Mt. Hibok-Hibok is one of the active volcanoes in Camiguin island.
It stands 1,332 meters above sea level and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The last recorded eruptions were sometime between 1948 to 1951. It claimed the lives of over 3,000 people. Despite its grim history, it has now become one of the top attractions in the island.
I’m no mountaineer and I had zero training prior to climbing Camiguin’s famous stratovolcano, Mt. Hibok-Hibok (also known as Catarman Volcano). And the decision to climb it came only a few days before our flight. Luckily, when we met kuya Ronald at the DENR office, he was able to explain to us what we should expect from the climb and what supplies we needed to bring.
We started the trek at 5:30AM. We took the Ardent trail, as advised by our guide. The Yumbing trail is said to be easier, and most people would follow this trail to and from the peak. However, ascending via Ardent trail was a good decision because it was so much more exciting!
As we reached the peak, it felt almost magical. It was like a scene from a movie. It was surreal. I couldn’t believe that I was able to get up there. My tiny legs and my determination were able to get me up there. So, to those who called me ‘“chicken legs” before, look where my chicken legs got me! LOL
We then hiked to the second peak before going down to the crater.
After spending some time at peak number two, we then proceeded to the crater. The trail going to the crater was very steep, but that made the experience even more exciting.
When we finally reached the crater, I had the urge to run around, but my body wouldn’t let me. Honestly, I was exhausted. I was also in awe that I was actually in the freaking crater of a freaking volcano. Who would’ve thought?
We rested and ate our lunch in a shaded area at the crater. After doing so, we began our descent at around 11AM via Yumbing trail.
We reached the foot of Mt. Hibok-Hibok at around 2:30PM. Our 9-hour journey was finally over.
Here are a few things that I learned from the experience, which can serve as tips too:
- It’s advisable to wear comfortable and stretchable clothing. It should also cover your arms and legs pretty well.
- There will be insects. Lots of them. Apply (and re-apply) your choice of insect repellent lotion on any exposed skin.
- Don’t forget your warm-up exercises.
- Snack on a chocolate bar whenever you feel tired and hungry. Cheap Goya chocolate bars are just as effective as the pricey energy bars in giving you a quick energy boost.
- It’s important to bring at least 3 liters of water (per person). You will get thirsty. Very, very thirsty.
- Use a waterproof bag to protect your things or put the valuable items inside a ziplock container, in case it rains.
- As you walk/climb, keep your breathing steady. This way, your chest and your sides are less likely to hurt.
- If you’re a beginner, like me, you might want to bring a trekking pole. I lost balance (a.k.a. I fell on my butt) several times, especially during our descent.
- If you’re not going camping at the crater, make sure to pack light. It’ll make the climb much easier… and lighter.
- Leave your self doubts at home. If you carry them with you, you probably won’t last an hour.
- If you are determined enough to finish the whole thing, you will.
P.S. In case you missed my last post, you must know that it is necessary to acquire a permit from the DENR office before you can climb any mountain or volcano in Camiguin. A permit costs P200 per head and is valid for 3 days.
If you are planning to climb Mt. Hibok-Hibok, I highly recommend that you get Ronald Rabile as your guide. He’s one of the best guides out there. You can contact him through this number: 09269469660. That’s it. Hope you enjoyed this post!