Province of Camiguin
(clockwise from top) Camiguin island satellite image in 2016, Ferry in Camiguin, Guinsiliban Port, and Mount Hibok-Hibok as seen from White Island
Flag of Camiguin
Official seal of Camiguin
The Island Born of Fire[1]
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 9°10′N 124°43′E / 9.17°N 124.72°E / 9.17; 124.72
RegionNorthern Mindanao
ProvincehoodJune 18, 1966
and largest municipality
 • GovernorXavier Jesus D. Romualdo (PDP-Laban)
 • Vice GovernorRodin M. Romualdo (PDP-Laban)
 • LegislatureCamiguin Provincial Board
 • Total241.44 km2 (93.22 sq mi)
 • Rank80th out of 81
Highest elevation
(Mount Timpoong)
1,630 m (5,350 ft)
 (2020 census)[3]
 • Total92,808
 • Rank80th out of 81
 • Density380/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
  • Rank17th out of 81
 • Independent cities0
 • Component cities0
 • Municipalities
 • Barangays58
 • DistrictsLegislative districts of Camiguin
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP Code
IDD:area code+63 (0)88
ISO 3166 codePH-CAM
Spoken language
Income classification5th class

Camiguin, officially the Province of Camiguin (Cebuano: Probinsya sa Camiguin; Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Camiguin; Kamigin: Probinsya ta Kamigin), is an island province in the Philippines located in the Bohol Sea, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) off the northern coast of mainland Mindanao. It is geographically part of Region X, the Northern Mindanao Region of the country and formerly a part of Misamis Oriental province.

Camiguin is the second-smallest province in the country in both population and land area after Batanes.[4] The provincial capital is Mambajao, which is also the province's largest municipality in both area and population.[5]

The province is famous for its sweet lanzones, to which its annual Lanzones Festival is dedicated and celebrated every third weekend of October. It is home to lush interior forest reserves, collectively known as the Mount Hibok-Hibok Protected Landscape, which has been declared by all Southeast Asian nations as an ASEAN Heritage Park. The province also boasts three National Cultural Treasures, namely, the Old Bonbon Church ruins in Catarman, the Sunken Cemetery of Catarman, and the Spanish-era watchtower in Guinsiliban. The three sites were declared for “possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation.”

Additionally, the island province has numerous Important Cultural Treasures, such as the Old Mambajao Fountain - situated in the town's rotonda, the Old Mambajao Municipal Building, the façade of the Santo Rosario Church in Sagay, and 14 heritage and ancestral houses. The sites were declared for “having exceptional cultural, artistic and historical significance to the Philippines.” All cultural treasures were declared by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. There have been moves to establish a dossier nomination for the province to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.[6]

Camiguin is sometimes called Camiguin Sur ("South Camiguin") or Camiguin de Mindanao to distinguish it from Camiguin de Babuyanes of the Babuyan Islands, which in turn is referred to as Camiguin Norte ("North Camiguin"). Both are volcanic islands.[7][8]: 55 [9]


The name Camiguin is derived from the native word Kamagong, a species of ebony tree that thrives near Lake Mainit in the province of Surigao del Norte, in the mainland Mindanao, where the earlier inhabitants of the islands, the Manobos, originated. Kamigin, the local dialect of Camiguin, is the northernmost variant of the Manobo languages.[10]

An earlier Spanish geography book spells the island as Camiguing. There is reason to suppose the Spaniards dropped the final g,[8]: 42  given how the phoneme /ŋ/ does not exist in Spanish. Today it is rendered as Camiguín.


Early history

The island of Camiguin is believed to have been first inhabited by the Manobo people of Surigao del Norte, as evidenced by the distinctly connected language between the two groups. The island was used as a trading stop point by various merchants and traders from the Rajahnate of Butuan, the Kedatuan of Dapitan, the ancient people of the Anda peninsula, and possibly the Rajahnate of Cebu and the animist Maranao of Lanao before the Islamization of the Lanao provinces.

