MT.PANAMAO: The Vanishing Hiking Trail | A Challenging Trekking Experience

Mt.Panamao is popularly believed to be one of the mystical mountains in the province of Biliran. This mountain is full of unwritten lores where only few mountaineers dare and doubtful to climb because of its vanishing trails. It is also believed that this mountain is a lost city. Mt.Panamao is known as the 3rd highest mountain in Biliran, Western Leyte towers at 1115 MASL.

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According to biliranisland.com, Mt.Panamao is a solfataric active volcano and presumably erupted in 1969.

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Now, Panamao is a much-publicized mountaineer’s destination. It looks majestic and serene on clear and sunny days. It is also full of myths and legends that continue to be told among the natives.

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Our recent climbed to MT. PANAMAO was truly a remarkable journey in my mountaineering explorations. It was not easy because of its disappearing trail and totally a devastating experience for me because of the trails that’s full of climbing palms and nasty thorny rattan.

THE CONSIDERATION OF THE JOURNEY

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When AJ of wanderingsoulscamper invited me to explore and climb Mt.Panamao, I am not really hesitant to say YES! So I did a quick research about the mountain and I’ve heard and read mysterious stories about the mountain which made me more excited and eager to climb Mt. Panamao.

A week before the climb, the group did a practice climb in one of Cebu City’s mountains. AJ, who organized the event was the one who made the ITINERARY for the upcoming major climb and he’s the one who contacted our guide. Thanks Bes!

THE JOURNEY

The group arrived in Ormoc City Port at around 4:00 AM. Upon arrival we took a quick brunch at one of the fast food chain in the city. At around 6:00 in the morning we instantly headed to DUPTOURS terminal to hired a van going to Naval.

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We set foot at the Naval bus terminal after a two-hour ride. A public market was nearby so we decided to stop by for breakfast and purchase our food supplies.Afterwards, another van arrived and headed off to the jump-off point at Brgy. Talahid, Sitio Biasong.

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We arrived at the jump-off area at around 10:30 in the morning. By the time we were there, the sun was already out in its full glory and a good weather-climb loomed ahead as evidenced by the clear blue sky.

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The beginning of the trek was a gradual descending slippery trails that’s full of thorny plants.The air was slight, the trail become more steeper and it seemed my pack become heavier.

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After 1 hour and 30 minutes of hiking, our guide, Kuya Julius advised us to take a power lunch and the group concurred the same opinion. We had our lunch along the trail.

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It was 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon when we resumed our trek. I can still remember that we hiked a large portion, if not most of  pure assault. The trail was not just filled with anything greens but it is a trail of anything thorny green. We came across a good unique flora and faunas.

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Before reaching the campsite, we came across a water source surrounded with  fat branches and gnarled roots and giant rocks.I was reminded with our adventure climb at Mt.Mandalagan in Negros Occidental.

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As we reached the mountains only water source after hours of grappling that surprising rattan. The group decided to take a quick and last rest since we are close to the campsite.

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Few minutes later, we then resumed our trek and we need had to do it as fast as we can for us to meet the sunset. However, we had a slow trek because we didn’t see any trail going to the campsite and even our guide was struggling, really!  So we actually look for another trail for us to reach the campsite and we had to slash away those thick and green thorny plants. This made our journey slow and long, really! We were like a bunch of lost trekkers for a while there. But wasn’t it what we were aiming for? The thrill and anxiety of losing direction and finding one’s way again.

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THE CAMPSITE

Everyone was surprised when we reached the campsite. You can never tell that it is a campsite because it is surrounded with plants with long narrow of leaves. So we flatten the area to make it even for us to set up our tents. But we are still lucky enough because we reached the campsite before the daylight fades which made us set up the camp easily.

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After setting up our tents, we then prepared our dinner. It was a one perfect night camp for me because aside from celebrating my birthday, the camp site had a perfect view of the summit of Mt.Panamao with an impressive array of mountains at our back.

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After dinner, we had socials and everyone are having fun, really!It was an amusing night for me, a moment of a fun evening with friends. As I lay silently with my fellow campers, I felt happy living a life at the present moment surrounded by many friends with the same interests as me. We had the stars as our blankets and the dark forest watching us dream while we slept.

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A GLORIOUS MORNING AT MT. PANAMAO

The group woke up at around 5:00 oclock in the morning. We planned for an early ascending climb going to the summit so we can head off early to the neighboring islet which is Higatangan island. After breakfast, at around 8:00 o’clock in the morning, we quickly broke our camp and commended our way up.

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Before we resumed our trek way up,we left our load in a flat terrain nearby the campsite to make the hike easier. But no, it wasn’t! Another struggling way surprised us because large rattan blocking our way and we need to slash them away.

