White Island Camiguin: Is This The Whitest Sandbar In The Philippines?
White Island in Camiguin is the whitest sand bar I’ve ever seen in my travels across the world, and it’s the site of some of the whitest sand I’ve ever been able to set foot on, on any beach.
This sand is pure, white silica. It literally gleams in the scorching hot Filipino sunshine. Blindingly white and dangerously reflective, you can see White Island from the shore of Camiguin long before you reach it by boat.
White Island is just off the coast of Camiguin, a small volcanic island which is in turn just off the coast of Northern Mindanao.
The Philippines has thousands of islands, hundreds of white, sand bars and beaches too, but the most pristine I’ve ever seen is White Island, and being on unknown little Camiguin Island, not too many tourists even know it exists.
Is White Island Camiguin The Whitest sand bar In The Philippines? You decide!
White Island is just over a kilometre away from the volcanic island of Camiguin.
Camiguin is a beautifully rugged little island just a short ferry ride away from North Mindanao to the south and two hours south of the more well known, touristy island of Bohol.
Despite its proximity to Bohol, and despite beginning a place of pristine, tropical nature, waterfalls and volcanic peaks, Camiguin sees few foreign tourists, being lumped in with the travel warnings of Mindanao and the perceived dangers associated with it.
That’s fine by me, it meant I was able to visit and enjoy the quiet, relaxed island life, on what is one of the most under appreciated and unknown islands in the Philippines, but the locals here who rely on tourism deserve a few more visitors.
Camiguin, after all, is just begging to be seen!
I was visiting Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao – you know, the part of the Philippines most foreign governments advise their citizens to stay far away from- and the locals in CdO told me that I couldn’t miss out on Camiguin.
On Camiguin, my friends in CdO boasted, I would find the whitest sand bar in the Philippines – White Island.
I travelled overland from CdO to a port along the coast, and then caught a ferry across to Camiguin, before travelling across this small island on the back of a motorcycle, past volcanic peaks, green rice fields and black sand beaches, to my destination at Yumbing, Medano Island Resort.
From my accommodation on the shore front I could see a few boats making their way across the calm sea to a bright, white point not so far away.
This was White Island ahead of me, and even from a mile away it was blindingly bright in the sunshine.
The Outrigger Boat To White Island
White Island is a small affair. It’s just a small stretch of sand sitting out in the ocean after all, and in many ways it’s for the best that not too many visitors know it exists or make the effort to travel here.
There just wouldn’t be space if Camiguin became too popular.
I made my way to the rustic boat port adjacent to the island, where a few vendors rent out bright orange life jackets and snorkelling gear.
Minutes later I was speeding across the short strait towards White Island, the volcanic peaks of Camiguin looming behind me and the pure white sand waiting ahead.
The Perfect Place To Fly A Drone
There’s no natural shade on White Island, it’s literally just sand, and I stood out in the burning hot white sand for just a moment before quickly retreating to the shallow, cooler water that shimmered blue and turquoise in the sunlight.
There were a few people splashing around in the shallows, and a few were sat under the few multi coloured umbrellas that had been set up at one end of the sand bar to provide a little respite from the heat
The sand was soft as anything, and smooth as it ran in a sort of semicircular shape out into the sea and away from Camiguin.
This was the perfect place to take the drone airborne, this was drone porn on another level.
The Island That Changes Shape
White Island Camiguin changes shape through the seasons.
From above I could see the patterns of the sand ahead of me, and the shallow and deeper areas of water that create such beautiful colour contrasts.
The sand moves with the tides, and with the seasons and I could see areas of sandy deposits now under water that would rise to the surface and change the shape of White Island in the future weeks.
Is this the whitest sand bar in the Philippines?
With the volcanic peaks of Camiguin Island providing the perfect backdrop, White Island was a spectacular sand bar to capture on camera, especially from an aerial vantage point.
I couldn’t stay long though, the midday sun was approaching and the beach was heating up even more than it already had and with no natural shade, no trees, scrub or bushes on White Island – just white, white sand – as beautiful as it was, this was not the place to be when the sun was beating down in full force.
I headed back to Camiguin in the outrigger boat that had brought me over, to find a cold beer and some shade on the shoreline from where I could gaze out over White Island in comfort, instead of burning up on the dazzling sands.
A Travel Guide To White Island Camiguin
White Island is best explored as part of a 3 or 4 day – minimum! – exploration of Camiguin Island. This little volcanic island has a lot to offer, but the number one reason people visit is to see White Island.
Where Is White Island Camiguin?
Camiguin is located off the coast of Northern Mindanao, and there are daily connections with Jagna in Bohol, and hourly with Balingoan Port on Mindanao, which can easily be reached by van from Cagayan de Oro.
White Island is at the far end of Camiguin, facing out north towards Bohol. Once on Camiguin, head past the main town of Mambajao and get to the small Barangay of Yumbing to catch a boat over.
How To Travel To White Island Camiguin
At Yumbing, head down to the waterfront and you will see an area of boats and huts, with all kinds of snorkelling gear for rent.
Boats hold 6 people maximum each, and cost 450 Pesos return, plus an extra 50 Pesos per person for an environmental fee. If you are travelling on your own then you can either charter a boat for yourself or try and wait it out to see if you can jump in with others to share costs.
When Should I Visit White Island Camiguin?
Camiguin is best visited in the dry summer months. Importantly though, the time of day that you actually travel over can affect your experience of White Island too.
It’s just sand, there’s no shade and no respite apart from the ocean, so go early or late to avoid the excessive heat and take plenty of water and sunscreen.
How Long Do I Need To Visit White Island Camiguin?
Not long, it’s not huge and the weather is scorching hot. I spent just one hour on White Island and this was more than enough. You can organise with your boat crew when to pick you up.
Where To Stay To Travel To White Island Camiguin
Yambing is the Barangay just across the short strait from White Island, and this is where you can find plenty of accommodation too.
I stayed at Medano Island Resort which has great views out to sea over the island.
Disclaimer I was hosted by Medano Island Resort as part of a complimentary 3 night stay however all my opinions are my own.
All Words and Photographs by Richard Collett