Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort of Mambajao, Camiguin


Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort is one of the known site in Camiguin for both local and foreign tourists. I believe it is because of its calming effect it can give to an individual.  A visit to ardent is a great way to release stress after a day or week of work.  While backpackers and adventurers will surely love soaking in this hot spring after their long travel, island exploration and adventure in the Island of Camiguin.

Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort is a natural hot spring heated by Mt Hibok Hibok, an active volcano in the country. It is located at the foot of Mt Hibok-Hibok, Mambajao, Camiguin and this natural hot spring can reach up to 40 °C in terms of water temperature.

Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort offers...

40 °C may sound pretty intense to others but not all pools here have the same temperature. There are 6 pools in Ardent with different water temperature so I am sure you'll find a pool that will suit on your standards. All 6 pools are connected to one another however they are layered or in a form of a falls so one can still identify each of the 6 pools. I find the top most layer as the hottest and the lower layer the moderate one (I couldn't say it is cold).

Mini fall that connects one pool to another
[Relaxation + bonding time] Edward, Yap and Baron
Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort is operating 24 by 7 therefore people can visit the place anytime they want. How cool is that? Aside from that, Ardent is a smoke free vicinity so please refrain from lighting your cigarettes during your stay here. The only smoke I saw during my visit in Ardent were the smokes emitted by the water due to its water temperature. As I am talking with Ardent's vicinity, let me take this chance to commend the caretakers of this place. Aside from the fallen leaves that is just natural because the place is covered with tall trees and plants, I didn't noticed any trash or waste in the place. Kudos!

Lower pools of Ardent (Photo from Thea Isabel Velasco)
Upper pools of Ardent (Photo from Thea Isabel Velasco)
If you're looking for accommodation in Camiguin, Ardent also offers affordable rooms and cottages. Since we just stayed there for a couple of hours, we only availed a nipa hut for our shed. A regular size hut with table costs us 70 pesos which is good for 3 hours. But if you'll be in a larger group, they also have a family size hut for 150 pesos for the first 3 hours as well. 10 pesos per hour will be added for the excess of 3 hours. They also have grill station at 20 pesos.

I haven't checked their rooms personally but here are the ratings of their rooms:
Single Rooms w/ AC (good for 2 pax) - 1,200 pesos/day
Family Rooms w/ AC (good for 5 pax) - 2,750 pesos/day
Dormitory Type  Rooms w/ AC (good for 7 pax) - 3,080 pesos/day
** Additional bed for single, family and dorm rooms - 175 pesos/day

I believe these are some of the accommodations at Ardent
I really recommend visiting this place. Especially after a long drive, travel or adventure in the island of Camiguin. A nice way to relax those muscles and also your mind.

Breakdown of Expenses:
Entrance Fee - 30 PhP (adult rate)
Regular size hut - 170 PhP / 9 persons (our group number) = 19 PhP per pax

Camiguin's Sunken Cemetery and Guiob Church Ruins


After our visit in White Island, a plain and treeless island in Camiguin, we asked our boatmen if we could go to Sunken Cemetery. A famous cemetery in the town of Bonbon that subsided below sea level due to the birth of Mt. Vulcan Daan in 1870's. And with the right price, both parties agreed to visit Sunken Cemetery.

How to get there? (or how did we got there?)
As for us, what we did was we talked to our boatmen who brought us to White Island if he could also bring us to Sunken Cemetery. Well of course, we added some amount to avail that change of itinerary and here's what we came up with: Our group is composed of 9 persons and agreed to pay 267 pesos / pax
That 267 pesos per pax covered a trip from the shore near Paras Beach Resort going to White Island. Then, from White Island going to Sunken Cemetery. Plus! From Sunken Cemetery, the boatmen will bring us to the shore and wait for us because we will be going to Guiob Church Ruins. Then after our side trip at the ruins, they'll bring us back again to the shore near Paras Beach Resort. Not bad for the cost of 267 pesos, right?

Visiting by water or by boat, you'll easily know you're near Sunken Cemetery because of its noticeable marker which in the form of a huge cross. I, myself got excited when I saw that large cross from a far because I knew that we're in the right direction and it will take just a few more minutes to reach that famous landmark in Camiguin. It took us 35-45 minutes from White Island going to Sunken Cemetery.

