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Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Glimpse of Mt. Kanlaon

While I jumped up and down to battle the cold, I had to remind myself for the nth time why I travel to remote places and put up with the discomfort just to hike a mountain. Dark heavy clouds lingered over the sky, wind came in fierce batches along with a light drizzle.  In the first few minutes we arrived, my friend and I had already covered ourselves head to toe. 

Sitio Mapot, our starting trail to Mt. Kanlaon's crater summit
The view however was calming, a huge contrast to the weather that welcomed us in Sitio Mapot. We were surrounded by vast greenery where a very small community resides. Wild flowers are everywhere, its colors popping from the bushes.  It was 7:00 AM and though the sun remained hidden behind the clouds, the colors of plants and trees remained vibrant.  

I felt restored and once again, excited to begin our revelry with nature. 
Droplets of rain on my shot
By 7:47 AM, we started our wet hike to Mt. Kanlaon's, the Philippines' 3rd most active volcano which offers unbelievably beautiful views, the main reason which drove me and a friend to leave the comforts of Manila. Air was thin and I found myself out of breath although the  inclined trail wasn’t that steep.

We reached the denser section of the mountain where I couldn't see past 5 feet due to the thick foliage covering the trail. What's great is that it shielded us from the strong winds that were strong enough to knock down my 134-pound frame. 

After an hour of hiking, we reached a small clearing and it was there that Joral broke the heart-crushing news to us.  Due to strong winds, we should not go farther. There were threats of falling trees and much as I love these beasts of the forest, my passion would be a  no match against a fallen tree trunk.  :(

When we planned our hike past the climbing season, (Season's March to May and October to December), I knew chances were high that we wouldn't be able to reach the summit due to bad weather but I have friends who have done a successful ascent off season and so I was hopeful. But safety was an enormous priority and with happy vibes intact, we obeyed our guide and headed down quickly. 

I'm still determined to get to the summit next year! I shall see you again gorgeous Mt. Kanlaon. 

After our short adventure in Canlaon city, I parted ways with my hiking bud and I continued on a solo journey to Dumaguete (blog here). Arisse, thanks for joining this adventure. Til the next one!

Hiking Information  (Mapot-Mananawin Trail): 
How to Get to Canlaon City :
From Manila, fly via Cebu Pacific or PAL Express to Bacolod. From the South bus terminal in Bacolod, take a bus to Canlaon City (90 Pesos, 2.5 hours).  Ask the driver to drop you at Biak na Bato bus stop. We took the 1PM bus. There's most likely an earlier trip but I don't know what time. You have to be there at least one day before your hike to arrange the permit. Permits to Mapot trail can be secured at the DENR office in Biak na Bato in Canlaon CIty. If taking the Wasay trail, secure the permit at the DENR office in Bacolod

At Biak na Bato, hire a motorbike to the DENR office (60 Pesos/motorbike). 

Main Contact to Hiking Mt. Kanlaon: 
Sir Angelo Bibar - Park Superintendent of Mt. Kanlaon National Park (MKNP) 
Mobile Number : +63917-301-1410.  Telefax : +63 (34) 433-3813; 435-7411 
Email Address : angelobibar@gmail.com | eioibibar@yahoo.com
*Sir Angelo will email you all the relevant info. . Coordinate in advance (suggested advance coordination is 3 months ahead according to the info. sheet sent to us). You will be asked to submit mountaineer information,  booking form & notarized waiver form (Notary Public costs 150 Pesos at the Mandaluyong City Hall, bring or provide your representative a valid ID). 

Rates  (as of September 2013) : 
Permit Fee: Php300 for Filipino | Php500 for foreigner 
*Secure permit 
Guide:  Php700/day
Porter:  Php500/day
*Permit fee can be paid once you arrive in Bacolod/Canlaon City. 

When is the Best Time to Hike Mt. Kanlaon? 
"Mountaineering is open during the months of March to May and October to December.  The months of January, February, June, July, August, and September are low season wherein only one expedition party per trail per month is allowed.  In the event, however, that PAGASA declares weather disturbance and/or PHIVOLCS declares volcanic activity, the area shall be closed automatically from mountaineering." (Info. from Protected Area Mgt. Bureau, Mt. Kanlaon)

Official Trails to Mt. Kanlaon :
Wasay in Murcia; Guintubdan in La Carlota and Bago Cities; Mananawin and Mapot in Canlaon City.

Other Useful Blogs:
Pinoy Mountaineer : Wasay-Guintubdan Trail

Misadventures of Tintin : Mapot-Mananawin Trail 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Guest Post : My 2014 Holiday Wish List

I haven't written much lately and while I'm finishing some projects, I'm sharing with you a fellow traveler's Holiday Wish List. This gets me thinking about my own year-end adventure, (which I am yet to decide on :P). How about you,  what's yours? :)

I keep a diary. But it’s not for my personal musings and deep dark secrets. It’s where I write down my holiday wish list. Every time I come across a place that sounds truly incredible, I scribble it down at the bottom of an ever-growing list of must-see destinations.

My travel bucket list for 2014 is already two pages long. Whilst I won’t be able to visit them all, I have managed to narrow it down to three of my favourites.

Havana, Cuba
Prado, Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba (Credits : Rinaldo Wurglitsch)
The warm, colourful streets of Havana have been playing on my mind for a while now. As a big Hemingway fan, I feel like I’ve experienced his love for the city vicariously through his books. The thought of having a drink in the Floridita Bar, Papa’s favourite pub in Havana, makes me want to pack my bags and catch the next flight to Cuba today.

Something else on my Havana must-see list is the street art. The city is known as one of the biggest street art hubs in the world. Giant murals, many inspired by the Cuban Revolution, cover Havana’s walls and the sides of its buildings. Who needs art galleries when the city itself is a work of art?

Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand’s famous beaches and Full Moon parties have an obvious appeal. However, it’s not the coastline that intrigues me, but the country’s mountainous northern region. Chiang Mai, approximately 700 km northwest of Bangkok, is Northern Thailand’s largest and most culturally-rich city.

Unlike Bangkok, it’s known for its laid back vibes and majestic natural landscape. Surrounded by mountains, Chiang Mai is also famously home to the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple. The temple sits atop Doi Suthep and remains a functioning monastery to this day. With so many comparison sites offering deals on flights to Thailand, this could be the cheap holiday 2014 I’m looking for.

Portland, Oregon, USA
Portland (Credits : Joe Shlabotnik)
It may be the hipster capital of the world, but there’s far more to Portland, Oregon than coffee shops and quirky moustaches. Although, I do hear the coffee shops are pretty incredible. Oh - and the food trucks too. Portland has been an under-the-radar foodie hub for a while now, and it was one of the first west coast cities to truly embrace food truck culture. To wash down all the tasty grub, there’s plenty of delicious craft beer to go around. Apparently you can’t walk more than a few blocks before running into a brewery.

In addition to the food, Portland’s city centre is filled with bridges of all shapes and sizes. As an architecture nut with a bit of a thing for impressive structural engineering, this is another side of Portland that appeals to me.

My goodness, you’d think that narrowing it down to three destinations would have been a step in the right direction. But now I think the decision’s even harder! Which do you think I should choose?

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