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Camiguin, Mindanao: The Friendliest Place In The Philippines


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Diena Carper



Welcome to Camiguin, a hidden gem in Mindanao, the southernmost major island of the Philippines. Known as the “Island Born of Fire,” this small volcanic island is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, Camiguin is undoubtedly one of the friendliest places you can visit in the Philippines.


Located just off the coast of Northern Mindanao, Camiguin boasts a tranquil and laid-back atmosphere that is a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Despite its relatively small size, this island is packed with unique characteristics and natural wonders that will leave you in awe.


One of the most remarkable features of Camiguin is its impressive number of volcanoes. With a total of seven volcanoes, including the iconic Mount Hibok-Hibok, this island is a geological marvel. The volcanic activity has shaped Camiguin’s landscape, resulting in stunning natural attractions such as hot springs, waterfalls, and pristine beaches.


Besides its natural beauty, Camiguin is also known for its rich cultural heritage. The island is home to a vibrant community that has preserved its traditions and customs throughout the years. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by participating in festivals, visiting historical sites, and interacting with the welcoming locals.


No visit to Camiguin is complete without indulging in its delectable cuisine. The island offers a unique fusion of flavors influenced by the different cultures that have settled here over the centuries. From freshly caught seafood to mouthwatering local delicacies, every meal in Camiguin is a delightful culinary adventure.


For those seeking adrenaline-pumping activities, Camiguin offers a wide range of options. Whether it’s diving into crystal-clear waters to explore vibrant coral reefs, trekking up volcanoes for breathtaking panoramic views, or experiencing the thrill of white-water rafting, there is no shortage of adventures to embark on in this captivating island.


What truly sets Camiguin apart, however, is the genuine warmth and friendliness of its locals. The residents of Camiguin are renowned for their hospitality and warm welcome, making visitors feel at home from the moment they step foot on the island. Their genuine smiles and genuine desire to share the beauty of their home with others create an unforgettable experience.


In this article, we will delve deeper into the unique characteristics of Camiguin, explore its natural attractions and cultural heritage, savor its local cuisine, and discover the wide array of activities and adventures that await. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the beauty of Camiguin, and get ready to be embraced by the friendliest place in the Philippines.


Unique Characteristics of Camiguin

Camiguin may be a small island, but it is brimming with unique characteristics that set it apart from other destinations in the Philippines. From its volcanic landscapes to its rich cultural heritage, here are some of the distinct features that make Camiguin a truly special place:

  1. Vibrant Volcanic Island: Camiguin is known as the “Island Born of Fire” because of its seven volcanoes, making it an incredibly unique destination. Its volcanic origins have shaped the landscape, creating magnificent attractions such as hot springs, geothermal pools, and volcanic sand beaches.
  2. Jewel of the Bohol Sea: Located in the heart of the Bohol Sea, Camiguin is surrounded by crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. Snorkelers and divers are treated to a vibrant underwater world, with colorful coral reefs, sea turtles, and a variety of fish species. The island also has impressive dive sites, including the famous Sunken Cemetery.
  3. Cultural Heritage: Camiguin boasts a rich cultural heritage influenced by its diverse history. From the ancient traditions of the indigenous Mangyan people to the Spanish and American colonial influences, the island offers a glimpse into its past through its beautifully preserved ancestral houses, centuries-old churches, and traditional festivals.
  4. Sunken Cemetery: One of Camiguin’s most intriguing attractions is the Sunken Cemetery. The cemetery sank during the eruption of Mount Vulcan in the 1870s, and today, cross markers can still be seen underwater. It is a popular spot for divers and a unique reminder of the island’s volcanic past.
  5. Lanzones Festival: Camiguin is famous for its annual Lanzones Festival, held every October. This colorful celebration showcases the island’s abundance of lanzones, a sweet tropical fruit. The festival features street parades, beauty pageants, traditional music, and dances, giving visitors a taste of the local culture and vibrant festivities.
  6. Soda Water Swimming Pool: One of Camiguin’s hidden gems is the Soda Water Swimming Pool. This natural pool is fed by a natural soda spring, giving the water a bubbly and rejuvenating feel. Visitors can take a dip in the refreshing pool, believed to have therapeutic properties, and enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the surrounding lush greenery.
  7. Guiob Church Ruins: The Guiob Church Ruins are a poignant reminder of Camiguin’s tumultuous history. This Spanish-era church was destroyed during the volcanic eruption in the 1870s, leaving behind stone walls and arches. The ruins, with their dramatic backdrop of lush vegetation, provide a picturesque and atmospheric setting.
  8. Unique Local Delicacies: Camiguin offers a tantalizing array of unique local delicacies. From the sweet and sticky “pastel,” a Camiguin version of the classic Spanish custard pie, to the savory “ginamay,” a traditional rice dessert wrapped in banana leaves, every bite is a feast for the senses.
  9. Untouched Beauty: Despite its growing popularity, Camiguin remains relatively untouched by mass tourism. The serene and pristine beauty of the island is evident in its unspoiled beaches, lush forests, and breathtaking waterfalls. It is the perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat and a chance to reconnect with nature.

