Come fly to Camiguin

Published November 24, 2021, 10:00 PM

by Jules Vivas

Planning a trip to the island? Get there by air

SEA THE MOUNTAINS At the northern coast of Mambajao, Camiguin, the White Island sandbar is not just a swimming destination but a good viewing spot to admire Mt. Hibok-hibok and Mt. Vulcan

Just a few kilometers off the northern coast of Mindanao is Camiguin, the smallest island of Mindanao and the second smallest in the entire Philippines. Some of the famous attractions of the island province by the Bohol Sea is its sandbar on White Island, the sunken cemetery, a marine sanctuary, and the Lanzones Festival celebrated every October, among others.

Apart from these, Camiguin has numerous Important Cultural Treasures, the likes of the Old Mambajao Fountain situated in the town’s rotonda, the Old Mambajao Municipal Building, the façade of the Santo Rosario Church in Sagay, and 14 ancestral houses.

A fun nugget of knowledge: the name Camiguin is taken from the native word Kamagong, an ebony tree species that thrives near Lake Mainit in the province of Surigao del Norte, the region from which the Manobos, the first inhabitants of the islands, originated. In early Spanish geography books, the island is spelled Camiguing. Given how the phoneme /ŋ/ does not exist in Spanish, however, the Spaniards dropped the g, leaving it as Camiguín.

NO FLOWERS OR GRAVESTONE A giant cross rises out of the water to mark the sunken cemetery in Camiguin (Shubert Cienica)

Those eyeing a trip to Camiguin may now do so conveniently by air travel thanks to homegrown airline Cebu Pacific (CEB). In its ongoing efforts to boost domestic travel, launched on Nov. 15 this year was CEB’s newest route from Manila to Camiguin. CEB is the first airline, and the only one so far to resume travel going to and back from the island in the pandemic.

‘We are optimistic that the direct flights will bring more visitors to Camiguin and help boost tourism and invigorate the local economy. We share the goal of safe and responsible tourism, which should help the recovery, not only of the province, but the entire region.’

“We are happy to be the first carrier to operate again in Camiguin, and launch our newest direct flight from Manila as borders begin to open up for safe and convenient travels. This route will allow more travelers to experience the beauty of Camiguin, perfect for solo or even family trips, as we enter the holiday season; while at the same time, providing locals a direct connection to Luzon,” said Xander Lao, chief commercial officer at CEB.

WELCOME TO CAMIGUIN CEB’s Manila-Camiguin maiden flight was welcomed with a water cannon salute at the Camiguin Airport

Said flights between two destinations operate on Monday and Friday, via Cebgo’s 78-seater ATR 72-600 aircraft. The plane departs from Manila at 11:30 a.m. and from Camiguin at 2:20 p.m.

Meanwhile, the airline has resumed flights between Cebu and Camiguin since Nov. 9. The Cebu-Camiguin service runs twice weekly, every Tuesday and Saturday. To encourage everyJuan (patrons of CEB) to fly, seats to Camiguin are up for grabs for as low as ₱88 base fare until Dec. 15, 2021, for travel from now until the end of this year.

“We are optimistic that the direct flights will bring more visitors to Camiguin and help boost tourism and invigorate the local economy. We share the goal of safe and responsible tourism, which should help the recovery, not only of the province but the entire region,” says Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, governor of Camiguin.

PRAY TELL Sto. Rosario Church interior (Credio Coach)

There are various requirements when flying to Camiguin. Tedious as they may sound, these necessary steps are easy to accomplish. Visitors first need to make an account on cleancamiguinqr.com and upload documents including a filled-out health declaration form and proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination. On the other hand, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers must present a negative RT-PCR (swab) test result, taken at least 72 hours before departure if from Luzon or at least 48 hours before departure if from Visayas and Mindanao.

Travelers are also required to upload proof of confirmed booking from an LGU-accredited establishment or a clearance from the Municipal Health Officer of the municipality if staying in a private home. Once accomplished, tourists need to download their ID with QR code and save a copy for presentation before your flight.

WATER PARTY Camiguin Island, surrounded by crystal clear waters, is listed as one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines

Partially vaccinated minors aged 12 to 17 and unvaccinated children aged 11 and under will be permitted entry if accompanied by fully vaccinated adults.

CEB operates with 100 percent vaccinated active flying crew. It has also been given a perfect rating by airlineratings.com for its COVID-19 compliance as CEB continues to implement a multi-layered approach to safety, following global aviation standards. These include daily extensive cleaning and disinfection protocols for all aircraft and facilities, antigen testing before duty for all frontliners and crew members, and contactless flight procedures.

 
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