Spanish colonial era

Old Spanish documents indicate that the renowned explorers Ferdinand Magellan and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in Camiguin in 1521 and 1565, respectively. The first Spanish settlement was established in 1598 in what is now Guinsiliban. Guinsiliban, which comes from the old Kinamiguin word Ginsil-ipan (which means “to look out for pirates from a watchtower”) has an old Spanish watchtower where the Camiguinons kept watch for Moro pirates.[11]

The first major Spanish settlement, established in 1679, was called Katagman or Katadman (known as Catarman). The settlement grew and prospered but was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vulcan in 1871. The former location is what is now Barangay Bonbon of Catarman.[11]

Sagay, located south of Catarman, was formally established as a town in 1848. The word Sagay is derived from the name of poisonous fruit trees that grow in the area. Mambajao became a town in 1855. The name was coined from the Visayan terms mamahaw, meaning to usher breakfast, and bajao, which is leftover boiled rice. In the early 1900s, Mambajao prospered and became the busiest port in Northern Mindanao. Mahinog was established as a municipality in 1860. The name Mahinog comes from a Visayan word meaning "to ripen" or "to become ripe". Although Guinsiliban was the oldest settlement in the island, it was only in 1950 that it became a municipality. Mahinog was formerly governed by Mambajao while Guinsiliban was formally governed from Sagay.[11]

American invasion era

East side of Camiguin Island aerial view, circa pre-1944

In 1901, in the middle of the Philippine–American War, American soldiers landed in Camiguin to assume political control over the island. A group of Camiguinons, armed with bolos and spears, led by Valero Camaro, fought them in a short battle in Catarman. Valero Camaro was killed by a bullet in the forehead. Further study is needed before he and his band can be recognized as patriots in the same way the Katipuneros are recognized. There is no study that identifies an independence movement in Camiguin during the American occupation. However, a small detail with regards to the colonial resistance in Cagayan, Misamis indicates that Camiguinons supported in a clandestine way the revolutionary activities of the Cagayanons against the new colonizers. They offered their arms and ammunitions and a typewriter to the revolucionarios in Cagayan.[12]

In 1903, the first public school in Camiguin was built in Mambajao but what is known today as the Mambajao Central School was completed in 1912. On September 9, 1904, the first public water system, known as Las Aguas Potables de Mambajao, spearheaded by an admired civic leader by the name of Placido Reyes and co-operated by townspeople, was inaugurated.[13]

Japanese occupation era

On June 18, 1942, the Japanese Imperial Army landed in Camiguin and set up a government in Mambajao. They gutted central Mambajao in reprisal to guerrilla activities in the area. The remains of some of these buildings still exist today.[11]

Philippine independence

On July 4, 1946, the Philippines gained independence from the US. Camiguin was then part of Misamis Oriental. On June 22, 1957, Camiguin formally became a subprovince of Misamis Oriental through Republic Act No. 2021 signed by President Carlos P. Garcia.[14] [15]

Finally, on June 18, 1966 Camiguin was made into a separate province through Republic Act No. 4669[16] signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos, and formally inaugurated in 1968.[11]

Camiguinon citizens were among those who were victims of the human rights abuses during Martial law under Ferdinand Marcos; some of them were among the Northern Mindanaoans whose grievances were formally recognized and granted the right to reparations in 2014.[17]


Aerial view of Camiguin in 2023

The province consists primarily of Camiguin Island, as well as a few other surrounding minor islets including:


Camiguin Island is a pearl-shaped island with an area of approximately 238 km2 (92 sq mi).[4] The island measures about 23 kilometres (14 mi) at its longest and 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi) at its widest breadth.[18] The island is mountainous with the highest elevation reaching over 5,000 ft (1,500 m). It is encircled by a national road with a length of about 64 kilometres (40 mi). As of the August 1, 2007, census, the province has a fifth-class income classification with a population of 81,293.[19]

