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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrCanlaon Volcano, also known as Mount Canlaon or Kanlaon, sits in Mount Canlaon National Park located in Negros Occidental in the Philippines. The volcano is under the political jurisdiction of Negros Occidental but is easily accessible from Canlaon City in Negros Oriental. It is the country’s biggest active volcano and is the highest peak in the Visayas with an elevation of 8,088 feet (8,087 feet).
This volcano is majestic with its lush forest, refreshing lagoons, waterfalls and volcanic peaks but formidable because of its vast and desolate crater that constantly surprises climbers with frequent activities ranging from major eruptions to simple spewing of ash and steam.
LegendAccording to mythology, the volcano is named after the supreme deity Kan Laon who was revered by local tribes who consider Canlaon volcano as the center of the universe and the source of energy and fire. Another tale “La-on and the Seven-Headed Dragon” tells a story of a dragon who came out from the mountain creating chaos in the island. To pacify the dragon, one beautiful maiden had to be sacrificed every year until only the king’s daughter was left. The king could not sacrifice his daughter and he promised to give a reward to anyone who can slay the dragon. La-on, a prince killed the dragon, married the princess and got the mountain as a reward. The volcano was named Kan Laon meaning “The Exalted Laon”.
HistoryEven in the early part of the 19th century, the natives have been exploring Mount Canlaon to hunt for food. It was only in the mid-1970’s that mountaineering became more popular. There have been 26 small and moderate recorded eruptions since 1866. The 1996 eruption killed 3 mountaineers though.
GeologyMount Canlaon is located within the 24,557-hectare Mount Kanlaon National Park. The volcano is classified as a strato-volcano type and is part of a volcanic mountain chain in the center of Negros Island. Several major vents can be seen along with the active parasitic cone. The crater is about 984 feet in diameter. This is an interesting mountain with deep crevices and ravines and grand vertical rock walls that you need to be careful of as it could get slippery.
How to Get ThereThe best way to go to Mount Canlaon is to join group tours that are led by experienced tour guides. The park superintendent of the Mount Canlaon National Park will arrange for the guides which will cost ₱500 ($11) per day excluding food.
There are two trail options.
Wasay-Guintubdan TrailStart off at Bacolod City then stay overnight at the Mambucal Resort, 19 miles away. The trail starts at Barangay Mambucal in Murcia, Negros Occidental and ends at Guitubdan, Ara-al, La Carlota City. It is classified as one of longest and most difficult trails in central Philippines, taking about two days to reach the summit. The first day of the trek will take you through a lush forest. You can spend the night at the campsite Harding Sang Balo (Garden of the Widow). Gnarled and twisted eerie-looking trees populate the area.
The second day is a walk through beautiful sights like lagoons which used to be old craters, Margaha Valley and the breathtaking view of the cone-shaped crater. Descending to Guintubdan will take you past the Twin Falls of Guintubdan and will only take about 5 hours with a stop-over at Rancho Dos. The last bus trip from Guintubdan to La Carlota City is at 2pm but tricycles are always available.
Becoming more popular because it allows you to reach the summit faster even during bad weather is the reverse route, starting off at Guintubdan and exiting at Wasay.
Mapot - Masulog TrailLand at Dumaguete City and travel to Mount Canlaon National Park which is located in Canlaon City which is 103 miles or 4 hours away from Dumaguete City going north. The trail starts off at Sitio Mapot, Barangay Maiba, Canlaon City and ends at Sitio Mananawin, Barangay Masulog, Canlaon City, passing on the east face of the mountain. You will see the Sudlon waterfalls. The trail is just 6 miles and will bring you to Makawiwili Peak, to Pagatpat Ridge and then on to the crater summit. Camping on the second night will be at the Margaja Lake which used to be an old crater.
Things to See and DoSwimming at Mambucal Resort – If you take the Wasay-Guintubdan route, you can go to the Mambucal Resort and go swimming in the pools or take a dip in the hot sulfur springs. The resort includes a lagoon and seven waterfalls. Resort fee is ₱320 ($7.04) per person with a discounted fee of ₱220 ($4.84) for students.
Explore the Wildlife at Mount Canlaon National Park – The rich wildlife include 22 families rare bird species like hornbill and parakeets as well as migrating birds from other places in Asia. Monitor lizards, snakes, fruit bats, civets and other endangered species like the Visayan Warty Pig and Philippine Spotted Deer can be found in this protected forest habitat. There are 197 identified species of flora as well.
Climb the Mountains of Negros – There are other peaks worth exploring in Negros, among them the popular Mount Talinis (Cuernos de Negros) just 50 miles northwest of Dumaguete. Just north of Mount Canlaon are Mount Silay and Mount Mandalagan.
Travel TipsTake an honest assessment of your climbing skills, equipment and supplies before going on the climb.
Never go on your own. Always coordinate with the local authorities who will guide you on where to join a tour or get a guide.
Start the hike before sunrise to prevent exhaustion from the heat of the sun.
Be very vigilant about the weather as this is quite a dangerous volcano to tackle.
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Author: janblim. Last updated: Jan 25, 2015