Adventure is what makes us fully alive, it brings inner joy, utmost freedom and lasting memories. Being able to explore the whole island or a certain place and witness its hidden wonders is the most exhilarating experience anyone can have. I was lucky enough to explore my mother’s birth place and experience the simple yet satisfying island life. Yes, my mother was born and raised in Camotes Island, an island that sits in the eastern side of Cebu. I heard so many fascinating stories from my mom about this wonderfully created island. It always thrilling to hear those stories and it is much more exciting to visit and embrace my Cebuano ancestry. It is always an eye opener to discover your roots and to share its splendid beauty to world.
Camotes Island is a backpacker’s paradise. It is comprises with aquamarine coast, tropical jungle and enthralling island vibe. Unlike Palawan or Siargao this island is still under the radar so you can totally enjoy the beach and other attractions with fewer tourists. Composed of four quaint municipalities, the island of Camotes can be your next big island adventure.
Travel Guide Contents
MANGODLONG BEACH RESORT
Located in the fishing village called Mangodlong in Heminsulan, San Francisco ; Mangodlong beach resort is popular among foreign tourist due to its relaxing ambiance, beautiful shore, fine white sand and clear turquoise water. The resort is ideal for a barkada getaway, family gatherings and for a romantic honeymoon. The beach resort is calm and relaxing matched with fewer tourists. The scenery is just refreshing. There are private rooms for overnight stay, private cottages, swimming pool and beach front café and bar. To go there, you can hire a motorcycle for around PHP 500 to PHP 1000 for whole day of use. If you’re traveling in a big group the best option is to hire multicab for PHP 1000 to 1500. Expect rough and bumpy roads going to the resort. It will take approximately 1hour and 30 minutes from the town of San Francisco to get there.
Entrance fee: Php 20 (day tour)
The relaxing and romantic atmosphere in Mangodlong Rock Resort.
SANTIAGO WHITE BEACH
One hour away from Mangodlong Beach is another tropical beach paradise. Situated in the quaint town of Santiago; Santiago white beach is a favorite tropical escape for locals and foreign tourist. The long stretch of sugary white sand and crystal aquamarine water is a revitalizing playground for a hot afternoon. The refreshing shallow water is a perfect spot to waste time under the tropical sun. The summery vibe of the place creates a memorable adventure and a mesmerizing summer dream. There are cottages available and overnight camping is allowed. It can be a bit crowded during summer season since it is a public beach. There are stores around and a public restroom for PHP 5 to 10 per use.
The inviting shore of Santiago White Beach.
BUHO ROCK RESORT
Buho Rock Resort is an ultimate spot for adventure and thrill seekers. Situated 30 minutes away from the Port in the town of Poro, Buho Rock Resort is an ultimate spot for adventure and thrill seekers. The resort offers exciting water activities such as cliff diving and water slides that will go directly to the ocean. Cliff diving is the popular water activity in the resort. They have two cliff diving platforms that will surely test your nerves. The highest is 35 feet and the other one is around 20 feet. They also have cottages situated over the naturally formed rocks overseeing the endless horizon.
Entrance fee: Php 20
The 35 feet Cliff Diving Platform.
The underground wonder is a relaxing hideout during hot summer days. The crystal pool is perfect for a refreshing dip and the sound of water drifting from the ceiling is a soothing beat to our ears. The water inside the cave is believed to have healing powers. It is still not clear where the water originated from; some believed that the water is connected to the sea while others whispered that it is come from a secret natural spring. Nevertheless, the pool is indeed magical and energizing. There are openings throughout the ceiling that permits the sunlight to penetrate the world under. The cave is homed to balinsasayaw a bird that uses its saliva to build nest. Stalagmites and stalactites dotted the floor and the ceiling and it adds fantastic allure to the cave.
The stairs leading to the cave.
The entrance fee is Php 20. Smoking and alcohol are not allowed inside the cave. Touching the natural rock formations and vandalizing are strictly prohibited. Also, shouting and making unnecessary noise are not allowed. The community are working together to preserve this natural paradise.
LAKE DANAO PARK
Lake Danao is situated in the Municipality of San Francisco. It is 30 to 1 hour away from Santiago White Beach and Mangodlong Rock Resort. The Local government Unit of San Francisco is responsible for preserving, conserving the developing the lake to become one the most popular eco-tourism spot in the province of Cebu. The community around the lake is also participating in maintaining the guitar-shaped lake. They want to protect the different species of flora and fauna, different kinds of migratory birds, wild ducks, and different species of fresh water fish that inhabits the lake’s delicate ecosystem. They used the PHP 30 entrance fee to fund their maintenance and for cleaning their facilities.
Lets paddle around.
Lake Danao is dubbed as a “Lover’s Lake” due its romantic and dreamy atmosphere. It is ideal for weddings, lunch date and pre-nuptial activities. There are café’s and restaurant, souvenir shops, swimming pool and a mini zoo inside the park. Tourist can enjoy the full view of the lake while having a sumptuous lunch in their huts and cottages dotted around the lake. The lake is relatively quiet and peaceful aside from the singing of birds and the laughter of some local kids. kayaking, zip line and ‘sakanaw” ( basically a cruise powered buy an outrigger boat that will take you around the lake and to the small islet in the middle) are just some of the must try activities to do in Lake Danao.
HOW TO GET TO CAMOTES ISLAND
Book a ticket from Manila to Cebu.
Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Air Asia Have direct flights daily to Mactan International airport. Check rates and book here.
From Mactan International Airport, ride a taxi going to Cebu Port.
Buy your tickets going to Camotes Island or book online in advance.
Ocean Jet is the fastest option going to Camotes. It will take 2 hours from Cebu to reach Camotes. Fare is Php 500. Terminal Fee is Php 25. You can book here in advance.
From Poro, Camotes pier hired a motorcycle around Php 500 to Php 1000 to visit your chosen destination.
If you are traveling in a big group it is much better to rent a multicab at around Php 1000 to Php 1500. It will take you to your chosen destination.
You can opt to visit San Francisco public market to buy food and supplies.
HOTELS IN CAMOSTES ISLAND : WHERE TO STAY IN CAMOTES
Big Z pension House
Walking distance from Poro, Camotes pier
For bookings and reervations look for: Irene- 09233383826
Edss Tolentino is an aspiring travel writer. He loves adventure, isolated beaches and islands and a bottle of beer under the tropical sun. He wants to explore the 7,641 islands of the Philippines and share its beauty to the world.