Administrative divisions

Camiguin comprises five municipalities, which are further subdivided into a total of 58 barangays.[4]

Political divisions


Population census of Camiguin
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 30,754—    
1918 37,839+1.39%
1939 40,805+0.36%
1948 69,599+6.11%
1960 44,717−3.62%
1970 53,913+1.89%
1975 52,547−0.51%
1980 57,126+1.68%
1990 64,247+1.18%
1995 68,039+1.08%
2000 74,232+1.89%
2007 81,293+1.26%
2010 83,807+1.11%
2015 88,478+1.04%
2020 92,808+0.94%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[20][21][21]

The population of Camiguin in the 2020 census was 92,808 people,[3] with a density of 390 inhabitants per square kilometre or 1,000 inhabitants per square mile.

The people of Camiguin are called Camiguingnon or Camiguinon (Spanish: Camigueños (m)/Camigueñas (f)). Cebuano is the most spoken language in the province, although Kinamigin is considered to be the indigenous language. Today, Kinamigin is still spoken by a few people in the municipalities of Sagay and Guinsiliban. Other languages spoken varyingly include Boholano dialect of Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Kapampangan and Waray.[22] Tagalog and English are also widely spoken and understood by the local population.[23]

Indigenous people

An indigenous people group, the Cinamiguin Manobo, are believed to have been the first inhabitants of Camiguin.[24] Their language, known as Kamigin, had 26,700 speakers as of the 2000 census.


Camiguin is a predominantly Roman Catholic province with 95%[citation needed] adherence. The remaining religions are represented by various Protestant and a few Islamic groups.


Sunset at Camiguin

The economy is based upon fishing and farming, with copra providing the greatest income contribution. Lanzones has since then became the main agricultural product of the island province.[23] Other agricultural products are abaca, rice, mangoes and other fruit trees. The growing tourism industry has improved the economy of the province. Small cottage industries have increased in number to accommodate the influx of visitors.


Camiguin has three colleges, all located in Mambajao: Fatima College of Camiguin (FCC), Camiguin Polytechnic State College (CPSC), with a satellite campus in Catarman, and Camiguin School of Arts and Trades (CSAT). A complete secondary and elementary education is provided as well, both in private and public schools. There are also day care centers offering nursery and pre-school education.

The province has a total number of 68 day care centers managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and 56 public and private elementary schools. There are 13 secondary schools, 3 private institutions and the rest government-owned. There is one special school, which accommodates underprivileged or special children, the Family-to-Family School and Farm, which is managed by a Non-Government Organization (NGO).

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) also offers vocational courses, as well as the Alternative Learning System Education Sector which helps individuals through its literacy and livelihood program.[32]

Man-made attractions

Lanzones Festival, where the lanzones fruit is celebrated by the whole island every third week of October in Mambajao

Lanzones Festival

Each year in the third week of October, a festival is held to celebrate the Lanzones (locally called bwahan/buahan),[what language is this?] a small grape-sized tropical fruit grown all over the island. Lanzones grown in Camiguin is considered to be the sweetest. The unique flavor is due to the richness of the volcanic soil. The week-long Lanzones Festival is one of numerous colorful events in the Philippines.


Several centuries-old Spanish Colonial and 20th century churches are found in various parts of the island.

Old ancestral homes

Beautiful and ornate ancestral homes dating back to the Spanish Colonial Period and American Colonial Period are still abundant and can be found along the streets of Camiguin. Fourteen of these heritage houses have been declared as Important Cultural Properties of the Philippines. These include the Borromeo ancestral house, Bacut ancestral house, Luspo ancestral house, Neri ancestral house, Nery ancestral house, Nerio-Chan ancestral house, Corrales ancestral house, Corrales y Gamali ancestral house, Francisco ancestral house, Juni ancestral house and Lim ancestral house, and Catalino Chan and Eleuterio Chan ancestral houses.[6]

Other structures

The province is dotted with numerous heritage structures and zones from the classical, Spanish, and American eras, but most of its heritage sites are from the 300-year Spanish colonial era.

