The Search for Camotes Islands, Cebu: A Great Escape to Remember - Wandering Pinoy

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Monday, August 19, 2013

The Search for Camotes Islands, Cebu: A Great Escape to Remember

According to J.R.R. Tolkien of The Fellowship of the Ring "not all those who wander are lost" and I definitely agree with him. Theresa, Leah, Marie, Ces and I wandered and wandered and wandered but we were not lost during our "search for Camotes Islands." Fact is, we arrived at the island "safe and sound." And guess what? I only brought a piece of bond paper with me (plus cash of course) with instructions on how to go to Camotes and, viola,  we found the place!  (I will have a separate blog entry for our Cebu City escapade.)

At Bakhaw Beach at Camotes Island. In this photo: Yours Truly, Theresa, Leah, Ces and Marie. Photo taken by our driver and tour guide. Don't you find our jeepney cool?
The Escapade
Like I always say, I find it more exciting when travelling if the place is totally unknown to me. When I say "totally unknown," I mean that I've never actually set my foot at this particular place and I've only research the place on the internet - specifically on travel blogs. Travel blogs are very useful and reliable when researching places you've never visited yet. This is exactly what we did and it didn't fail us.

This way to Camotes Islands...
At Danao Port.
From our hotel, we rode a jeepney going to Cebu North Terminal because the bus going to Danao Port is stationed there. The fare is Php10.00 from Colon Street, the oldest city in the Philippines, and travel time is approximately 20 minutes. We were halfway to the terminal when I saw a group of jeepneys bound to Danao Port so we asked the driver to stop and we quickly stepped out of the jeepney and rode another jeepney going to the port. We paid Php35.00 for the fare and we arrived at the port in less than one hour. By the way, the jeepney was "jam-packed" with passengers. When I say "jam-packed," I mean that the Jeep had more or less 40 passengers instead of 20 passengers. Although it's full, we still enjoyed a lot. That was one of the most funniest and memorable jeepney rides we ever had! Haha! 

At the Danao Port and the Great Ferry Ride
I haven't tried riding a ferry yet so our ferry ride going to Camotes Islands was my first. We took the "air-conditioned room" for a minimal fee of Php200.00. Non-aircon fare is Php180.00. Big thanks to Jomalia Shipping Corporation for offering us a fun and safe ride.

At Camotes Island Port. Ferry fare from Danao to Camotes Islands as of this writing is Php200 for air-conditioned room.  Non-aircon is Php180.00.
My first ferry ride was awesome! 

At the Island
Travel time from Danao Port to Camotes Islands was approximately two hours. We left the port past ten in the morning and we arrived around twelve in the afternoon. At the port, we were fetched by Manong Danny, our tour guide and driver. I will be posting his number soon so you can contact him should you want to include Camotes Island in your future "to visit islands." He's a great tour guide and he knows the major tourist spots at the Island. He dropped us off at Mangodlong Rock Resort, Lake Danao, Bakhaw Beach, Timubo Cave, Santiago White Beach Resort and San Francisco Baywalk to name a few.

Swimming inside Timubo Cave. It's so refreshing. 
On our way out of the cave.
At the entrance of Timubo Cave.
According to Wikipedia, "the Camotes Islands are a group of islands in the Camotes Sea, Philippines. The island group is located east of Cebu Island, southwest of Leyte Island, and north of Bohol Island. It is 34 nautical miles from Cebu City and part of the province of Cebu. The islands were first mentioned in 1521 by Antonio Pigafetta, one of the survivors on Ferdinand Magellan's fateful voyage, as they waited off the islands for several days before going onto Cebu. When the Spanish first arrived they asked the locals what was the name of the island and the locals thought they wanted to know what they were planting. They said camotes. This is how the island got its name and became the Spanish word for sweet potato."

At Baywalk. Photo taken after our awesome lunch!
Our first destination at the island was Baywalk. Located meters away from the Port of San Francisco, the main town of Camotes, is San Fran Baywalk which recently changed its name to just “Baywalk”. It is an estimated 300 stretch from the main road near the Causeway and ends at the foot of a mountain. The beautiful bermuda grass design and snake-like passageway of the Baywalk is what makes it very interesting for families and friends as a relaxing area during the afternoon and evening..

View of Bakhaw Beach from afar. 
Our second destination at the island was Timubo Cave. I'm not quite sure how the cave was discovered by the locals but I found it a bit similar to Hinagdangan Cave in Bohol. The only thing that made it different from the latter is we can swim inside and it's "developed." We tried swimming with the rest of the tourists but we didn't stay long because we need to catch to 5:30 ferry bound to Danao Port.

On our way to Bakhaw Beach after swimming at Timubo Cave. 
At Bakhaw Beach. 
Swim! Swim! Swim!
Awesome view! 
From Timubo Cave, our tour guide brought us to Bakhaw Beach. Even before we reached the place, we were already fascinated by its view: so green, so clean, so natural - truly a gift from Mother Nature. Located at Barangay Eperanza, CAmotes Islands, Cebu, Bakhaw beach is a wide open resort, secluded, serene and just natural – nothing man-made distractions. We stayed at the beach for almost thirty minutes or so, and then we went to Lake Lanao Park which is a 20-minute drive from Bakhaw Beach.

At Lake Danao. Entrace fee is Php13.00 and "Exit fee" is Php10.00. I din't know that they have "exit fee." Hehe. 
Lake Danao as background.
Lake Danao is a freshwater lake located in the northern part of Pacijan Island (also known as Pajican Island), one of the Camotes Islands in the province of Cebu. With an area of 680 ha. (1,680 ac.), the figure-eight-shaped body of water, is the not only the largest lake in the province but also in the Visayan Region of the country.
At Santiago White Beach. 
Our tour guide informed us that we can do "kayaking" at the lake for Php50/head good for thirty minutes, however we declined his offer. We were tired and we want to be at our last destination as much as we can. We told him instead to drive us to our next destination which is Santiago White Beach Resort. We didn't stay long at Santiago White Beach Resort because it's low tide and the water was too far from the shoreline. We asked our tour guide to bring us to our next destination which is Mangodlong Rock Resort.Mangodlong Rock is the sister resort of Santiago Bay Gardens (meaning they have the same owner). The two resorts are located opposite each other, with the former facing west to the side of mainland Cebu while the latter is located in the east and facing the Camotes Sea. Mangodlong is only a few kilometers away from Santiago Bay and upon arriving, this huge fish greeted us at the entrance.

At the entrance of Mangodlong Rock Resort. 
That's Yours Truly and Marie. 
Selfie mode again. Photo taken at Mangodlong Rock Resort.
We spent the remaining hours of our stay at Mangodlong Resort because it's our last destination at Camotes Islands. When we realized that it's time to leave, we told our tour guide to bring us to the Port. Fortunately, we arrive at San Francisco Port ahead of the scheduled last trip going to Danao Port. We took the 5:30 ferry going to Danao and we arrived at Danao past seven in the evening. Instead of going to our hotel right away, we went to SM City CEbu first where we had dinner. After dinner, we went back to our hotel and we booked for another 24 hours.

More blog update and photos to follow.

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