I woke up every day with a panoramic view of agricultural area and surrounding mountains. My gaze is always fixed with admiration to a mountain in great distance steadily holding its fortress. Mount Talinis has always been a constant sight wherever I go.
In observance of the lent season throughout the country, we are able to enjoy 3 days of non-working holidays starting Thursday until Saturday, thus, giving us 4 straight days (April 13,14,15,16) of rest.
While I was still finalizing up my plans for the said days, there were a lot of places I wanted to go. My initial plan was Kalanggaman Island in Leyte. Plan B was Lakawon Island in Cadiz. Couple of days before our vacation yet I was still unsure of my itineraries. Both destinations were marked as a failure.
A good friend and a colleague suggested me why not choose a nearby location to spend my vacation. Mount Talinis was his top choice, of which I was very interested. He provided me a guide for me to able to arrange the itineraries immediately.
Chris-our senior guide who is also connected with the municipal office of Valencia was kind enough when he told me that his team will be providing the most needed materials for our climb, burner for example, cooking materials, cooking ingredients, tarps, ropes and others.
Things I bring:
- Camping tent
- Snacks (Biscuits,dried mangoes,chocolates)
- Storage box
- Plastic bags
- Extra clothes
- Empty bottles
- Butane fuel
- Canned goods (Sardines,Spam,Ready to eat beans)
- Wet wipes
- Tanduay Rum
Yes, you’re reading it right, Tanduay rum.hehe. Chris emphasizes to bring it. Though I insisted a beer, he said rum is the best remedy for cold nights.
Things I forgot to bring:
- Backpack cover
Mount Talinis is situated 9 km(5.6 mi) Southwest of Valencia Town and 20 km(12 mi) from Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental.The dormant volcano can be accessed via major trails of Bidiao in Dauin town and Apolong trail in Valencia of which we took, other trails may also be accessed in Timbao,Bacong and Puhagan,Valencia.
Thursday early morning (April 13), I meet Chris and the rest of our group at the starting point-Casaroro falls entrance. There were six of us. I don’t know how and why but our group will be called “Team SARIDON”.
At the starting point, Chris presented our destinations in 3Days and 2Nights. We will be spending our first night at the peak of Mount Talinis and the other night will be spent at the top of Mount Nakulon.
Our destinations in 3D2N:
- The Guardhouse
- The Rancho
- Kaipohan Sulfur vents
- Yagumyum Lake
- Mount Talinis peak – Day 1 sleep over
- Nailig Lake
- Mount Nakulon peak – Day 2 sleep over
- Nagabi Twin waterfalls
Below is a detailed timetable of our hike via Apolong,Valencia trail:
- 06:10 am – entrance to Casaroro falls
- 10:20 am – The Guardhouse
- 11:00 am – The Rancho camping ground
- 11:10 am – Kaipohan Sulfur vents
- 12:00 noon – Lake Yagumyum
- 02:00 pm – Water source; Lunch
- 02:30 pm – Ascend to summit of Mount Talinis
- 4:30 pm – Summit of Mount Talinis
- 5:00 pm onwards – Set up camp, Dinner, Socials
- 7:00 am – Wake-up call
- 8:00 am – Prepare for breakfast
- 9:00 am – Descend to Yagumyum Lake
- 11:00 am – Rest at Lake Yagumyum
- 12:00 noon – Trek to Lake Nailig
- 2:00 pm – Lunch at Nailig Lake
- 2:30 pm – Assault to Mount Nakulon
- 3:50 pm – Summit of Mount Nakulon
- 4:00 pm onwards – Set up camp, Dinner and socials
- 9:00 am – Wake up, Cook breakfast, pictorials
- 10:00 am – Ascend to Nailig Lake
- 12:00 noon – Kaipuhan Sulfur vents
- 1:00 pm – The guardhouse
- 1:05 pm – Nagabi Twin falls
- 1:20 pm – Lunch at guardhouse
- 2:20 pm – Back to Valencia
- 4:10 pm – Casaroro falls entrance
- 5:30 pm – Home Sweet Home
I was lucky to be part of the group as there were very few who could do that timetable. We opt to sleep over at the peak so as to avoid a crowded camping ground, true enough; our group was the sole campers in two summits.
From the entry point to the Guardhouse was already a challenge, I was struggling with a heavy load, Chris was just too fast, some parts of the trail was wet, and there were more climbers on our way causing a traffic path. But it didn’t stop me to continue the journey, at some point, there were hesitations, Chris warned me of worst trails ahead, I can read a worried reaction from him every time he sees me resting.