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After 1 hour, we finally reached  the ridge that offers an amazing and breathtaking view of its neighboring island. After the group enjoying the glimpse of the view and the traditional picture taking, we then resumed our trek going to the summit.

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From the viewing deck/ridge, we endured another 15 minutes hike to reach the summit. The trail was covered with mossy trees and vegetation.

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THE SUMMIT

The summit of Mt. Panamao was covered with huge mossy trees and it was surrounded with yellow toad cleverly camouflaged. The summit was truly majestic and a real paradise. We took a lot of photos and for us to get a perfect angle, we even clung on to whatever there where we can held on to.

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After the traditional photo session, we quickly commended our way down. Going down wasn’t as difficult on the way up but still quite challenging because of those nasty rattans.

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At around 2:00 oclock in the afternoon, we finally reached the covered open grasslands. We didn’t eat lunch even because of our excitements to come across the neighboring islet. When we were on our way to the exit point of Brgy. Almeria, the sun was fully out and we had a scorching hike way down.

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We traversed the route from Brgy. Talahid, Sitio Biasong to Almeria and I learned a few things along the way.

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After 1 hour of scorching hike we finally reached the community of Almeria and had a quick rest. Few minutes later, we then rented a bike to drop us at the port for our Higatangan Island side-trip.

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(Stories about our Higatangan Island side-trip will be posted soon.)


FINAL THOUGHTS

My Mt. Panamao climb was a very good experience, I can call it a paradise. Though, I am new to the mountaineering community but I can say that I am a true-blooded adventurer because I conquered the vanishing trails of the mountain that’s full of magical stories. The trail was covered with thick forest and the route is complicated. To all who joined this adventure, Congrats for the job well done!

“This is one of Gods natural gifts.Lets give value of sustaining these gifts for our children and grandchildren so that in time, they will remember and thank their grandparents for taking care of these resources.”

-LEAVE NO TRACE-


ITINERARY

Day 1- October 28,2017
04:00 AM- ETA Ormoc City Port
06:00 AM- ETD Ormoc City to Naval, Biliran
08:00 AM- ETA Naval, Biliran
08:30 AM- Breakfast/ Purchase goods in the market
09:30 AM- ETD Naval to Jump-off at Brgy. Talahid, Sitio Biasong
10:30 AM- ETA Sitio Biasong
11:00 AM- Start of Trek
12:15 PM- Lunch
01:00 PM- Resumed Trek
05:00 PM- ETA Campsite
05:30 PM- Set-up camp
06:00 PM- Prepare dinner
07:00 PM- Dinner Time
08:00 PM- Socials
11:00 PM- Lights off

Day 2- October 29,2017
05:00 AM- Wake up call
06:00 AM- Breakfast
07:30 AM- Break camp
08:30 AM- Start trek to Summit
09:30 AM- ETA Mt.Panamao Viewing Deck
10:15 AM- ETA Mt.Panamao Summit
11:00 AM- Back to Campsite
12:00 NN- Campsite/Trek to exit point at Brgy.Almeria
02:00 PM- ETA Brgy. Almeria
02:30 PM- Quick rest
03:00 PM- ETD Brgy.Almeria to Higatangan Island
04:30 PM- ETA Higatangan Island
05:00 PM- Prepare dinner
07:00 PM- Dinner time
08:00 PM- Socials
12:00 MN- Lights-off

Day 3- October 30, 2017
06:00 AM- Wake-up call/Breakfast
07:00 AM- Swimming time
10:00 AM- ETD Higatangan sandbar to Higatangan Rock Formation
11:00 AM- ETD Higatangan Rock formation- Naval Port
12:30 PM- ETA Naval Port
0100 PM – ETD Naval to Ormoc City
03:00 PM- ETA Ormoc City/Quick Brunch
03:45 PM- ETD Ormoc City to Cebu City Port
05:45 PM- ETA Cebu City
Home Sweet Home-

Travel Tips

1. Always plan ahead your tour. And for guide ship services with your Mt.Panamao climb, you may contact Kuya Julius Sabile on Facebook.
2 Be a responsible hiker/traveler so always follow the “LEAVE NO TRACE” practice, Okay!
3 Always wear proper trekking attire and wear sunblock to protect your skin from the sun and to avoid getting scratches from nasty thorny rattans. The trail has full of rattans, really!
4.Always bring enough food, water, and essential kinds of stuff or necessary for the climb.
5.Respect the locals and be friendly.

If you want to climb the majestic mountain of Mt. Panamao kindly visit BILIRAN ISLAND for more information.

Dislcaimer: All photos are not mine, credits to Arnold Jerodiaz of WANDERINGSOULSCAMPER

 

 

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