My Trip to Camotes Island In Cebu Philippines 2017

Let’s go to Camotes Island.

Philippines has many untouched white and fine sand beaches which is only local knows and to some, even they never knew until someone told them so. Just like me.

Introducing Camotes Island, I called it the mini little Boracay of Cebu. Please don’t get confuse if you do not know about the real boracay. Boracay is located in Caticlan. Most flight goes to Kalibo in Aklan and  flights mostly coming from many different parts of the world going to  Ninoy International airport  in Manila Philippines or  Mactan Cebu.

This article is not about beautiful Boracay. This article is about the Camotes Island. It is within Camotes Sea.

Santiago Bay in Camotes Island

Where is Camotes Island?

The Camotes Sea is a small sea within the Philippine archipelago, situated between the Eastern Visayan and the Central Visayan regions. It is bordered by the islands of Leyte to the north and east, Bohol to the south, and Cebu to the west.

camotes Island Cebu Philippines

Camotes Islands is a group of islands in the Camotes Sea, Philippines. The island is located east of Cebu Island, southwest of Leyte Island, and north of Bohol Island. It is 34 nautical miles from Cebu City and is part of Cebu. Wikipedia

HOW WE GET THERE?

There are two ways to get to Camotes Islands. One is from Cebu City where you could take early morning boats and ferries that leave at 5:30 am from the Quano Pier direct to Camotes Islands. It’s about 3-hour ride. No, we did not take this route.

A friend  who lives in Cebu City guide me in Camotes Island. We had a very local way of travelling. We took a bus (Ceres) that head to Hagnaya at the North Bus Terminal Station in Mandaue Cebu City. It took us almost 2 hours to get to  Danao Town, as the bus keep stopping and pick up passengers along the road side.

Without any plans and just decided on the spot, only later that I know about a short way of getting to Danao Ferry Terminal is to take the Mini Van  which is also located at the North bus Terminal station the same as where you take the bigger bus called “Ceres”.  The Minivan will take about an hour to Danao Town. Really a good choice if you can get one of these Mini Van.

Always ask a bus or a mini van going to Danao and ask them to stop you at the DANAO FERRY TERMINAL FOR CAMOTES ISLAND.

From Danao Ferry Terminal – you need to buy a ferry ticket that normally cost only P180 to 200 pesos  depending on the season. (avoid school holidays ) from April to end of May. Avoid long weekends too.

Ferry boat travel daily to camotes island

Because we went during school holiday and it was a weekend, we somehow manipulate the systematic way how locals or all of us should be doing.  We arrive at the ferry terminal in Danao, with full of crowds just like having the Sinulog kind of crowd in Cebu, a super long queue  at the entrance.  We arrive at about 11:45 Am at that time. There was person who came to us and ask us if we would like to get to the boat at 12 noon. On top of Pesos 200 each, we paid additional of P350. We wanted to get to the Island much earlier and to avoid the long queues as well.  Not a good idea but given to a circumstances, if we did not have to pay extra, we may not be able to get to the island that day. We were just so lucky.  For us working overseas, that 350 pesos extra was so worth it to avoid the queue.

ferry boat to camotes

The Ferry took around 2 hours to get to the island from Danao Town. For me it is a pretty long ride. Lucky enough there is a canteen on the ground floor. We are able to get some snacks and beer.

Santiago Bay

A super intense getaway, we arrive with no plan, no hotel booking. Knowing that we arrive on a  midday, there was one single room left at Santiago Bay. Our tricycle driver  ( please use him when you need a transport. A very nice older man whom I think he is so honest with his work. His number is +63 936- 668 – 4545) he was kind to help us and brought us to Santiago Bay as we had been to a few with no luck in looking for a room to sleep for the night.

Our Room in Santiago bay was decent, clean and it cost us P1800 for 3 people in the room.

As you may see on the images, these are taken from Santiago Bay.

There are may resorts available. Do not be worry, it can be cheaper if you go on NOT a high season.

