White Island: The Gem of Camiguin

White Island Camiguin

Have you ever marveled at the breathtaking beauty of an elegant ring, earring, or pendant? You would probably realize that it’s not the shiny setting or the intricate design that mainly draws your attention to it. It’s the gem, the heart of the ring—be it a ruby, diamond, emerald, or pearl—that makes the jewelry come to life. In the beautiful island of Camiguin, that gem is the idyllic White Island.

Sweetie and I definitely included visiting White Island in our Camiguin adventure itinerary. So, after eating a delicious and satisfying breakfast, we headed to Barangay Yumbing in Mambajao where we can rent a boat to take us to White Island.

The road to the pier is lined up with souvenir shops, stores, inns, and carenderias, all catering to local and foreign tourists who wish to have a great time at an affordable price.

White Island Camiguin

This police outpost also serves as the cashier where tourists pay P480 to rent a boat. After you register, the attendants here will reserve a boat for you. This frees you from the hassle of finding a boatman who can be difficult to find during peak season.

White Island Camiguin

That’s our boat! These outriggers can carry a maximum of 7 people, including the driver. With the provincial seal painted on the hulls and laminated Green Fin placards pinned on the tarp supports, these boats are officially registered to ferry people to White Island.

White Island Camiguin

While the boatman prepared our boat, we took the opportunity to head out into a rocky embankment to take a photo of the sapphire waters of Bohol Sea. Can you see White Island from here?

White Island Camiguin

Sir Jo and the driver signaled to us that the boat was ready for boarding. Be careful when boarding the outrigger as the wooden planks can be slippery. Don’t hesitate to ask for a helping hand.

White Island Camiguin

Casting off! Sweetie and I together with our rafting partner Sir Marc were pretty excited to set foot on the acclaimed White Island.

White Island Camiguin

See that tiny strip of white? That’s where we were going. As you can see, White Island is a pretty small place, but don’t let its size deceive you in thinking it’s less of a paradise than first-class beach resorts. White Island is 1.4 kilometers off Mindanao’s northern shore.

White Island Camiguin

As we approached nearer to White Island, we can see where it got its name. Even at a considerable distance, the pure white sand stands out from the aquamarine water. Also, there were already a quite a number of boats even though it was still around 8AM.

White Island Camiguin

We finally arrived at White Island and excitedly jumped off the boat to squiggle our toes in the warm sand.

White Island Camiguin

Look at all that gorgeous white sand and that beautiful lagoon! Of all the islands we’ve visited, we conclude that White Island is the epitome of a postcard-perfect tropical paradise. And it doesn’t cost you millions to get here!

White Island Camiguin

At the break of dawn, vendors from the mainland sail to White Island and set up these stalls where visitors can buy meals, snacks, and drinks. Just like in any other touristy place, the merchandise here costs considerably more than in the mainland. Thus, we recommend buying your food and beverages from the mainland.

Visitors may also rent tables from these vendors for P50 if they do not wish to eat or sit on the sand, which can get uncomfortably hot as the day progresses.

White Island Camiguin

Often, fishermen come by and invite guests to sample their catch. As we changed to our swim suits, a fisherman came by and offered us these spiny urchins as a meal.

White Island Camiguin

White Island does not have natural shelter of any kind. As the day wears on, the place becomes uncomfortably hotter. In fact, guides usually advise visitors to go to the island early in the morning, from 6 AM to 10 AM when the sun isn’t at its hottest, or in the late afternoon.

To combat the heat and glare, visitors may rent these colorful beach umbrellas for a minimal fee.

White Island Camiguin

Sweetie and I could not resist the water anymore, so we walked down the sandbar and had a refreshing dip in the lagoon. A lovely view of Camiguin Island and its verdant mountains served as a beautiful background as we frolicked in the water.

White Island Camiguin

That’s a magnificent sandbar, don’t you think? White Island is shaped like a horseshoe or a letter C, with a large lagoon in the middle. The tides constantly resize and reshape the sandbar’s form. It’s a perfect place to shoot sunrises and sunsets.

White Island Camiguin

As mentioned earlier, the sandbar is in the form of a letter C, and at the center of that C is a glowing, azure lagoon that is filled with a liquid so clear and pure that it is almost impossible to think that it’s just mere water. This was Sweetie’s favorite part of White Island; the white edge is shallow enough so that she can walk on the sand without having to swim. The darker part is around 7 to 15 feet deep.

