Sunday, July 29, 2007

Camotes Islands

I’ve never heard of Camotes Islands until I’ve reached Cebu, and when a cab driver had suggested me to visit it. He said Cebuanos frequented the Island especially on weekends as it’s close to Cebu. So, I browsed through a bit of information about the island on the net, and in one of the sites I visited referred to it as a developing island as it’s not as commercial as the others. This aroused my curiosity, as I like beaches that aren’t too busy and chaotic-unexplored. So the next day, I hopped on an ocean jet ferry and headed to Camotes Islands.

After two hours, I arrived the island half past seven at night. From the pier, I took a habal-habal to get to Santiago Beach Resort. I didn’t get to see much of the island while on the habal-habal as some areas were pitch-black. With the faint light coming from the resort, I could see the wide and long stretch of sand fronting the resort, although I couldn’t really tell if the sand was white or black.

The next day, I was so eager to see the beach so I woke up really early to catch the sunrise. And to my surprise, the shore wasn’t that wide after all. It was low tide at night so when I looked at it last night it seemed like the shore was wide. The beach was not as I have expected it to be, there were areas where rubbish are scattered everywhere. It also didn’t help that it was the ‘Habagat’ season, so seagrass added to the pile of rubbish. Yes, it is a public beach after all but I didn’t expect it to be that filthy (in some areas). It’s sad to see such a nice beach with so much potential only if the local patrons would have the heart to look after their own rubbish. I’m hoping that the government of Cebu would do something about this while it’s not yet too late. The habal-habal driver told me that Camotes Islands will be launched as a tourist spot sometime 2010, the locals should get their act together and clean up their beach! Seriously!

I didn’t want to swim in the beach in front of the resort so most of the time I went to the other resort called Mangodlon Rock Resort (also owned by Santiago Beach Resort) to go for a swim or just simply relax in the sun. Mangodlon Rock Resort has a better beachfront and cottages sitting atop of huge rock formations. The sand is also on a cream to white shade but the shore and water are so pristine, it was inviting to go for a swim. The beach is well maintained as the area is much smaller compared to the other one.

The other resort wasn’t that bad at all as opposed to how I’ve described the beach earlier. It has one of the greatest view decks overlooking the ocean (at least from where I sat I couldn’t see the rubbish scattered along the shore) and other neighbouring islands. I stay on one of the concrete balconies with the roofs made out of nipa sheets while I wait for the sunset. It had a great view as it stood tall on top of a cliff and the breeze just passed freely. I spent hours just writing and reading until sleep arrived.

My visit to Camotes Islands was still worth it despite a few disappointments. The island is blessed with great beaches, caves and lakes. If you come to Cebu and you want to do a bit of exploration that isn’t too far, then put Camotes Islands to your list.

How to get there?

From Cebu, take the ocean jet ferry from Pier 1. It will only cost you 250 pesos one way. The trip will take 2 hours. From the port of poro, take a habal-habal to get you to Santiago, where most resorts (there’s only 3 at the moment) are located.

Where to Stay?

If you’re on a budget stay at Santiago Beach Resort, they have non air conditioned and air conditioned rooms that ranges from 500 (single-double) to 4,000 (family rooms). I only paid 350 a night as it’s off-peak this time of the year.

If you want to splurge a little, then stay at the Mangodlon Rock Resort, rooms have air conditions and price ranges from 1,700-2,500. Unfortunately, prices do not change even if it’s off-peak.

To book to either of the resorts, call +63-32-3446899


kegler747 said...

Thanks for the very valuable info u gave me. After my dumaguete/siquijor/bacolod trip i will definitely consider camotes island. Been to cebu 2x but never been to that very enchanting island. Gud luck in all your trips!

Happy traveling!

gobbledygookie said...

Wow, it ranges from 500 pesos a night? That's awfully awfully cheap. Is it even possible? Do they have internet connection? Well, thanks for you blog, very valuable information for me!

Dialektik said...

Thanks for the information. We'll go to Camotes next week. Three ressorts? Which one is the third one, as you mention only two.