ISLANDS OFF MINDANAO
Adventures in the deep South of the Philippines
> More than 1 month in Surigao Archipelago, Sohoton Lagoon,
Guyam, Daku, Bucas Grande islands, and Cameguin island in the Philippines <
Oohhh, the Philippines… or 'Philip-nesia' as it maybe should have been named... So many islands, so many dreams of going with rusty ferries or wooden Bangka boats to reach a faraway port. A visit to this great country always involves the difficult choice of selecting where to go. If one goes to the Philippines and spend a single day on each of its islands, one would have to spend more than 19 years to visit them all. So what did we do then, when only having a few weeks, but wished for an island-adventure and something a bit more special?
We did some homework and screened books, magazines, and the internet for more unique landscapes and islands in the Philippine archipelago. Palawan was an obvious choice but we had already been there, but then there was the islands off the coasts of Mindanao. One option in this part of the Philippines was a small cluster of islands named the Siargao Archipelago, known for big waves, small idyllic isles, and a beautiful karst seascape. Another option was the volcanic island of Cameguin with steep green mountains, small fishermen’s towns, black beaches, and many waterfalls. We ended up visiting both places and were not disappointed. Both places are quite different from the many “traditional” beach resorts around the Central Visayas, Cebu Island, and Boracay. On top of this, the human culture seemed more preserved and both destinations offered both personal and truly authentic experiences.
Mindanao is the big island in the very South of the Philippines, and the entry point to the smaller islands of Cameguin and Siargao. Mindanao, mainly populated by Muslims, has often been associated with religious conflicts, separatist groups, and kidnappings. Nowadays there seems to be much rest in the region and traveling around should be easier - and less risky - than ever.