Sunken Cemetery from the shore
Our boatmen became more careful as we came closer to the cross. Simply because it was low tide when we visited Sunken Cemetery and therefore we might hit some tall corals below us (well, we've bump once or twice during this trip). Yes, that's right! It is not only tombstones and graves you'll expect underneath Sunken Cemetery. There are also corals, fishes and other marine living organisms below and around the area of this cemetery. With that, snorkeling is one of the activity an individual can do during their visit here.

Transferring from the boat to the cross is somewhat challenging. The water during our visit was quite wavy (maybe because there was an LPA advisory in the area during our visit) and it makes our boat unstable so standing on boat and walking across the platform of the cross was somewhat a bit difficult. Also, the stairs going up to cross is very slippery so be cautious. One of my friend slipped off and hurt her elbow and back.

Those ropes are used as guides to transfer visitors from the shoreline across that cross
Oily Selfie mode Hahaha
There isn't much to do at Sunken Cemetery so after some walk around in the site and tons of photo ops and #selfies, we decided to go to the shoreline and visit Guiob Church Ruins. But as we thought that our Sunken Cemetery experience was over, a boatman named Kuya Obet approached us, borrowed our camera, positioned us into different poses and took several shots. Here's the output of his art:

Julius and Jing holding the marker of the Sunken Cemetery
Keep it closer guys!
[bts] Kuya Obet in action...
Kuya Obet gave an effort to take pictures for us, a variety of angles and poses that came along with tricks. He proves that people in Camiguin are very welcoming to tourists.

Tip #1: There are souvenir shops near the shoreline of Sunken Cemetery. Different sizes and designs of key chains and magnets are being sold there. For as low as 5 pesos, you can have a cute shell-designed key chain labelled with Camiguin - an ideal "pasalubong". I also bought a coin bank made of bamboo worth 100 pesos.

Side trip: Guiob Church Ruins

The rain started to fall when we visited the ruins
Right after the photo op with Kuya Obet, our group decided to go to our next destination -- the Guiob Church Ruins. It is about 500 meters away from Sunken Cemetery so we went there by feet and we were accompanied by one of our boatman.

Sometimes called as Old Catarman Church, Guiob Church Ruins is one of the oldest structure in the island of Camiguin. The church was built in the 16th century and turned into ruins in 1870's when Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted. What's left to this old church were its towering walls covered by moss. Those walls give a picture on how big this structure was and how violent & dark had happened in this place. 

View at the back of Guiob Church Ruins
I find this spot a good backdrop for photography
There is no entrance fee at Guiob Church Ruins but a donation box is placed in its entrance. People are not force to donate but during our visit we saw some locals sweeping around the area. I guess the amount from that donation box is used to maintain the cleanliness and beautification of the ruins. So I encourage visitors and tourists to donate for this place preservation.

Thank you Lord for introducing me to these crazy people
Tip #2: There is a souvenir shop in front of Guiob Church Ruins. They sell t-shirts with lots of designs in a very cheap price. If you're planning to buy Camiguin shirts, I recommend that you buy in that shop. I just forgot the name of the shop but it is just in front of the ruins. I got my shirt at 100 pesos and the fabric is more than ok, it is thick (I am lost of words on how to define a clothes' texture. Lols). 

As we end our quick tour at Guiob Church Ruins, we went back again at Sunken Cemetery where our boat awaits us. We were brought back again at the shoreline of Paras Beach Resort just like what we had agreed on. With my 267 pesos, I've got to visit White Island, Sunken Cemetery and Guiob Church Ruins. A perks on travelling in a large group.

Breakdown of Expenses: 
Boat (Paras Resort - White Island - Sunken Cemetery - Paras Resort) - 2,400 PhP / 9 persons = 267 PhP per pax
Donation in ruins - **.**
Food - **.**
Camiguin T-shirts - 200 PhP (100 pesos each)
Key chains -  115 PhP / 23 pcs = 5 PhP each
Coin Bank made of Bamboo - 100 PhP

White Island: The Naked Island of Camiguin


I've been to Naked Island of Britania Group of Islands in Surigao del Sur and even though I am not fond of staying (long) under the sun, I enjoyed my stay there. That's why I was very excited when I visited Camiguin and got the chance to visit its own version of the naked island, named White Island.

White Island is just like any typical naked island where there are no trees, plants or grass above its sand bar. However, Camiguin's White Island offers a 360 degree picturesque view featuring Mt Mambajao, Mt Hibok-hibok and Old Volcano. Plus, if the weather is fair, islands of Bohol and Leyte are also can be seen from White Island. A great backdrop for photo op and an ideal subject for landscape photography.

