Holy week in Camiguin, a Via crucis at Vulcan Daan, the dormant volcano

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Holy Week in Camiguin
Station of the cross. This used to be all white before.

Holy Week in Camiguin is popular because of the semana santa pilgrimage that many people from different places do in this volcanic island. Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) is done by devotees, with many doing the circumferential walk around the island and a walk up the old dormant volcano, Vulcan Daan with its life sized statues depicting the passion of the Christ.

Just as I was panting from the trek up, it began to drizzle that we were forced to find cover under a tree. Three more station and we’re done, I said to myself. And for a few minutes, it just poured. And then stopped. The sun shone and a cool draft of air blew.

And what a trek it is! At first, you might find it daunting but once you get to the actual trail along the Stations of the Cross, it’s quite a leisurely climb. It’s not actually what I imagined it to be especially a holy week in Camiguin activity. The first few stations have wide cemented steps that give way to dirt path. The ascent is actually very manageable with not too steep inclines.

The via crucis trek just goes to a third of the mountain. While fast climbers can do the whole length, it’s advisable to stop, look around and just marvel at the scenery below. If the weather’s clear, one can have a good glimpse of the massive cross marker at the Sunken Cemetery.

If you’re familiar with the Via Crucis, be ready to be surprised that after the supposed last station, Station 14, there’s still another one, the Resurrection!

Holy Week in Camiguin
View of Vulcan Daan, literally, old volcano as seen from the highway. It erupted in the 1870s burying a portion of the original location of Catarman which led to the ruins of Gui-ob and the Sunken Cemetery.
Holy Week in Camiguin
A zoomed image of the rugged peak of Vulcan Daan
Holy Week in Camiguin
The first station near the entrance
Holy Week in Camiguin
One of the first stations of the cross
Holy Week in Camiguin
The cemented steps in the early section of the path.
Holy Week in Camiguin
Dirt path, beautiful scenery
Holy Week in Camiguin.
Using a telephoto lens, I captured this image of the Sunken Cemetery marker. It was actually drizzling at this time.
Holy Week in Camiguin
The 14th Station which was supposedly the last, but…
Holy Week in Camiguin
Surprisingly, the Via Crucis has an unexpected station, Station #15, the Resurrection!

HOW TO GET THERE: Vulcan Daan is reached through jeepneys plying the Mambajao-Catarman route and vice versa. But most tourists hire habal-habals or multicabs from Mambajao or in Benoni. There’s a P5 entrance fee at the tourist kiosk just above the first station. Average trek, up and down is around an hour.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

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