To name a few hotels there.

My Friends and myself were only there for a day visit. As we arrive the island and have our room, we continually engage our tricycle driver to bring us around.

lake danao

Our driver brought us to many places around the island that can be done in a day or so if you are in a hurry.  But best is to really stay longer and get  to enjoy the water.

Lake Danao, we end up here and I was mesmerize by the beauty of the lake. The water is as far as you can see and it feels so calm.

danao lake

We went to many other sight seeing spots. There were a few caves and beaches. Many of the beaches we went are similar to Santiago beach. Fine sands and white. It is easy to swim and the water is super blue crystal.

I have to say, that a place which is not familiar to you will be so much fun to go with friends. It is indeed to me.
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To wrap it up, here is the video I created.

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Have you ever climb Kilimanjaro?

(This is dedicated to our guide, porter, waiter and cook. Gregory, Juma and all the Trekking Hero team.

Have you ever thought of going to Climb Kilimanjaro.

This article is for you… to get some tips and some guidance on what to do and how you can make it to the top of UHURU Peak, the highest point of Kilimanjaro.

This is my story and reality in Climbing Kilimanjaro.

Our Journey was on 11 September to 17 September 2016

Before I could continue… I need to explain to you about Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, “Kibo”, “Mawenzi”, and “Shira”, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania.

kilimanjaro-2
my hubby, myself and in the middle is Juma one of our guide

It is the highest mountain in Africa,

and rises approximately 4,900 m from its base to 5,895 meters above sea level. Elevation: 5,895 meters. Prominence: 5,885 m
First ascent: 1889 by Ludwig Purtscheller and Hans Meyer.
Mountain range: Eastern Rift mountains

(above Resources from Wikipedia)
I am not a climber… and
sometimes or many times we under estimate the mountain.
Many people fit or unfit. They have purpose why climbing Kilimanjaro.
But to me, I want to prove that an Ashmatic person can do what they want and fight for this Ashamatic problem.

My experience was never easy.
My hubby and I took the Rongai Route where they said the most scenic.  Its a long way but your body will have a chance in getting into climitazation  in preparation for the  highest peak.  Rongai indeed is a very scenic route but not an easy one either.

The route has a beautiful scenery, many little flowers as well as the large ones. A few foot steps of wild animals like elephant and buffalo were seen during our climb.

We had 7 days of expedition in total.
Each day, we go and walk long hours (about 4 to 7 hours at the beginning). Was even longer hours when we are about the climb.
From one base camp to another until we reach to Kibo Hut where the final campsite prior to Climbing the Uhuru Peak- the highest point of Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro is not only a  mountain, it is also a huge park and playground to many wild animals and of course the humans.

Our climb from Kibu Hut base camp begins…

Our last night before the climb to the highest point, I ask my husband Markus if we could stay at the room. In Kibo, there is a Hut and it has few  rooms (4 rooms as I remember)  and in each room there are 10 to 12 bank beds.

All the nights during this climb were super cold for me.. The sleeping bags we had was rented from the agency were we took  and paid the package trip. Those bags were not warm at all. It is not meant for that kind of weather according to my Austrian husband.

I recommend that best is to bring your own sleeping bags. Get the best that keeps you warm at night so have a lot of energy the next day.

Another problem is that, the toilets were super dirty.. yes, there are few toilet small rooms, they dig a hole and cover it with wood.  But is so smelly, no water to wash the dirt. Water is tough in Africa.. Really.

This is just below the Mawenzi camp where we spent a night..
This is just below the Mawenzi camp where we spent a night..

Here is our preparation on the night of the climb

This night we were inside the Kibo Hut.. my heart were pounding and beats so hard for excitement or perhaps anxiety?

Inside the room, on this little corners of the bank beds and on the wall of the rooms, there were a few notes were written… notes of motivations, notes of information.. some of those notes were saying…

“I almost died..”

