Climbing on Top of an Active Volcano
Kanlaon Volcano, also spelled Kanla-on or Canlaon is located between the province of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, in Visayas Region, Philippines.
Mount Kanlaon is one of the 22 active volcano in the country and a part of Negros Volcanic Belt .The elevation is 8,084 feet or 2,465 meters above sea level and a diameter of 30 milometers, dotted with pyroclastic cones and craters, where most of it contain lakes.
Being one of the most active volcano in the country, as per record it erupted 25 times since 1886. In 1996 it was erupted without any warning that killed Filipino and foreign mountaineers and many are trapped near the summit.
The wild tropical rain-forest is relatively untouched that gives a wonderful and memorable tropical wilderness experience. It covers 24, 388 hectares of cool, dense forest.
August 8, 1984 by the virtue of Presidential Proclamation N0. 721 (pursuant to the provisions Act No. 3915) , for attributing and has been found in this mountain that it posses all the pre-requisite requirements for its status to be considered and declared as National Park covering the covering 24, 388 hectares land area.
The wildlife in the park are considered to be one of the few remained in the wilderness in Philippines. The good number of endemic wildlife species, both flora and fauna are remain in the park. Some of which have been declared as threatened, endangered and or nocturnal species including wild boar, civet cat, spotted dear, horn bill, hawk eagle and bleeding heart pigeons. These wildlife are difficult to find.
There are some 22 families of birds species that have been identified in the park. Those species are have been listed as critically endangered and feared to have gone the extinction.
The natural beauty of the park, the geological and natural features gives a great interest for scientific study, recreational, as well as its historical, cultural, artistic and aesthetic values.
For mountaineers the summit or the crater is the centerpiece of the Mount Kanlaon Natural Park, although some of the visitors focus on the mountain resorts like Mabucal Hot Spring, Buscalan Hot Spring, and Bungol Hot Spring and many water falls such as Sudlon and Quipot waterfalls, located on the slope of the Mount Kanlaon,
There are different trail climbing Mount Kanlaon, for our nature adventure is to enter Guintubdan trail where the trail is gradual and manageable then traverse to Wasay the most difficult ascending trail
Guintiubdan is small barangay of La Carlota, located at the western boundary of Mount Kanlaon.
Most mountaineers who flew from Manila to Bacolod stayed in the jump off and climb early morning in the following day. In our case we prefer to climb right after our arrival in the jump off.
No time wasted, we are soft core mountaineers, we never know our capacity, but we want to discover why there are many mountaineers inspires to climb in this mountain.
Group first stop for late lunch.
A perfect place for picnic and stop over, no one submerge in water. because the water is so frigid.
Of course, picture taking is always a part of adventure.
Trekking continues until there is light.
Second day of climb.
Climbing Mount Kanlaon gives a physical challenge. and exhausting experience. This also compared to jungle expedition.
No steep or high, no muddy or slippery, as long to reach the summit. The dense forest is a beautiful landscape. Perhaps this is the reasons why mountaineers loves climbing this mountain.
While ascending, the climate is gradually getting colder, the dense forest is turning into mossy areas.
All part of this mountain are somewhat different from each other. all areas gives a unique environment. This mountain gives the climber a complex work of nature.
The whole trails worth to give attentions and many observation, The whole areas are undisturbed. The wild rain forest remain protected and untouched.
Pagatpat camp site, is around one kilometer away from the crater. This is also serve as the junction going to Wasay Ranger station.
The crater lake is covered by 4 cities and 2 municipalities, the La Carlo-ta City, Bago City, San Carlos City the municipality of Murcia and La Lancaster, All in the province of of Negros Occidental and Canlaon City in the province of Negros Oriental
The political lines of boundary of the 4 cities and 2 municipalities mentioned are meet all in a common point located on the center of summit-crater of Mt Kanlaon. The equal division of the line of boundary of the volcano is work of a genius to avoid jealousy in the right of possession with the other municipalities and cities.