As soon as we reached the Guard house, I was delighted to see more climbers, there were at least three bamboo tables and long benches, groups were gathered their own way to prepare some stuff, climbers can cook in the area, there were enough firewood, decent and abundant water. I like the thought of slogans posted by different mountaineering clubs around the guardhouse, my favorite tagline, it read “The Mountains are calling, and I must go”.
When all of our things are settled we continued our hike to The Rancho, it has a large plain area for campers were some of them will be spending their first night. The first interesting spot you’ll notice en route to Mount Talinis is the Kaipuhan Sulfur Grounds, the area yields abundant Solfataras-a natural volcanic steam vent in which sulfur gases are the dominant constituent along with hot water vapour. As a result, dead trees and bleached rocks are found along the trail.
Avoiding a crowded trail, we went to a different route; our first night will be in the summit of Mount Talinis via Lake Yagumyum. It was not an easy climb, we were the only group who took that way, we were literally in the middle of the wilderness, thick forests, the trail are almost not to be found as the grasses were already growing fast.
Lake Yagumyum was named after an abundant flowering plant in the lakeshore called Yagumyum. Surrounding the lake are tall mountains of which Chris pointed where we will be ascending. 2 o’clock in the afternoon, we arrived at the last water source in Mount Talinis, taking advantage of the water, we cooked our lunch, refilled our empty bottles and started to consume a bottle of Rum.
I was already in tipsy manner when we arrived at the summit(1,700 + MASL) of Mount Talinis, as soon as we arrived; we settled our tents, our cook immediately prepared our dinner while some of us were waiting for clearing spot overlooking a magnificent lowland views. Though we failed to see the clearest view, the experience at the peak was unforgettable. Countless times I was just looking at this topmost point from afar thinking one day I’ll be able to conquer its height. At that moment in the summit, nothing explains the feeling of being proud of myself.
Next day I woke up loving the smell of a pungent spices cooked by our companion, it was damn cold morning but the smell lingers all around, the weather seems not changing as the surroundings were still covered with fog, as a result, all I hear the whole night and even daytime are the rain like drops of dew from the trees surface.
Leaving the place with no trace of occupancy we make sure that the area is free from garbage. The next minutes we found ourselves traversing the misty forests taking the same route descending to Lake Yagumyum.
Day 2, our destinations are Lake Nailig and a sleep over at Mount Nakulon. For the information of everybody. The highest peak in Cuernos de Negros is not Mount Talinis but Mount Nakulon (the two horns). Mt. Talinis (1700 +) is the peak nears Lake Yagumyum (Northern part of the lake). Mt. Nakulon (1860 MASL) is the one neared Lake Nailig (South-East part of the lake). Nailig, on the other hand, comes from the Visayan word “Ilig” which means “swept away”. Nailig pertains to the movement of lake water being swept away by wind. Nakulon is named after the word “Kulon” which is a Visayan word for “Palayok” or pot. The peak is called “Nakulon” because it looks like an inverted pot or palayok with its rounded bottom turned on top. It looks like an inverted pot from a distance because of two large and century-old Maribuhok trees, with their branches spreading the thick curling needle-hair-like leaves forming like a dome – majestically standing on the highest point of almost spongy ground covered by its sprawling roots and curling leaves(Mt. Talinis Trail Assessment Report).
At Lake Nailig, we were greeted with plenty campers but we positioned ourselves to cook our lunch in a crowd less area close to the lake, we like it that way.
The assault to Mount Nakulon lasted in less than two hours. We expect a congested trail this time, the summit of Mount Nakulon has one of the breathtaking sites in the area. Each visitor will be rewarded with excellent views of Nailig and Nabilog Lake. In all directions, it is surrounded with isolated mountain scenes and evergreen trees. Camping at night at the summit, all we could do is to prepare our shelter and meal; we entertained ourselves by playing cards, the undisturbed environment was accompanied by weird sounds of monkeys, frogs, birds, crickets and other unfamiliar noise.
Day 3 would be the day to leave a pristine paradise. I can’t wait to go home, take a bath and change clothes, share my experience and upload the best images I took. Going back, the path was easy but boggy tracks made others difficult to walk, somehow we manage to arrive the Guardhouse earlier at the time we expected.
The tour wouldn’t be complete of course without visiting the twin waterfalls of Nagabi. From the Guardhouse we just followed the coolest water I’ve been in less than 5 minutes. You shouldn’t miss this spectacular waterfall en route to Mount Talinis, usually this destination is the last point to visit while heading back.
To sum it all, my first and major hike to Mount Talinis was a triumph over the summit. I felt love on my first hike. I could still imagine the struggles I went through in the entire trip. It was the most treacherous holiday I ever had, but a truly memorable experience. I should engage more on hiking activities, there are still more to discover, from the lowest point to the highest.