Friday, March 21, 2014

Mt. Timpoong | Virgin at the Summit

When I visited Camiguin last year, my primary goal was to hike two of its mountains. One being Mt. Hibok-Hibok, and the other, which probably you haven't heard before, is Mt. Timpoong.

Rising at around 1,630 meters above sea level, Mt. Timpoong is the highest in the island province of Camiguin. But ironically, it has not received the attention it deserves, especially from the hiking community in the Philippines. Only a few attempts to climb this mountain, and most of them are foreign nationals. Probably because there is hardly any discussions about this mountain in the internet. I, myself, had a hard time researching for this mountain (thankfully, I found this article).

Anyway, I decided to include Mt. Timpoong in our itinerary because of three things: 1) it is the highest mountain in Camiguin Island; 2) Pinoy Mountaineer pushed me to; and lastly, 3) it is said that its summit is a virgin forest.


A day after we hiked the more famous Mt. Hibok-Hibok (for the account of our Mt. Hibok-Hibok climb, read here), Arisse and I were set to climb another mountain in Camiguin. Mt. Timpoong, the highest in the whole Camiguin Island, is the day's destination.

Tuesday - August 20, 2013

On a cold morning of a Tuesday, we met with our guide, Mang Gregoryo. The old man, who's still very strong and swift, is the father-in-law of Mang Ronald, our guide in Mt. Hibok-Hibok yesteday. On a habal-habal, we drove our way to the jump-off of Mt. Timpoong, reached it at 6 AM.

From the jump-off, an easy walk along a rough road (which looks very similar to Tapulao) greeted us. It serves as a nice warm-up before we took the steep ascending trail that suddenly appeared to our right after about 30 minutes. 

adventure begins here
(Note: Hiking Mt. Timpoong would also require a permit from DENR, (actually, all mountains in Camiguin needs a permit before you're able to climb them) but since they already issued us a permit when we hiked Mt. Hibok-Hibok yesterday, getting another one is unnecessary. A permit from DENR lasts 3 days. Guide fee here, as mandated by the local tourism, is as well very expensive at P1400.)

The trail eventually led us to a wide open grassland that offers a full view of the lowland Mambajao. Pati yung White Island, kita rin. To the northwest, we also spotted Mt. Hibok-Hibok which was then still well covered by clouds. And since this place is also the reforestation site of the DENR, many trees-to-be are planted systematically across the land.

the grassland/reforestation site with the summit of Mt. Timpoong at the background
Through the reforestation site, the single easy-to-follow trail soon led us into the woodland. The trek went on
easily through this woodland, there were steep parts but did not last long. Then after about 20 minutes, we met a forking path. The single trail splits into two: to the left is a wider straight forward trail which leads to a different barangay, and to the right is narrow upward trail which leads to a nice verdant forest. We took the latter.

we took the rightward trail that is quite steep and overgrown. This marks the start of the challenging part of Mt. Timpoong
Upon entering the thicker forest, I noticed that the trail has not been used of a long time. It's full of fallen branches and quite overgrown, so our guide has to clear some parts of the path with his bolo. We noticed too that the trail has gained steepness, thus became more challenging.

As we go further and deeper into the forest, the more it becomes mossy and the air, chilly. It's as if we entered a total different world that is beautiful and enchanting. The forest thickened and became ultra lush. There were, however, some unwelcoming thorny bush along the way.

at 8:20 am, we were inside a nice mossy forest
and it became thicker as go further
Our pace significantly slowed down when we reached the part of the forest that is highly infested with limatiks (leeches). These tiny residents of the forest were so many that at a certain time, I found more than 10 crawling in my pants. Pitik lang kami ng pitik. Of course, none of us got through this part without a single bite.

Past the limatik infested forest, we carried on towards the steep, moss-covered log-jam trail. It was tiring and quite challenging, but no doubt, an amazingly stunning place.  

the mossy log-jam trail reminded me so much of the challenging trails in Tapulao. They were equally stunningly beautiful.
Arisse and I were still in great awe when all of a sudden, our guide stopped moving and said, "we're now at the summit."
At 9 AM, we arrived at the summit of Mt. Timpoong, the highest in the whole of Camiguin Island. This probably is the most surprising place of them all, an out-of-this-world beauty, a surreal virgin forest! I've never seen anything like it before and I don't think words would define the beauty we saw, I'm not even sure if my photos can justify the real thing.

the virgin forest is entirely covered with moss. and it's pretty cold up there
there was no clearing in the summit, just a virgin forest
Arisse in the forest
For 30 minutes, we roamed around at the virgin forest summit and tried to comprehend the seemingly unrealistic magnificence. I took many pictures of the place, but even so, I never really felt contented. Not a single photo captured the real splendor of the place.

yours truly, at the summit forest of Mt. Timpoong. Photo taken by my friend Arisse.
As much as we wanted to stay longer at the summit, we had to go to move on to our plans. By 9:45 AM, we left the majestic place and took the same trail we used during the ascent, and after 2 hours we're already back to where we started.


I consider this hike one of the greatest and memorable mountain adventures of the year. The greatest surprise I have ever encountered on a mountain, an unexpected beauty found at the summit of Camiguin's highest mountain. Big thanks to all who made this hike possible.

This post is Part 4 of 5 of my Camiguin Island travel series. Check the following links for the other stories.

Camiguin Island Part 1.
Mt. Hibok-Hibok.
Camiguin Island Part 2.
Mt. Timpoong.
Camiguin Island Part 3.


  1. Wow! Ang ganda ng summit, napalibutan ng mga puno! Virgin na virgin nga! :)

  2. I hate leeches. I might be the noisest hiker to pass the leech infested area. :)

  3. I've reach the summit too! Last oct.15 2016. It was Nice place but i guess you have not reach the Summit where the Pitcher Plants Grow. It's a 90° climb that requires a rope, indeed a virgin forest and i feel the same while capturing the photos. hahaha



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