How to get there?
If it happens that you are from Mambajao (Camiguin's Capital), you may take a multicab ride going to Brgy. Agoho. Just politely ask the driver to drop you at the nearest beach going to White Island. White Island is a popular tourist destination in Camiguin and therefore, drivers knew where to take you. Multicab ride takes 15-20 minutes. Upon reaching Agoho beach, ask the locals where you can find rent a pump boat that will take you to White Island. Usually, they are near Paras Beach Resort. Boat rental costs 450 Pesos which can carry up to 6 people. Trip usually takes less than 10 minutes.

Approaching White Island
This sandbar of White Island is in the form of a horseshoe, letter C or letter I, depending on the height of the tides. It is surrounded by rich and clear water which makes it a perfect site for snorkeling. There are lots of untouched corals and innumerable species of fishes living underneath the island. Too bad because when we visited White Island, there was a LPA in Mindanao and its not that safe if we push snorkeling. So what we did was swam near the shore, take photos on this beautiful sandbar, and just explore and run around on its 700 meters of fine sand.

We still push through despite the LPA advisory
Baron and Pola reviewing our jump shots at White Island
Market and Business are also present in White Island. Some locals who stayed there including some boatmen sell fresh Swaki (or Sea Urchins) to tourists. I have an empty stomach before I went to White Island so I did not try to eat one. I just didn't want to ruin my stay on the island due to stomachache. And if you forgot to bring your umbrella, there are umbrella rentals in the island itself at the cost of 50 pesos. I can say it is pretty worth it if you'll be going there in the late morning or in the afternoon. Since there are no trees in the island, shades are also not available. These umbrellas can help to protect you from direct heat of the sun. Life jackets and goggles rentals can also be availed. Just ask your boatmen before going to White Island

Pola and Jing using that umbrella as their prop
We stayed in the island for about 45 minutes. The LPA gave us a cloudy weather and away from the rays of Mr. Sun which is I can say favorable to us since we don't need to rent for an umbrella anymore. Though White Island is just a small island lying across the water of Camiguin which can be explored for about 20-30 minutes, our visit had been memorable and really fun.

Century Tuna bodies of Jing and Julius
Yap photo bombing this shot
The boys of this trip!
Happy Pips at White Island

Breakdown of Expenses:
Multicab (Mambajao to Brgy. Agoho) - 7.00 PhP
Boat ride (2 way trip - Agoho to White Island) - 450 PhP / 6 person = 75 PhP per pax
Food - **
Umbrella - 50 PhP(optional)
Life jacket - 40 PhP(optional)
Goggles (for snorkeling) - 40 PhP(optional)

It Made Me Stronger, Wiser, More Cautious and Much Crazier Traveler!


Time runs so fast. It is already 1 year when that incident happened. It was January 20,2013 when I traversed Mt Tabayoc along with my friends and Baroc Mountaineers. I thought it would be just one of my climb wherein I'll just take photos of the views and sceneries and enjoy the cold air at the peak of a mountain. That's how confident I am on my trekking skills (despite being lean or "payatot"). Who would have thought, I'll be facing a terrifying tragedy that day? Well I didn't.

During the climb, I had my left kneecap dislocated.

We were almost in the viewing deck of Mt Tabayoc when it happened and because of my injury, we all need to stop the trek and rush me down the fastest time possible.

What happened was, we were in the steep part of the mountain and actually using force to lift ourselves up. Then there was this point wherein I had to twist my body to a certain angle in order to reach the next and a higher platform. Unfortunately, as I twist my body and lift up myself on the next platform my left knee got stuck in a plant stems / tree roots. As a result of twisting my body with so much force and having my left foot stuck on that tree root, the joint/bone on my knee suffered and forced it to dislocate.

At first, I didn't know that I got my bone dislocated. I just heard a snap then the next thing I felt was I am in great pain. Then I looked at my knee.  Though my skin did not teared up (thank God), the dislocated bone is evident. Then I started screaming one of my friend's name who were in front of me that time. I said: "Baron... Teka teka, may nangyari saken".

