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Province of Camiguin
Mount Hibok-Hibok as seen from White Island
Mount Hibok-Hibok as seen from White Island
Official seal of Camiguin
Nickname(s): Kamigin, Kamiguenios
Motto: The Island Born in Fire
Region (Region X)
Founded 1565
Provincehood June 18, 1966
 • Governor Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo (NPC)
 • Vice Governor James Ederango (NPC)
 • Total 237.95 km2 (91.87 sq mi)
Area rank 80th out of 81
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 83,807
 • Rank 80th out of 81
 • Density 350/km2 (910/sq mi)
 • Density rank 15th out of 81
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 0
 • Municipalities 5
 • Barangays 58
 • Districts Lone district of Camiguin
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP Code 9100 to 9104
Spoken language Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Kinamigin, Tagalog, English

Camiguin (Tagalog pronunciation: , (Cebuano: Probinsya sa Camiguin, Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Camiguin) is an island province of the Philippines located in the Bohol Sea, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) off the northern coast of Mindanao. It is politically part of the Northern Mindanao Region of the country and formerly a part of Misamis Oriental province. Camiguin is the second-smallest province in the country both in population and land area after Batanes.[3] Mambajao is the capital of the province and its largest municipality both in area and population.[4]


  • History 1
    • Etymology 1.1
    • Spanish Colonial Era 1.2
    • American colonial era 1.3
    • World War II 1.4
    • Independence 1.5
  • Geography 2
    • Political subdivisions 2.1
  • Demographics 3
    • Religion 3.1
  • Economy 4
  • Education 5
  • Man-made attractions 6
    • Lanzones Festival 6.1
    • Churches 6.2
    • Old Ancestral Homes 6.3
  • Natural attractions 7
    • Volcanoes 7.1
    • Islands 7.2
    • Springs 7.3
    • Sunken Cemetery 7.4
    • Waterfalls 7.5
  • Flora and fauna 8
  • Transportation 9
  • Natural calamities 10
    • Volcanic activity from 1871 to 1875 10.1
    • Eruptions from 1948 to 1951 10.2
    • Typhoon of 2001 10.3
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13



The name Camiguin is derived from the native word “Kamagong”, a species of the ebony tree that thrives near Lake Mainit in the province of Surigao del Norte, the region from which the earlier inhabitants of the islands, the Manobos, came. Kinamigin, the local language of Camiguin, is closely related to the Manobo language.[5]

An earlier Spanish geography book writes the island as "Camiguing". There is reason to suppose the Spaniards dropped the final g.[6]

Spanish Colonial Era

Old Spanish documents indicate that the renowned explorers Ferdinand Magellan and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in Camiguin in 1521 and 1565, respectively. The first Spanish settlement was established in 1598 in what is now Guinsiliban. Guinsiliban which comes from the old Kinamiguin word “Ginsil-ipan” which means “to look out for pirates from a watchtower” has an old Spanish watchtower where the Camiguinons kept watch for Moro pirates.[7]

The first major Spanish settlement established in 1679 was called Katagman or Katadman (known as Catarman). The settlement grew and prospered but was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vulcan in 1871. The former location is what is now Barangay Bonbon of Catarman.[7]

Sagay, located south of Catarman, was formally established as a town in 1848. The word Sagay is derived from the name of poisonous fruit tree that grow in the area. Mambajao became a town in 1855. The name was coined from the Visayan terms “mamahaw”, meaning to usher breakfast, and “bajao”, which is leftover boiled rice. In the early 1900s, Mambajao prospered to become the busiest port in Northern Mindanao. Mahinog was established as a municipality in 1860. The name Mahinog comes from a Visaya word meaning “to ripen” or “to become ripe”. Although Guinsiliban was the oldest settlement in the island, it was only in 1950 when it became a municipality. Mahinog was formerly governed by Mambajao while Guinsiliban was formally governed from Sagay.[7]

American colonial era

In 1901, in the middle of the Philippine-American War, American soldiers landed in Camiguin to assume political control over the island. A group of Camiguinons, armed with bolos and spears, led by Valero Camaro, fought them in a short battle in Catarman. Valero Camaro was killed by a bullet on the forehead and became one of the Camiguin patriots of the early independence movement.[7]

In 1903, the first public school in Camiguin was built in Mambajao and in 1904 the first public water system was installed.[7]

World War II

On June 18, 1942, the Japanese Imperial Army landed in Camiguin and set up a government in Mambajao. They gutted central Mambajao in reprisal to guerrilla activities in the area. The remains of some of these buildings still exist today.[7]


