Monday, October 31, 2011

Discovering Camotes (Part 1)

When going on a vacation to Cebu, the most common options of must-go places would probably be the historical landmarks around the city (like Magellan's Cross and the Sto. NiƱo Church), Mactan's high-end resorts (for those who can afford) or (worst), go shopping in the malls. But unknown to many, a little research would lead you somewhere which, though a bit off the usual way, are truly amazing destinations you never thought existed. And one of these undiscovered and unspoiled paradise in Cebu is the Camotes Group of Islands.

Eversince I have read My Cebu Photo Blog's post about Camotes, the images of a laid back island with wide white sand beaches and crystal clear waters stuck in my head. It instantly became one of my dream destinations as I wrote about in one of my previous posts.

The dream did finally came true when last Friday, October 28, 2011, my wife and I went to this enchanting destination to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. It has been my plan that every year, we will celebrate our anniversary in some places where we have never been before. On our fourth anniversary last year, we went to the mesmerizing Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental. This time it is Camotes Island, another dream destination come true. I have been planning about this trip as early as May since I was able to book Cebu Pacific's promo fare of 50% discount for Cagayan de Oro-Cebu route.

Camotes is a group of islands and is a part of Cebu province. It is 2 hours by ferry boat from Danao City.

Camotes is composed of the following four islands: Poro(the municipalities of Poro and Tudela), Pacijan (the sole municipality is San Francisco), Ponson (the sole municipality is Pilar) and Tulang (part of barangay Esperanza, which is part of San Francisco).

The Jomalia Shipping ferry we boarded left the Port of Danao past 12 noon. After more than one hour I went outside the airconditioned passengers' room and got so excited as the island, with its strips of white sand beaches, is already visible from afar. 

 Wow Camotes!

We arrived at the Port of Consuelo and I became more amazed at the sight of mirror clear blue waters. Corals and small fishes can even be seen from the boat.

We hired a habal-habal to take us to Santiago Bay Garden & Resort which is about 15-20 minutes away from the port (Fare: 50 pesos per person). The resort is perched above a cliff overlooking the Santiago Bay. While my wife was filling up the registration form at the reception desk, I went to the restaurant to take a look at the view below. Instantly I was blown away by this stunning sight:

Santiago Bay is simply the widest white sand beach I've ever seen in my life. It is so beautiful that my mind ran out of words to describe it. Aahhh...this is a piece of heaven on earth. Welcome to paradise!

After checking in at our room, our hired habal-habal driver took us to a tour around the scenic town of San Francisco (commonly called San Fran by the locals). For only 500 pesos plus 2 liters of gasoline, these are the amazing places we were able to visit:

Mangodlong Rock Resort:

A white sand beach located in Mangodlong, Hemisulan, San Francisco, a few kilometers away from Santiago Bay Garden & Resort. It has a coral islet with huts built on top. Mangodlong Rock is also owned by the owner of Santiago Bay Garden & Resort.

Lake Danao Park:

With a total area of 680 hectares, Lake Danao is the largest lake in Visayas. This freshwater lake is shaped like the number 8. The serene and relaxing park is maintained by the Local Government Unit of San Francisco.

Bakhaw Beach:

Located in Barangay Esperanza is the stunningly beautiful Bakhaw Beach. Uncrowded and unspoiled, I could not resist running barefoot on its white sands. The best thing about this beach? It's entrance fee is only 5 pesos!  

Timubo Cave

Timubo Cave is located in Barangay Sogod, San Francisco. Entrance to this underground cave is only 15 pesos per person. A long concrete stair leads us to this pool of cool, clear freshwater where some tourists are swimming when we arrived.

San Francisco Baywalk

It was already dark when we arrived at the Baywalk in the town proper of San Francisco. This is a very nice place to hang out, take a leisurely walk or even exercise as there are fitness fixtures built here. Barbeque stalls can also be found along the way and it is here where we ate our dinner.

After dinner, we went back to Santiago Bay Garden and Resort. Tired from the whole afternoon of touring the town's amazing destinations, we went for a swim at the resort's swimming pool. The pool is overlooking the ocean and since no other guests are swimming, we had it all to ourselves. (To be continued...)


  1. Congrats for another conquered place and to celebrate your 5th wedding anniversary. Good shots.

  2. the best ang camotes , isa sa mga paborito ko...thanks for sharing this ...

  3. @con tour: thanks bon! daghan kaayo tsada adtoan sa camotes. kulang lang jud ang time to explore more places.

  4. @chino: the best talaga. ang daming white sand beaches at hindi pa commercialized.

  5. uy wa pa ko ka anhi aning bakhaw beach ug timubo cave da. anhi nya ko.

  6. @lakbay philippines: nindot kaayo ang bakhaw beach, white sand ug walay turista.hehehe..

  7. nindot gyud kaayo ang Camotes it's more fun here in camotes isaland

  8. yes,it is...dili jud mo mag mahay,sulit jud ang laag.

  9. I heart Camotes! Aside from the beautiful beach, it is where i had an amazing caving experience - at Holy Cave. Cliff jumping is also a must-try...

  10. thanks arbie for visiting us here in holy crystal cave now adding the name viewing the attention to our tourists..... located at: union, san francisco, camotes island cebu, philippines..... cave discoverer

  11. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
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  12. congrats Earl.. will do the same saku husband. for our first anniv will be going to camotes this august :) so excited. thanks for the info.. very helpful


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