These unique characteristics make Camiguin a destination that is both captivating and enchanting. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a history buff, a food lover, or simply someone in search of tranquility, Camiguin offers an unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression.


Natural Attractions in Camiguin

Camiguin is blessed with a stunning natural beauty that captivates every visitor who sets foot on the island. From its volcanoes and hot springs to its pristine beaches and majestic waterfalls, here are some of the remarkable natural attractions that await you in Camiguin:

  1. Mount Hibok-Hibok: Towering at 1,332 meters, Mount Hibok-Hibok is one of the most prominent volcanoes in Camiguin. A challenging but rewarding hike to its summit offers breathtaking panoramic views of the island and its surrounding waters.
  2. Ardent Hot Springs: Nestled at the foot of Mount Hibok-Hibok, Ardent Hot Springs is a natural wonder that provides a soothing and therapeutic experience. The mineral-rich waters, heated by volcanic activity, create a relaxing atmosphere for visitors to unwind and rejuvenate.
  3. White Island: Just a short boat ride away from the main island, White Island is a pristine sandbar surrounded by turquoise waters. With its powdery white sand and crystal-clear visibility for snorkeling, it is a must-visit destination for beach lovers and marine enthusiasts.
  4. Katibawasan Falls: Cascading from a height of 70 meters, Katibawasan Falls is a majestic waterfall located in the heart of Camiguin’s lush forest. The refreshing cold water invites visitors to take a dip and enjoy the serene beauty of the surrounding flora and fauna.
  5. Tuasan Falls: Another enchanting waterfall in Camiguin is Tuasan Falls, characterized by its tiered cascades and natural swimming pools. The trek to this hidden gem is an adventure in itself, as you traverse through dense vegetation and cross small streams to reach the falls.
  6. Sto. Niño Cold Springs: Sto. Niño Cold Springs is a natural spring known for its crystal-clear waters that remain refreshingly cool even on hot days. The lush greenery surrounding the springs provides a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere for picnics or simply lounging by the water.
  7. Mantigue Island: Located off the coast of Camiguin, Mantigue Island is a haven for snorkelers and divers. With its vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, it offers an excellent opportunity to explore the underwater world and encounter colorful fish, sea turtles, and even small reef sharks.
  8. Tangub Hot Spring: Tangub Hot Spring is a hidden gem tucked away in the lush rainforest of Camiguin. The natural spring, surrounded by ferns and tropical flora, offers a rejuvenating escape with its warm waters and tranquil ambiance.
  9. Old Volcano Trail: For adventure enthusiasts, the Old Volcano Trail is a thrilling journey that takes you through the rugged landscapes and dense forests of Camiguin. Following the trail, you can explore volcanic craters, sulfur vents, and even cross volcanic ravines, providing an up-close encounter with the island’s volcanic past.

These natural attractions showcase the unspoiled beauty of Camiguin and offer a range of activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you prefer to relax in hot springs, hike up volcanoes, swim in waterfalls, or snorkel in pristine waters, Camiguin’s natural wonders will leave you in awe and create memories to last a lifetime.