On July 4, 1946, the Philippines gained independence from the US. Camiguin was then part of Misamis Oriental. In 1958, it became a sub-province.[8] and was made into a separate province on June 18, 1966, and formally inaugurated in 1968.[7]


The province consists primarily of Camiguin Island, as well as a few other surrounding minor islets including:

Camiguin Island is a pearl-shaped island with an area of approximately 238 km2 (92 sq mi).[3] The island measures about 23 kilometres (14 mi) at its longest and 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi) at its widest breadth.[9] The island is mountainous with the highest elevation reaching over 5,000 ft (1,500 m). It is encircled by a national road with a total length of about 64 kilometres (40 mi). As of the August 1, 2007 census, the province has a 5th class income classification with a population of 81,293.[10]

Political subdivisions

The province of Camiguin is divided into five municipalities, the largest of which is Mambajao. The towns are further subdivided into a total of 58 barangays.[3] The five municipalities are:


The people of Camiguin are called Camiguingnon or Camiguinon. The languages widely spoken in the province are Cebuano and Hiligaynon while only a few people still speak Kinamigin, the ancient tribal language of Camiguin. Today, Kinamigin is only predominantly spoken in the municipalities of Sagay and Guinsiliban.[11] English is also widely spoken by the local population.[12]


Camiguin is a predominantly Roman Catholic province with 95% adherence. The remaining religions are represented by various Protestant and few Islamic groups.


The economy is based upon fishing and farming, with copra providing the greatest income contribution.[12] Other agricultural products are abaca, rice, mangoes, lanzones and other fruit trees. The growing tourism industry have improved the economy of the province. Small cottage industries have increased in number to accommodate the influx of visitors.


Camiguin has three colleges, namely: Fatima College of Camiguin (FCC), Camiguin Polytechnic State College (CPSC), with a satellite campus and Camiguin School of Arts and Trades (CSAT) and a technical education offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). A complete secondary and elementary education is available as well, both in private and public. There are also day care centers which offer nursery and pre-school education.

The province has a total number of 68 day care centers managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and 56 public and private elementary schools. There are 13 secondary schools, 3 private institutions and the rest are government-owned. There is one special school, which accommodates to the underprivileged or special children, the Family-to-Family School and Farm. It is managed by a Non-Government Organization (NGO).

There is also the Alternative Learning System Education Sector which helps individuals through its literacy cum livelihood.[13]

Man-made attractions

Lanzones, the fruit celebrated every October in Mambajao

Lanzones Festival

Each year in October, a festival is held celebrating the Lanzones, a small grape-sized tropical fruit grown all over the island. The week-long Lanzones Festival is one of the more colorful events in the Philippines.


Several centuries-old Spanish Colonial and 20th century churches are found in various parts of the island.

  • Santo Rosario Church: The Santo Rosario Church in the municipality of Sagay was built in 1882.
  • Old Catarman Church Ruins: The church of the Old Catarman town was destroyed and partly submerged by volcanic debris during the eruption and formation of Mt. Vulcan from 1871 to 1875. Also known as Gui-ob Church, only the ruins of the church and bell tower remains of the old town. An unsightly modern white lighthouse was recently erected close to the bell tower.
  • Baylao Church: The Church located in Brgy. Baylao in Mambajao is claimed to be miraculous attributed to saving many lives during the last volcanic eruption of Hibok-hibok.

Old Ancestral Homes

Beautiful and ornate ancestral homes that date back to the Spanish Colonial Period and American Colonial Period, are still abundant and can be found along the streets of Camiguin.

Natural attractions


Hibok Hibok Volcano Crater

The island of Camiguin is of volcanic origin composed of four stratovolcanoes. Each volcanoes (except Mount Guinsiliban) is made up of several flank domes.[14] The only volcano in the island with historical eruptions is Hibok-Hibok, which last erupted in 1953. From north to south:

  • Mount Hibok-Hibok () and Mount Vulcan () are the northernmost and the only active volcanic vents in Camiguin. Mt. Vulcan, ironically known as the Old Volcano [671 m (2,201 ft)], is actually the youngest volcano in the island, born in 1871 starting as a fissure vent on the northwestern flank of Mount Hibok-Hibok [4,370 feet (1,330 m)] (see Volcanic eruption below). As a parasitic cone of Hibok-Hibok, it is still considered part of volcano.[15] Some of the other flank domes of the volcano are Carling Hill (), Tres Marias Hills () and Piyakong Hill (). Ilihan Crater is the site of the 1950 eruption.[16][17]
  • Mount Timpoong is the largest mountain in Camiguin. It is composed of several domes the tallest of which is the Timpoong Peak (), also the highest in Camiguin at 5,294 ft (1,614 m). The peak of Mambajao () is the second tallest at 5,143 ft (1,568 m). A lower central peak () of 5,015 ft (1,529 m) is located between the two peaks. Some of the flank vents on Mt. Timpoong are Campana Hill () and Minokol Hill ().
  • Mount Butay (), also known as Mount Uhay, is located between the towns of Mahinog and Guinsiliban.
  • Mount Guinsiliban () is located in the town of Guinsiliban. The 1,872-foot (571 m) high mountain is the southernmost volcano and the first seen coming from the port of Balingoan in mainland Mindanao.


