Camiguin is an island-province on the northern coast of the Mindanao archipelago in the Philippines. It is the country’s second-smallest province, a veritable treasure trove of natural attractions, both on land and under the sea. Especially under the sea. Camiguin has volcanoes, waterfalls, natural springs and varied flora and fauna in the terrestrial environment.
And then, there are beautiful corals, sea turtles, a myriad of fishes, performing their wondrous routines in the pristine aquatic habitats. The shores and underwater bounties of Camiguin are multi-faceted, all marvellous, tantalizing and inviting. Diver’s paradise is what it is. It is also beachlover and snorkeler’s haven. Dive, paddle and swim in tranquil bliss and be embraced at once by the beauty of the marine environment made possible with the determined management and dedicated protection.
It matters not where you are in the province’s five municipalities –Mambajao, Mahinog Guinsiliban, Sagay or Catarman– each has a remarkable story to tell, and an even more fascinating underwater spectacle to show. Mambajao, the province’s capital, hosts seven marine sanctuaries and other notable dive spots. The White Island Marine Sanctuary, on the fringes of an offshore island, is located two kilometres off the coast of Agoho, to the west of Mambajao. The sanctuary, named after Camiguin’s popular sand bar which is shaped like the letter C or like the letter I, depending on the ocean tide or season. White Island is popular among swimmers, sunbathers and snorkelers.
Mahinog not only has Mantigue to be proud of – it also offers the wonderful sights at its Burias Shoal, San Roque, Benoni and Binaliwan Marine Sanctuaries. The gentle whale shark is known to, at times, pass along this area. In the southern municipalities of Guinsiliban and Sagay, well-protected marine sanctuaries offer more sights to gaze at and enjoy. Guinsiliban’s Cabuan Marine Sanctuary and South Poblacion Marine Sanctuary showcase more relaxing dives with their calm underwater currents. Carefully swim and be mesmerized by the graceful butterfly fishes, beautiful damsels and fairy basslets amidst a back-drop of lively coral reef communities. In Cantaan, the multitude of giant clams, signature species of the MPA, sit, testament to nature’s bounty and the Guinsilibanons’ love for their marine environment.
In Catarman, the trip is about relishing the story of the volcanic holocaust of 1871 and witnessing the spectacular rhythms of the underwater world, in the Sunken Cemetery, Pasil Reef Marine Sanctuary, Catibac Marine Sanctuary, Lawigan Marine Sanctuary and Poblacion Marine Sanctuary. One will also be amazed with the underwater topography of Catarman’s best dive sites. Think underwater canyons, caves and crevices hosting the gentle and graceful sea turtle, schooling snappers, large wrasses and parrot fishes. In Camiguin you may, shoot a few photos, or a full-length video, bring the images, and the memories, home. And then you are coming back soon, because each visit is an experience all its own . . . in Camiguin’s well-preserved marine world.