While the world has the urge to isolate and confine, I had the urge to explore the ravine.
A particular mountain had been calling me for weeks. It was recently discovered and thus have few trekkers so far. Mt. Malingatong is the new addition to the beautiful mountains in barangay Cabintan, Ormoc City, home to the famous Alto Peak and Lake Janagdan.
I’ve been scouting for companion for weeks up to the last minute, but to no avail. I ended up respecting the decision of God: I was meant to climb alone because I can.
I was with Yanyan and Mike, both local tour guides slash photographer. I’ve known them since I started trekking so it never really felt like they are just tour guides. Besides, I’m not a tourist.
It was Friday the 13th, the sun is up and the skies are blue. I never knew how amazing of an experience awaits. I never regretted bringing no one as the lesser you are, the more you can intimately enjoy the experience up there especially that unlike other elevations, Mt. Malingatong has narrow trails and campsite.
UNDERSTANDING MT. MALINGATONG
Thanks to the explorer spirits of Yanyan and Kuya Randy, they established Mt. Malingatong trail last November 2019 after they searched for a possible pathway to reach its summit. They are even set to create a traverse trail from Mt. Malingatong Summit to the Alto Peak since the two mountains are connected.
Mt. Malingatong Summit is 1205 miles above sea level (MASL) as measured by an altimeter watch of one of the first summit conquerors. Its view deck, 1075 MASL, can be reached in less than 2 hours. It is the perfect spot to witness the highest peak in Leyte, Alto Peak, from its foot to its peak which is perfectly situated in the backdrop.
The trek going to the view deck takes about an hour with trail that is generally easy but narrow.
Part of wide panoramic scene of the view deck is the Mt. Aslom and the bold Mt. Malingatong Summit, among other breathtaking mountains. If you’re lucky to have nice weather and clear skies, then you’ll have the best of all these majestic mountains have to offer.
From the view deck, another 5-minute descend shall be spent going to the campsite. The camp site can only accommodate up to 5 persons. While day hike can be an option, overnight stay is recommended for those who are decided to assault the summit or those who simply want to witness the beautiful sunrise scene the next day.
HOW TO GET THERE
Going to Ormoc City is just 3-hour away from Cebu City and 2-hour away from Tacloban where both cities have domestic flights. If you’re in Ormoc already, you can take a multicab from the terminal to brgy. Cabintan and get off at the drop-off point. From there, you need to register at their tourism center and pay P25 entrance fee per head . You will be given a tour guide for P500 per day (max: 5 people/guide), undergo a brief orientation, and off you go
Itinerary # 1 – Overnight Stay
12NN-1:00PM – Assembly at Brgy. Cabintan
1:30PM – Jump-off point registration / Briefing
2:00PM – Start trek to Campsite
4:30PM – ETA view deck
4:45PM – Trek to Camp
5:00PM – ETA Campsite (Set-Up Hammock and Prepare Dinner)
6:00PM – Dinner
7:00PM – Socials
9:00PM – Lights Off
DAY 2 4:30AM – Wake-up Call 5:00AM – Sunrise watching 6:00AM – Prepare Breakfast 7:30AM – Ascend to Summit 9:30AM – Summit Pictorial 10:00AM – Descend from Summit 12:00NN - Eta Campsite/Lunch 2:00PM – Break camp Optional: Mt. Sulfatara (Depends on the team's pacing) 4:30PM – ETA Exit Point
1. Coordinate first with the Cabintan Local Eco Guides (CALUEGUID) to set your schedule before going there. There are flocks of climbers even from outside Ormoc City especially during the weekends, thus the need to arrange the schedule. You may contact Kuya Ramil (President of CALUEGUID) at 09217243042 or Yanyan at 09126590735.
2. While the trail going to the view deck is quite easy, it’s totally different for the pathway going to the campsite. It requires you to be extra careful since beside the 1-meter trail is a hundred-feet cliff. Mt. Malingatong is generally not advisable for people with vertigo, dizziness, and no sense of balance in life.
3. The summit is only for experienced climbers. Aside from the side to side deep ridges, the ground is made up of lose rocks and can be dangerous to beginners.
4. Aside from hammock, you should also bring sleeping bag and your thickest jacket. The temperature during the night is around 10 degrees Celsius (for me), you’ll literally shiver and lose a good night sleep without enough covers.
5. It helps to have hand gloves and be in full sleeves especially going to the summit or else you will have a collection of scratches from Mother Nature. A headlight is also helpful as some nights are in total darkness.
I left the urban with 49 CoViD-19 cases for PH, but it climb as fast I did from 49 to 98 in less thatn 24 hours. At least I had a different kind of isolation and social distancing, another experience of a lifetime before this lifetime is over.