Unique lodging in Camiguin: Enigmata Treehouse Ecolodge Art Camp

[UPDATE: Enigmata Ecolodge is now closed due to a fire last October 22, 2015, which burned down the house. 🙁 ]

Lodgings at Enigmata Ecolodge

The plan was to have a trip that costs less than P10k, so it took me quite a couple of days to find  budget lodgings that will cost us less than P1000/person and still be comfortable. I then stumbled on Enigmata Ecolodge, and with just one look at the rooms, I mustered all my persuasive skills to convince my sister and friend to stay there. Turns out I didn’t have to do much persuading at all, they fell in love with the place as much as I did! (*Note: The photos in here, aside from the watermarks, are not processed or edited, unless they came from my Instagram, which I will note.)

I contacted them last June and we were able to book the Eagle’s Nest Suite, the one at the top (refer to photo), for P1,050 ($25) for two adults, and P300 for each additional person.

I was expecting the place to be beautiful and full of art and I was not disappointed. It was really beautiful, especially for art-lovers like us. If you’re fussy or not too fond of nature, then this place is not for you. The place is almost entirely made out of wood, and only the bedrooms have screens.

The Eagle’s Nest Suite has a separate bedroom, a separate bathroom with shower, a kitchenette of sorts if you want to prepare your food (but no oven is provided), and your own sala, with a hammock on the side, and a dining area. The stairs leading up to our suite is a small spiral staircase, so if you’re a bit up in your years and not as nimble or have trouble with your knees, the suite might not be for you (you might try the Shell Garden Suite though). The bedroom has two beds that will fit two medium-sized adults comfortably.

Stairs to second bed

To go to the second bed, you have to go up a small flight of stairs. The beds are covered overhead with indigenous tapestry, and you will be safe from insects with their kulambo. Frankly, the netting is not enough to cover the whole bed, but I didn’t get bitten while sleeping so it was sufficient for pint-sized me.

There are two pillows per bed, but they are not fluffy, and the bedsheet smelled like it was made out of flour sacks, or maybe that’s just what their laundry detergent smells like. I’m not dissuading you from staying there, though! I’m actually encouraging you as it is quite a novelty to sleep in an actual treehouse. Yes, the house is really entwined around the tree. I’m just cautioning those who might have sensitive skin.

Bed on the second floor where I slept.

Remember, this is a no-frills establishment. They will provide you with a small, thin towel, but you have to bring your own shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Also, they won’t provide you with slippers. Basically, you just get a beautiful bed to sleep in, a restful night’s sleep surrounded by nature, and truly clean air. And sometimes, those are the things you need anyway for a good night’s sleep. Don’t fret, you have your own clean bathroom. However, the switch for the light has to be pressed by your companion if you’re using it at night because it will not stay on with just one press. It was pretty irritating but due to all our misfortunes on our way to Camiguin, we didn’t really mind it as much.

Do keep in mind that you’re sleeping on a tree so there might be ants, so do be careful. The bedrooms have screens to keep insects away, but the bathroom (yes, the bathroom), the sala, and dining area have huge open windows (refer to the photo above. But oh, it was heavenly to breathe in fresh air, the likes of which you will never experience living in Metro Manila!

Also, I felt like the suite sways a bit, or maybe that’s an aftereffect of riding the roro through huge waves, wherein I certainly felt my stomach drop down to my feet several times.

Took this photo of my sis’ bed in the morning.

We arrived in Camiguin on Friday night, seven hours later than the original plan, and…the whole island was bathed in darkness. Apparently, brownout ensued just right before we reached port. I know, I know, we were certainly having our very own Survivor Philippines: Camiguin edition! Our last meal was at the port seven hours prior, and since electricity was down, we didn’t have anywhere to go to for food. And we could not go to any of the pools either, so all our tour stops were definitely postponed for Saturday.

But then when we were all resigned to just finding any place that’s open for dinner with a backup generator, the lights turned on!!! Oh my God, we were overjoyed, and all the pains we had to get to Camiguin were wiped out with the appearance of those lights. We then rushed down with our money for dinner and change of clothes. From being lifeless, tired, hungry zombies, we were suddenly turned into uber-excited, albeit still starved, travelers.

The ate at the front desk of Enigmata was very helpful with our itinerary. She told us how to plan our trip and how long we should stay at each stop. Then she said that after dinner, we will still have time to go to the Ardent Hot Springs to soothe our tired bodies. And she was so right. It was just heavenly to be submerged in therapeutic hot water.

Ardent Hot Springs is the perfect place to visit before sleeping!

After that, our tour guide, Kuya Robert, acted as our personal driver/bodyguard. He just stayed by the tree where we left our things while we bathed, and he took pictures of us before we left. He also agreed to drive us around the main town to buy some needed supplies at the pharmacy, grocery, and bakeshop. Kuya Robert is just pure awesome.

We just stayed in Ardent for about 20 minutes, and we had to get back since the staff at Enigmata were just waiting for us to return before they slept. The three of us stayed in our dining area, listening to good music, enjoying the cold air, and the hammock. Can you say relaxed?

In the morning, you will wake up to the sounds of birds chirping around the trees. Surprisingly, we didn’t need the mosquito/bug repellant at all. But there was a time when Chichi touched one of the t-shirts for sale at the lobby, and she was stung by something. Ate didn’t help us out at all, we just poured Sterilium over her hand. Thank God she wasn’t allergic to whatever that was because she didn’t have her medicines with her!

Yep, we were way up high!

