forgot the other one (they're both at the back) were not only knowledgeable but very funny to boot (bordering on corny).
My other expenses for Day Four comprise of P89 breakfast, P100 "I survived Rafting" ref magnet, P200 commute to the airport, P200 terminal fee and P22 fare from the airport to my house. I finally made it home for dinner. I was really famished then having skipped lunch so I still have money left for the commute home.
Our four-day vacation was a blast! With less than P8000, I was able to visit three different provinces. Again, if you want to save up on your expenses, organize a trip with lots of people. Have your itinerary ready. If you're traveling alone, look at schedule of events on different traveling groups online so you may be in the company of other travelers.