Around Camiguin Island, Philippines

We spent a day riding a motor bike around Camiguin island when the weather was sunny and clear.  The two lane road around the island was in good shape and there was no traffic.  It became clear that life on Camiguin still revolves around fishing and some agriculture.  The island really has a laid back village feel to it.  Here are some pictures:

On the way to Camiguin island.  Shown is White Beach, a patch of sand that lies a 10 minute boat ride away from agoho area on Camiguin island

On the way to Camiguin island. Shown is White Beach, a patch of sand that lies a 10 minute boat ride away from agoho area on Camiguin island

Passing through a well decorated village on our moto ride around the island

Passing through a well decorated village on our moto ride around the island

Catarman Public Market. For many this is where meat, fruits and veggies are bought here

Catarman Public Market, one of many on the island. For many, markets are where meat, fruits and veggies are bought.

I read about this place where they make coco sugar on the island in an effort to diversify the economy away from fishing

I read about this place where they make coco sugar on the island in an effort to diversify the economy away from fishing

There was nothing being produced when we visited.  It was definitely a small operation.

There was nothing being produced when we visited. It was definitely a small operation.

Coco sugar info.  The next big thing I guess.

Coco sugar info. The next big thing?

The main strip heading towards the public market

The main strip heading towards the public market (right) in Mambajo, the main town

Mambajo town in Camiguin, the main town

Looking back towards the public market (left) in Mambajo town

Its never hard to find a bake shop

It’s never hard to find a bake shop in the Philippines

Afreds Barber Shop.  I got my hair cut here, including shoulder massage

Alferds Barber Shop. I got my hair cut here, it included a shoulder massage. 50 PHP

Typical trike around town

Typical trike you find around town

What’s Cooking?

Flying fish. Every day around 4:30 PM the fishermen would return with their catch and then made for sale along the road main island road

Flying fish. Every day around 4:30 PM the fishermen return with their catch and sell it along the main island road

Mangoes and yellow papaya

Mangoes and yellow papaya

Calamansi juice.  Like lemon or lime juice, but they don't have those.

Calamansi juice. Like lemon or lime juice, but they don’t have those.

Chicken, pork, chorizo, liver BBQ

Chicken, pork, chorizo, liver BBQ.

I tried the chicken thigh and pork skewer.  Both were really good.  You can always count on good pork in the Philippines

I tried the chicken thigh and pork skewer. Both were really good. You can always count on good pork in the Philippines

Supposedly Camiguin is known for these filled bread things called Pastel.  One box of 6 was 75 PHP. I tried one but it was not very good.

Supposedly Camiguin is known for these filled bread things called Pastel. One box of 6 was 75 PHP. I tried one but it was not very good.

 

Bye bye Camiguin

One amazing sunset.  Bye bye Camiguin

Katibawasan Falls – Camiguin Island, Philippines

There are a number of waterfalls on Camiguin island but Katibawasan is the most popular.  Katibawasan falls is 76 meters high and located in the forest a nice drive up from the main island road. Here are some pictures:

Katibawasan Falls entrance area

Katibawasan Falls entrance area

Welcome sign.  Another 30 P or $0.67 to enter.

Welcome sign. Another 30 PHP (0.67 USD) to enter.  It would be a pain to change prices since they are painted on.

The falls from a distance

The falls from a distance

It was a bit of a hike down, but there were stone steps

It was a bit of a hike down, but there were stone steps

Some Filipino tourists seemed to be milling around

Some Filipino tourists seemed to be milling around at the bottom taking selfies

The falls, so much water

The falls, so much clean water

A straight drop down

A straight drop down

I took a swim in the pool. The water was cool. That's probably why nobody was swimming.

I took a swim in the pool. The water was cool. That’s probably why nobody was swimming.

 What’s Cooking?

Halo Halo, a Filipino dessert consisteing of ice cream, saved ice candied/canned fruit.  Oh and what looks like some frosted flakes on top.

Halo Halo, a Filipino dessert consisting of ice cream, saved ice candied/canned fruit. Oh and what looks like some frosted flakes on top.  Also, corn kernals, of course.

We randomly found this "BEST" halo halo place.

We randomly found this “BEST” halo halo place.

Filipino breakfast.  Actually I ordered the wrong thing.

Filipino breakfast. Actually I ordered the wrong thing.

I think the fish was actually dried salted fish deep fried.  It was interesting.

I think the fish was actually dried salted fish deep fried. It was interesting.

