My hype in hiking never stops!
A close friend of mine, Ednelyn invited me for another exciting trail. I was really excited because at this point our feat is not in Panay but in the island of Negros.
Geographically, Negros Island has a lot of excursions to take you deeper to see the bounties of flora and fauna plus the vast coastlines and land formations, colorful festivities and a significant history. Among all those characteristics of the island, one that really hyped me up was the adventure to Mt. Mandalagan.
Prior to the climb, I made a thorough research about this mysterious mountain. Here are the insights why I am dying to climb this crown jewel of the North Negros Forest Reserve:
- Mt. Mandalagan is part of Negros Volcanic Belt
- It has an elevation of 1885 meters above the sea level (6,184 feet)
- It is a potentially active volcano according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS)
- It has a dense jungle cover with majestic almaciga trees, and replete with rivers and waterfalls
- It has a hidden lake called the Tinagong Dagat
- It has a field of fumaroles and mud pools called the Solfatara
- The place where the 2nd highest peak of Negros situated – the Marapara Peak
- And the exciting part, it is infested by the blood-sucking b*tches – the Limatik
This was my first time to experience the Negros mountain trail. Our group took a RORO vessel for two hours going to Bacolod City port terminal.
Then, we find a place to eat for an early breakfast in preparation for our major climb. We rented a van from Bacolod City going to our jump off area in Brgy. Patag. The point is also called “Hospital” by the locals because it served as a sanitarium of the military during the war.
Mixed emotions enveloped ourselves that time because we will be experiencing the richly forested area and the presence of limatik along our way. So much FUN right?
We started our long trek at around 7AM towards the Marapara Peak – the highest reachable peak of the trail. As a seasoned hiker, we were aware of any signages in the area so everyone must apply their basic mountaineering etiquette throughout the course of the hike.
There were a lot of “gimme-five moment” during our climb because it was really a non stop uphill assault along the dense forest. Fortunately, we managed to overcome the “unestablished trail.” The forest was a bit over grown and disorienting.
We experienced a lot of technical obstacles which required to duck into fallen trees, crossed the mossy branches, scrambled up on rocks and jump from one ground to another.
It was the hyped of our trail because we saw some leeches under the trail bushes extending their bodies waiting for their hosts. Our energies doubled, our bodies awaken and alert to not get sucked by this blood thirsty creature.
We finally arrived at the second highest peak of Negros – the Marapara Peak in Mt. Mandalagan after 5 hours of conquering those technical obstacles.
We stayed at the peak for like 30 minutes, we had our photo op, enjoyed the views and the cool air. After we fulfilled our senses, the group signaled for a descent to another highlight of the trek – the Tinagong Dagat
I have always heard a lot of stories about this mysterious volcano crater in the middle of a rainforest of Mt. Mandalagan and I was excited to validate it for myself.
From Marapara peak, we took almost 1 hour down to the Tinagong Dagat. Again, the struggle is real! We faced some technical obstacles and the so-called “unestablished trail”yet it was so fun.
It is called Tinagong Dagat because the volcano crater is flat and in a basin form. When the heavy rain comes, the basin will become an “instant sea.” One bonus point of this place is you can camp beside the shore. Also, water source is present in the area.
Everyone was in a hurry going to the place because our stomach is rumbling. Similar to the thirsty limatik, our body is eager to receive a lot of carbo! Indeed, it was late lunch time!
We really enjoyed the view, the cold fog and of course the company!
Things to Consider:
- Proper Hiking attire and Equipment must be practiced
- Always bring enough water and trail foods
- Insect Repellent Lotion
- Any mint oil for Limatik (Efficascent Oil, in my case)
- Leave No Trace principle must be applied