What type of camera do you use for your...

5th Annual Penek Busay Brgy Goma Digos City

August 20, 2011 Comments (3) Backpacking, Featured, Travel Photography

Southerner’s photo-road trip to Camiguin

Planning the “roadtrip”. I’m itching to go to Camiguin ever since I saw Mt. Hibok-Hibok and  White Island in someone else’s pictures a year ago. There were several instances I’d had to let go of opportunities going there because of my work schedule. While I enjoy hiking and travelling so much,  I’d prioritize work over and above anything else (except my family) anytime. I look at these activities as an outlet and creative diversions whenever I get burned by too much work. Anyhow, when I heard that the second Mindanao mountaineering forum is to be held there, I decided early on I have to go there and explore Camiguin. To make this trip more exciting, I thought of doing also my first ever planned photo-hike. I said planned because this will actually be the first time I’m planning a photoshoot and hike at the same time. My previous hikes where all random shot- hike with photography taking back seat to my climbing adventures. This trip would be different, I said. As usual I know I will be pressed with time, knowing my work goes full throttle just hours before a travel getaway. So I planned ahead, asking friends  who’d go with me (believe me what your buddies can help make your photo hike successful), saving the travel “budget” and of course preparing my humble photography gears. I did a survey on what camera is best for this type of activity and this photo hike will actually be my little experiment.

The road less travelled. Camiguin is in the northern portion of Mindanao, I live south. To go to Camiguin, I have to land travel some hundred kilometers north of my location  and ride a ferry from Cagayan. The one thing that is really bothering me (and everyone else passing this route I guess) is the “security” travelling this Tacurong-Carmen-Bukidnon road.  I’ve been travelling this road since my college days and I’ve seen the great improvements that this road has undergone. In fact, nowadays it’s probably one of the best paved mountain road here in Mindanao and traffic is virtually non existent. The thing is, many reported ‘terroristic’ activities happen  in these route . That didn’t deter us from finding another way to travel this route safely. How? Travel like the locals. Rid yourself of anything that will make you apear like a tourists. Don’t tell anyone except your companions and your love ones you’re passing this route!

By 10am, we were safely through the Tacurong-Carmen-Bukidnon route. Riding a bus in this route doesn’t offer much time for shooting  the roadside scenery, but if you’re travelling on your own car, it would be something worth the stops. I preoccupied myself taking portrait photos of my busmates instead, like this baby.

Valencia stop over

Spicy Valencia Bukidnon enroute to Cagayan de Oro. In Valencia, we where met by Jocy and Duanne. After a “halang-halang” lunch at Watins (Php50/person), we travelled all the way to Cagayan in Jocy’s pickup. Since most of us have been to Bukidnon before and we have to catch the last ferry ride to Camiguin, we didn’t stop for any photo-ops all the way to Cagayan De Oro City. I wished though I can get a good landscape photo of Mt. Kitanglad from the roadside, but its covered with rain clouds we didn’t even noticed we passed by it. Another good site I wanted to shoot was the long bridge somewhere between Malaybalay and Manolo Fortich and the Del Monte plantation by the road. Again, time is not on our side so we let it pass for this trip. We stopped for refueling and snacks in Cagayan de Oro. From Cagayan de Oro City it’s another hour to Balingoan port. It’s my first time to pass by that road and its so beautiful I wish I did a little research on landscapes to shoot along the road. I din’t so I wasted another opportune moment. I hate me.

Sleepy Balingoan Port. We were just in time for the last ferry boat for Camiguin. From Balingoan port it will take us about an hour ferry ride to Benoni port of Camiguin. After leaving our pick up safely parked in a private parking area, we got our tickets and spent some time taking photos before we climbed up the ferry boat. It was already late afternoon when we got there thus some of my photos are underexposed. The port however is a nice dramatic place to shoot for  people and people activities. It was a saver I brought my LX5 that surprisingly got some well lighted photos and wide angle shots that’s too cumbersome to compose on my SLR.

