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Babuyan Island : The Ultimate Northern Adventure

Where’s the best place in the Philippines? If you ask me, you are going to get a prejudiced answer. I made up my mind long ago and while I’ve seen plenty of other amazing places in this beautiful country. I think Babuyanes is the best for me, let me share to you why it is and will always be the best place for me.

kids in babuyan island
Kids in Babuyan Island

A part of it must be the difficulty of getting there. From Manila it takes at least fourteen hours by land to get to Aparri and then another four hours by boat to Camiguin Island. From there, it’s just a hop, but it never gets easy. Nor does it get boring, or ugly, or crowded with tourists. Ah….I love the Babuyanes!

bahay kubo
Typical House in Camiguin

The Babuyanes are five islands in Cagayan province. To the south- Isabella Province. To the East – The Sierra Madre. To the West – the Cordillera Mountains. The Islands are north of Aparri and are mostly without electricity or phone service. The residents are mostly Ilocano speaking but they can also speak Tagalog.

fishermen in Babuyan
After Fishing

The Islands are Calayan, Dalupiri, Fuga, Camiguin, and Babuyan Claro. Camiguin Island of the North have no resorts, no super ferries, no tour groups, and no man-made tourist attractions – only untouched nature and friendly locals. These islands are a place where you live the dreams of island life. There really isn’t anyplace else like them. The island doesnt have a public market, Why? Coz they catch their own fish!

sunset in babuyan island
Sunset in Camiguin

I know, I haven’t quite told you how to get to Babuyan Claro yet. I told you how to get to Camiguin Island and that’s probably where you will have to stay the first night. There are casitas available in Barangay Balatubat, and chances are that you will already be exhausted and in need of them when you arrive.

best beach
Clear Waters of Fuga Island

When you wake up, I know you are going to be all excited and crazy to rush straight to Babuyan Claro, but hold on a minute and take a second to stop and smell the fresh air. Since you’ve already come to Camiguin Island, don’t miss this great opportunity to do some bird watching or to take a whale watching cruise. Babuyan Claro is awesome, but so is watching a whale do a dorsal flip from a punch boat! There are Humpback whales and many other kinds. You can spot them on the horizon by watching for the spouting water. The best time to see them is during the winter when they migrate south from Alaska to breed and calve. In addition, there are a huge number of migratory and non-migratory birds in the area for you to feast your eyes on.

pamuktan beach
Virgin Beach in Pamuktan Island

Humpback’s are one of the most exciting whales to watch because of their size, energy, and acrobatic skills. Some of their killer moves are 1) The Breach – jumping out of the water 2) Lob Tailing – that’s the move where they arch their backs so the tails go high into the water 3) Flipper Slapper- the move where they slap a dolphin…no, just kidding…it’s really the move where the whale rolls and uses it’s side flippers to make huge watery splashes. The Humpback mating song is used by the whales to attract females. There is nothing quite like snorkeling and hearing the sound of humpback singing. The songs can last for hours and each song is unique to the male singing it.

dalmatian piglets
Sweet Dalmatian Piglets:)

While you are out watching the whales, ask your boat captain if they can take you to Fuga Island. It’s a long beach island with plenty of snorkeling, diving, and gorgeous sand to relax on, but the main reason I recommend you go there is because it makes a great place to have lunch. In fact, we’ve stayed there overnight when the weather or timing wasn’t right to reach Babuyan Claro. It’s a great place for driftwood campfires, scary stories, and looking up at the stars without having to look through the glare of city lights. After your lunch or in the morning head from Fuga Island and keep your eyes on the sea. No matter what time of the year it is, things can change rapidly here. You may be surprised at how much bigger the waves will get as you near the open sea.

rocky pamuktan beach
Pamuktan Beach

Fronting Camiguin is a tiny slice of paradise called Pamuktan Island, probably one of the most beautiful island I’ve seen so far. While we are heading to the small island, we already saw a couple of jolly dolphins, performing handful of show offs. The happy mammals are known to show off a little bit in this area. Don’t be surprised if you are scanning the horizon for them and you look down and see one of them looking up at you with a big smile! They usually find you before you find them. Usually they don’t mind if you get in the water and swim with them either. It’s a lot better if you have your snorkel and mask coz believe me, Its a whole lot of fun!!

Babuyan Island adventure is all about dreaming a vacation after it was over. It will give you a never-ending discovery, almost impossible to forget.

Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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