Cultural Heritage in Camiguin

Camiguin is not only blessed with natural beauty but also a rich cultural heritage that reflects the island’s diverse history. From ancient traditions to Spanish colonial influences, here are some of the cultural attractions that showcase the vibrant heritage of Camiguin:

  1. Mangyan Indigenous Culture: The Mangyan people are the indigenous inhabitants of Camiguin. Their culture and traditions have been preserved for centuries, and visitors can learn about their unique way of life through cultural demonstrations, handicrafts, and interactions with the locals.
  2. Camiguin’s Historical Churches: The island is home to several Spanish-era churches that are testaments to the island’s rich colonial history. The impressive architecture and intricate designs of churches like the Santo Niño Church and the Old Church Ruins provide a glimpse into Camiguin’s religious heritage.
  3. Guiob Church Ruins: The Guiob Church Ruins are the remains of a Spanish-era church that was destroyed during the volcanic eruption in the 1870s. The hauntingly beautiful stone walls, arches, and bell tower create a picturesque setting that attracts both history buffs and photography enthusiasts.
  4. Festivals and Celebrations: Camiguin hosts various festivals throughout the year, showcasing the island’s vibrant culture and traditions. The Lanzones Festival, held every October, is a major highlight that celebrates the abundance of lanzones fruit. During the festival, visitors can witness colorful parades, dance performances, and street parties.
  5. Sunken Cemetery: The Sunken Cemetery is not only a natural attraction but also holds historical significance. When the ocean claimed an ancient cemetery during a volcanic eruption, it created a unique underwater site. Visitors can take a boat to the submerged cross markers and pay their respects to the departed.
  6. Local Handicrafts: The people of Camiguin are known for their craftsmanship, producing intricate handicrafts made from local materials. These include woven products, bamboo crafts, and traditional accessories like beaded jewelry. Visitors can purchase these unique souvenirs as a memento of their trip.
  7. Cultural Dance and Music: Immersing yourself in the local culture is a must when visiting Camiguin. Witness traditional dances, such as the “Tinikling” and “Kuradang,” that reflect the island’s history and traditions. The rhythmic beats and colorful costumes create a lively and engaging experience.
  8. Local Cuisine: Exploring the culinary scene is an excellent way to experience the local culture. Camiguin offers a variety of unique dishes and delicacies that reflect the island’s multicultural heritage. From seafood specialties to traditional rice cakes and sweets, every bite is a gastronomic adventure.
  9. Historical Landmarks: Apart from churches and ruins, Camiguin has other historical landmarks that tell the story of the island’s past. These include ancestral homes, monuments, and memorials, providing insights into the island’s history and the lives of its people.

Camiguin’s cultural heritage is a testament to the resilience and rich history of the island and its people. Whether you explore ancient churches, participate in vibrant festivals, witness traditional performances, or savor traditional cuisine, the cultural experiences in Camiguin will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the island’s heritage.


Local Cuisine in Camiguin

One of the highlights of visiting Camiguin is indulging in its unique and delectable local cuisine. Influenced by the island’s diverse cultural heritage and abundance of fresh seafood, the culinary scene in Camiguin offers a fusion of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. Here are some must-try dishes and delicacies that showcase the local cuisine in Camiguin:

  1. Pastel: A trip to Camiguin is not complete without devouring a piece of “pastel.” This delicious pastry is a Camiguin specialty, featuring a soft and flaky crust filled with sweet and creamy yema (custard). Perfect as a breakfast treat or a midday snack, pastel comes in various flavors like cheese, langka (jackfruit), and ube (purple yam).
  2. Tuwaang: Tuwaang is a traditional Visayan dish that is popular in Camiguin. It is a savory soup made with fresh fish or seafood, mixed with vegetables like taro leaves, okra, and string beans. The broth is flavored with ginger, garlic, and other spices, creating a comforting and flavorful dish.
  3. Ginamos: Ginamos, or fermented shrimp paste, is a staple condiment in Camiguin’s cuisine. Made from fermented tiny shrimps, ginamos adds a savory and umami flavor to dishes when used as a dipping sauce or mixed into sautéed vegetables. It pairs well with grilled seafood and is something you should definitely try during your visit.
  4. Sikwate: A cup of sikwate is a must-try for chocolate lovers. It is a traditional hot chocolate drink made from locally sourced cacao beans. The rich and velvety texture, combined with the sweetness of sugar or condensed milk, creates a comforting beverage that is best enjoyed with a side of local bread or biko (sticky rice cake).
  5. Ginamay: Ginamay is a sweet rice delicacy wrapped in banana leaves. Glutinous rice is mixed with coconut milk, sugar, and other flavorings, then steamed to perfection. The result is a sticky and aromatic treat that is often enjoyed as a dessert or snack.
  6. Seafood Delicacies: With its proximity to the sea, Camiguin is a haven for fresh and delicious seafood. From grilled squid and prawns to steamed crabs and lobsters, you can savor the flavors of the ocean in every bite. Don’t miss out on trying the local favorites like kinilaw (raw seafood marinated in vinegar and spices) or sinugba (grilled seafood marinated in a savory sauce).
  7. Kiping: Kiping is a unique delicacy made from rice flour and shaped into thin, colorful triangles or circles. It is often deep-fried until crisp and then sprinkled with sugar or served with sweet dips. Kiping is commonly enjoyed during festivals and special occasions in Camiguin, adding a burst of color and sweetness to the celebration.
  8. Bulad: Bulad refers to dried fish or seafood products that are popular in Camiguin. It is a beloved ingredient in many local dishes and adds a distinct umami flavor. Whether it’s dried danggit (rabbitfish), squid, or anchovies, bulad is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
  9. Binaki: Binaki is a sweet corn muffin that is a favorite snack among the locals. It is made from ground corn kernels, mixed with sugar and coconut milk, then baked until golden brown. Binaki is a delightful treat that highlights the island’s abundant harvest of corn.

