CDO-Camiguin-Bukidnon-Iligan 5 Day Itinerary, Budget and Expenses

This is a narrative of my 5-day solo backcpacking trip in Northern Mindanao. In my 5-day short stay in Mindanao I was able to climb the infamous Mt. Hibok-Hibok which kills hundreds of people during its eruption, survived the Asia's longest dual zipline, snorkeling at White Island and saw the most beautiful water falls in the country. This is the first time I set foot in this island and it never fail to impress me.

white island Camiguin
White Island, Camiguin

When I landed in Lumbia Airport (Cagayan de Oro Airport), the first thing I did was looking for any public vehicle that can bring me to Agora Market Terminal, where buses bound for Balingoan Port were stationed. Unfortunately, there are no jeepneys that could take me directly to Agora Terminal. There are taxis parked outside the airport, but riding a cab is not in my option. So I ride a Cogon-bound jeep outside the airport and drop off at CDO proper and then transfer another jeepney bound for Agora.

Climbing Mt. Hibok-Hibok
Summit of Mt. Hibok-Hibok
To maximize my time, I bought doughnuts as my breakfast and then ride Bachelor Bus bound for Butuan (PHP143) and alight at Balingoan Terminal/Port. Travel time from Cagayan de Oro to Balingoan Port is 2 hours. The Balingoan Ferry Port is just a walking distance from the terminal so don't entertain trike drivers asking you for a ride. For a detailed guide about going to Camiguin you may read it here: How to go to Camiguin. There is indeed lot of things to do in Camiguin.

While our ferry is docking at Benoni Port, I already contacted Kuya Jojo (+639059566288) and inform him about my arrival so that he will fetch me at the port and immediately commenced our half-day tour. Since I did not make any booking for my accommodation, I just asked Kuya Jojo to bring me to the cheapest hostel (Sunriser PHP150/night) he knew in Camiguin.

In my half-day tour, I was able to visit most of the tourist destinations in Camiguin which includes, the Katibawasan Falls, Ardent Hot Spring, Sto Nino Cold Spring, Soda Spring, Sunken Cemetery, Walkway to the Old Volcano, Guiob Church Ruins, and White Island.

On my second day in Camiguin, I decided to climb the infamous Mt. Hibok-Hibok where it gives me a stunning view of its crater and the neighboring islands. I conquered Mt. H2 in 5 hours by traversing from barangay Yumbing to Ardent. Kuya Ronald is the recommended guide (PHP800) in Mt. Hibok-Hibok.

Mt. Hibok-Hibok Crater
Crater of Mt. Hibok-Hibok viewed from the summir

On my 3rd day in Mindanao, my plan is to experience the longest dual zipline in Asia - the Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon, but unfortunately it was raining cats and dogs at that time. So I decided to postpone my trip on the following day and I will just explore CDO. I stayed for 2 days at Casa Crystalla (PHP650/day, AC).
Dahilayan Adventure Park Zip Line
Dahilayan Adventure Park

On my 4th day, I woke up early to catch the earliest trip going to Camp Philips. When I arrived in Agora Market Terminal, I can not find vans bound for Camp Philips. The locals told me that I should go to Gusa Terminal where Bukidnon-bound jeepeneys were stationed. From Agora I ride a trike to Gusa Terminal (PHP7) and take the jeepneys for Camp Philips (PHP50). The route from CDO to Bukidnon provides you a scenic view of a vast pineapple plantation and some pine trees. From Camp Philips, the Dahilayan Adventure Park is approximately about 1 hour of bumpy habal-habal ride. Price for all rides is PHP600 plus PHP150 for the photos. There are other rides you can enjoy in Dahilayan. To date they have a new attraction which they called "Drop Zone."
Maria Cristina Falls Iligan
Maria Cristina Falls

On my last day in Northern Mindanao, I visited the "City of Majestic Waterfalls" - Iligan City. How to get there: From my hotel I ride a Bulua-bound jeepneys or just tell the drivers to drop you at Westbound Terminal and ride Rural Transit buses bound for Iligan (PHP115). When I arrived at the Iligan Terminal it sank into my mind that I am in a place where the majority of the population are Muslims, so I have to be mindful with my actions/behaviors. From the terminal, I ride a jeep going to Gaisano Iligan and transfer another jeep bound for Buru-un where the Maria Cristina Falls is located.

Seeing the majestic Maria Cristina Falls is a dream come true for me. Before, I only see this in post card and now its right in front of me. Visitors need to pay PHP50 as entrance fee and this includes a shuttle that would take you right at the power plant, where at the top of the plant provides a perfect view of the twin falls of Maria Cristina. Also make sure to visit the NPC Natures Park which is just along the way when going to Maria Cristina Falls.