Then I pushed myself to sit down. Moving my body, specially my leg, were so painful. I can still recall how painful it was as I write this post. I positioned myself sitting to one of the steps and hanged my left leg since I was in a stair-like made of soil when this incident happen. Since my left leg was hanged, it was constantly moving. Those movements trigger the pain which makes me scream. So Edward supported my leg by holding it on a certain position where I am comfortable with. There were so many times that I screamed at Edward, even told him some terrible words, every time I felt a movement on my leg. I was out of control every painful moment that time. Sorry Ward!

Mt Timbac is located in Benguet and it is the 3rd highest mountain in Luzon. Plus not to mention that we were almost on top when this happened to me. It was around 5 degree Celsius that day. So everybody were freezing. They had to remove both of my shoes and socks to check if everything is fine and to monitor my injured leg if it will change its color (which did not happen. Thank God again). It added to the factor to make me freeze more. Then jackets and scarfs started to flow and cover me. It came from the other members of Baroc mountainners whom some of them were stranger to me. I felt their concern.

That's another reason why I didn't cry or give up despite what happened. Dislocated knee is not only terrifying for me but also to them. If I gave up and cry that time, it will not do any good to any of us. It will just make the situation even worst. I saw the fear in the eyes of my fellow hikers when they looked at me... when they looked at my injured knee. A hand gesture (thumb's up sign) kept on popping out from them. Asking if I am ok. As a respond, I give back a thumb's up and murmured them "Sorry po" . What I felt that time was I ought each and everyone of them a sorry. I am sorry because I was a burden that they need to carry that day. Sorry because they cannot continue all the way to the peak due to what happened to me. Sorry because everyone suffered and were freezing because they have to wait for my rescue. And sorry because I made them worry.

We were on the same platform for an hour and waiting for the rescue team to pick me up. Everybody were freezing like I said. Until one of the Baroc Member approached me and decided that we should move. They contacted a doctor and through phone, the doctor instructed the team on what should be done. The next thing I know, my leg has been tourniquet.

The plan is, there will be 4 persons who will support me (to be able to stand and walk). One person on my right and the other on my left. These two will be my walking sticks on my side. They will support both of my shoulders wherein I'll focus my force to stand up. The other one will be on my back. That person will support my back and hip. So less force will be distributed on my leg when I get up and will also support us if we fall back. And the last person is what Edward has been doing the whole time. Support my left foot and assist it in a way I feel comfortable (that was the hardest role hahahaha).

At first, just on my mind, I was struggling and hesitant with the plan. A small movement was already a pain for me. What more if I tried to stand up and walk it out? But when one of the Kuya from Baroc told me: "Kailangan mo tong gawin. Kaya mo yan pre. Puso lang. Puso lang". Those words woke me up. All of my hesitations were washed out. "Puso lang". So I agreed to the plan then slowly they started to lift me up.  I was screaming my lungs out. The pain was indescribable but we have to continue. We need to keep moving and ignore my screams and pain. I know those 4 persons backing me up were doing their best so I need to be strong as well.

Then there was this big step ahead of us. A wide step from one platform to another platform. There was a plan and the execution of that plan was vital. As we attempt to cross that step, we lost control and slide down. I believe everybody screamed because of that slide. Worried again. Then I feel and heard another pop, a snap. So I scream so hard and said "Ibaba nyo ko... may tumunog! May tumunog!" Slowly, they took me down and I looked at my knee. TADA! It was back to its old form. The dislocated bone disappeared and went back to its original place. That slide made a positive outcome. That was a relieved. However, they still don't recommend me to walk my leg on my own so we're still pushing the plan. But right before we positioned ourselves again. The rescue team already found us. They have a long wood and blankets with them and made me to this:

Paypayan nyo ko! Hahaha #FeelingHari (Photo from Edward Calugtong)
The aura was changed. Everybody were relieved and smiling. Well, laughs on me because I looked like a wild animal caught by hunters with that position. I was carried like that (refer on the photo) the whole trek down.

Slow down guys! (Credit to the owner of the photo)
When we reach the campsite, I saw Julius running towards me. #buttonmode He was in the campsite because he passed on hiking Mt Tabayoc. So when he heard the news that one of the trekkers had an accident and it was me, "Nagalala na daw siya". Hahaha. Sensya na pre.

I felt good when we're already in the campsite. I already feel safe and I was actually melting with the special attention. Everyone's attention were on me. Everyone shows care and concern. THANK YOU PO NG MARAMI! Stories of what happened was the main topic of conversation. How did it happened, what everybody saw and did, and lastly, how did we conquered it...