When in Camiguin, take the opportunity to explore the local cuisine and indulge in these mouthwatering dishes. From sweet treats to savory delights, the flavors of Camiguin will leave you craving for more and give you a deeper appreciation for the island’s culinary heritage.


Activities and Adventures in Camiguin

If you’re seeking adventure and excitement, Camiguin doesn’t disappoint. This small island is packed with a wide range of activities and adventures for every type of traveler. From exploring volcanoes and diving into crystal-clear waters to trekking through lush forests and immersing in local culture, here are some of the exhilarating experiences to enjoy in Camiguin:

  1. Hike up Mount Hibok-Hibok: Challenge yourself with a hike up Mount Hibok-Hibok, one of Camiguin’s iconic volcanoes. The trek to the summit is a thrilling adventure that rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views of the island and the surrounding sea. It’s the perfect opportunity for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts to experience the island’s volcanic landscapes.
  2. Snorkel and Dive: Witness the vibrant marine life of Camiguin by snorkeling or diving in its crystal-clear waters. Explore colorful coral reefs, swim alongside exotic fish species, and marvel at the incredible underwater biodiversity. Dive sites like the Sunken Cemetery and Mantigue Island offer unforgettable experiences for both beginners and experienced divers.
  3. Trek to Waterfalls: Discover the lush beauty of Camiguin by embarking on a trek to its enchanting waterfalls. Katibawasan Falls features a magnificent 70-meter cascade surrounded by verdant flora, while Tuasan Falls offers a tiered spectacle nestled in a tropical forest. Immerse yourself in the refreshing waters and revel in the serenity of these natural wonders.
  4. Explore Sunken Cemetery: Take a boat ride to the Sunken Cemetery, a unique attraction that holds historical and natural significance. The underwater site allows you to snorkel above the submerged cross markers, offering a fascinating perspective on Camiguin’s volcanic past and a chance to pay respects to the departed.
  5. Experience White Island: Hop on a boat to White Island, a stunning sandbar surrounded by turquoise waters. Spend the day sunbathing on the powdery white sand, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoying panoramic views of the island. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and soak up the tropical beauty of Camiguin.
  6. Visit Ardent Hot Springs: Relax and rejuvenate your senses at Ardent Hot Springs, a natural wonder heated by volcanic activity. Soak in the mineral-rich waters and let their therapeutic properties revitalize your body and mind. The tranquil ambiance and stunning surroundings make it an ideal spot to unwind after a day of exploring.
  7. Go Island-Hopping: Explore the neighboring islands and islets around Camiguin through an island-hopping adventure. Discover hidden beaches, snorkel in secluded coves, and soak in the beauty of untouched landscapes. With each island offering its own unique charm, island-hopping lets you experience the diverse wonders of the region.
  8. Immerse in Local Culture: Connect with the friendly locals of Camiguin and immerse yourself in the island’s rich cultural heritage. Participate in traditional dances and music performances, join local festivals, and visit historical sites to gain a deeper understanding of the island’s history and traditions.
  9. Try Adventure Sports: For adrenaline junkies, Camiguin offers thrilling activities like zip-lining, cliff jumping, and white-water rafting. Test your courage as you soar through the air or plunge into the cool waters for an exhilarating experience that will get your heart racing.