The next waterfalls I visited in Iligan is by far the most beautiful I have seen - the Tinago Falls. As its name suggests, the falls is hidden in a deep ravine and you have to go down a 365 concrete stairway. I hire a habal-habal for PHP150 to bring me directly to the falls since I am running out of time and I have to catch my flight on the same day going back to Cebu. There is no entrance fee, but they would ask for donations.
Tinago Falls Iligan
Tinago Falls
Here is my 5D/4N CDO-Camiguin-Bukidnon-Iligan Itinerary

Day 01: Half-day tour around Camiguin Island
7:00AM - Arrive in Lumbia Airport (Cagayan de Oro Domestic Airport)
7:10AM - Board Cogon-bound jeep (PHP20) bound and drop off at CDO proper and transfer another jeep (PHP7) that would pass by Agora Terminal.
7:30AM - Arrive in Agora Market Terminal, eat breakfast (PHP50).
8:00AM - Board Bachelor Bus (PHP84) bound for Butuan.
10:00AM - Arrive in Balingoan Port.
10:15AM - Board Super Shuttle Ferry (PHP170 + PHP2.25 terminal fee) to Benoni Port, Camiguin
11:15AM - Arrive in Camiguin Port. Meet Kuya Jojo (PHP800). Check in at Sunriser Hostel (PHP150/night) in Mambajao. I only have crackers for lunch.
12:00NN - Start half-day tour. White Island (PHP400  + PHP20 entrance), Sunken Cemetery (PHP35), Soda Spring (PHP20), Giant Clamps Sanctuary (PHP25)
06:00PM - End of tour.
07:00PM - Dinner (PHP99). Familiarize Mambajao.
09:00PM - Lights off

Day 02: Trekking the infamous Mt. Hibok-Hibok
06:00AM - Wake Up. I only had coffee and some bread for breakfast (PHP20).
07:00AM - Meet up Kuya Ronald, my guide for Mt. Hibok-Hibok climb. PHP800 + PHP100 Environmental fee
08:30AM - Commenced trekking Mt. Hibok-Hibok.
11:00NN - Arrive in crater. Took pictures.
12:00PM - Start assault to summit
01:00PM - Photo ops at summit. Then start descent via Ardent
02:30PM - Arrive in Ardent Hot Spring. Relax. Eat (PHP250), etc.
05:00PM - Back in Hostel (PHP50 habal-habal).

Day 03: Bumming at my hotel
03:00AM - Wake up to catch first trip. Fare from hostel to port PHP150
04:30AM - Boarded ferry PHP170.
05:30AM - Arrive at Balingoan Port. Eat breakfast (PHP50).
06:00AM - Boarded Bachelor Bus (PHP65) bound for Cagayan de Oro.
08:00AM - Arrive in Agora Market Terminal. Ride trike (PHP7) and check in at Casa Crystalla (PHP650/day)
Note: It was raining so hard the whole day so I decided to postpone my trip to Bukidnon and I was just bumming in my room the whole day. Lunch + Dinner = PHP200

Day 04: Dahilayan Adventure Park Bukidnon
06:00AM - Wake up. Eat breakfast (PHP40)
07:00AM - Ride trike (PHP7) going to Agora Terminal. No vans plying the Camp Philips route.
07:30AM - Transfer another trike (PHP7) and went to old Gusa Terminal.
08:00AM - Board Camp Philipis bound jeepney (PHP50)
10:00AM - Arrive in Camp Philips. Your landmark would be the huge statue of Pineapple.
1030AM - Hire habal-habal (PHP300) that would take me to Dahilayan Adventure Park.
11:30AM - Arrive in Dahilayan and ride their ziplines (PHP600 for all rides + PHP150 for the photo).
01:00PM - Board jeepney (PHP40) back to CDO and drop off at Gaisano CDO.
03:00PM - Arrive in Gaisana CDO and eat my lunch (PHP55).
04:00PM - Wander around CDO town proper
06:00PM - Went back to hotel. Eat dinner (PHP52)

Day 05: Chasing Waterfalls at Iligan City
06:00AM - Wake up and had breakfast (PHP60)
07:30AM - Take trike bound for Bulua/Westbound Terminal (PHP10)
08:00AM - Board Rural Transit bus bound for Iligan (PHP115)
10:00AM - Arrive at Iligan Terminal. Transfer trike (PHP7) and drop off at Gaisano Iligan.
10:30AM - Ride Buru-un bound jeepneys (PHP12) and drop off at the junction going to Maria Cristina Falls.
11:00AM - Arrive in Maria Cristina Falls. Entrance fee (PHP50 + snacks/lunch PHP45).
12:30NN - Hire habal-habal (PHP150) that could take me to Tinago Falls, Timoga, Macapagal Ancestral House.
02:30PM - Get back to Iligan terminal and ride bus bound for CDO (PHP145). Bought snack (PHP32).
04:30PM - Arrive in CDO.
06:00PM - Flight back to Cebu

Summary of Expenses: CDO-Camiguin-Bukidnon-Iligan 5-day Solo Backpacking
Note: This rate is based on my travel last year, October 2011. Fares, rates and other details might have changed already.
Transportation: PHP1068.25
Accommodation: PHP1600
Food: PHP953
Tour: PHP3650
Grand Total: PHP7271.25


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