Friday, September 30, 2011

Mt. Hibok Hibok

Camiguin Island
LLA: 9°12′2″N; 124°40′5″E; 1332 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 3-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3


Angel Cawaling
Liz Honrade

Ivan Laurence Ignacio
Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.
Ralph Flores
Deepee Piano
Frank Aguilar
York Advento 

The BACKPACKERS Mindanao Trip: Day Three

First Mindanao Mountain: 
By: Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.

Among no less than seven volcanoes in the enchanting Camiguin Island, Mt. Hibok Hibok is the most famous. It is an active volcano which recorded the most explosive history. 

It was scheduled on that day that we would climb Mt. Hibok Hibok, an active volcano in the beautiful Camiguin Island. The problem was- bad weather, which we did notice the moment we opened our eyes that day. Everybody had a doubt if climbing, which was definitely a major activity for us, would push through. Good thing, the skies somehow showed a sign of a better weather later on that day, and our Guide showed a reasonably positive attitude towards it.

The BP H2 Team: Ivan, Angel, Liz, Ralph, Heinz, DP, York, Frank, with their Guide.
Eight Backpackers gave a "go". All of the boys plus Angel and Liz faced the challenge to  climb with the weather so uncertain to get better. Though it was raining and the skies were mostly gray, the Team went ahead- rode the hired jeepney and started putting the Climb, which was 3-months-in-the-making, into a reality.

Ferns and coconut trees cover the lower portion of Mt. Hibok Hibok.

The Team took the trail which started from Brgy. Yumbing. It was, generally, an easy trail for us, Backpackers. The rain was constantly pouring on and off.  We knew that it would be cold later in the crater and summit but we just could not afford to lose the chance of reaching them. "Naandito narin naman tayo sa Camiguin... sa Mindanao...", we thought. And so the climb literally got started.

The most common jump-off is Ardent Hot Spring in Mambajao. It is an established trail. Consideration must be given though, should a group includes newbies, as there are long  and relatively stiff ascends.

It was very noticeable that the lower part of the mountain was covered by coconut plantation. 

Farming and animal-raising are Camiguiños' principal livelihood.

Te BP's First Couple: Ivan and Angel
Couple Liz and Ralph
Because of the slippery path and numerous take-fives under a challenging weather, it took four hours for  the Team to reach Mt. Hibok Hibok's crater; not to mention that the Team had several accidents, yet manageable ones, during the ascend too. But, it was all worth it! We were able to reach its beautiful crater!

In a "basin" of icy cold waters.
The crater had formed itself into a lake. We tried to get farther to see how deep was the deepest but nobody pushed himself to the edge. Hahaha! Yes, we were somehow scared. I was scared of the thought of stepping on a snake under the waters. Angel was frightened of the thought that a crocodile would suddenly appear in front of us. One got frightened of the thought that a quicksand was just somewhere, waiting for a pressure from one of us who'd be swallowed to death. But less those crazy imaginations (?)... 


Always intact... who knows what lies underneath? Hahaha!

Brave when at least in a trio :)
The original plan was to reach the summit, which was just approximately a half to an hour from the crater, then do a traverse down to Ardent Hot Spring. Unfortunately, everybody could no longer endure the freezing cold weather. All of us were literally trembling and felt numbness on most part of our bodies. The BP Lead, Ivan, was correct when he said we would prefer to avoid hypothermia; so the whole Team agreed to descend via the same trail, down to where we started the hike.

The White Island as seen from Mt. Hibok Hibok's elevation.
On our descend, we were treated by captivating views of the Camiguin Island. Yes, the weather got better when we were on our way to the flat already... (sigh)... but looking at the brighter side, all of us were safe.

"Mt. Hibok Hibok is a volcano. 
Narating natin yung crater and we had fun in there. 
Sulit na yun!"

A Side-trip: Buko Session

Our nice Guide brought us to his relative's farm and we were treated with fresh and juicy Buko. That was awesome!


Time to wash-up before reaching civilization.

Notes from The BACKPACKERS Lead

The BP Lead, Ivan Ignacio
Other than being the first mountain conquered outside Luzon, this is also the first time that it rained during the whole assault!

The crater of this volcano was very beautiful and reaching it was already a priceless experience.

I agreed to cut the traverse and forego the summit which was only a few meters away from the crater because of security measures. Rather than heading to Ardent Hot Springs, we hiked back to Brgy. Yumbing (our strarting point) from the crater. Most of us could not handle the cold anymore! Our feet, hands and body were numb from the cold and it was still pouring hard! We might suffer from hypothermia if we stay longer under that severe weather!

Unfortunately, Mr. Weather was very playful as the sunrise broke from the sky when we were already halfway in our descent! D*mn!!!

But nevertheless it was an awesome experience!

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