Scaling Heights: Conquering the Majestic Trails of Mt. Kanlaon

November 30, 2010 Mountain Climbing

It's truly remarkable how a place that unleashes much of Earth's fury can also unveil such a tranquil sight.

Mt. Kanla-on, or Canla-on, is an active volcano that has experienced 25 eruptions since 1886. On August 10, 1996, it erupted without warning, tragically claiming the lives of three mountaineers.

Its most recent recorded activity occurred from August 23, 2009 to September 1, 2009, during which 257 volcanic earthquakes were documented. The duality of its power and the serene landscapes it presents serve as a testament to the captivating and dynamic nature of our planet.

Getting here is another story.

We seized the opportunity of the last long weekend, with November 29 declared a holiday in lieu of Bonifacio Day on November 30, and embarked on an expedition to this renowned mountaineering destination. Opting for the Mapot-Mananawin Trail, we later discovered from our mountaineer friend from Bacolod, Jomari, that this is one of the most challenging trails. Our aching legs served as undeniable proof of that fact.

Our ascent commenced at Sitio Mapot past 9 AM, which, in hindsight, proved to be quite late. The intense heat quickly depleted much of our reserved strength, leading us to spend a considerable amount of time resting during the initial hours of the hike up Mapot Trail.

By the time we reached our lunch area, it was already past 1 PM. Thankfully, we made the wise decision to cook our dinner here, making the most of the available water source.

Ben aka Solarman and Mamu Rex

The next segment of the trail led us to Makawiwili Peak. Unfortunately, this is where two of our friends experienced cramps, causing a delay in our itinerary.

Melvin, Mavie, Rhandz, Noel

It was already dark by the time we reached the final ascent to Makawiwili Peak. The first team to arrive decided to set up an emergency camp (e-camp).

Upon my arrival at the peak, soup and dinner were already waiting. Unfortunately, there was no water source here, so we had to conserve whatever little water we had. Another challenge was that the peak couldn't accommodate all of our tents, prompting some of the group to decide to bivouac. It turned out to be a bad idea. The night was bitterly cold, and to make matters worse, it started raining.

Mavi, Rhandz, Solarman, moi and Noel

Makawiwili serves as an excellent vantage point. This secondary peak is also the 4th highest in the Visayas. Thankfully, our endurance and efforts were rewarded the following day with a glorious sunrise.


The highlight of this three-day itinerary was the second day when we simply trekked to our next campsite, the shoulder, and explored the summit. We made the decision to skip the Margaja Valley, with the exception of our guides and one of our friends, who went there to fetch water for the camp.

Margaja Valley from our Campsite

We initiated our summit assault at 3 PM after a refreshing nap at the campsite. Fog enveloped the trail and the summit during our ascent, while the rain left us feeling chilled. Fortunately, nature bestowed a brief smile upon us, offering a fleeting 3-second view of the crater (which, admittedly, was a bit intimidating for me). Navigating our way down through the loose stones with the fog shrouding us posed its own set of challenges. In fact, three of our friends even got lost, but we were fortunate to spot and reunite with them.

trek to the summit with a view of our campsite

this is me at the summit

The third day marked our descent from the campsite. We commenced our descent quite late, hoping the sun would shine to dry our tents. Despite the guides suggesting they could complete this in two hours, it took us considerably longer. The descent proved to be very slippery, and I lost count of the number of times I slipped. Nevertheless, it didn't lack the magnificent, sweeping views.

Our journey took us through grasslands, leaving us with some scratches on our arms, and eventually led us through a portion of the forest.

Our descent offered numerous interesting sights, including a sunflower field, the farmville, and encounters with friendly locals. By the time we reached Sitio Mananawin, it was already dawn, and from there, we took a multicab back to our hotel.

In the end, Kanlaon bestowed upon us an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, a treasure trove of cherished memories, loads of pictures to share with our friends, reddened cheeks, and notably firm buttocks.

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