Camotes is what you expected for it to be. From the word of the mouth to the pictures that appears on the façade of Google Photos. Clear blue waters, calm ambiance; perfect for a solemn getaway and a true lovers paradise.
With its developing local economy due to the popularity that is rising from time to time; Camotes Island, that is situated North West from the main island of Cebu, is now a revamped inter-island rural escapade.
It’s my second time in the island, but first of my boyfriend’s; but truly memorable and I’m thinking of coming back due to its majestic waters which you will be enchanted with.
GOING TO CAMOTES
From City to Danao
I live in the city of Cebu therefore, if people wants to reach the island, they must ride a bus at the North Bus Terminal, near SM City Cebu (Mall). I and my boyfriend rode the Ceres Liner bound for Bogo by 11:00 AM; but we could actually travel any liner just as long as it reaches our destination which is called Danao Sea Port. (And all the bus liners in that terminal are bound anywhere North)
From the Terminal to Danao Sea Port is a two (2) hour ride if traffic-ish, and one and a half hour ride if not. It is fortunate whenever you ride any Ceres Liner since the waiting time for it to travel is short, because Ceres Liners really do not have to make the bus fully packed with people; in addition, every hour of the day, there’s a Ceres Liner waiting for you at the Terminal. So, basically, the convenience is for the passengers, not the liner.
Danao Sea Port
Upon arriving at the port itself, which is instructed by the Kundoktor (collector), you have to queue up to buy ticket for the ferry that will take you to the island.
Mostly, people choose Jomalia Shipping Lines because that’s one of the easiest accesses to the island which will take you from Danao Sea Port to Consuelo, Camotes Port. And I was in awe knowing that the travelling schedule has already been changed, different from the Jomalia Shipping Liner’s website.
New Daily schedules (August 2013):
- 5:00 AM
- 8:00 AM
- 2:00 PM and
- 5:00 PM
- P180.00 – Regular/Standard
- P200.00 – Air-conditioned room.
Since I and my boyfriend arrived at the Port by 12:00 NN or so; we waited for the 2:00 PM schedule. We had lunch at the nearby Gaisano Mall Danao and bought some of medical supplies for emergency purposes there at Watsons. Also, we bought some chips and junks at their grocery store.
Going to the Mall is just a pedicab ride.
BUT beware of most pedicab drivers who’ll take advantage of the short trip from the port to the mall, because they’ll charge you P 50.00 instead of paying for like P14.00 – P20.00.
One way to deal with this is to tell the driver that you’re going to the mall and will only pay for P14.00. If the driver insists, look for another pedicab. If there’s none who’ll accept with your offer, then deal with anyone who takes you to the mall for P20.00. Dealing with these people is important since they’ll take advantage of you if you do not. Unless you are rich enough to pay for what they demand (hehe).
Sea Travel to Camotes
After having lunch at the mall, we went back to the port where there’s a waiting lounge that has a cable television for the comfort of the passengers. Although the seats are not guaranteed comfy, and sometimes the air gets humid.
The authorities then inspected for our ticket and right after that we went straight to the ferry that is waiting. We then rode the ferry and stayed in the air-conditioned room after buying the P200.00 fare. We waited for 20 minutes or so before the ferry started to travel.
From Danao Port to Consuelo is a 3 hour ride. But while waiting for the ferry to deck; you can watch free movies from the Jomalia. I and my boyfriend chose to play mobile games instead rather than watching an illegal/cinema copy of The Croods on the telly.
Consuelo Port-Santiago Bay Garden and Resort
Upon arriving at the port, we then head for the local motorbike drivers who will take us to our destination which is the Santiago Bay Garden and Resort. The flaw in our escapade was that we did not book our stay at the resort, that’s why there’s no coaster/ride waiting for us at the port. There could be one, if we booked ahead.
There we then chose one motorbike rider who’ll charge us P70.00 each, quite expensive, but I haven’t got time to deal with any of them since the sun’s heat is taking toll on me. Dealing/bargaining then is one of the qualities/skill you should have whenever you travel in the Philippines in order to save.
Santiago Bay Garden and Resort is just a few miles away from the port. When we arrived there, we then checked-in in an Ocean View room which cost P1, 700.00. I was again in awe due to the fact that the front desk lady told us that the Standard Room which costs P1, 500.00 was already full and they could offer the latter room.
Again, the flaw in our plan was on its works by giving us inconvenience; but we yielded and got the Ocean View room.
Room Rates (by August 2013):
- Standard Non-Airconditioned Room – P1, 000.00 good for two (2)
- Standard Airconditioned Room – P1, 500.00 good for two (2)
- Ocean view Airconditioned Room – P1, 700.00 good for two (2)
- Deluxe – P 2,000.00 good for two (2)
- Deluxe Family – P2, 600.00 good for three (3)
- Bay view -P 2, 800.00 good for two (2)
- Villa Standard – P2,500.00 good for three (3)
- Villa Family – P5,000.00 good for five (5)
- Bungalow – P3,000.00 good for three (3)
*Extra person: P200.00/person (for non-aircon); P300.00/person (for aircon).
But we did not regret choosing that room since it gave us a majestically inclined view of the infinite ocean ahead of us. The view outside was like a surreal painting on our windowpane screaming for us to come and swim.
The Panoramic view outside our room
Santiago Bay Garden and Resort offers two pools, one is infinity-like near the reception area and the other in the center-most part of the resort, both ocean views. Restaurant and free WIFI.