The sunlight didn’t hit my face directly, but my first view upon waking up was sky lighting up slowly outside my window around 5am. It was a truly beautiful sight, and worth every P450 that I paid for.

Since we only had seven hours of Saturday to go to all the tourist spots in our itinerary, OceanJet having cancelled our 4PM flight and the ferry ride is scheduled to leave at 2PM, we woke up bright and early and left by 5:30am.

We bought food the night before at local bakeshops, but, staying true to our very eventful holiday, my sister discovered in the morning that birds/bats ate our food! We left the bread on the dining table, and I was thinking of putting it inside the bedroom as there might be birds/bats, but I was worried that the ants will go inside the bedroom to eat the bread and bite us. Thankfully, out of the four bags, the birds/bats only ate from two bags, and left the rest of the bread for the ants to feast on, and my companions and I had to share the remaining four pieces of (hopefully) untouched bread.

Our eaten bread. Gak!

Before we left, we explored Enigmata a bit more, aided by the early sunrise. We were sad that we weren’t able to spend as much time around the whole place because there were awesome nooks in there! There are interesting statues outside the house, and some more hammocks outside. There is also a library, and they serve organic food. There is a common area where guests usually hang out with other guests or with artists when they visit. Across the road from Enigmata, we spotted turkeys and sheep. Yes, there is sheep in the country; some don’t believe me when I say I used to run after sheep in Kiblawan, Davao, one memorable summer.

If you’re wondering about the safety of your things while you’re out, Kuya Robert told us that Camiguin is 100% crime-free by the locals. If there are any crimes, those are not done by the locals. That’s because the whole of Camiguin can be traveled in two hours, and if they do commit a crime, where will they run to hide? Plus, they know almost everyone, so it’s pretty hard to get away with it. In any event, the staff at Enigmata immediately lock up your door as soon as you leave.

Enigmata Treehouse Art Camp is just perfect for us weary city-girls looking for some peace and quiet. However, I found it very ironic that while Enigmata is the perfect place to be in touch with nature, they provide a pretty reliable and free WiFi service during your stay there. Oh, and yeah, unless you’re willing to carry huge wheeled luggage up and down the stairs, you should think about just using backpacks. Not to mention it’s hard to carry your luggage up and down the roro

Here are some more photos of Enigmata Treehouse Art Camp.

No filter. No flash. No joke. This is how the landing from the spiral staircase looked at night. I could not help but sing Coldplay’s lyrics Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you… Enigmata was definitely calming at night.

One of my favorite photos from the bunch I took.
The door to the spiral staircase leading to the Eagle’s Nest Suite. I love the intricate detailing on the door. The space is a bit cramped so, no, you cannot hold hands while going up the stairs.
This makes me think of Narnia’s closet for some reason.
There is a wash area beside the sala. Notice the artwork at the bottom. We didn’t really notice what it was depicting at that time until we were going through the photos in our computer. Also notice the tapestries along the ceiling. I love that the whole place just screams life and art!
Me with Chichi.

I was able to take a panoramic shot outside our bedroom. Here is the hammock, the dining area, and a view of the trees outside.

And if you get tired of just enjoying the gentle breeze, of listening to the quiet, or going around Camiguin, why don’t you try a bit of chess?

Beyond the chess area is a common area filled with chairs and tables.

And because I was on a super tight budget (I only had P3500 with me in Camiguin!), I was only to buy my one and only souvenir throughout the whole trip, and it doesn’t even have the words Camiguin or CDO on it:

My new dreamweaver (edited with an Instagram filter).

Enigmata is literally filled with Dreamweavers. There are some that are just for display, and some that can be bought. I bought one because it made me think of Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, nightmares, and good dreams. Plus, I think it’s a cute and unique accessory in our bedroom (our bedroom is filled with glow-in-the dark stars, and we used to have Christmas lights along the wall until it stopped functioning).

The first time I tried to contact Enigmata was via e-mail them but it took them quite some time to respond. Also, they didn’t reply to my subsequent emails, so Chichi just contacted them via their cellphone. They reply faster via that channel, so that’s just how we continued to communicate with them.

If you’re wondering about your mobile phone signal, Sun actually has a signal there! Since I got to CDO, my phone has an R symbol on my battery, which meant I was on Roaming. At first, I panicked but a friend of mine who used to work with Sun, said that it just means I’m latched on to the Smart network. Some of my messages were delayed, but phone calls were clear. I didn’t use mobile internet, but Chichi was using her Globe phone and she had decent internet speed in other parts of the island, although she only had Edge while in Enigmata.

Despite the insects and the lack of toiletries (which was unexpected for us, we really thought there would be at least shampoo provided), my travel buddies and I were so enamored of the place. We kept raving about it, and definitely had huge smiles during our stay there. If we’re going back to Camiguin, we will definitely stay there again.

I’m so glad we were able to stay in Enigmata before it closed down. I definitely have fond memories there, and I hope someday it will be reopened again.

Enigmata Treehouse Art Camp
Maubog, Balbagon, Mambajao,
Camiguin Island 9100 Philippines
E-mail: enigmatatreehouse@gmail.com
Landline: +6388 3870273 (if you live in the Philippines, just dial 088 instead of +6388)
Mobile: +63919 9999877 (Smart) or +63917 3264474 (Globe)
Enigmata Treehouse Art Camp website
Enigmata Treehouse Facebook page

One Reply to “Unique lodging in Camiguin: Enigmata Treehouse Ecolodge Art Camp”

  1. Those lodging houses are pretty native and nice – I must check in there one day.

    Lodging in Bryce

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