Islands and Beaches

What is a Camiguin Sunset Made of?


Ida Damo
Ida Damo | Nov 02, 2014

As Olan TheTravelteller showed photo after photo of the setting sun in Camiguin’s Sunken Cemetery, I knew that I would travel to Camiguin and have my fill of this beauty someday.


(All photos by Olan Emboscado TheTravelTeller.)

What Camiguin's sunset made of? How can the hues of orange, yellow, red, and all that makes up a fiery sun fade gently into deep violet, magenta, and blue? And to go down in such dramatic fashion, foregrounded by the giant cross that’s been erected to mark the spot where a cemetery sank?

The big eruption of Mt. Vulcan in 1871 sank a big portion of the then major settlement, Catarman (Bonbon), into the sea, including its cemetery. The people thus moved the town proper to its present site, Mambajao.


In those times, during low tide, part of the sunken island and its graveyards were still visible. But when Mt. Vulcan erupted again in 1948, it further sank the area by around 20 feet deep.

During World War II, the Japanese burned Mambajao to get back at the island’s guerillas. In 1951 when Mt. Hibok-Hibok erupted, lava covered most of the town.

It's no wonder that Camiguin is called the "Island of Fire" -- plenty of natural and human-made fires, not counting its seven volcanoes.

Camiguin’s volcanic soil is also the reason why they have the sweetest lanzones.


It wasn't until 1982 that the Provincial Government of Camiguin built the huge cross to mark the site where the sunken graves of the Camiguinons' ancestors.

It's now an interesting dive site for the lovers of the deep blue sea. But for those who can’t swim into the deep, catching dusk in all its glory is the way to appreciate the place.


I will have that time when the big cross is bathed in the dusk’s colors. I will witness the dying of the day in where the dead lie in peace. For now, it's just on my mind. Firmly.

Read the story of Olan Emboscado TheTravel Teller here: The Sunken Sunset of Camiguin Island.

Note: Camiguin celebrates its Lanzones festival every third week of October. Take a sneak peek:

Camiguin’s Lanzones Festival Schedule


How to Get There

PAL has daily flights to Cagayan de Oro City from Manila and Cebu. Travel time is 1 hour and 20 minutes from Manila and 30 minutes from Cebu.

Take the cab or bus from the airport to the Agora Public Market and take another bus to Balingoan where the ferry to Camiguin is. It's just an hour’s travel from Balingoan to Benoni Wharf in Mahinog, Camiguin. The island’s capital is Mambajao which is 17 kilometers away.

By sea: Take the WG&A, Negros Navigation or Sulpicio Lines. Travel time is 28 to 36 hours. From Cebu, IloIlo and Bacolod, travel time is lesser.

VIEW: Make Camiguin your jump-off point to explore Mindanao with the Choose Philippines GenSan Map:


VIEW: Make Camiguin your jump-off point to explore Mindanao with the Choose Philippines Davao Map:


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