Hibok-Hibok Volcano - Camiguin's Crown Jewel

Photos by Robert Gardner 

     Hibok-Hibok Volcano wasn't on any maps until it erupted between 1948-53 killing several hundred people. The eruption prompted the Philippine government to create an agency, today's PHIVOLCS, to monitor active volcanos throughout the country.  An earlier eruption, back in 1871, destroyed a town and created two of the island's tourist attractions: the sunken cemetery near Bonbon and the Gui-ob church ruins.

    Hibok-Hibok rises 1,332 meters (4,370 ft.) above the surrounding seas and sits at the northern end of a string of seven peaks.  The provincial capital, Mambajao, is strategically located at the base of the volcano and most lodging and resorts can be found here and along the north coast of the island to Agoho.  You can start a trek from Mambajao but it's better to begin at the Ardent Hot Springs Resort which is operated by the municipality and is about 5 km up the mountain by tricycle.  You can rent a cottage, share a dorm room or even pitch your tent on the grounds and there's a good restaurant.  Need I mention the hot springs?  The resort staff can put you in touch with a local guide.  The typical day trip is about 4 hours to the peak, an hour or so for lunch and another 4 hours down. 

    I climbed Hibok-Hibok in July, 2000 or maybe I should say I just climbed "Hibok" since I only reached a little over the half-way point.  I had to turn back due to lack of time because I needed to catch the afternoon ferry back to Mindanao.  I planned to climb the previous day with Sabine, a German tourist I met at the resort, but we got rained out.  I decided to accompany her the next day as far as I could and still make it back down to the port.  I found out that if you're a strong climber, you can get an early start and make it to the peak and back in about 6 hours.

    Here are some photos. Click on any image to start slide show: