On May 5-9, 2017, I was invited by Pocholo Franco, the VP of Tourism council in Ormoc City to explore the hidden gems of Ormoc City. I was on the impression that these are only water escapes. When he sent to me the itineraries, my adventurous spirit was surprised because it was more on mountain climbing/trekking. There are two peaks that I need to conquer with his proposal and those are the Sulpatara Peak and Mt. Aminduen also known as Alto Peak. This peak is known as the tower of the East since it is highest peak not only in the Province of Leyte but in the whole Eastern Visayas Region. This would be my first time scaling a peak with an impressive elevation of 1332 MASL.
It was 4PM when I exactly arrived at Brgy. Cabintan, City of Ormoc and the sky was alive because of the heavy rain. Upon arriving at the community of Cabintan, Fregie(habal-habal driver) dropped me off at Kuya Ramil Morales house (HEAD of Brgy. Cabintan Tourism Council).
While waiting for Jeramil, my trail guide. I’ve got the chance to speak with Kuya Ramil and he presented me the Cabintan’s trail map. He also told me to prepare myself because it is gonna be an uphill battle. And what a battle indeed.
When Jeramil arrived, we quickly prepared our backpacks and started to trekked at exactly 4;30PM. Kuya Ramil told me that it was a good pre-climb preparation going to Alto Peak Camp Site even though the weather is not that friendly.
The first segment of the trail to the well pad of interest was wide and off-road. Up to a road junction, the trail to Alto Peak Camp Site sharply bends to the right. An evidence that the road hasn’t been used much was the overgrowth of moss that seemed like grass carpet.
The trekking part was enjoyable since the since the sun is hiding at it was really cold. Sometimes, the rain seem to disappear and the views of Jaro, Leyte can be seen with some islands at the background.
During the mid portion of the trail, there was a sulfur mountain standing around 80 degrees of cliff and it is bounded by these wild strawberries. It seems that the trail going to the camp site was just literally a walk in the park.
Definitely a good warm up for our next day assault. We reached the campsite around 7:00 PM. Since we already have our packed dinner, we don’t need to worry to cook. We set-up our camps and took our dinner, we immediately have our rest and call it a day. We have to recharge ourselves for the exciting trek awaits.
After our dinner, we ended up a quick camp fire for me have a simple chit-chat with Jeramil. Because I believe it is a great idea to look forward for a new friend.
The following morning, it was 4AM and Jeramil was already doing some noise outside the tent and I believe he is preparing a good breakfast. I took a chance to prepare as well my stuff and it was around 5:30AM when I clearly see the campsite. The view has a huge landscape and surrounded by perfect greens view. Water source is also available in the campsite, especially on rainy seasons.
It was still bit dark when we started our trek around 6:30 AM going to the assault. The first 10 to 15 minutes trail is not difficult but it has a lot of Cogon grass and ferns from your left and right. Afterwards, the assault greeted us and the trail becomes really narrow.
As we reached the assault of Alto Peak, the trail is more difficult, with the surrounding filled with slippery roots, steep assaults continuous uphill that elevates to up to 80-90 degree at some point. The terrain’s certainly ain’t getting any easier .
During the mid portion or the trail, there was around 80 degrees of cliff so we used a rope to climb up. Then the next part would be roots and more root climbing until we reached the grassy part of the mountain which was the peak.
The assault took me 1 hour and 25 minutes to reach the peak.The summit has a limited space. I believe only 1 tent is enough to pitch on the area.
The peak was just around maybe 15 meters in diameter and cliffs on the sides. There were small trees on the center so we can hide from the cold wind.
Various insects and flowers can also be found in the forest, abundant insect that was totally different from other mountains. Breathtaking views awaits for you once you reach the top. Always remember that it’s not the destination but it’s the journey .
I feel so blessed when we reached the summit even though the weather is not that perfect. I saw some sea of clouds but in just a few seconds the fog will covered it.
My climbing experience to Alto Peak brought back some sense to me.
We had a simple snacks and a quick rest. Few pictures taken and down we go to the camp site for our lunch and see explore the other hidden gems at Barangay Cabintan.
“I now resolved to go to bed early, with a firm purpose of also rising early the next day to revisit this charming walk; for I thought to myself, I have now seen this temple of the modern world imperfectly; I have seen it only by moonlight.”
Alto Peak in Ormoc, Leyte. The highest in Eastern Visayas (Region VIII), Alto Peak stands majestically on a beautiful realm, the Lake Danao National Park, home to a rich variety of fauna and flora. The domain is also home to farming communities whose vegetable plantations – and cool clime – are somewhat reminscent of the Cordilleras.
LLA: 11.1061 N, 124.7097 E, 1332 MASL (unverified)
Days required / Hours to summit: 3-4 days / 11-14 hours*
Specs: Exploration, Major Climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail class 3 with unestablished trails
Source: Pinoy Mountaineer
Come and visit the beautiful Alto Peak, situated in Brgy. Cabintan Ormoc City.
More stories about my Ormoc adventure soon!
A great thanks to Mr. Pocholo Franco, the VP of Ormoc City Tourism Council. Ormoc City Tours by Fran-con Viaje International , Supercat by 2Go Travel , Cabintan Local Eco Guide especially to the Morales Brothers and family. Most of all, to Mayor Richard Gomez and Ormoc City Government for making this adventure possible.
#OrmocPH # WonderfulOrmoc #VisitOrmoc #AltoPeak