Sunken Cemetery – Catarman, Camiguin

The Sunken Cemetery is an iconic landmark in Camiguin. Greatly recognized for its grandiose Christian cross—beyond being a tourist attraction and a place to honor the dead—is a pilgrimage site of the faithful. The wonder of its magnificence transcends what is comprehensible to the five senses. A beacon of light and hope in the midst of darkness. The symbol of love, peace, sacrifice and glorious resurrection.

A picturesque sunset at Sunken Cemetery - Camiguin
Twilight at Sunken Cemetery – Catarman, Camiguin

A sight of its serene sunset reflects how life will inevitably get dim. Like the disintegrated bodies underneath the submerged tombs—the sun will eventually vanish and its twilight will dissipate. The once bright and jubilant perspective was gradually taken over by gloom as the pitch-black shadow covered the entire surrounding. Nowhere to be found, a strong belief is dearly held that the sun is just momentarily in a hidden place that will later be seen with celebration.

Sunken Cemetery - Camiguin
Eagerly waiting for the sun to set at the Sunken Cemetery

 

Sunken Cemetery’s Brief History

The once quiet cemetery in the coast of Bonbon, Camiguin was violently shaken by the eruption of Mount Vulcan from 1871 to 1875. The earthquake’s great magnitude caused the cemetery to sink below the sea. It didn’t stop the town from recognizing the cemetery area and from honoring the departed so they erected a large cross as its landmark in 1982. It turned into an iconic symbol and became one of Camiguin’s biggest tourist draws.

Sunken Cemetery cave
Peeking at Sunken Cemetery from a miniature cave

 

Exploring Camiguin’s Sunken Cemetery

We panicked a bit during our tour at Guiob Church Ruins when we realized that we need to reach the Sunken Cemetery before sunset. Our habal-habal tour guide rushed to get us there and we were glad to make it in time. As we walk straight to the viewing deck, another concern confronted us. Big dark clouds were hovering in the direction where we’re going. We later confirmed that the clouds were blocking the sun after reaching the Sunken Cemetery’s viewing deck.

Dark clouds at Sunken Cemetery
Wishing for dark clouds to go away when we first got there

Far behind the cross is a clear blue sky which gave us a ray of hope. While wishing for the dark clouds to clear out, we took the offer to ride a boat towards the cross to have a better look at this monumental structure. Instead of paddling towards the cross, they’ve set up a thick rope which will make it easy for them to bring their boats towards the cross. They also bought a paddle but it was used for a purpose that we didn’t foresee.

A boat ride towards Sunken Cemetery - Camiguin
Boating towards the cross of Sunken Cemetery
Sunken Cemetery's giant cross
Finally reached the majestic cross!

 

Some Pleasant Tricks

What’s great about the guides is that they’re not just there to give you a short transport. They will also take trick shot photos of you to make your experience more epic. I’ve seen the exact same trick shot pictures when my aunts went there a few months later. It’s not hard to be generous to our teen guides after seeing the results of their shots. We experienced some unpleasant tricks from some of our guides in our other travels but this kind of trick really made us smile.

Trick shot at Sunken Cemetery - Camiguin
Please no!
Flying paddle at Sunken Cemetery
This flying paddle came on time to save me

A picturesque view of Mount Hibok-Hibok can be seen from the viewing deck of the cross. I can’t imagine how it would look like in there during peak season because of its small space. Looking down below made me wish that we have allocated more time during our visit here because snorkeling in a cemetery underwater is a rare experience. I later read that its rich in fishes and corals and that some of the tombs are still visible down there.

Mount Hibok-Hibok view from the Sunken Cemetery's cross
A scenic view of Mount Hibok-Hibok from the cross
Sunken Cemetery is heart

Sunset Preparation

We hurried back to the island when the dark clouds left and the sun finally showed its face. We did a few more trick shot sessions before waiting for the sun to set. The viewing deck suddenly got filled with more visitors when the sun was going down. It was great to see the transition of the sky’s color from blue into orange and red. With the cross standing in the middle of the sea as the sun goes down, we can’t help but be amazed at its dramatic sunset. The Sunken Cemetery is a magnificent sight that is truly one of a kind.

Holding the cross together
Sunken Cemetery awaits you!

 

Sunken Cemetery Fees:

P100.00 per boat + Tip

 

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