05:30AM Wakeup call. I slept like a baby throughout but still felt my 8 hours of sleep was insufficient. Warm sun rays greeted us through the cold morning mist foretelling good weather and sunny skies. Canlaon City loomed below, reminding us that we were still at the foothold of Mount Kanlaon. We broke camp after preparing breakfast and packed lunch. Breakfast consisted of champorado, dried fish and arrozcaldo while we whooped up macaroni for lunch. Our breakfast recipe was a mistake, I think.
07:30AM Ascent proper. Jorj, who was dehydrated and feeling ill since yesterday evening vomited on our first ascent. Even without a pack, she had difficulty climbing, and we weren’t even within the forest yet where felled logs and vertical ascents were commonplace. She couldn’t climb with us and risk her health. We stalled for an hour, assessing the situation. It was decided eventually that one of our guides would accompany Jorj back to Canlaon City where she was to stay with a friend. I felt bad for her but this was the best choice for everyone.
08:30AM With Jorg on her way back to Canlaon City, we started assault proper and took breaks within an interval of an hour. During my training climbs, there was always an instance where I would ask myself why I was doing these climbs. That never happened in Kanlaon. Even when tired, I managed my breathing when I could to restore vigor. Roughly an hour after we started our assault, I was starved and had difficulty keeping up with my ever getting heavier pack. This I attribute to, what I feel was, our inappropriate breakfast meal. Out of dried mangos, I recoursed to my energy gel, 120 calories of sweet honey.
01:30AM After about 3 or 4 15 minute stops, we reached Camp One (supposedly if we followed our IT), Makawiwili Peak. All I could utter was a wholehearted WOW. Margaha Valley was a sight to behold, which took the whole expanse of the ground from where we stood. Further beyond beckoned proud Mount Kanlaon whom we would now and then lose sight with the parade of clouds blowing from different directions. From the slopes of Margaha Valley, the ridges, Camp 2 was a comforting sight though still two hours and a half away. Finally I was beyond admiring Mount Kanlaon through pictures. I must have heaved a deep sigh of triumph and bore a bundle of smiles. Truly, the beauty of a mountain can only be appreciated by those who are willing to sacrifice, to climb her. Such even is the way of life. After gaiety photo shoots, I silently gave prayer and thanked God for the blessing. We were now en route to the saddle, for Camp 2.
02:00PM After the prevailing ascents, we were treated to a downhill treat which was an overture to Day 3. The trek dragged on for 2 hours. For some reason, I was fatigued and couldn’t keep up with my pacing with Shiela who was ahead of me. For one, I was out of trail food and with sparse water left.
04:00PM We finally reached the saddle. I was in the last group of NJ, Rain, Voltaire. I didn’t mind. Camp 2 was a welcoming sight of wide expanse of even camp ground with an awing view of the Negros Mainland. Above us was the crater whom everyone else was already summiting with a headtime of around 20-25 minutes. Not bad for a last group. Jake prodded us to summit immediately. A clear weather as ours was truly a blessing for a November climb. We unloaded our packs, left our water containers and started to assault which took us around ~30 minutes. Mid-summit, behind us was Camp 2 and further behind the Negros Mainland. It truly was a blessing. Summiting took us through loose rocks almost devoid of foliage. I couldn’t help but imagine how it was when the Volcano last erupted. Where the lava flowed downstream and if the rocks I was fending off came from the crater itself. None of which however were distinguishable by me, instead, I was dismayed by vandals left by irresponsible mountaineers.
04:30PM Reaching the summit, I hefted yet another sigh of both relief and fulfillment. We summited Mount Kanlaon on clear weather devoid of the gory climb ills experienced by other mountaineers. I was blessed, we were blessed. I didn’t take a peek through the crater, I felt it was unnecessary. Now I feel bad I didn’t. I will climb Kanlaon again. I will do so because next time, I will bring my camera and take a peek through the crater. And if it’s not asking for too much, she will be with me.
After the photo shoots which seemed endless with the clatter of childlike joys, we started descending. It was getting cold and the sun was bidding us an early goodnight.
05:00PM Back in Camp 2, we started pitching our tents and preparing for dinner. While the initial plan was that I was to share tents with Lyndz and Shiela, I asked permission to use my tent on the condition that I would transfer the moment it got too cold. I didn’t want to have dragged my Speedup throughout the 8 hour trek and to not use it. Dinner consisted of corned beef and soup which filled both my void stomach and hungry spirit.
10:00PM Lights out, at least for me. I was dead tired and even with the inviting comfort of alcohol, I only managed a few rounds then dozed off.
12:00AM Awakened by constant flapping of my tent which sounded like a motor engine. I carefully checked if it was raining as I didn’t want to wet myself and risk being chilled. So far, I slept too well. Fixing the pegs of my tent, I shared small talks with Rain over a cigarette who was also up to take a pee. It was nearly 10 degrees cold probably with wind factor, 7 degrees. These however are mere presumptions as I never had a thermometer but typically, the temperature drops down around midnight. My gloves were a lifesaver. I wore them even while sleeping for comfort.