Camiguin Island, Philippines: A Vacation with a Purpose

Sea & Sun Resort - View of Camiguin Island from the plane. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen
View of Camiguin Island from the plane. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen

A small belt of spotless white sand rests peacefully in a bed of clear blue waters gently kissing its shores with a turquoise hue.

The peaceful waves seem to go on for an eternity until the peak of a volcano becomes visible between breaks in the wispy clouds and slowly widens until it becomes part of the island.

Amongst the blue sky and crystal blue waters sits this little piece of heaven – Welcome to Camiguin Island.

Camiguin is an island province in the Philippines. Located in the Bohol Sea about 10 kilometers from the northern coast of Mindanao, the island is known for its beautiful seas and beaches. 

A friend had recommended I visit the Sea and Sun Resort, a unique resort created with the goal of helping those in need. I was excited to see not only the island, but the resort as well.

View from one of the houses at Sea and Sun Resort in the Philippines. Photo by Allison Pond
View from one of the houses at Sea and Sun Resort in the Philippines. Photo by Allison Pond

Sea & Sun Resort: Camiguin Island, Philippines

Sea and Sun Ministries and Resort was started after two friends — Wenche Thorkildsen from Norway and Edith Villamor from the Philippines — were on vacation in Camiguin.

Despite the beauty of the island, Camiguin is not free of poverty.

The women saw the need and felt called to do something, thus the start of Sea and Sun Ministries International.

Using the natural beauty of the island to their benefit, the two decided to open a beach resort as a way to financially support their ministries as well as provide more employment on the island.

The resort opened to the public in 2005 with five beach houses, a spa, and a restaurant.

Now the resort provides employment for 10 people and all of the profits go to fund the ministries of Sea and Sun, which include a scholarship program and other community outreaches.

Children from the island that Sea and Sun International work to send to school. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen
Sea and Sun International helps to send many island children to school. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen

Sea and Sun has helped hundreds of students go to school and over 40 have already graduated college.

They are currently assisting in sending 44 students to high school and 20 to college. The students not only go to school, but are also taught important life skills and values.

Sea and Sun has also opened their home to 13 students, providing them with a healthy family environment where they are loved and affirmed.

Now guests can come and experience Camiguin in a unique resort that offers more than just relaxation and a good view.

The resort manages to combine the feel of a luxury beach resort with the inviting vibe of a bed and breakfast. The hosts and staff are very friendly and love interacting with their guests, which makes for a light and homey environment.

Guests feel like they are vacationing at home. Sea and Sun host guests all year round.

Dining at Sea & Sun Resort

The dining experience at Sea and Sun is excellent. Sitting out in the open beach air with the perfect view of the ocean, guests are served a feast of delicious traditional Filipino food.

Guests can rest assured that their fish is fresh and their veggies haven’t traveled far, as the resort strives to provide local organic food.

The chef never fails to delight with dishes that bring together the local flavors and fresh produce in a way that leave your taste buds amazed and have you asking for the recipe every time.

The food is only half of the dining experience, though. While enjoying a homemade meal, guests can enjoy a view that is just as amazing as the food.

Nothing beats watching the sunset over the beach while enjoying a feast of Filipino food and fresh tropical fruits. Dinning at Sea and Sun alone is worth the trip.

Dining area at Sea and Sun Resort. Photo by The Sea and Sun Resort in the Philippines. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen
Dining area at Sea and Sun Resort. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen

House by the Sea: Camiguin Island

The resort currently has five small beach houses each with a balcony overlooking the beach.

Each house has two bedrooms with double beds, though two more single mattresses can be provided to house if needed (fitting up to 6 people).

This makes it a great location for large groups and families. The houses also contain a living room and a small kitchen for those that wish to cook their own meals.

The larger houses cost about $93 a night and the smaller houses $83. This rate includes daily house cleaning and laundry.

The Sea and Sun Resort in the Philippines. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen
The Sea and Sun Resort in the Philippines. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen

Sleeping in these cozy rooms with the cool beach air and the sound of waves crashing upon the shore may be the most restful sleep of your life.

The balcony is perfect for those lazy days when you just want to sit down with a good book and cup of coffee, or just kick back and enjoy the view. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a nice breeze.

It is no exaggeration to say that these houses take relaxation to the next level. Whether it is the air or the lack of city noise, it is hard not to feel peaceful and carefree here.

Beach at Camiguin Island. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen
Beach on Camiguin Island. Photo by Wenche Thorkildsen

Explore Camiguin Island

While the resort itself is beautiful, there is so much more on the island to see. Take a day to see the all the island has to offer.

This tiny island only takes two hours to drive completely around and the resort staff will happily take you for a drive to see the sites.

Stop by the famous sunken cemetery and see the historic grave site that was buried under water after an earthquake in 1871.

You can take a boat out to the cross that was built as a memorial or swim and get a close up view of the sunken graves.

It is also nice to stop as one of the many cold and/or hot springs on the island or take a look at some of the history at well-preserved sites like the old church.

View from the coast of Camiguin Island. Photo by Allison Pond
View from the coast of Camiguin Island. Photo by Allison Pond

If you are a health nut, take stop by the Bee Hive for some organic coffee (a whole bag for under $2!) and a healthy snack.

They even have organic honey made right there on the island. A trip to Camiguin is not complete until you have visited the White Island which is only a short boat ride away from the resort.

This is the most expensive excursion you could do, which truly says something about the affordability of this island as it costs less than $10 for the whole boat, round trip.

Even the most well-traveled beach lover will be blown away by this hidden gem.

Whether you just want to lay out and get your tan on or splash around in the perfectly clear water, the White Island is the perfect place for both.

There is no doubt I will be visiting again and bringing friends. As all the staff joke, Camiguin means “come again” and come again I certainly will.

If You Go to Camiguin Island

The easiest way into Camiguin is through Cebu by plane. There are daily flights from the Cebu International Airport at 5:45am through Cebu Pacific.

If you have to stay in Cebu for a night, there are several nice hotels nearby, including the Waterfront Hotel located right across from the airport.

If you plan to visit other islands, there are also ferries going back and forth from Camiguin to Bohol or Balingoan.

When you arrive in Camiguin, you will be picked up and taken to the resort. Bring some cash if you want to buy souvenirs or snacks while you are out.

Alcohol is not permitted on the resort due to the demographic that Sea and Sun ministry works with, but with there is so much else to enjoy on the island that alcohol will hardly be missed. Don’t forget sun screen and a healthy appetite!

Sea and Sun Resort
The resort handles bookings individually. To book a room, contact [email protected]

Janna Graber
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