Biking in Camiguin Island
The onshore breeze strokes lightly in your whole body and the speed that feels like you’re flying, makes it truly worth why you want to do a loop ride on an island. I’ve been biking across hills and mountains, carrying bikes while crossing rivers, and feeling the rush in single-track trails, but never imagined I could spin around an island. Bike tour island destination – Camiguin Island.
September 19 2009. It was a perfect fine Saturday morning in Cagayan de Oro, together with ATTACK, we got our bikes already in our vehicles as we traveled about 50 miles from CDO to Balingoan port. When we arrived there, we parked our vehicles in a paid parking area as we grab our backpacks, pulled our bikes and headed to the ferry bound for Benoni, Camiguin. The trip took us about an hour and when we reached the port of Benoni, we rode on our bikes to the nearest carenderia and had breakfast there.
The Acquaintance. We’ve finished our meals and started the trip to our first stop – the capital town of Mambajao, Camiguin. On our way, we met a group of bikers heading in opposite direction. They call themselves COBRA or Camiguin Off-road Bike Riders Association. They’re friendly and even joined us as we headed our way to Mambajao, which is about 10 miles from Benoni. When we passed by Mahinog Public Market, some of us started to tease each other and went on a race, competing like a battle between bike clubs. The fun race ended at Pare Ventures and Trading bike shop near San Nicolas Parish Church in Mambajao, took a drink/rest, and met some of the local bikers. We stayed not too long and thanked our new friends as we pedaled up to our pit stop which just a couple of meters away from the bike shop – the Villa Paraiso Resort.
Journey to the Black Mountain. We left some of our things at the resort. Our ride for that day just got started and our next destination – PHILVOLCS. The road up to the PHIVOLCS observatory starts straight mid-town Mambajao, passing through Villa Paraiso Resort and climbs about 2 miles. The road is sheltered and ascending wasn’t that tough even if most parts are very steep. For about half an hour, we’ve reached the observatory and enjoyed the overlooking view of Mambajao below. We were still not satisfied with the view and decided to climb more and explore what’s waiting for us up there.
We met another COBRA biker and he was kind enough to guide us up to the black mountain or as the local call it Mt. Itum. As we went higher, the air became cooler and thinner but managed to push through while staring at the amazing slope of Mt. Hibok-Hibok and the taking a glimpse at the white island behind as we slowly ascending on our bikes. It took us about an hour when we reached a small town at the top. We took a rest in a store and enjoyed some cold softdrinks and breads. It rained for a while as we were having conversation and a man was playing on a homemade stringed instrument. We were listening to it as we enjoy the peaceful nature and simple life in the surroundings. We almost got carried away when the silence was interrupted and we’re surprised to see a karaoke machine somewhere in a dark spot went on and this young lady played some dance club songs. Tsk tsk!
Sidetrip to Katibawasan. For about 20 minutes, the rain stopped. After paying for our food, we grabbed our wet bikes then slowly and carefully descend on a wet road for about 15 minutes when we saw another road to Katibawasan Falls. Our new bike buddy told us it wouldn’t take us long until we reached the falls. We took the rough, dirt road as it exits to another main road until we’ve reached the falls. We didn’t stay there too long and decided to descend back to Villa Paraiso as most of us were already hungry and need to take lunch.
Relaxing at the Paraiso. We’ve checked in to a dorm-type room of the resort. The room can accommodate 10 people and the whole place was soothing and very relaxing. We’re lucky that there were only few people to check in that resort. We washed our dirty bikes and clothes in a faucet outside our room. There’s a large pool and we didn’t hesitate to take a dive. We almost forgot to take our lunch and decided to eat outside the resort.
We walked down to Mambajao market, bought seafood and hired someone to sugba our bought fishes. It’s already late afternoon when we finished our late lunch in a carenderia near the market. Then, we sat on this park near the shore, talking while eating lanzones, went back to the market to pick our sinugba. I got tired of wearing my bike shoes and bought a cheap slipper. I felt a bit relaxed as we walked back to the resort as the dark sets in.
Night celebration. We bought some beers in a store in front of the resort and continued our conversations there. We enjoyed the bought sinugba as pulutan. We talked a lot, from the stars to our rides. We talked everything under the clear, dark sky. The night’s getting colder but the fun kept us warm.
It’s already past 10 when we went back to our room. We continued the fun there and then we rest.
September 20 2009, closing the loop. A fine morning to wake up. All charged up and ready to roll! Before leaving the resort, we did some group pictorials around the place and left.
On the last day on the island, we continued our journey.
See more Camiguin photos on Flickr!