Located just a few kilometers off the coast are the two islands of Camiguin.

  • White Island can be accessed from Agoho which is about 5 km (3.1 mi) west of the town of Mambajao.
  • Mantigue Island can be reached from Mahinog about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) south of Mambajao.


  • Ardent Hot Spring. At the foot of Hibok-Hibok Volcano bubble the mineral pools of Ardent Hot Springs. Wisps of steam can be seen rising from the running waters heat by the cauldron of the mountain, the most recently active of the seven volcanoes on the island.
  • Sto. Niño Cold Springs and Bura Natural Soda Water Swimming Pool in Catarman are other popular places to get a relaxing dip on the island.
  • Tangub Hot Spring is an interesting hot spring located on the shore close to the Sunken Cemetery. Most of the spring is submerged and can be partly seen during low tide. The spring can also be examined by scuba diving or snorkeling, as visibility is excellent and it is also a recommended spot for observing underwater life.[18]
Sunken Cemetery marker

Sunken Cemetery

During the volcanic birth of Mt. Vulcan that lasted from 1871 to about 1875, some areas in the town of Bonbon subsided, sinking the cemetery of the town to below sea level. The place is commemorated by a huge cross erected in 1982.[19]

Katibawasan Falls

Since then the municipality of Bonbon transferred to now the town of Catarman


  • Katibawasan Falls. Located 5 km (3.1 mi) southeast of Mambajao, the Katibawasan Falls cascades 250 ft (76 m) down to a pool surrounded by orchids and ferns. An invigorating dip on the pool is popular especially on warmer days and several hiking trails are within the park. This is also the favorite jump-off point for trekkers and mountaineers in search of adventure on the slopes of Mt. Timpoong.
  • Tuasan Falls is located 6 km (3.7 mi) northeast of Catarman. Unfortunately getting to the falls no longer entails a scenic hike passing through the Barrio of Mainit, Catarman and along the rocky river bed. The local government, serving the local tourism, decided in 2012 to make it easier for the locals to access the falls. A road was built all the way up to the falls and finished in late 2014. You can park your car near the waterfalls and from the parking lot it's still only a few minutes to reach the falls and the pool. The pool below the waterfalls is deep and clear. At the time of this writing (March 2015) the local government is finalizing the construction of the "Trans Island Highway", a road that crosses Camiguin from Catarman to Mambajao, and runs directly to the left of Tuasan Falls.[20]

Flora and fauna

At least five vertebrate species are believed to be endemic to Camiguin:


Ferry to Camiguin with Mount Guinsiliban in the background
  • Cebu Pacific serves Camiguin Airport to Cebu 5 days a week, excluding Tuesdays and Thursdays. During peak season flights are also added on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Visitors fly in to Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental province, the gateway to Northern Mindanao. From the airport, a jeepney ride takes visitors to the Agora Bus Terminal located about 13.5 km (8.4 mi) in downtown Cagayan de Oro. Eastbound buses takes visitors to the port of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental in about two hours.[21] The ferries to Benoni port take just over an hour (depending on the weather conditions) and have more scheduled trips as it takes passengers closer to Mambajao. The time between trips varies during the day and starts from 4:00 am to 5:00 pm.[22]
  • Since June 2014 there haven't been ferries or catamarans operating between Jagna (Bohol), Benoni (Camiguin) and Cagayan de Oro City (Mindanao). The official statement is technical maintenance, but throughout the year there aren't enough passengers to keep the line profitable. Usually with festivals and peaks in season (Lanzones festival in October, Holy Week / Easter) the ferries start running again for a week or two, but after that they are taken out of service again "until further notice". Beginning April 19, 2015, Asian Marine (formerly Super Shuttle Ferry) resumed its Jagna, Bohol - Balbagon, Camiguin route on daily basis. Balbagon-Jagda at 8AM, Jagna-Balbagon at 1PM.
  • Due to an incident in the port of Balbagon (Camiguin) in the fall of 2014 also the weekly night boat between Cebu and Camiguin has been suspended. There is no news (March 2015) if and when this connection will return to service.

