It's #TravelThursday here at Organized! by Pam as I count down the days until my first trip of the year! Together with my soul sisters and our plus ones, we're going to Camiguin! (With a little sidetrip to Cagayan de Oro.) Each Thursday before August 21 (our trip date), I'll walk you through my planning process for this getaway. After finalizing our flight details + getting a gist of the places we want to visit or adventures we want to have, plotting out the accommodation is the next logical step in my book. Booking in advance is the way to go as you get cheaper rates plus a good selection of rooms. After several hours of Googling, travel blog reading and phone conversations with concierge, we've finally reserved our hotels for the trip! I'm making the most out of the work I've put into researching by sharing with you the shortlist I came up with, in case you wander across these lovely and humble places here in the Philippines.
A little context: we're flying from Manila to Cagayan de Oro and stopping over for one night before we hop on a ferry straight to Camiguin Island and vacationing there for three days and two nights!
Let the hotel shopping begin!
Cagayan de Oro
'Top of the Line' Pick :: N Hotel
Website // Price per night: ~Php 3,500 (USD 80)* for a Deluxe Room with buffet breakfast
When I was researching a good place to stay for our one-night CDO stopover, I came across this hotel via TripAdvisor. It had really great reviews and the photos simple resonated with me. I'm not a fan of hotel rooms that look too business-y, if you know what I mean, and their rooms (at least the Deluxe one) had pops of bright colors, just enough to make the room feel cozy and welcoming.
The three-star hotel isn't lacking in amenities as well. The modest line-up include adult / kiddie swimming pools, an all-day cafe, fitness gym, business centers and function rooms. They also have wi-fi inside the hotel rooms!
'Backpacker' Pick :: DDD Habitat Pension House
Website // Price per night: ~Php 650 (USD 14)* with breakfast
Pension houses are a great way to save on accommodation expenses. I've read a couple of travel blogs recommending DDD Habitat such as this one. Pension houses have the basic amenities nailed down such as room service, massages, car parking and in-room wi-fi. What I do like about their rooms is the use of indigenous Filipino tribal accents. It's not for everyone but definitely a good option to consider.
A rather important note: DDD Habitat is not centrally located but it is near Agora Bus Terminal where you can hop on a bus going to Balingoan Port to catch a ferry to Camiguin. If you're looking for a backpacker hotel nearer to the city center, I've good reviews for Willshire Inn.
OUR PICK: TUNE HOTELS
Website // Price per night: ~ Php 1,290 (USD 30)* for a Double Room
When booking accommodations, one thing that's always a huge factor is the itinerary. For me, it doesn't make sense to pick a super cheap hotel but located way off the city center. This just means spending more time + money on traveling back and forth. Also, since CDO is basically just a stopover in this trip (we're only staying for one night!), it doesn't make sense to splurge on a resort-type hotel either.
For these reasons, we picked the no-fuss and no-frills Tune Hotel. For a relatively low price, you can book a polished + clean + basic room that's right smack in the city center. It's a perfect balance between the perks of a resort-type hotel room and a budget-friendly backpacker hotel. Definitely a win in my books!
Time for the main event! We will ride a ferry from Cagayan de Oro to get to this pristine island and we're staying for three days and two nights so comfort and convenience are definitely at the top of the criteria. From my research, there are quite a number of options and *spoiler alert!* we picked the people's choice (basically the most talked about resort). We were actually considering a different resort that had a more quaint and native vibe to it but our large number (nine in total!) couldn't quite fit into the resort's room options without spending more than we should have.
'Quaint + Native' Pick :: Nypa Style Resort
Website // Price per night: Depends on which bungalow you pick but the lowest I've seen is Php 1,600 (USD 35)*
Nypa Style Resort is run by Italian owners who fell in love with the quietly magnificent island. I've talked to one of the owners via phone when I was inquiring about the accommodations and he went above and beyond to explain each of the differently styled nipa huts to me. Plus! They've been known to brew really good espresso!
The resort itself is not located along the sea but around 500m inland but if you're wanting to somewhat immerse yourself in tropical island living, you'll definitely get that with their nipa style accommodations!
Our Pick: Paras Beach Resort
Website // Price per night: Php 3,500 (USD 80)* for the Family Loft
When I saw their website, I knew we were onto a winner. There's a reason why this resort seems to be the crowd favorite: they've got great views of the ocean + lots of room options + affordable prices. On top of that, they've got a lot of tourist-y activities for you to try such as jet skiing and wakeboarding for when you're feeling a little more adventurous.
The winning factors were definitely the convenience of having it all in one place + flexible room options (important for a large group such as ours). I'm already forecasting a relaxing three-day loungefest! I'll report back after the trip ;)
Images: tengturista / hotel photos taken from hotel websites
* Prices are always changing for hotels so make sure that you check their website beforehand. This is just the price, as of writing, when I looked up my travel date.
There you have it! Shortage of good accommodation options is definitely not a problem here but sometimes, it makes the whole picking-and-choosing process a lot harder than it should be. Since I've spent quite a number of hours researching, I thought listing out my top picks will help some of you plan your own trip to Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin.
Vacation planning can be a stressful experience but definitely doesn't have to be! As long as you key in on your intention for your vacation - relaxation, discovering new places, meeting new people, etc. - the whole planning process will go a lot smoother.