Whether you seek adrenaline-pumping adventures or serene explorations, Camiguin has something to offer. From the majestic landscapes to the rich culture, this island is a playground for those who crave excitement and a deeper connection with nature. So embark on these activities and create unforgettable memories in the beautiful paradise of Camiguin.


Hospitality and Friendliness of the Locals

One of the standout features of Camiguin is the genuine hospitality and friendliness of its locals. From the moment you set foot on the island, you’ll be embraced with warm smiles and open hearts, making you feel like a part of the community. The locals take pride in their island and are always eager to share its beauty and traditions with visitors. Here’s a closer look at the characteristic hospitality and friendliness that you can expect in Camiguin:


The people of Camiguin are known for their warm and welcoming nature. Whether you’re exploring the local markets, dining at a restaurant, or simply strolling through the streets, you’ll be greeted with smiles and friendly greetings. The locals are genuinely interested in making your visit memorable and ensuring that you have a wonderful experience on their island.


The friendliness of the people extends beyond mere greetings. They are eager to engage in conversations and share their knowledge about the island. Don’t hesitate to approach the locals for recommendations on the best places to visit, hidden spots to explore, or insights into the local culture. Their genuine desire to help and guide you will enhance your stay in Camiguin.


The locals of Camiguin are proud of their cultural heritage and are more than happy to share it with visitors. They will gladly introduce you to traditional dances, music, and customary practices. You might even have the opportunity to participate in local festivals and join in the celebrations as an honorary guest. This immersion in the local culture is a testament to the warmth and inclusivity of the community.


Another aspect that adds to the charm of Camiguin is the sense of safety and security that the island exudes. The locals take pride in maintaining a peaceful and welcoming environment for both residents and visitors. You’ll find a strong sense of community and a genuine concern for the well-being of everyone. This creates a pleasant and worry-free atmosphere for exploration.


Whether you’re seeking directions, asking for recommendations, or simply engaging in a friendly chat, the locals of Camiguin will go above and beyond to make you feel at home. Their genuine warmth and hospitality are truly remarkable, leaving a lasting impression on every visitor.


It is worth noting that the locals’ welcoming nature goes hand in hand with respecting their customs and traditions. As a visitor, it’s important to show gratitude, politeness, and appreciation for their culture. A simple “thank you” or “salamat” in the local language goes a long way in acknowledging the kindness and hospitality extended to you.


Visiting Camiguin isn’t just about immersing yourself in the pristine landscapes and cultural experiences; it’s about connecting with the friendly and welcoming people who call this island home. The hospitality and friendliness of the locals make Camiguin a truly special place, where every traveler is treated like a friend.



Camiguin, known as the friendliest place in the Philippines, is a destination that captures the hearts of all who visit. This small island in Mindanao offers a unique blend of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality that sets it apart from other tourist destinations. From its volcanic landscapes, pristine beaches, and majestic waterfalls to its rich cultural traditions, Camiguin presents an unforgettable experience for travelers of all kinds.


Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or simply someone in search of tranquility, Camiguin has something to offer. Hike up Mount Hibok-Hibok for breathtaking views, dive into crystal-clear waters to explore vibrant coral reefs, trek through lush forests to discover enchanting waterfalls, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the island.


But what truly makes Camiguin special is the warmth and friendliness of its locals. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be welcomed with genuine smiles and open arms. The people of Camiguin take pride in their island and are eager to share its beauty and traditions with visitors. Their hospitality creates a sense of belonging, making you feel like a part of the community from the very beginning.


As you indulge in the local cuisine, participate in festivals, and interact with the friendly locals, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural heritage of Camiguin. From the traditional dances and music performances to the historical churches and ruins, every experience is an opportunity to connect with the island’s vibrant past.


Camiguin is a place where serenity and adventure coexist. You can unwind in soothing hot springs, stroll along pristine beaches, or embark on thrilling activities like cliff jumping and zip-lining. The untouched beauty of the island provides a refuge from the crowds, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in nature’s embrace.


Whether you’re savoring the local delicacies, exploring the natural attractions, or simply basking in the warmth of the locals, Camiguin offers an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your heart. It’s a place where nature and culture intertwine, creating a captivating and unforgettable journey.


So pack your bags, embrace the friendliest place in the Philippines, and prepare to be enchanted by the wonders of Camiguin. From the breathtaking landscapes to the genuine hospitality, this hidden gem in Mindanao is ready to welcome you with open arms. Discover the beauty, charm, and friendliness that make Camiguin a destination like no other.