The Sunken Cemetery of Camiguin Island marks the swept remains of the island’s rested locals. Driven underwater when Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted in 1870’s, the large cross has served the town's people, as well as the tourists, a scenic spot to memorialize the departeds buried there.
The island province of Camiguin rests 10 kilometers off the coast of Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao. A traveler from the Mindanao region may go to Balingoan, Misamis Oriental then take an hour-long ferry ride to Camiguin Island. The ferry offers Roro services so the traveler may bring his car to the island for the Camiguin adventure. After paying the passenger fees, local taxes, wharfage, travelers load on the scheduled trip to the island.
Image : Inside the passenger ferry, going to Camiguin
Passengers may drop off at the Benoni Wharf, Camiguin and begin the trip to the Sunken Cemetery from there. Local transportation is available in the island to take the tourist from place to place, but it is best to have one’s own wheels to save time and tour as much place in the island as possible.
Image : Jump Off Port in Camiguin
A few minutes’ drive from wharf, the traveler will be able to pass through the inactive volcano Mt. Vulcan trail to the woods, and then stop at the gated ark marking the way to the Sunken Cemetery.
Image : Gate to the Sunken Cemetery boat terminal
Another ferry will take the travelers to the Large Cross. The local boatmen are very friendly and safety-conscious, that no one shall be allowed entry after 4pm.
Image : The boatmen of the Sunken Cemetery site
The water is shallow in the afternoon, but it can rise higher as twilight approaches. It is best to arrive at the Sunken Cemetery around after lunch as more natural light will emphasize one’s visit to the cemetery, and the water level is ideal, not too high to be unsafe returning on shore.
Image : Laps of water on the way to the Cross
On the way to the cross, one may catch a good view of Mt. Hibok-hibok in its mysterious aura. This volcano is the most active of the seven volcanoes in this pear-shaped island. The island also boasts its immense balance of flora and fauna, the soil is gifted of minerals, thanks to the volcanoes.
Image : Setting foot on the Sunken Cemetery marking's stairway
Touching down on the Sunken Cemetery gives about an overwhelming feeling of excitement and curiosity. This is somewhat a popular enchanted spot per local folklore. Being a location reminiscent of the deceased, it is no wonder that the sunken cemetery is dramatic to imagination.
Image : View of the nearby jungle from the Sunken Cemetery
The terrace and the cross are aged structure, and the reserved and mystifying air of the Sunken Cemetery only adds to its appeal especially for nature lovers. A Camiguin trip is not complete without experiencing the peculiar feeling of the place.
Image : The Lonely Marking
From a distance, one can see how lonely and solemn the place is. Entombed below the Cross are the lives lost to the history the people had been through, and place in itself already gave birth to the residents’ culture, history and tourism.
Image 10: Inside the Large Cross marking of the Sunken Cemetery
The stretch of the cross from the bottom of it doesn’t offer much of a view and safety measures but it suggests a few steps’ distance of seeing the island from another angle. It is, by the way, erected in 1980’s to mark the graveyard of ancient inhabitants, before it was sunken to the waters in the eruption of Mt. Vulcan Daan in 1871, as revealed by talking to the residents.
Image : The Cross a heartbeat away
After taking pictures and breathing in some fresh air, tourists can go back to the shore via the same boat that took them to the cemetery.
Image 12: Tourists viewing the waters that ate up the cemetery while residents tell its tale
If the timing permits, it is also captivating to take a view at the waters below where one can put his imagination at work. There live some fishes and reefs that share the same abode to the tombs of the Sunken Cemetery.
Image 13: Taken from the stairway, displaying the short distance to the shore
When the sun dips low to the waters, loading off to the shore becomes an immediate task that needs to be done. The gates close in early nighttime as a practice of safety for the people going there.
Images : Tourists checking out items on a local souvenir shop; and A local-made handicraft from the store
Going back to the wharf is an option for a tourist if there is no accommodation booked. There, while waiting for the scheduled ferry trip, travelers may check out several souvenir shops. Different articles and food items are available for sale at reasonable prices. Of the fruits, one of the must-buys is the lanzones, with its entirely rich sweetness.
Image 16: Docked Roro in Balingoan from Camiguin (Island on the Background)
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