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.
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.
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.
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:
- More time to shoot landscapes instead of chasing the last ferry trip for Camiguin.
- 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.
- A good medium telephoto and wide angled lenses.And time for changing lenses while the bus is moving!
- 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.