Approximately 2,500 meters high, the highest mountain in the Visayas. One of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, tragically killing 3 mountain climbers in 1996. Up to date, it has been showing signs of seismic activities and volcanic quakes. That was our destination: Mt. Kanlaon.
Along with 9 friends, 2 guides, and a porter, I climbed the mountain in a 3-day hike. Our target was the Mapot-Masulog trail, which according to google, is not leech-infested. Whew.
On the first day, the terrain was pretty easy since it was a path used daily by farmers and locals. But it was steep, I had to pause a hundred times in order to catch my breath. We were already at high altitude and the fog made it seem like we were trekking our way up to heaven. Aside from a few meters of visibility, there was nothing else but complete whiteness.
We reached camp after 3hrs-ish. The ground was flat and soft from the misty grass. We found a spot and started to pitch our tent. After that, I just sat waiting for the pork sinigang to be ready. I would have helped but the chef has got it all covered. 😀
After the hearty dinner (ごちそうさまでした。), we went back to our tents and found out that the fog has covered our tent fly with mini droplets of water. Look, I drew in a picture with my finger!
I was very much prepared for the cold so I slept comfortably through the night. The very next morning, exclamations of “oooooh” and “wooooow” filled the air. This was the view that the fog had denied from us. We were above the clouds!
We broke camp at around 7am and started our way up the mountain again. I didn’t notice that we had been camping around farmland. Before we entered the forest area, it was all cabbages here, there, everywhere.
Along the path, there were also wild strawberries. I’ve read in a blog somewhere that these are edible and are really sweet. But as respect to nature and to whoever planted them, I didn’t take any. O:-)
A few hours from the farmland, it was now thick trees and giant ferns and weird plants.
IMO, Kanlaon’s terrain was easier compared to Mt. Talinis. But still, I concentrated so much on the ground I was stepping on. When I finally looked up, I was enchanted by what I saw. Dense moss that looked like green balls covered the trees. The curly branches and the fog almost made them look fairytale-like.
I was starting to feel tired. But I must not complain. Because before the climb, boyfie and I had an agreement that whoever would complain would have to pay 50 pesos for each word. I was very careful on what I said. Boyfie, on the other hand, owes me 400 pesos. >:)
We stopped by for lunch somewhere along the trail. It had started to rain and the air had become really cold. When we stopped to eat, the warmth that my body had accumulated from walking for hours was gone in an instant. I started to shiver uncontrollably. It took forever for the water of our hot choco to boil. I felt better after having tuna and bagoong inside my tummy. ♥
Having energy back again, it was another long walk to Makawiwili Peak. From there, you’re supposed to get a great view of Mt Kanlaon. But we were unfortunate because we only saw a curtain of white fog. 😦
From Makawiwili we made our way to the volcano’s shoulder where we will be making our 2nd camp. I couldn’t tell what time of day it was. The sun never came up, even during noon when it’s supposed to be hottest. The gloom of the fog made it look like dawn all the time.
Finally, we reached the Shoulder after walking for about 9hours. It was really windy up here. Really really windy. It was kinda hard to move and you had to be extra careful so the wind won’t blow your tent away.
When the tent was finally done, I changed into warmer clothes and just stayed inside for the rest of the time. The strong wind and rain was too much for me. I didn’t want to be shivering again like I did during lunch.
Boyfie’s officemate who was very unfortunate to have water get inside his tent stayed with us. I didn’t want to get out of the tent. I looked outside from time to time but didn’t see anyone except our guides happily gulping Tanduay Rhum.
I stayed inside the tent even during dinner time. Our friends who were true gentlemen gave us special delivery dinner. Weeee! ♥
When it was time to sleep, me, boyfie, and boyfie’s officemate snuggled into our sleeping bags. Despite the annoying rock which kept poking my back, I was able to sleep fine. Past midnight, I noticed the air blowing stronger. Drops of water due to condensation kept falling every time the wind rattled our tent. It was like indoor rain! I sinked deeper into my sleeping bag to keep the water off of my face.
It stayed that way till we finally got up at around 5am. We had breakfast then started to pack our stuff. Boyfie and I were folding soiled shirts when suddenly, the wind let out a strong “whoooooosh whoooooosh”. I noticed one corner of the tent was lifted off from the peg. And then the next one, and the next one, and finally, “snappp!” goes our Coleman Sundome 3’s fiberglass pole. 😦
Boyfie hurriedly went outside to save the rest of the poles. But without his weight to hold down the tent, it lifted off the ground while I was still inside. Our friends came running to help boyfie hold it down while I hurriedly stuffed the rest of our things into our backpacks. We continued packing inside another friend’s tent.
The weather had become really bad and the guides decided that it was too dangerous to continue the trek to the peak. We were only 30 minutes away and we couldn’t get there. 😦 Huhuhuhuhu. And I thought the broken pole was the biggest disappointment. 😦
So instead, we made our way down the mountain. The fog was still very thick, I wasn’t able to take a close-up picture of Mt. Kanlaon. As we walked farther down, we were able to see streaks of where lava might have flowed from a previous eruption.
The way down was very slippery. There were no trees to hold on to. I must have had majorly slipped at least 10 times. And my feet were really hurting. The 400 pesos that boyfie owed me on the way up the mountain was cancelled out on our way down. In fact, I may have had more complaints than he did. I wasn’t just nagging, I truly was hurt. As evidence, I can show you the blood clot underneath my toenails. 😛
The last part of the trek was through vast farmlands. I was very happy to see people and houses. Aaaah, civilization at last!
A motorcycle was sent to fetch us because we were way behind the rest of the group. It was supposed to be for boyfie’s officemate who sprained his ankle. But he said he was fine and said that he didn’t need the motorcycle and he gave the go-signal that somebody else should take it. So imagine the grin on my face. I hopped behind the driver, glad to take the load off my feet. ♥
I only brought with me my waterproof digicam so I wasn’t able to get perfect photos. Thinking back, it was a good thing that I did not bring my DSLR because the cold and the rain would have surely ruined the it, including the lens. Plus it would have only been added weight, I rarely could take it out because of the rain.
All in all, I wasn’t very much satisfied with this climb. Because a.) we didn’t reach the peak, b.) we didn’t see the view because of the fog, and c.) it broke my pole and killed my toenails!
But still, no pain no glory! Special thanks to Jigz, Kaloy, and Islao for being part of this unforgettable experience! 🙂
There are a lot of other mountains on our list but since we weren’t able to reach the peak of Mt. Kanlaon, we would definitely be doing this another time soon. So watch out Kanlaon, we’ll be back!!