Diving Around Camiguin Island, Philippines

While on Camiguin Island we took the opportunity to check out a couple dive sites around the island.  First we visited Old Volcano and then Sunken Cemetery.  The soft coral at Old Volcano was in excellent and the hard coral at the Sunken Cemetery was pristine with lots of brightly coloured fish.  The excellent health of the reef is probably due to the lack of tourists visiting Camiguin.  We visited a number of restaurants and a few other resorts while on the island and none were ever busy even though this is supposedly high season. Here are some pictures:

Johnny's Dive shop on Camiguin Island. Not much to look at, but adequate.

Johnny’s Dive shop on Camiguin Island. Not much to look at, but adequate.

The small dive boat.  It had 2 motors and we wore ear protection on the ride.

The small dive boat. It had 2 motors and we wore ear protection on the ride.

Old Volcano

Clownfish

Clownfish

Descending down through a couple of giant boulders placed by the old volcano

Descending down through a couple of giant boulders placed by the old volcano

Turtle trying to avoid us

Turtle trying to avoid us

Shrimp in the sea anemone

Shrimp in the sea anemone

VIDEO: small shrimps jumping on the camera

VIDEO: a small shrimp living in the sea anemone

Sunken Cemetery

A big nudibranch

A big nudibranch

VIDEO: nudibranch slowly moving around

Eel looking for something to eat

Eel looking for something to eat

Bat fish

Bat fish

What’s Cooking?

Wood oven pizza.  Seemed like every restaurant served pizza, even Filipino restaurants.

Excellent wood oven pizza. Seemed like every restaurant served pizza, even Filipino restaurants.

Tiramisu. Really good for being on an island in the Philippines

Tiramisu. Really good for being on an island in the Philippines

Ardent Hibok-Hibok “Hot” Spring – Camiguin Island, Philippines

Ardent “Hot” Spring is one of the many attractions on Camiguin Island.  From Agoho area it is only a 10 minute moto bike ride away, about 2.5 km off the main road.  There is a concrete road that leads directly to the entrance of the “hot” spring.

The spring area consists of six rock walled pools.  The pools are around 32 degrees celsius.  Although the “hottest” pool was only 34 degrees celsius, it was warm enough to spend an hour and a half in the water.  At the hot spring you’ll notice cool water oozing from various rock walls and cool water being channeled around the pools.  It’s amazing how much fresh water is available from the mountain on Camiguin. Here are some pictures:

There are many signs along the concrete road that lead to the hot spring

There are many signs along the concrete road that lead to the hot spring

Reached the hot spring

Reached the hot spring

Entrance fee is 30 PHP (0.67 USD) per person

Entrance fee is 30 PHP (0.67 USD) per person

Walking in. There are some places where you can sleep or huts you can rent to rest and bbq

Walking in. There are some places where you can sleep or huts you can rent to rest and BBQ

The three lower pools

The three lower pools

The pools look very natural

The pools look very natural

Looking down the hot spring

Looking down the hot spring.  You feel part of nature here.

The main pool, about 6 ft deep.  This one was about 32 degrees celsius in the middle because cool water was slowly entering around the edges.

The main pool, about 6 ft deep. This one was about 32 degrees celsius in the middle because cool water was slowly entering around the edges.

Although we much preferred the hot spring on Coron island because it was actually HOT.  This was a nice way to wind up the day.

Diving around Moalboal, Cebu Island, Philippines

Moalboal, located at the south end of Cebu island is known as a scuba diving destination.  Pescador island is a 20 minute boat ride away and offers wall diving on the east and west sides.  Supposedly at one point there were sardines at Pescador island but not any more.  We did two dives at Pescador and basically swam/drifted around the whole island.  The other dive sites are located just off the Moalboal coast on the reef that parallels the coastline.  Here are some pictures.

Walking out to the dive boat

Walking out to the dive boat

Heading out to Pescador island

Heading out to Pescador island

Moray eel hanging out from the wall at Pescador island

Moray eel hanging out from the wall at Pescador island

Pipefish

Pipefish

VIDEO: pipefish swimming around

Razorfish swimming away

Razorfish swimming away from me

One really fat puffer fish

One really big puffer fish

Nudibranch

Nudibranch

Really nice coloured fish

Really nice coloured fish

Clown fish hiding in the soft coral

Clown fish hiding in a sea anemone

VIDEO: two clownfish and small translucent shrimps in the sea anemone

Stonefish

Scorpionfish

Blackspotted puffer fish

Blackspotted puffer fish

Nice coloured blue fish on the reef

Nice coloured blue fish on the reef

White scorpionfish

White scorpionfish

Batfish

Spadefish, or also known as tall-fin batfish

Sleeping turtle with remora on its back.  Big pufferfish on the right.

