If you’re a tourist or just a casual fan of the Cebuano geography, you may think Cebu is only composed of a singular, albeit iconic, island, when in actuality the province of Cebu is a cluster of islands. There’s the main one, and a few neighboring islands, which include Sumilon in the South and the criminally underrated Camotes Islands in the North.
Camotes Islands, as you may infer from their name, are yet another cluster of islands within the Cebu cluster of islands. They are located east of Cebu Island, that is, the main island, and are only inhabited by a little over 100,000 people. Like most of the Philippines, the island group enjoys a tropical monsoon climate, making it an ideal vacation spot in the summer. For the benefit of tourists or Cebuano locals who may be interested to explore someplace new and simultaneously exciting and relaxing, I’m going to catalogue herein my three favorite places in Camotes.
In the summer of 2015 (and by summer, I mean summer by Filipino standards), I and a handful of friends visited Camotes, although it was more like a homecoming for one of us. During our short but very worthwhile stay there (2 days, 1 night), we were lucky enough to cruise through three must-see destinations. The first one we went to see was Lake Danao in the North of Pacijan Island. There, we kayaked through the island’s huge lake. Though we were wearing life jackets, the waters were so murky that I felt anxious about what may be lurking beneath us. I also accidentally paddled some of the obviously contaminated water into my mouth, which was, needless to say, disgusting. It’s a miracle I’m not dead yet after that incident. But setting aside that gross accident, my experience at Lake Danao was definitely enjoyable and something I look forward to reliving.
The second tourist spot we visited in Camotes was a little more low-key—literally LOW-key, because it’s underground. It’s Timubo Cave in the municipality of San Francisco. The cave boasts an underground water form perfect for a cool, quiet swim amid a scorching Philippine summer. The walkway down to the waters was kind of nerve-wracking, but the end definitely justified the means. Notwithstanding the ammonia-like, maybe sulfuric (I don’t know exactly. I’m not a chemist.) smell, which I imagine is natural to most caves, a trip to Timubo Cave is definitely one I’d recommend you add to your summer itinerary.
Last but not the least is Santiago Bay Garden and Resort. Likewise found in the municipality of San Francisco, this lovely, breathtaking beach resort is definitely one you must visit if you’re looking to go for a dip in cyan waters or soak in the sunlight on a white-sand beach. They have cottages and rooms available if you wish to stay overnight, or you may simply go for a swim at daytime if you want to make the most of your stay in Camotes.
Camotes is indubitably one of the proudest features of Cebu. So, whether you’re a tourist looking to catch a feel of the Cebuano experience, or a proud local of Cebu, I highly recommend that you visit Camotes and experience for yourself what I have experienced and loved about the islands.
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