Mt. Kanlaon: Highest Peak in Visayas

I’m getting pretty addicted to climbing mountains. I question myself why I never thought of doing this before. Now, I have an endless list of mountains to climb. I have conquered the highest peak in Luzon and though it rained on us the entire time, I still reached the summit. (Mt. Pulag, I will have my vengeance!) Next stop on my list was the highest peak in Visayas which is Mt. Kanlaon.

Fun Facts about this mountain:

*It’s the third most active volcano in the Philippines – yes! It is active and can erupt anytime!

*It’s 2,435 meters above sea level

*It’s the highest peak in the Visayas region but 28th highest in the country

Cebu to Bacolod

IMG_0655You can either take the short cut, which is a 25-minute airplane ride to Bacolod city or take the long cut and do a 9-hour landtrip. We opted for the cheaper and longer journey. We rode the 6pm bus from the North Bus Terminal reaching Tabuelan at 10pm. From Tabuelan we took a 2hr 15-minute ferry to Escalante. From there, the van we hired drove us to Bacolod City where we met the organizer. (thanks Wit!)


The Tiring Trail

From Bacolod city, we drove for about an hour or so to the foot of Mt. Kanlaon. The jump off point is where you register, get a guide, rent a jacket if you must and buy things you might need like water.

9:00 there we were, a group of 9 daring people making our way to the wilderness with no chance of turning back.
10:30 – Half an hour later, we rested for a quick snack by the Busay Buslugan waterfalls.
12:30pm – We stopped for lunch and resumed our trek at 1PM. Lunch was very light, we had crackers and tuna and a lot of water. You’ll get surprised how you can survive on so little food.


5:00pm – We finally made it to Pagatpat at 2,200 meters above sea level.

5:30pm- We rested for 30 minutes before walking again downhill this time towards Margaha Valley where we set up camp for the first night. Margaha Valley is the most beautiful camping site in the entire mountain. It was the old crater of the volcano and it was just remarkable. All the bruises, tiredness, resentments and curses were all worth it. It was beautiful and that’s not even giving justice to it.

6:00pm- Finally after 9 full hours of walking through a very difficult trail with aching knees and hips, blistered feet, and almost going insane, we made it to our first camp. It was cold but manageable. We set up our camp and prepared dinner and just a little tip, do not cook near the bushes because you will have a lot of little visitors (I mean rats!)

First Camp – Margaha Valley

When we woke up the next morning, it was very misty! We had a storm in Mt. Pulag and here, there wasn’t any clearing! Are we cursed?! We waited for a little bit and hoped for good weather. We cooked our breakfast and warmed ourselves with coffee and thankfully enough, the clouds cleared and we had the sun the entire day! DSC00931IMG_1581DSC00956 DSC00973DSC01007 - CopyDSC01063DSC01061

We left camp at 12noon, reaching Pagatpat at 12:45pm.

Second Camp – The Saddle

From Pagatpat, we did another 1 ½ hour trek to the saddle where we set up camp for our second night. This was closer to the summit. From where we camped, we had an amazing view of the Margaha Valley.

IMG_1632DSC01067DSC01075 - Copy

The Summit of Mt. Kanlaon

From where I stood, the summit seemed pretty near but you definitely cannot judge the mountain by its looks. It took me another hour to reach the very top. I walked through slippery rocks and I fell a few times over, my legs were getting wobbly, it was starting to get cold and I haven’t showered in 2 days!


When I reached the summit, it was unbelievable. I have never seen anything so beautiful. I was crying inside thinking what we had to go through to see this magnificence was all worth it. I was 2,435 meters above everyone else and it felt wonderful. Simply no words.IMG_1646



My favorite part of every camping trip is this thing we call, “the Socials”, where we lay out all our finger foods, enjoy everyone’s company, stargaze and drink the night away. For this trip’s Socials event, we celebrated my bestfriend’s birthday. We surprised her at 12 midnight. 7 of us were all crammed up in our tent as we sang a happy birthday song with cookies and candles and a bottle of Chardonnay and Whiskey. It was a wonderful way to celebrate her birthday!


The Descent

We left the saddle at 11am and walked straight down for 5 hours. We only stopped for lunch. I cannot believe that I conquered the highest peak in Visayas, though with utmost difficulty, I can say, I climbed that mountain and I lived to tell the tale.


Thank you guys for contributing to the photos of this post.


Registration – 300

Bus from Cebu to Bacolod – 420

Boat to Escalante – 200

Food – 350

Porter and Guide – 1,000

(*Guide costs 700 per day and divide it by the number of people)

Flight from Bacolod to Cebu – 890

TOTAL: 3,160



(March 05-09, 2015)

I dedicate this article to the Margaha Valley in Mt. Kanlaon that was recently burned during Holy Week. 2 reckless illegal hikers were playing with fire and burned 29 hectares of the beautiful Margaha Valley. Such heartbreak seeing photos of the lush green valley all turned to ashes! May this be a reminder that we should be good shepherds to our mother Earth. It will recover soon enough though.

4 thoughts on “Mt. Kanlaon: Highest Peak in Visayas

  1. Awesome photos Ms. Lesty. Make me want to clib mountains too. Hopefully I’ll get to start my list as well. Cheers! Stay beautiful and keep travelling!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s so beautiful! Worth the climb jud diay no–the views are breathtaking! I haven’t done climbing or trekking… hopefully soon, dungan ta! whew:)


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