White Island Camiguin

Just look how clear the water is. It was almost like swimming in a sand-bottomed swimming pool!

White Island Camiguin

Now let’s check out that lagoon, which is a perfect place for snorkeling. As a natural garden of sea grass, corals, rocks, and sand, White Island’s lagoon teems with life.

White Island Camiguin

Fan-shaped corals like these are plentiful in the lagoon.

White Island Camiguin

Protect the corals. They are homes to innumerable species of fish.

White Island Camiguin

The corals are pretty to look at and seem to make good decors at home. However, never take them away from the sea floor. Taking out corals, fish, and other marine organisms in the lagoon is prohibited by environmental law.

White Island Camiguin

That’s Nemo, a typical clownfish! Nemo wasn’t shy. When I dove down to get a shot of him, he didn’t swim away. Instead, he actually swam up to me as if to say, “Hello, there!”

White Island Camiguin

Marked by the presence of wrasses (the little blue fish), this is a cleaning station, an important part of a healthy reef system. It is here where the symbiosis of mutualism is at its finest. A cleaning station is a section of a reef or lagoon where fish congregate to be cleaned. You see, at night, when fish hide deep in the cracks to sleep, tiny ectoparasites climb over them, usually on their scale, fins, gill slits, and mouth. Since they don’t have fingers to pluck the parasites off, they go to a cleaning station to get rid of parasites.

At a cleaning station, the fish that needs to be cleaned positions its body in such a way to signal to the wrasses that it needs cleaning. The wrasses then eat parasites, dead skin, and dead scales from the fish, often swimming inside the mouth and gill cavities of the fish being cleaned.

At some point during the day, all fish in the reef are cleaned. These stripped fish are probably waiting for their turn to get cleaned.

White Island Camiguin

After more than an hour in White Island, we were ready to go back to the mainland to continue our Camiguin tour.

White Island Camiguin

During peak season, hardworking fishermen such as our cool guide act as boatmen and tour guides for visitors to earn additional income.

White Island Camiguin

Sweetie did her share of protecting the environment.

White Island Camiguin

After our visit in this seemingly ordinary sandbar, we can confidently say that White Island is undoubtedly Camiguin’s elegant gem.


1. To go to White Island, take a habal-habal or motorela to Barangay Yumbing in Mambajao. Just tell the driver to drop you off the pier for White Island. The fare depends on where you are.

2. The boat fare is P480 per boat, which you can pay at the wharf’s police outpost (price can change without prior notice). They’ll be the ones to assign you a boatman, which saves you the hassle of searching for one. The fare also covers the return trip, which means that the boatman will wait for you at White Island. The boatman can watch over your things as you frolic in the water.

3. You can rent life vests and snorkeling equipment at the pier for a minimum price. We brought our own, so we don’t know how much the rental is. We’re pretty sure it won’t go above P50.

4. White Island does not have any natural shelter of any sort. Thus, the sandbar can get really hot as the day wears on. We recommend going to White Island early morning (around 5 to 6 AM) or late afternoon (4 to 5PM) if you wish to avoid the hot sun. As a bonus, you can take great shots of sunrises and sunsets.

5. As mentioned above, there is no natural shelter in White Island. Protect yourself from the sun by:

  • renting a beach umbrella (rental is P50)
  • bringing your own beach umbrella
  • renting a table under the shade of a makeshift stall (rental is P50 a table)

6. To save money, bring your own meals, snacks, and beverages to White Island. Remember that just like in all other tourist spots, products sold in White Island are considerably more expensive than those sold on the mainland.

7. The local government is working hard to maintain the cleanliness of the island. Do not litter; take your trash with you and dispose of it properly when you return to the mainland.

8. White Island is a protected marine sanctuary. Taking corals, fishes, and other marine organisms is strictly prohibited. Check the Green Fins card on your boat and in Yumbing Wharf for more details on do’s and don’ts.

White Island Camiguin

9. Pack light but bring the following:

  • water (at least two liters)
  • sandals or booties
  • umbrella, hat, or sarong
  • snacks and soft drinks
  • bathing suit or swimming attire
  • sunblock
  • a small bottle of vinegar (for jellyfish stings)
  • extra clothes
  • extra money for emergencies

10. Be sure to waterproof your stuff that are vulnerable to damage when wet. An easy way to do this is to place them inside Zip-lock plastic bags or dry bags.