Sleeping turtle with remoras on its back. Big pufferfish on the right.

Big turtle sleeping in a small cave

Big turtle sleeping in a small cave

Turtle basking on a bowl of coral

Turtle basking on a bowl of coral

Clownfish defending their territory from attack

Clownfish defending their territory from attack

Diving Sardines – Moalboal, Cebu Island, Philippines

Just off the Panagsama beach area in Moalboal there is a massive school of sardines.  They are constantly swimming around but seem to stay mostly near the surface.  Sometimes you’ll see medium sized trevally feeding on them which causes the school of sardines to move like a swarm of bees in the water.  Here are some pictures and video of the different formations made by the school of sardines: DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRODCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

VIDEO #1: Sardine formations

VIDEO #2: Sardines schooling around a mooring line

 

 

 

Swimming with Whale Sharks

Whale sharks are another gentle giant of the sea.  They are truly massive fish, the biggest in the world, but they mainly feed on plankton.  While in Moalboal we hired a car and headed to Oslob.  Oslob is known for whale shark viewing because they feed them from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM.  In Oslob you are guaranteed to see whale sharks.  We have mixed feelings about feeding whale sharks, but there were many locals working at the whale shark operation so hopefully they are earning a decent wage.  Here are some pictures:

Entrance sign to Oslob whale shark facility

Entrance sign to Oslob whale shark facility

Whale shark interaction instructions

Whale shark interaction instructions

The boat crew paddled us down the shore so we could attend the briefing.  The message was you could go to jail if you touch the whale shark or wear sunscreen.  Supposedly there were "marine biologists" monitoring the area.  We didn't see any marine biologists and they probably wouldn't be happy about boatmen feeding the whale shark in the first place!

The boat crew paddled us down the shore so we could attend a briefing. The basic message was that you could go to jail for 6 months if you touch the whale shark or wear sunscreen. Supposedly there are “marine biologists” monitoring the area. We didn’t see any “marine biologists” and they probably wouldn’t be happy about boatmen feeding the whale shark in the first place!

The whale shark interaction area

The whale shark interaction area.  The line of boats out there is where the whale sharks are.  The blue shirted men are the boatmen and workers.

They take you out in a banca to the whale shark area.

You travel to the whale shark area in a banca.

Mouth wide open for free food

Mouth wide open for free food

Wide body on these fish

Wide body on these fish

Size compared to a human

Size compared to a human

Big mouth, small eye

Big mouth, small eye

Going for the food

Going for the food

A closer look.

A closer look.

During the initial briefing we were told to stay one whale shark length away from the actual whale shark.  This was impossible given how the whale sharks were swimming for their food.  Realistically you are about 1 ft away from the whale shark.  Conclusion: Oslob is worth a visit if you are in the area.

VIDEO #1: whale shark feeding

VIDEO #2: swimming with whale shark

VIDEO #3: whale shark swim by

Kawasan Falls – around Moalboal

We spent one morning visiting Kawasan falls.  It was easy to get to and worth the visit taking cheap public transport.  There were lots of “guides” at the entrance but we refused as it was straightforward to find the falls by ourselves.  Here are some pictures:

Riding the Ceres bus to Kawasan Falls

Riding the Ceres bus south to Kawasan Falls.  Kind of like taking go bus, but a heck of a lot cheaper, $0.75 USD per person one-way.

After 30 minutes on the bumpby bus we arrived

After 30 minutes on the bumpy bus we arrived

There was an easy 20 minutes of walking to get to the falls

There was an easy 20 minutes of walking to get to the falls

A view of Kawasan Falls

A view of Kawasan Falls.  We swam around, the water was cool.

VIDEO: Kawasan Falls

We also walked up 10 minutes or so to find another waterfall area where you could swim as well.

We also walked up 10 minutes or so to find another waterfall area where we could swim as well.

VIDEO: The other waterfall area

 

What’s Cooking?

We decided to give "Sevillas Powerfoods" a try

We decided to give “Sevillas Powerfoods” a try

We had chicken curry and chicken soup.  77 peso.  The problem is they cook this stuff in the morning and serve it all day, so its cold.

We had chicken curry, chicken soup and a bottled coca-cola. 77 peso, about 1.71 USD. The problem is they cook this stuff in the morning and serve it all day, so its cold.