DAY 1: Cosmic Skyline
It was almost sunset when we reached Santiago Bay Garden and Resort, and we just rested and got acquainted with our room and the entire place where we discovered a free WIFI in the reception area and in their restaurant just beside our room, (but cannot penetrate thru walls and we have to go outside to surf, bummer). Also, we reached the shoreline which was low-tide by that time. Until 6:30PM came where we planned to have our dinner not in the resort’s restaurant but outside, where there’s a famous Karenderia (side street restaurant) that offers cheap yet worthwhile food which was called Pito’s.
Pito’s Sutukil Restaurant along the Santiago shore
We ordered our dinner, like Sinuglaw, which was my first time to get a taste of it that got me under the spell due to the bombardment of unusual yet familiar flavors. Also some Calamares and a soup. (Click for a detailed description of the food we ate in Camotes in the Pig Out section)
In absolution, we were too full. We didn’t even get to finish everything because of the unexpectedly large serving they have.
We went back to our room right after to relax, but then I planned to go out and stargaze with my boyfriend. And it did not fail me. I am from the city; therefore, I was wonderstrucked by the cosmic skyline above me.
The cosmic skyline above us.
The vast ocean of glitter-like realm above me granted one of my longtime wish which was to have a date with the universe.
DAY 2: Mangodlong Rock Resort
Then our escapade started.
(I strongly advice to bring extra clothes to wear due to the constant changing from dipping in the Camotes’ waters.)
We hired the motorcycle driver we rode with yesterday to take us to different spots in Camotes. Mostly, the deal of the day tour would range from P600.00 to P700.00. And the first stop was in Mangodlong Rock Resort.
Mangodlong Rock resort waters. Clear blue.
The Mangodlong Rock Resort signature island.
The place was a beaut. With its indulging rock formation pedestal, where constructions of small cottages (palandungan) and a tower which oversees the resort and the ocean on the contrary, at the top of their signature rock formation. The waters were glamorously crystal-like, blue and inviting.
DAY 2: Lunch
We had lunch in their marketplace. We have to instruct our motorcycle driver to take us there for lunch. We include him in our budget too. We had barbecue and puso. The place was burning hot but windy (thank God).
We also got the chance to roam around the marketplace and notice people selling fruits and vegetables mostly, but in a high and unjustifiable price, because of the fact that it was bought in the mainland Cebu, rather than reaping their own crops in the island.
I just indulged myself with cotton candy instead.
DAY 2: Bujo/Buho Rock
Buho Rock is a rock formation and one of the flagships in Camotes Island. Situated afar from the Market; Buho Rock has an awaiting adventure! Just by climbing down the exhausting stairs you can reach the formation with a cliff diving down to the blue-green waters, with three different levels; the lower, middle and high jumps, you can experience the lurch in your stomach.
We didn’t get the chance to jump, but on my first visit in 2012, I did and it was a mixture of fun and fear (due to my fear of heights).
DAY 2: Timubo Cave
Miles away from the Rock Formation site was the Timubo Cave. Struggling upon entering the mouth of the cave due to our height; the cave offers a clean water and mysterious feel. The Timubo Cave is also one of the flagships of Camotes Island because of the water itself.
We were lucky because I and my boyfriend were alone upon tasting the cold waters of the cave experiencing serenity and calmness.
DAY 2: Lake Danao Park
Although we did nothing in Lake Danao Park (except for taking pictures for Facebook purposes), Lake Danao offers a boat ride for P500.00 price good for 8 and have the experience to explore the lake even go to a nearby small island.
DAY 2: Random Beach
It was almost 4:00 when we depart from Lake Danao Park and asked the motorbike driver if where we could go to next where there’s good scenery, and he did take us to a random beach in Camotes. There’s no specific name for that beach since it wasn’t a resort or owned by anybody; and it was indeed beautiful.
Fine sand and clear blue waters greeted us upon entering the vicinity. With its curvature formed shoreline, and a house ruin situated on the cliff afar, a perfect cinematic view it is.
DAY 3: Going Home
We woke up 9:00 AM already out from the body exhaustion from the previous day’s escapade. Had our breakfast at Pitos and packed our bags prepared to go home.
We learned that the Jomalia Shipping Lines schedule from Consuelo Port, Camotes to Danao, Cebu (not the schedule of Cebu to Consuelo), was also changed and we took the 12:00NN ride home, instead of the 10:00AM schedule. Again a 3 hour ride was set.
True to a fact, Camotes Island is a mix of serenity and exploration. We came there not in the peak season, but when it is, the island is jam packed with tourists. Although it was a bit expensive to begin with, yet, the island still promises crystal clear waters, perfect for the elegance of dipping and having fun from day to night.
And never forget about the skill of Hangyu (dealing).
Cost (of us 2):
- Bus (Cebu to Danao) – P40.00 + P40.00 = P80.00
- Ferry (Cebu to Danao) – P200.00 + P200.00 = P400.00
- Motorcycle (Port to Resort) – P70.00 + P70.00 = P140.00
- Room (2 days) – P1, 700 + P1, 700 = P3, 400.00
- Motorcycle (tour) – P350.00 + P350.00 = P700.00
- Motorcycle (Resort to Port) – P70.00 + P70.00 = P140.00
- Jeepney (Danao to Cebu) – P25.00 + P25.00 = P50.00
- Lunch (Gaisano) – P100.00
- Dinner (Day 1) – P400.00 (estimated)
- Breakfast (Day 2) – P180.00
- Lunch (Day 2) – P180.00 (estimated)
- Dinner (Day 2) – P350.00 (estimated)
- Breakfast (Day 3) – P180.00 (estimated)
- Misc. (Junks, meds, etc.) – P300.00 (estimated)
TOTAL = P6, 600.00 (an estimate)
TOTAL (one person) = P3, 350 (an estimate)