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5 Things you can do on Mantigue Island

That the Philippines has over 7,000 islands is a known fact – no small thanks, I suppose, to its repeated claim in beauty pageants (starting with the now infamous Charlene Gonzales’ attempt in Miss Universe). All the same, the essence of the claim remains true; this country has a lot of islands that discovering every one of them could be a big challenge, indeed…

But facing this challenge is I’d say worth it, particularly when one’s already in the smaller – and least developed – islands. Think of Mantigue Island Nature Park off the coast off Camiguin in the Bohol Sea, about 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) off the northern coast of Mindanao. There, there really isn’t much; though that may be exactly why it’s definitely worth a visit…

Mantigue, by the way, is a small island of about four hectares (9.9 acres) of greenery with a white beach of coral sand. It is known for its white sand beach, as well as being a drop-off point for snorkeling and even diving. Also known as Magsaysay Island, it can be reached by bangka (light water craft) after 25–30 minutes from Brgy. San Roque in the town of Mahinog.

Here are five things that can be done on Mantigue Island…

1. Go for a swim. The water is generally peaceful, so that going for a dip in the at-times blue and at-times green waters is not just refreshing, but even rejuvenating. If the famed Boracay can irritate (depending on the season) because of those algae, here, the water is always clear, so…

2. Visit the greenery. As an “enclosed” space, the island has a mini-forest in the middle that’s worth discovering. Much like the greeneries on some of the islands in Pangasinan (think Hundred Islands), this one here can also be enjoyed via a leisurely walk.

3. Take pics. One side of the island shows Mount Hibok-Hibok, majestic from the distance. The other sides show open waters. No matter the angle, though, this place is picturesque (thanks, too, to the fact that it’s largely untouched).

4. Mingle with the locals. There is still a very small fishing village located in the northern side of the island, and you’d be… touched by the stories of the locals – from State abuses as they are “encouraged” to leave the island, to surviving seemingly away from the “real” world, to braving the waters to make a living, to just being one with nature (very “The Old Man and the Sea”). Being socially aware while enjoying nature can be poetic, indeed…

5. Find yourself. Yes, metros like Manila, Cebu and even Davao are appealing because things are always happening there. But sometimes, that very noise forces us to get detached from ourselves – we become too busy with the need to catch up with the hustle and bustle of everything around us. So that when in a place like Mantigue, things seem to… stop. And regrouping can be possible.

So if you’re in Cagayan de Oro (another up-and-coming city) or even Iligan or at least in the vicinity of these cities, try to allocate some time to head out of the used and tested streets to discover the likes of Mantigue where rustic (and yes, rural) wonders may do you some good…

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