7 Things to Do in Camotes Islands



Comprising four municipalities across three major islands and one minor islet situated east of Cebu, Camotes Group of Islands is a lesser known destination in the tourist-laden province. Its unspoiled beauty and befitting moniker, the Lost Horizon of the South, attest to this unpopularity. Its distance from Metro Manila, or even from Cebu City, is perhaps another reason for not becoming touristy. Getting there is a long-haul journey but the islands pay off a refreshing experience with their untroubled jewels. Here's a list of fun things to do in Camotes Islands.

CONTENTS:


1. Go cave hopping: Paraiso, Timubo and Bukilat caves

The Philippines was dotted with hundreds of fascinating cave systems. Three of Camotes' share of these deep, dark attractions boast off enthralling rock formations and natural underground swimming pools.

Paraiso Cave's natural swimming pool

Situated within a private property, Paraiso Cave lies beneath a manicured garden with well-maintained facilities. Trekking down for about five minutes along concrete staircases will reach the five-foot deep natural freshwater basin that springs at the bottom. Metal handrails and dim lamps installed along the path make the descent safer and easier.

Paraiso Cave Restaurant and Resort
Location: Brgy. Consuelo, San Francisco, Cebu (Pacijan Island)
Operating hours: 7AM–7PM
Entrance fees: PHP 100 (adult); PHP 50 (child)
Contact no.: 09508135673

Inside Timubo Cave

The more frequented and larger Timubo Cave lies beneath a corn field. Similar to Paraiso Cave, Timubo has a paved and lighted trail and a crystal clear freshwater lagoon but it renders a more challenging caving experience. Concrete staircases are damp, slippery and have unevenly gaps while some parts of the cave ceiling have low overhead. Air is thinner inside that’s why cavers with asthma, heart problems or hypertension are reminded before getting in. It takes a ten-minute trek to get into Timubo's cold spring which is 75 meters down from the cave mouth, with depth that might rise up to six feet when tide is high.

Timubo Cave
Location: Brgy. Sonog, San Francisco, Cebu (Pacijan Island)
Operating hours: 7AM–5:30PM
Entrance fee: PHP 20

Bukilat Cave

In Tudela, the town in the farther end of Poro Island, lies Bukilat Cave which has natural windows that allow light to seep through and brighten the cave naturally. The cave’s below-the-knee deep lagoon that may rise when on high tide contains brackish water because it connects to the nearby Camotes Sea. Bukilat Cave’s interior rivals those of the known cathedral caves in the country; history has it that masses and other sacraments are once celebrated inside.

Bukilat Cave
Location: Brgy. McArthur, Tudela, Cebu (Poro Island)
Operating hours: 7AM–5PM
Entrance fee: PHP 20

2. Lie down at Lake Danao Park

The government-administered park is an access point to Lake Danao, the only natural freshwater lake in Camotes and the largest of its kind in the Visayas region. This ecotourism facility offers activities perfect for the family and barkada—picnic, horseback riding and kayaking to name a few. To experience nature at its best, take a one-hour cruise around the guitar-shaped lake via a large boat called sakanaw and step upon the teeny-tiny islet within the lake itself. For its isolation, lying down under the shady trees of the grassy islet is a surefire way to take a respite and commune with nature undisturbed. Lake Danao is a relaxing destination for tree-huggers and laid-back travelers. Dubbed as the Lover's Lake, it is an amorous venue for dating couples because of its serene and romantic appeal.

Location: Brgy. Union, San Francisco, Cebu (Pacijan Island)
Operating hours: 6AM–6PM
Entrance fee: PHP 20



3. Spend a day at Santiago White Beach

A long stretch of powdery white sand beach along the coast of Santiago Bay in Pacijan Island is a public plaza where everyone can frolic during their free time, sans any fees. A picturesque view of the horizon where the sea kisses the clear blue sky will soothe every spectator. When the sea is at low tide, one can walk upon the visible sandbars to reach the enticing rock formations on the farther side of the shore. Tide marks formed upon the rocks are not just a sight to behold but also a perfect spot to relish the beach, a shady area for everyone hiding from the searing sun's heat.

Sandbar and rock formation at Santiago White Beach

To save yourself from whole day monotony, try different water sports and activities the beach has to offer—kayaking, jet skiing, snorkeling or scuba diving. Not just the Santiago Bay but Camotes Islands as a whole has a scenic underwater.

Location: San Francisco, Cebu (Pacijan Island)
Operating hours: 6AM–6PM
Entrance fee: FREE

Sunset at Santiago White Beach


4. Have a taste of Cebu island with sutokil

Sutokil, Cebu's seafood fusion delicacy, is a combination of dishes prepared in three different types of cooking. This local delight’s name is an acronym for sugba, a Visayan term for inihaw or grilled dish; towa, fish meat dish in steamy soup; and kilawin, a regional favorite made from raw fish cured in spiced vinegar and a perfect pair for chugging down an ice-cold beer while watching the sunset by the beach. Diners in Santiago White Beach sells this local delicacy.

Kilawin


5. Cliff dive at Buho Rock Resort

Perhaps the most popular spot in Camotes is a former private resort, abandoned as a story says, and now maintained by the local government. Buho Rock Resort draws tourists with its ship-like coral rock formation where one can take an exhilarating feat. Release some adrenaline and spice up your trip by taking a heart-stopping leap from a concrete podium built on top of a cliff towering as high as 40 feet from the saline waters. Turn those heebie-jeebies into a great amount of confidence and have a blast!

Location: Eastern Poblacion, Poro, Cebu (Poro Island)
Operating hours: 6AM–5PM
Entrance fee: PHP 20 (adult); PHP 10 (child)

Cliff diving at Buho Rock Resort


6. Take a leisure stroll and food trip at Baywalk Trail

A mile-long causeway connects Pacijan and Poro islands. Near this mangrove-fringed bridge is a relaxing stretch of seaside boulevard where you can take a lazy afternoon walk or morning jog with free use of installed exercise equipment like parallel bars and monkey bars. You can also get your fix of Cebu's sweet and smokey inihaw deli from the food stalls along the boulevard. Also within the vicinity is the public market where you can get provisions for your island stay.

Location: San Francisco, Cebu (Pacijan Island)



7. Marvel Mangodlong's rock formation

Sitio Mangodlong is another excellent venue to swim and sunbathe unruffled. Apart from its relaxed shores, it boasts of an alluring rock formation with well maintained garden, small hut cottages and wooden gazebo built atop. It is an ideal platform to explore the glistening waters of Camotes Sea with your naked eye and to experience the vibe when the sea breeze roars.

Location: Brgy. Himensulan, San Francisco, Cebu (Pacijan Island)
Contact no.: +63 9173292448 (Mangodlong Rock Resort)
Operating hours: 8AM–5PM

Mangodlong rock formation during low tide


How to Get to Camotes Islands

Reaching the islands takes about 5–6 hours from Manila. Take a flight to Mactan International Airport then head to Cebu North Bus Terminal. Hop on a bus bound for Borbon town and alight at Danao City Port. Finally, take the two-hour ferry ride to Camotes.



DJ RIVERA

Filipino, dad, office guy, hobbyist. Writes computer programs on weekdays, works on just about anything on weekends. Click here to know more.

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