Making the most of the Camiguin Lanzones Festival
MANILA, Philippines - Every year, on the 3rd week of October, the laidback town of Mambajao in Camiguin comes alive with the Camiguin Lanzones Festival. Sweet, juicy lanzones are everywhere – from fruits for sale at street stalls and public markets to those adorning homes and street poles, and sometimes, some still ripening on roadside trees. Locals in vibrant costume dance and parade on the streets, celebrating the abundant harvest of lanzones. Every day, there are cultural shows and trade fairs of local handicrafts and other products.
For 2013, the Lanzones Festival (October 20-27) promises the same, and more. Here’s what you can do to make the most of the festival and your stay in Camiguin:
1. Don’t miss the colorful street dances on October 26 (Saturday) and 27 (Sunday). If you have time, try to attend as many events as possible. The one on October 26 is the main event, and the one on October 27 is the dance competition among the youth, the Kalanrakas sa Kabataan (Charivari-Street Dancing).
Watch the 2012 winning Camiguin Lanzones Festival dancers from jay son's YouTube:
If you are into beauty pageants, be at Camiguin a day early (October 25, Friday), to witness the Mutya sa Buahanan (Miss Camiguin Tourism), another festival highlight.
Tourists experiencing the festival the second time around can go to new events for 2013 like the horse and rodeo show. Returning tourists can generally expect a “grander festival this year,” according to the tourism office, as they say the province always tries to top the previous year’s festival.
To plan which events you will be attending, check out the festival schedule as well as other Lanzones Festival updates at the Camiguin Lanzones Festival Facebook page. You may also contact the tourism office at (088) 3871097 local 120 for your inquiries.
2. Eat the lanzones! No visit to the Lanzones Festival is complete without sampling the sweet – and relatively cheap – lanzones. Expected price range for one kilo of lanzones during the festival is Php30-Php40, though you can haggle for a lower price.
3. Stay close to the festival action. By now you should have already booked your hotel or pension house as tourists will flock to Camiguin come next week. Ideally, you should have a room in the town proper of Mambajao, Camiguin’s capital, to be in the middle of the festival action. Getting around Mambajao is also easy, with motorelas (tricycles) plying the roads, with fare usually at Php 8, though you may have to walk in some areas during the festival as some streets will be closed for the street dances.
If you are still looking for an accommodation, know that there are rooms as cheap as P300+ (GV Hotel). Note, though, that some hotels may increase their rates during the week of the festival. Also, stay at a place that has been reviewed by the Camiguin Tourism Office; it should be a part of the Camiguin Tourism Association.
If finding an available room at Mambajao town proper proves to be difficult, you can get an accommodation outside, but still near town and accessible by public commute. A good choice, especially if you want to relax with nature, is Enigmata Treehouse Ecolodge and Sculpture Garden, just a tricycle ride away from Mambajao.
4. Stay safe. While there is security in place during the week-long festival, stay alert and keep your belongings close to you amid the big crowds.
5. Take an island tour. Since you are already in Camiguin, allot some time to experience its attractions. With an area of approximately 238 square kilometers, Camiguin is the second smallest province in the Philippines, so you can visit many island attractions in just one day. Take a van tour (Php 2,500 good for 10-12 people) or a multicab tour (Php 1,700 good for 8 people and P2,000 good for 10-12 people). If you are traveling solo, you can also rent a habal-habal (motorbike). Price can be negotiated, and usually ranges from Php200-Php500.
How to get to Camiguin: The jump-off point to Camiguin is Cagayan de Oro. Depending on where you are coming from, take a plane, boat, or bus to CDO. (If you are coming from Cebu, though, you can just take a direct flight to Camiguin. And from Bohol, you can take a fastcraft to Camiguin.) From CDO, take the fast craft to Camiguin. The trip is 8am daily (Php 600). The fastcraft trip is approximately 3 hours or less.
If you don’t make the 8am trip, take a bus to Balingoan (around Php70 for ordinary bus, Php135 for aircon). Walk to Balingoan port and take a ferry (Php 170) to Camiguin. Total travel time is around 4 hours.
Below are recommended places for your island tour:
- White Island. As the name suggests, this is an island of white sand. There is a long sandbar you can walk through while taking in the picturesque backdrop of Mount Hibok-hibok and Mount Vulcan of Camiguin.
- Sunken Cemetery. A white cross dramatically rising from the sea marks the cemetery which was driven underwater during a volcanic eruption in the 1870s.
- Katibawasan Falls. Katibawasan’s cool waters, with their 70-meter high waterfall, are refreshing for a dip.
- Gui-ob Church Ruins. These are the ruins of a gray church and bell tower amid trees and greenery. There is one giant ancient tree which can easily take several people to wrap their arms around its trunk.
- Volcanic springs. Camiguin is an island of volcanoes and thus has several springs. The most popular one is arguably Ardent Hot Springs, which has water from Mt. Hibok-Hibok falling on natural rock pools and a large clear basin. Following it in popularity is Sto. Niño Cold Spring and Bura Soda Spring (yes, from natural soda water). Note, though, that these springs tend to get crowded during the Lanzones Festival, though Bura spring generally has lesser visitors.
Of course, there are more attractions to visit in Camiguin if you have more free days, like Mantigue Island, which also has nearby marine sanctuaries. Then there’s the giant clam sanctuary at Kebila Beach, with clams reaching up to one meter long. Ask the tourism office or your van/multicab driver for more places to explore.
Follow the tips above and you just might have a Camiguin experience you will never forget. Have a sweet and fun Lanzones Festival! - Rappler.com
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