Journey Through the Phillipines Part 2
Camiguin IslandOur next stop was Camiguin Island, one of Phillipines’ more tranquil islands. Just like many other places we visited on our journey with Zegrahm, it is yet to be corrupted by large scale tourism and of an ideal size for a day’s exploration. Camiguin has more volcanoes per square kilometre than any other island on earth, and would not look out of place in Hawaii!
First, we stopped along the coast to watch local fishermen recoil their enormous nets brimming with day’s catch. We visited a colonial Spanish church in Sagay, now known as the Green church because of the environment-friendly materials used to showcase the creativity of the church designers . I loved the rustic beauty of it, especially the quirky chandeliers from driftwood, bamboo columns and sawali (woven bamboo skin) walls.
Behind the altar is a small museum with a collection of pastel-coloured glimmering vestments used by priests throughout the year. Afterwards, another decadent lechon feast. Lechon – a whole roasted pig cooked over charcoal – is a national dish of the Philippines, and is mostly served as a centre piece at weddings, fiestas and birthdays. The pig is roasted on all sides for several hours until done; the lengthy process of cooking and basting results in making the pork skip really nice and crisp, a distinctive feature of the dish.We stopped by a “child-friendly school”, which is probably my favourite sign from last year’s travels!
Mantigue IslandWatching sunset with my dive master on Mantigue Island following another spectacular afternoon of diving and exploring the island on foot.
LimasawaNext we stepped ashore on the gorgeous Limasawa Island, one of the country’s most historically significant islands. Ferdinand Magellan landed here in March 1521, and held the first Catholic Mass ever in the Philippines. Limasawa is now known as the birthplace of the Church in the Philippines. Capul IslandCapul Island is small and off the main tourist route, and yet just like Limasawa it is historically significant. During the Spanish Era, it became a frequent stop-over for ships in and out of the Philippines during the Acapulco trade (hence the name Capul derived from Acapulco, an old trading post in Mexico). We visited an 18-th century lighthouse built on the island that served as a guidepost for galleon trade vessels passing through the treacherous waters of San Bernardino Strait. The people of Capul possess a rich cultural heritage including a language unique to this small island. Bohol Island
In Bohol, we visited one of Philippines’ most famous geological formations. Chocolate Hills is a a unique landscape of almost perfectly conical hills. There are almost 1,800 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres. Each hill is covered in green grass that turns the shade of chocolate during the dry season and hence the name!
Afterwards, we visited Rajah Sikatuna National Park, a bird watcher’s paradise and a haven for nature lovers. One of my favourite stops was the butterfly sanctuary, which seeks to protect and strengthen the natural environment of butterflies through plant research, breeding and releasing.
Ticao IslandThe last island on our itinerary before we disembarked our ship in Manila. We spent the afternoon in a rarely visited fishing village, Torogon.