Supposedly Sulas is popular and we wandered over to take a look

Supposedly Sulas is popular so we wandered over to take a look

Sulas served more of the same

Sulas served more of the same

Moalboal – Cebu Island, Philippines

Moalboal is a small town on the south-west side of Cebu island.  Its a place you pass through on the way to Panagsama beach area where the resorts, restaurants and dive shops are located.  We spent one afternoon wandering around the one street town, here are some pictures:

Riding the tricycle into Moalboal town

Riding the tricycle into Moalboal town

The heart of Moalboal town

The heart of Moalboal town

Bakeries can be found everywhere in Moalboal town

Bakeries can be found everywhere in Moalboal town

Bakeries are common, but mostly sell bread or some kind of sweet bread.  Nothing like bakeries back home.

Bakeries mostly sell some kind of sweet bread. Nothing like bakeries back home.

Pork is really popular here

Pork is really popular here

Whole chicken roasted over charcoal is also popular

Whole chicken roasted over charcoal is also popular

There were lots of young students walking around town in uniform

There were lots of young students walking around town in uniform

We walked 1km north to the new "mall", which was more like a department store

We walked 1km north to the new “mall”, which was more like a department store

Inside the "mall" was really nice and clean inside. The air was clean unlike outside on the street where its mostly exhaust fumes from motos, busses and cars

Inside the “mall” was really nice and clean. The air was pure unlike outside on the street where its mostly exhaust fumes from motos, busses and cars

We also wandered the fruit and vegetable market

We also wandered the fruit and vegetable market

Lots of different rice, about 1 USD$/kg

Lots of different rice, about 1 USD/kg

Lots of fruit. Mangoes were great. 1 USD/kg.

Lots of fruit. Mangoes were great.

Lots of dried fish, probably for soup base

Lots of dried fish, probably for soup base

We also dropped by the meat and seafood market

We also dropped by the meat and seafood market

There were lots of vendors with different offerings

There were lots of vendors with different offerings

You could buy a whole fish

You could buy a whole fish

Found some squid and octopus.  That's why we haven't seen any in the sea.

Found some squid and octopus. That’s why we haven’t seen any in the sea.

On the left are two remora.  Remoras have a large sucker on the top of their head that allows them to catch a ride on larger fish

On the left are two remora. Remoras have a large sucker on the top of their head that allows them to catch a ride on larger marine animals or fish

Some nice looking crabs

Some nice looking crabs

We also stumbled across the Moalboal slaughterhouse but nothing was being slaughtered at the time

We also stumbled across the Moalboal slaughterhouse but nothing was being slaughtered at the time

What’s Cooking?

Coconut shake with tapioca jelly.  I explained to them the concept of "bubble tea"

Coconut shake with tapioca jelly. I explained to them the concept of “bubble tea”

Fish curry

Fish curry

Grilled squid

Grilled squid

Diving Botong Bato and Chocolate Island from Malapascua

There are a number of other dive sites around Malapascua, in addition to Monad Shoal where the thresher sharks are.  Botong Bato is near the lighthouse on the west side of Malapascua island and Chocolate Island is a rock close to the new Maya port on Cebu. I was surprised by the amount of underwater life at both of these locations.  Don’t miss the video of the octopus at the end of this post.  Here are some pictures:

Botong Bato
Botong Bato is a mound with a flat top.  So you swim around the small wall and end the dive at the top of the mound in 15ft of water.

Moray eel under a rock and clownfish

Moray eel under a rock (left) and clownfish (right)

Neon coloured anemone

Neon coloured anemone

Yellow rimmed nudibranch

Yellow rimmed nudibranch

VIDEO: Closer look at the yellow rimmed nudibranch

I believe this is a white stonefish

I believe this is a white stonefish

A big green nudibranch

A big green nudibranch

Another nudibranch with bright red tips

Another nudibranch with bright red tips

Mantis shrimp

Mantis shrimp

VIDEO: Mantis shrimp scurrying along

The biggest frogfish I've ever seen.  A granddaddy.

The biggest frogfish I’ve ever seen

VIDEO: The granddaddy frogfish resting

 

Chocolate Island
Chocolate Island is a shallow dive site consisting of lots of boulders.  During the dive there were two explosions from dynamite fishing.  I could feel the second explosion under water even though it was a few hundred feet away.

Banded coral shrimp

Banded coral shrimp

VIDEO: Banded coral shrimp

 

The best sight at chocolate island was a blue-ringed octopus.  I didn’t get any pictures but did shoot a video of the little guy swimming amongst the soft corals.  Amazing…

VIDEO: blue-ringed octopus swimming around