It was (a bit) traumatic... yet a learning experience. It made me much stronger as a person. It taught me that hiking, though exciting and fun, it must be taken/treated cautiously. That hikers/trekkers should never let their guards down when hiking. That incident made us one. Camaraderie were shown in different ways and in so many ways. I thank God that I have friends I can lean on and a group that even I am a stranger to them, helped me and never left me alone on that moment.

Again, thank you guys!

Signing goodbye to Mt Tabayoc with Impossibru meme face (Photo from Byron Cantonjos)

Mt Manabu of Sto Tomas, Batangas


I started the year 2013 by conquering Mt Timbak and almost reaching the peak of Mt Tabayoc, so I guess the best way to end my 2013 is also by exploring another mountain. I was blessed because I have been invited by my girlfriend's colleagues as they planned to conquer Mt Manabu.

Mt Manabu is located in the town of Batangas. It stands at 720 MASL and considered to be a good climb for newbies (in hiking) because of its relatively light trail. Mt Manabu derived its name from MAtaas NA BUndok which means "alp" or "high mountain". There are 8 stations in order to land on top of Mt Manabu and trekkers have 2 options to reach its peak. One of which is the normal trail wherein you'll be following the stations numerically. While the other one is you'll be taking stations 1 to 4 then take the trail straight to the grotto which is in Station 8. Please see the map below:

Mt Manabu is located at Brgy. Sta Cruz, Sto Tomas, Batangas
How to get there?
Take a Lipa or Lucena bound bus at LRT Buendia then inform the bus conductor to drop you off at Brgy. San Pedro, Sto Tomas. From Sto Tomas, ride a trike to "Sulok". Make sure to visit the Barangay Hall for registration before starting your trek. Registration fee is 20 pesos per pax. You can also ask for a guide here. Guide is around 300-500 pesos (depends on how good you are on bartering).

We reached the jump off point of Mt Manabu around 9PM. Yup, night trek is possible on Mt Manabu. Right after we registered at the barangay, we waste no time and started to trek. The first 4 stations were easy and light. However, the climb becomes more complex from Station 5 and up to the peak due to continuity of upward hike. The trail becomes steeper and challenging. Plus, the trail was muddy during our visit which we didn't expect because it was sunny that whole week. Some part of the trail have "lubid" installed. These ropes are located on sharp angled and steep trails. Trekkers swing to these ropes in order to help them continue on trekking. It was also fun because it added flavor or twist to Mt Manabu.

Shot as we descend at Mt Manabu
After almost 2 1/2 hours, we finally reached the campsite. Located between Station 5 and 6, Mt Manabu's campsite is quite big. It can accommodate large numbers of campers and the signal is pretty strong. We were 14 people in the group and we were able to pitch 7 tents along with other campers and still it is spacious.

Right after we pitched our tents, we started to prepare our late dinner. It was really cold up there so I recommend to pack up jackets and other thick clothes when planning to stay overnight at Mt Manabu. After some chit chat and socials we then took a rest.

Getting ready to descend
After packing our things, its time for some photo op
Konting pakilig lang... =]
The next day, we woke up early and took a light breakfast. Then we packed up our things as we will continue to explore Mt Manabu (particularly Station 7 & 8). In between station 6 & 7 lies a cross and marks that you already reached the peak of Mt Manabu. On the other hand, Station 8 hold a grotto. And because of these landmarks, Mt Manabu becomes a popular destination for Visita Iglesia.

Big cross found in between Station 6 and 7
Grotto at Station 8
Since we descend Mt Manabu on the morning, I appreciate the environment even more. The shades of the trail are very evident. Shades that come from its rich forest. The trail is surrounded by trees and plants. Nature is really being take care off at Mt Manabu. Kudos!

And because of those shades, it lessens the tiredness and perspiration we experienced on exploring this mountain. We were able to reach the jump off point again in 2 hours or less.

Shades. One of a few reason why I love Mt Manabu
Rich nature. Happy people.
Passing through Station 4
It was nice meeting new people. My experience with Mt Manabu was definitely a fun climb. I just hope fellow trekkers and people around the area maintain the cleanliness of this mountain for future generations.

Additional information: Comfort rooms are available in the jump off point. You may directly go here after your hike for a quick bath or to wash your shoes. You may also display there your wrecked shoes just in case you experience one during your climb. Lols.

We survived Mt Manabu! Wew!