Balingoan and Benoni Ports on our way to Camiguin

Not surprisingly, the ferry boat is teeming with hikers from all over Philippines. Since its inception two years ago, the Mindanao Mountaineers Forum attracted more and more hikers not only Mindanaons alone but hikers from all over Philippines. I saw some familiar faces, exchanging warm greetings and barbs with a few of them. Then I shifted my focus on shooting ferry passengers on a sunset backdrop. Admit-tingly, this posed so much technical challenge on me. I just let my shutter click with every shot I could think of.  Bahala na!

Idyllic dusk at Benoni and glancing Mambajao.  was dusk when we arrived at Benoni port, but I still took some photos just to test how far under lighting could ruin beautiful landscapes . Some photos were dramatic, others totally wasted. Nonetheless, I still couldn’t figure out if it was my cam or the fast travel time or the under lighting that was the greatest factor. I took shots anyway knowing it may take some time before I can go back to this place! From Benoni port we rode a tryke to Duanne’s relative place and left a few luggage there. From there we headed to Mambajao and ate dinner in a carenderia near the market. We headed straight after eating to the forum site, Brgy. Himbing. Travel by tryke was some 40 minutes and by the time we arrive at the site, I barely can move my backpack. We immediately looked for a place to stay overnight and found a room for the five of us. We decided not to pitch our tents since we’d just be staying here for a short night and start the hike early the nest day.

After freshening up, we took a peek at the crowd inside the covered court. They’re all up for the pre climb night cap.  I was too tired  however so I went ahead and slept ahead of my buddies. Tomorrow, I will need all my energy for a first time photo-climb at Mt. Hibok-Hibok.

What I wished I have during this travel:

  1. More time to shoot landscapes instead of chasing the last ferry trip for Camiguin.
  2. Off road pickup?I could have allocated more time on shooting rather than waiting for bus stops and what have the driver got into. Expensive though.
  3. A good medium telephoto and wide angled lenses.And time for changing lenses while the bus is moving!

The baby

Best Shot: The baby

Mambajao marker picture taken using my phone's cam. Too tired to get my cam off my backpack.

Worst shot: The Mambajao Marker
New Food: “halang-halang” at Watins
Most annoying moment: When our bus driver exchanged angry tirades with the bus inspector. Thought there will be a fisticuff while the bus is moving!
New friends: Duanne and Sherry. Like Tom and Jerry
Old friends with new jokes: Onin and Jocy “tagpila niiiii”!
Best photography gear: Lumix LX5
This should have been my projected fare expenses, have I travelled the regular transport:
  • Tacurong Bus Terminal – Agora Terminal, CDO: Php550(First trip aircon bus, don’t ride an ordinary bus as delays are not worth the savings) Travel time approx 6 hours
  • Agora Terminal , CDO – Balingoan: Php50.00 (ordinary bus); travel time approx 2  hours
  • Balingoan Terminal – Balingoan port: Php 8.00 (walking distance)
  • Balingoan port – Benoni port: Php120 (ferry, regular fare); terminal fee  Php3.00; travel time 1 1/2 hours
  • Benoni port – Mambajao Market, Camiguin: Php23.00 (jeepney); travel time about 40mins.
  • Mambajao Market to Brgy Himbing: Php20.00 (tryke); travel time 30mins.

3 Responses to Southerner’s photo-road trip to Camiguin

  1. Zack Stieber says:

    Safari Windows 7


    I’m the Travel editor at Before It’s News. Our site is a People Powered news platform with over 4,000,000 visits a month and growing fast.

    We would be honored if we could republish your blog RSS feed in our Travel category we are launching in the next several weeks. This will generate more traffic for your site.

    Please email me at Zstieber@beforeitsnews.com for more information, so our readers can start looking at Hiker’s Itch

    Zack Stieber
    Travel Editor, Before It’s News

  2. Bundok says:

    Chrome 13.0.782.112 MacOS X

    @Rosilie naka tsamba me free time.Kaya grab ko na. Camiguin is such a nice place to explore. Wait for my next camiguin post. Thanks for dropping by

  3. rosilie says:

    MSIE 9.0 Windows 7

    kaiingit naman nito doc. been missing a lot of climbs coz of work and business. sigh.