About Gian and Sheila

Rock climbers. Mountaineers. Sweethearts on adventure. Adrenaline Romance is a photoblog that belongs to a loving couple who has an eternal lust for adventure. The blog contains experiences, tips, itineraries, and other useful information regarding adventuring in the Philippines and beyond.

22 comments on “White Island: The Gem of Camiguin

  1. You take beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing and the white island is indeed beautiful. Am glad it’s clean and unspoiled and glad that the local government is conscious enough to keep white island in its pristine state. 🙂

  2. I may say that this is better than Boracay. Unexploited and very refereshing especially the pictures you have captured. By the way, that urchins you featured, I heard you can eat it raw.

    • Hi Shirgie,

      Yes, it’s very clean and relatively isolated. White Island is a lovely paradise to visit if you wish for peace and quiet.

      Yes, you can eat it raw. Just crack the shell and scoop out the meat inside it. 🙂

  3. If not for my cancelled flight to Cagayan last Friday, I could have visited White Island. Nice pictures! Lovely couple by the way 🙂

    • Hi Ganessa,

      Your cancelled flight to CDO and the slight change in your itinerary were indeed a blessing in disguise. Keep safe always. And don’t worry, Camiguin is just a land trip and a ferry ride away from Davao. We haven’t been to Davao yet. Hope we can visit the wonderful places there. BTW, you’ve got a great blog!

      Thanks for the compliment about the photos. 🙂

  4. i love the view… Philipines is beautiful and makes me really want to go there..

  5. Wow! What amazing pictures! After viewing these pictures, I must say Philippines such a beautiful and admirable country for me. I will definitely come to your place someday.

  6. Lovely pictures! When I went there with friends, we’re the first – too excited perhaps? hehe We got there before sunrise! lol

    • Hi Catherine,

      Thank you so much for the compliment. You had a great timing, actually; the guides told us that sunrises are spectacular when viewed from White Island and recommended that we visit the island before sunrise. However, going there before sunrise would affect our itinerary and schedule.

      Post/share your White Island sunrise photo; we’re sure it would be awesome!

    • .. what a lovely place!

  7. I have been in Philippines 5 times, in Cagayan de Oro
    Unhappily there are no beaches in CdO
    The last time I have to take a 2 hours ride in a bus to go from CdO to Ducay bay, it was nice but a small beach
    God’s willI, I will try to go next time to go to Camiguin, but it is funny to be in the country of the 7.000 islands and to ride 2 hours to find a beach specially when you live by the sea like in CdO
    But anyway I love Philippines and his people
    God bless you and bless Philippines and Filipinos

    • Hi Bill,

      Thank you so much for taking time to visit our blog. And thank you for loving the Philippines and its people.

      Come to think of it, you’re quite right on one point about 7K plus islands but not that many beaches to be found. That also got us scratching our heads. Hehehe!

      But as we travel more, we have developed a certain mindset. We tend to see and appreciate the unique characteristics of each place we visit. Or perhaps, we see the potential of that area to be a great tourist spot, economic driver, cultural hub, etc.

      What does this premise have to do with beaches? A lot actually. You see, we once had this notion that good beaches should have white-sand, swaying palms, turquoise waters, etc. But in our travels, we found very lovely beaches with huge pebbles instead of sand; drop-offs and coral reefs instead of sand; or rocky forest-covered crags instead of sand. These beaches are unique in their own way.

      This is our own take: it really depends on what kind of beach you want or how you want your beach to be. There are beaches with the whitest sands, beaches with lovely rock formations, beaches that end in towering cliffs, beaches that are best defined as dive spots rather than swimming areas, etc. Heck, even squatters consider areas near a polluted, filthy, congested pier as their beach.

      All these beaches (and more) are found all over the Philippines; it’s really just a matter of finding and choosing what you consider a beach.

  8. […] great white rafting / kinabuhi / adrenaline romance / senyorita / rjd […]

  9. […] Photo from:  https://adrenalineromance.com/2013/07/25/white-island-the-gem-of-camiguin/ […]

  10. […] White Island, Camiguin. Taken from Adrenaline Romance […]

  11. […] Photo from:  https://adrenalineromance.com/2013/07/25/white-island-the-gem-of-camiguin/ […]

  12. […] come to life. In the beautiful island of Camiguin, that gem is the idyllic White Island. Read more. Blog post by Adrenaline Romance. 4. Maria Cristina […]

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