Commemorative Cross later sunk to memorialise the Sunken Cemetery of Catarman.

Natural attractions


Hibok Hibok volcano crater

The island of Camiguin is of volcanic origin composed of four stratovolcanoes. Each volcano (except Mount Guinsiliban) is made up of several flank domes.[33] The only volcano on the island with historical eruptions is Hibok-Hibok, which last erupted in 1953.

Below is the list of volcanoes, arranged with respect to location from north to south:


Located just a few kilometers off the coast are the two islands of Camiguin.


Sunken Cemetery in 2018

Sunken cemetery

During the volcanic birth of Mt. Vulcan lasting from 1871 to about 1875, some areas in the town of Bonbon subsided, sinking the cemetery of the town to below sea level. The place is commemorated by a huge cross erected in 1982.[38]

Katibawasan Falls

Since then the municipality of Bonbon has been transferred to the town of Catarman.


Protected areas


Camiguin volcano cross frog

There are at least six vertebrate species are believed to be endemic to Camiguin.





Ferry to Camiguin with Mount Guinsiliban in the background

Natural calamities

Volcanic activity from 1871 to 1875

On February 16, 1871, earthquakes began to be felt on the island, which increased in severity until April 30, when a volcanic fissure opened up 400 yards southwest of the village of Catarman, northwest of Hibok-Hibok Volcano. Mt. Vulcan was born and continued erupting and pouring lava into the sea, at the same time gaining in height and width. In 1875, the Challenger expedition visited the area and described the mountain as a dome, 1,950 ft (590 m) in height, without any crater, but still smoking and incandescent at the top.[8]: 42 

The town of Catarman was destroyed and a portion of the town sank beneath the sea. The settlement moved to where the town center is presently located. All that remains today of old Catarman are the ruins of the ancient Spanish church, a convent, and a bell tower.

Eruptions from 1948 to 1951

From 1948 to 1951, Mt. Hibok-Hibok was constantly rumbling and smoking. The first minor eruption in 1948 caused little damage and loss of life, but in 1949, a larger eruption caused 79 deaths due to pyroclastic flows. The largest eruption occurred in the morning of December 4, 1951. The volcano unleashed lava flows, poisonous gases, and pyroclastic flows destroying nearly 19 square kilometers of land, particularly in Mambajao. All in all, over 3,000 people were killed. Before the eruption of Mt. Hibok-Hibok in 1951, the population of Camiguin had reached 69,000. After the eruption, the population was reduced to about 34,000 due to massive out-migration. Most who left moved to the mainland Mindanao, mainly around Misamis Oriental.[11][35]

Typhoon of 2001

A disastrous typhoon hit the province in the dawn of November 7, 2001. The tropical storm named Lingling (local name Nanang) brought buhawi (torrential downpours) on the mountains, causing multiple massive mudslides which killed about 200 inhabitants, most of whom were missing.[44]