“15 out of 15.. we all made it”

“kili is a mind game”

“Gals, you don’t give up… you can do it”

 

We had an early rest that night.  Went to bed at 6 pm and woke up at 10pm for the final ascend…  here comes  Midnight, we walk all the way up to a never, NEVER seems to end stiff, rocky and stony mountain for long hours.

One of out guide took this image as we walk up to Gillman's point before the Uhuru pick.
One of out guide took this image as we walk up to Gillman’s point before the Uhuru pick.

Pole Pole– slow slow.

We cannot walk fast as we and many other climbers that night were breathless. So windy and  it was like a minus 20 degree cold. Climbers were just puking from one path to the other. When you hear them.. you feel doing the same.. We were out of even eating the energy bars. Don’t have appetite and you wish… you get there FAST and so you get this OVER with.

Very tricky
Before you can reach to Uhuru pick either you submit first to Gillman’s point or Estella point. When we arrive at the Gillman’s Pick, I thought this was the highest point already, it was seems to be.. Oh no…. you have to get to Stella point after Gillman’s point and then to Uhuru Pick.

Super cold and super long nite as I could Imagine.
Arrived at Uhuru pick 9:13 am on 16 of September 2016 from Kibo hut, trying to breath and breath. Headache start to aches. Vomiting, etc. A mix feelings. We have walk now now from 12 Midnight to 9am in the morrning. With only second or the most 1 minute of rest. I did not understand why we cannot rest longer.

The photo seems not so vertical, but it is so stiff really.
The photo seems not so vertical, but it is so stiff really.

Breathless, my water got frozen, could not drink, even it was prevented from getting frozen and it’s still is.

Since the starting point of this adventures…  I have taken  Diamox to prevent me from getting Altitude sickness.

I do not recommend you to take Diamox…

It just gave a lot of side effects. Before the day of climb, I was already breathless. Tingling on both fingers and feet. So like a drug addict.

The best thing you do is to prepare yourself healthy much ahead before the climb. Prepare yourself like a year or so.. keep fit and strong is all you need as well as strong in your mind and attitude of a ‘GO GETTERS’

this is the top of Kilimanjaro with Juma and Gregory our guide
this is the top of Kilimanjaro with Juma and Gregory our guide

Because of the inspiration with my husband Markus, I made it to first, you reach to Gillman’s Point when you are coming from Kibo Hut or the Rongai Route. Followed by Stella Point that may take about 30 minutes on slow pace walk. And to the very top of Kilimanjaro where there lies the Ice Age..

I am saying... If I can do it! So can you!
I am saying… If I can do it! So can you!
( on my note that I hold in that image.. I said.. ‘If I can do it! So can You”)

It was amazing..  to be on the top of Kilimanjaro… It was a fulfillment of our life.. It was also a time where getting to know my husband well. The time where the life and death comes together. Then you knew how your relationship worth as a husband and wife. It was beautiful doing this climb of Kilimanjaro.

Now were in-love once again…

I wish I was in good condition…

to take images though, one of my camera were frozen. Only had the hand held canon and it took photos just fine. But only taken a few. I was focus on my plan that I have to Dance on the top of Kilimanjaro. Which I did.

You are only allowed to stay 15 minutes to take your photo taken.

And you were not the only one at this time.

As we descend from the pick, we were cruising the sandy and stony path dust all over until your nose bleed from sneezing.

 

IMPORTANT TIPS TO KNOW….

Bring yourself a super warm sleeping bag, DO NOT rent from your agency. It’s not warm enough for individual needs.

Good hiking shoes.. I bought mine from Lowa brand. Super comfortable.

Super warm but light clothing.

Flash lights and spare batteries.

You have to use walking sticks. It does help when going down the mountain. Even if you are so young.. your Knee will suffer from the down impact of walk.

Trekking Hero agency however are very helpful.
The people in Africa are all great really. The warmest people I ever met.

To summarize the above mention.. Here is my video on this trip. Please do share .. and thank you for reading..