Bathing with the Carabaos at Hagnaon Spring, Camotes Islands
GPS waypoint:10°40'38.55"N 124°27'29.3"E Location: San Jose (barangay), Poro (municipality), Camotes Islands, Cebu (province), Philippines Fee: free
Heard it through the Local Grapevine After my dip at Capasanan Spring, I was stoked. Feeling lucky, I asked more locals for water springs. A name that kept popping up was Hagnaon Spring. But no one could fully give me directions except to say, "it's on the way to Cansabusab". Even on the map, they couldn't point it out. It was in the middle of nowhere with no landmarks.
In Search of... It wasn't easy getting to Hagnaon Spring. From the main road, there was an obscure sign - that was it. It lead me to a dirt road, then off to a single-track through private property where I had to leave my bike. From there, it was a short downhill trek through single tracks again. I had to constantly ask for directions. Finally I saw the spring.
Hagnaon Spring up Close The spring has been developed and then neglected. There is a man-made small pool and a bigger pool that flows out to a stream. No tourists though...perhaps not in a very long time. The place is a water-hole for the carabaos and laundry area for the locals. The pools are not maintained. There were rotting dead leaves and small candy wrappers at the bottom.
Me, the Carabaos and the Locals doing Laundry The carabaos came ahead of me and I had to extend polite courtesy to the locals doing their laundry. I wanted to take a dip but the small pool were occupied by the laundry people. The big pool was dirty and the carabaos were there. No choice, I had to squeeze myself to the small 1-meter space where the spring water comes out. At least I was upstream from everyone else. And yes, I drank as much water as I can, given the assurance from the locals that it was safe.
Ending Thoughts Hagnaon Spring has potential but getting there is not easy - hard to find and hard to get through. Additionally, it needs some cleaning up for commercial tourism. But for now, I feel lucky to be enjoying this slice of paradise without the crowd and without the fees. Nice to be with carabaos for a change :)
Camotes Islands is a group of islands composed of 4 municipalities:
San Francisco - this is the biggest municipality covering the West major island. Its town center is the busiest with the market, eating places, live music and the Baywalk. The beach resort clusters, however, are concentrated in Santiago Bay, Mangodlong and Esperanza
Poro - Poro is on the other big island to the East. It has its own port and the town center is likewise busy
Pilar - this occupies the small north east island
the busy area where most of the social gatherings take place, eating places, is located at the Baywalk area of San Francisco, 30 mins by motorcycle from the Consuelo Port. Travellers usually stay in their resort outside the Baywalk
the resorts in Camotes Island are scattered around the island. There are none around the Baywalk area of San Francisco
perhaps the only downside to Camotes Island is the inescapable deafening sound of karaoke - it is played very loud and it's everywhere. In Baywalk, there are 3 karaoke bars beside each other going full blast all at the same time
Camotes Island Cost Index
(US$1 = Php 49.82 as of Jan 15, 2017)
PHP 100 habal-habal ride from Consuelo Port to San Francisco
PHP 55 Pale Pilsen beer
PHP 10/pax regular fare for habal-habal within San Francisco
PHP 500/tour habal-habal rate for island tour up to 2 pax
PHP 800/tour tricycle rate for island tour up to 4 pax
Cebu City to Camotes Island
via Poro - from Pier One in Cebu City, take the Ocean Jet for Poro, 2 hours, daily trip - 6am and 3pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat
George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, email@example.com, 0918.898.2188
Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Danao to Camotes Island
via Consuelo - at the Danao Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
via Poro - at the Danao Port, take the Super Shuttle Ferry for Poro (Camotes), P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 9:00am and 5:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
Camotes Island to Danao
via Consuelo - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
via Poro - take the Super Shuttle Ferry in Poro (Camotes) for the Danao Port, P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 5:00am and 1:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).