See also


  1. ^ Montalvan II, Antonio J. (January 26, 2015). "London travel fair gets an exciting glimpse of Camiguin, 'island born of fire'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 18, 2016. Among the exhibitors from the Philippines this year is the island province of Camiguin in Mindanao that calls itself "the island born of fire."
  2. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Census of Population (2020). "Region X (Northern Mindanao)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "About Camiguin Province" Archived May 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Province of Camiguin Official Website. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Province: Camiguin". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Camiguin church ruins, Sunken Cemetery declared National Cultural Treasures". Inquirer Lifestyle. December 16, 2018.
  7. ^ Taxonomy of the Birds of the World The Complete Checklist of All Bird Species and Subspecies of the World. 2018. pp. 388, 424. ISBN 9783748165699.
  8. ^ a b c Becker, George Ferdinand; Martin, Karl (1901). Report on the Geology of the Philippine Islands. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  9. ^ "Camiguin island". BirdLife International. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  10. ^ "Manobo, Cinamiguin a language of the Philippines". OLAC Record. Retrieved on April 27, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "History" Archived May 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Province of Camiguin Official Website. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  12. ^ Bautista, Filomeno. The Philippine Revolution in Misamis Province (unpublished manuscript) as published in "The Local Historical Sources of Mindanao", edited by Fr. Francsico R. Demetrio, S.J. XU Press 1995.
  13. ^ Elio, Vicente. Las Aguas Potables de Mambajao. 1910
  14. ^ "Republic Act No. 2021 AN ACT CREATING THE SUBPROVINCE OF CAMIGUIN IN THE PROVINCE OF MISAMIS ORIENTAL". June 22, 1957. Retrieved February 18, 2023.
  15. ^ "R.A. No. 2021, An Act Creating the Subprovince of Camiguin in the Province of Misamis Oriental". Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  17. ^ Lagsa, Bobby (February 7, 2014). "Martial Law victims in N. Mindanao receive compensation". Rappler. Archived from the original on May 21, 2014. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  18. ^ Measured with Google Earth
  19. ^ "Region X (Northern Mindanao)" Archived April 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Philippine Standard Geographic Code Interactive. Retrieved on April 26, 2012.
  20. ^ a b Census of Population (2015). "Region X (Northern Mindanao)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region X (Northern Mindanao)" (PDF). Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. National Statistics Office. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  22. ^ Yamit, Neil (July 8, 2011). "Kinamigin: The Language of Camiguinons". Camiguin Guide. Retrieved on 2012-04-27.
  23. ^ a b "People" Archived April 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Province of Camiguin Official Website. Retrieved on April 27, 2012.
  24. ^ "Manobo, Cinamiguin | Ethnic Groups of the Philippines".
  25. ^ "Poverty incidence (PI):". Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  26. ^ "Estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. November 29, 2005.
  27. ^ "2009 Official Poverty Statistics of the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. February 8, 2011.
  28. ^ "Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population, by Region and Province: 1991, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 27, 2016.
  29. ^ "Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population, by Region and Province: 1991, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 27, 2016.
  30. ^ "Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population, by Region and Province: 1991, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 27, 2016.
  31. ^ "Updated Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population with Measures of Precision, by Region and Province: 2015 and 2018". Philippine Statistics Authority. June 4, 2020.
  32. ^ Provincial Government of Camiguin (2009). "Education" Archived October 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Province of Camiguin Official Web Site. Retrieved on October 25, 2010.
  33. ^ "Synonyms & Subfeatures - Camiguin" Archived October 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Global Volcanism Program. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  34. ^ "Eruptive History Camiguin". Global Volcanism Program. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  35. ^ a b "Hibok-Hibok" Archived July 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  36. ^ "Synonyms and Subfeatures" Archived October 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Global Volcanism Program. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.
  37. ^ Tangub Hot Spring Archived April 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Visayan Silent Gardens. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.
  38. ^ "Camiguin is famous Burat Republic..." - Department of Titie Tourism
  39. ^ "Places to See: Tuasan Falls" Archived June 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.
  40. ^ "Giant Clam Sanctuary in Camiguin" - Tara Lets Anywhere
  41. ^ "Finding Camiguin, the Island born of Fire" Archived April 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Province of Camiguin Official Website. Retrieved on April 26, 2012.
  42. ^ (2011). "Balingoan to Camiguin Ferry Schedule". Camiguin Island Tours. Retrieved on April 27, 2012.
  43. ^ "Schedule | Super Shuttle Roro". Super Shuttle Roro.
  44. ^ (2001-11-07). "Storm leaves 22 dead in Philippines". CNN World. Retrieved on April 25, 2012.