As a traveler it would be unwise to rely on ferry connections between Cebu/Bohol and Camiguin and Cagayan de Oro. The ferry operators are not clear about this on their websites, and ferry tickets to Camiguin are still sold in for example Panglao. The connection Benoni (Camiguin) - Balingoan (Mindanao) vv. is the only connection which is currently reliable. It is recommended to contact the resort you are planning to stay with well in advance and inquire about what is the best way to arrive to Camiguin.

Natural calamities

Volcanic activity from 1871 to 1875

On February 16, 1871, earthquakes began to be felt on the island, which increase in severity until April 30 when a volcanic fissure opened up 400 yards southwest of the village of Catarman, northwest of Hibok-Hibok Volcano. Mt. Vulcan was born and continued erupting pouring lava into the sea at the same time gaining in height and width. In 1875, the Challenger expedition visited the area and described the mountain as a dome, 1,950 ft (590 m) in height, without any crater, but still smoking and incandescent at the top.[6]

The town of Catarman was destroyed and portion of the town sank beneath the sea. The settlement moved to where the town center is presently located and today, all that remains of old Catarman are the ruins of the ancient Spanish church, a convent and a bell tower.

Eruptions from 1948 to 1951

From 1948 to 1951, Mt. Hibok-Hibok was constantly rumbling and smoking. The first minor eruption in 1948 caused little damage and loss of life, but in 1949, the larger eruption caused 79 deaths due to pyroclastic flows. The largest eruption occurred the morning of December 4, 1951. The volcano unleashed lava flows, poisonous gases, and pyroclastic flows destroying nearly 19 squares kilometers of land, particularly in Mambajao. All in all, over 3,000 people were killed. Before the eruption of Mt. Hibok-Hibok in 1951, the population of Camiguin had reach 69,000. After the eruption, the population was reduced to about 34,000 due to massive out-migration.[7] [16]

Typhoon of 2001

A disastrous typhoon hit the province in the dawn of November 7, 2001. The tropical storm named Lingling (local name Nanang) brought buhawi (torrential downpours) on the mountains causing multiple massive mudslides killing about 200 inhabitants, most were missing.[23]

See also


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "About Camiguin Province". Province of Camiguin Official Website. Retrieved on 2012-04-25.
  4. ^ "Province: Camiguin".Philippine Standard Geographic Code Interactive. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  5. ^ "Manobo, Cinamiguin a language of the Philippines". OLAC Record. Retrieved on 2012-04-27.
  6. ^ a b Becker, George F., "Report on the Geology of the Philippine Islands",p.42. Washington Government Printing Office, 1901.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "History". Province of Camiguin Official Website. Retrieved on 2012-04-25.
  8. ^ "R.A. No. 2021, An Act Creating the Subprovince of Camiguin in the Province of Misamis Oriental". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  9. ^ Measured with Google Earth
  10. ^ "Region X (Northern Mindanao)". Philippine Standard Geographic Code Interactive. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  11. ^ Yamit, Neil (2011-07-08). "Kinamigin: The Language of Camiguinons". Camiguin Guide. Retrieved on 2012-04-27.
  12. ^ a b "People". Province of Camiguin Official Website. Retrieved on 2012-04-27.
  13. ^ Provincial Government of Camiguin (2009). "Education". Province of Camiguin Official Web Site. Retrieved on 2010-10-25.
  14. ^ "Synonyms & Subfeatures - Camiguin". Global Volcanism Program. Retrieved on 2012-04-25.
  15. ^ "Eruptive History Camiguin". Global Volcanism Program. Retrieved on 2012-04-25.
  16. ^ a b "Hibok-Hibok". Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. Retrieved on 2012-04-25.
  17. ^ "Synonyms and Subfeatures". Global Volcanism Program. Retrieved on 2012-04-25.
  18. ^ Tangub Hot Spring. Visayan Silent Gardens. Retrieved on 2010-06-10.
  19. ^ "Camiguin is famous Burat Republic..." - Department of Titie Tourism
  20. ^ "Places to See: Tuasan Falls". Retrieved on 2010-06-10.
  21. ^ "Finding Camiguin, the Island born of Fire". Province of Camiguin Official Website. Retrieved on 2012-04-26.
  22. ^ (2011). "Balingoan to Camiguin Ferry Schedule". Camiguin Island Tours. Retrieved on 2012-04-27.
  23. ^ (2001-11-07). "Storm leaves 22 dead in Philippines". CNN World. Retrieved on 2012-04-25.

External links

  • Province of Camiguin official website
  • Map of Camiguin from Visayan Silent Gardens
  • Lanzones Festival Camiguin Island
  • "Camiguin".  
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