When the clouds are thick on top of the crater, the guide not allow the mountaineers to continue climbing for precautions and avoid accidents. We need to wait for the clearing and wait the go signal from the head guide before the assault to the crater.
When the summit show up, despites the many weary uphill no time wasted, this our goal, this is our objective…this is our the purpose, to witness the crater of Mount Kanlaon and from above the beauty of the surroundings
The one kilometers trek to summit is not easy the stone rolled down when stepped on. Taking a break is needed.
It notice that there a thick vegetation in the lower part of the crater, it getting thin when getting close to crater. It is proof that the volcano is active.
From the top of the volcano, while the wind varies, it brings a thin to thick layer of fogs. But still it gives an stunning views below,
The old crater as called as Margaja valley is visible, which is now one of the lake. the valley is the most beautiful sight in Patapat ridge.
After the 3.6 magnitude earthquake last Feb 2012 on the island of Negros, there are three 50 meters wide crack on the upper flank of the volcano.
Before reaching the top, there are some rules to follow, specially the way to look at the hole,because in one misstep is catastrophic.
Being one of the most active volcano in the country, it added a certain trill for adventure seekers/mountaineers.
The most notable features of Mount Kanlaon Natural Park is the main crater at an elevation of 2,435 meters (8,088 feet) above sea level.
The feeling is priceless, everything is worth it .Everything is considered achievement, of being a mountaineers, adventure seeker as well as being a nature lover.
After the unforgettable success of reaching the top of the summit of the volcano, traversing to Wasay is another challenging undertaking.
Wasay trail, is the longest and most challenging trail climbing Mount Kanlaon summit. The guide said, this is the “killing me softly” trail because it demands endurance and experience as mountaineer. Fortunately this is our trail downward and this trail become my favorite trail, it feasted our eyes with beautiful sights.
The whole scene in Wasay trail is dominated by intense forest, a fairy tale look like but scary, . Everything are strange and unique.all parts are mossy and wet. It was so cold..
Getting dark, we need to reach the next camp site, the Samoc lake no matter how dark.
3rd a day of our journey…
Most of our night are sleepless because of extreme cold.
Hardin sang Balo
Hardin sang Balo is another or considered as the most beautiful place in Mount Kanlaon. Hardin means garden, Balo is widow is surrounded with a dwarf tree that according to our guide, the enchanting dwarf trees are century.
4th day, we wake up early, Not even finished our climb, we say a prayer of thanks, and we claim our climb a success for nothing unusual happen to each of us.
This is our last day in the province and our flight back to Manila, but we want to take advantage this day to explore Bacolod and of course to wash up first in Mambucal Hot Spring Resort.
Still remain beautiful.
Again another up and down but its easier compared to the first 3 days of trekking.
Suddenly, we found a road, assuming that this is the end of the 4 days journeys, but not yet, there stills more hoursss to walk, downward to reach the Wasay ranger station.
Its been another trekking, but the view are scenic.
Reaching the end of the trail, the Wasay Ranger Station.
We passed houses till we reaches the bus terminal going to Bacolod, The adventure never ended, we proceed to Mambukal hot spring to take a shower and wash all the mud that stick in us and able to relax for a few hours before going to Bacolod City
In Mambukal, we granted our hungry, we eat delicious food, we bathed, from 3 days without a bath,we miss the soap and shampoo. We soaked our body from mild to hot water to remove all the dirt and get relax.
We arrived in Manila but the experience remained.
Everything is exhausting but a perfect adventure. Mount Kanlaon is the most epic, most enchanting, most wonderful, most spectacular and the best mountain for me.
Everything is well worth it by overcoming all the physical challenges.
Our thanks to the kindness of our guide and porters. They maybe an ordinary people but they have a big heart. Our journey to our life is incomplete without you. Thank you to unforgettable fun filled socials at night. Thank you for taking care. Kuya Boy naiiba kayo. Salamat sa inyong lahat.
Source of Information:
- Negrense Mountaineers
- Lonely Planet