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|Mt. Hibok-Hiboks unclimbed peaks|
Accompanied by friends Ed of Eazy Traveler, Sharon (a doctor who was hiking a mountain for the first time in her life!), artists Rosa and Tupe, a German guy and our funny guide Ronald, we entered the mountain at 5:30 AM via the trail in Barangay Yumbing. It is the longer but more forgiving trail in terms of ascents. We started on an concrete, uphill road providing us a great warm-up.
|We saw a lot of Medinilla Pendula growing around the mountain, a flowering shrub endemic to the Philippines|
Being a tree lover, vibrant shades of green kept my eyes glued towards the trees. Occasionally, we would see interesting flowers along the way. After 4.5 hours of breathing heavily on the sharp ascents, we reached the crater lake. Fog quickly covered the peaks and the enormous deserted grassland brought out the kid in us. It felt as though we were alone in a lost world.
|As it was still summer, the lake is murky and not swimmable. Photo from Edgar .|
We happily munched on sweet and juicy ferns that grew on the sides of the trail which our guide pointed out to us. On the grass, we took a long break, snacking and laughing as we let fatigue subside.
After an hour of resuming our hike, we reached the peak where we saw the crater lake like a big hole emerging from the ground. Then fog settled in again covering the view.
|Foggy summit. Photo from Edgar Yap.|
|For some reason, seeing the crater lake from the peak felt very rewarding.|
The hike down was still quite steep on most parts while on some sections, we had to step over sharp rocks, which is a typical terrain of a volcano. Despite the challenging portions, I was just grateful that the trees shielded us from the sun. It would have been a grimmer story had the sun shined heavily down on us.
By 5:14 PM, Sharon and I, along with our patient guide Ronald arrived at Ardent Hot Springs. Most of the people in our group went ahead to catch up on other things while ever reliable Edgar had buttered chicken and soup waiting for us when we arrived at the restaurant. :P
Hiking Notes :
Mt. Hibok-Hibok is in Mambajao, Camiguin. From Manila, take a flight to Cagayan de Oro (costs around 4K, regular fare). From CDO, travel 30-45 minutes via taxi (250 Pesos) or 2 jeepney rides (about 25 Pesos in all) to Agora Bus Terminal, then take a 2 hour bus to Balingoan Pier (143 Pesos, aircon). From Balingoan, there are ferry trips throughout the day to Camiguin (170 Pesos). From Camiguin, you need to take a habal-habal or ride a motorela to your chosen jump-off. You can also start via the trail at the back of Ardent Hot Spring which is recommended for those who have issues with their knees. Do consult with Ronald, he's knowledgeable. :)
If you want to avoid sea travel, you can take a flight from Manila to Cebu, then Cebu to Camiguin via Cebu Pacific. More Camiguin Travel info. can be found via PinaySoloBackpacker.
On an average hiking pace, the Yumbing-Ardent Spring day hike traverse would take 6-8 hours. Bring ample trail water (at least 1.5 Liters, more if you drink a lot) and packed lunch. Maybe I just missed it but I don't remember a water source along the way. You also need to register at the DENR and pay a fee of 200/head.
For guideship, contact Ronald Rabile at +63(0910) 659-3349 - (he's the same guy who accompanied other blogger friends - Jules of RunningMistress and Gideon of PinoyMountaineer, where you can find a hiking itinerary to Mt. Hibok-Hibok).