Perfect cone

Legaspi Travel Blog

 › entry 29 of 45 › view all entries
Since we were already in the area after going to Donsol we decided to try to climb the perfectly symmetrical slopes of Mt. Mayon just outside of the dirty little charmless town of Legaspi.  Like everything else in the Philippines it was quite difficult to get get organized.  There were not proper tour companies offering packages to hike the volcano but you were not allowed to do it without a guide.  Everyone we talked to said they knew a guide but it was pretty difficult to get a feel for a good one from bad through broken English over the phone.  We had given up on doing the hike the following day when Bin showed up at our hotel room.
  Apparently he got my message and came to make a deal.  we eventually agreed to $75 for a one day hike which was expensive but in line with what the book said it should be and a long way from his initial quote of a whopping $200 (come on Bin).   Part of the deal was that we had to bring our own food.

Bin was there waiting at 6:00 am the following morning in our private Jeepney.  I went to pick up our packed breakfast and lunch that we ordered from the hotel restaurant the night before.  I was disgusted at what we got.  There was almost nothing available on the menu so we limited to egg and corned beef sandwiches.  Or at least that is what we thought we ordered.  We got a bag of fried eggs, a bag of bread, and a giant bag of disgusting corned beef soup.
  There was no way we were eating that.  We got Bin to stop at a corner store and we just bought enough snacks to get us through the day.

The heat was overwhelming when the trail left the coveted cover of the trees and left us exposed to the to bake.  I was still a little sick and had some congestion issues.  My ears were not equalizing well on the way up.  The heat seemed to be boiling my brain making it swell.  When the pressure built up in my throbbing head the blood pumping though my ears sounded like a helicopter in slow motion from a Hollywood flick.   I was sweating like white tourist eating his first Tai chili.  I felt bad for Brenden.  He always sweats more than me and this day was no exception.  He was like a big faucet constantly flowing.
  Thank God the clouds came after a couple hours because there was no way that we could have kept going all day in that heat.  It took about three hours to get up to camp 1 which was close to the edge of the main treeline.  They called it a camp but there was really nothing there other than four moss covered walls.  Brenden was already starting to talk about heading back from there and it was only 10:00 am.  After a short rest and a a little convincing we continued up.

The second part of the hike was much more interesting.  Only a few minutes from camp 1 we got on to an old lava path.  There were very interesting formations making for great pictures and hard climbs.  The rock was brittle there were very steep sections making for a dangerous climb.
  Bin told us to be extra careful in a few places along the way were tourists had recently slipped and died.  We had a bit of a scare when the clouds started turning black.  Rain added into the mix could have made the situation uncomfortably dangerous.  Brenden made it clear that he was ready to turn back whenever I wanted.   I knew it could not be that bad if our porter Perfecto, AKA Mute Perfection, was able to do it in flip flops.  I was not turning back.  Camp 2 was as anticlimactic as expected.  There was no sign of any camp at all.  It was nothing more than a big rock in the middle of the lava river.  It was nothing more than a marker.  The views were fantastic though.  This was as high as we were allowed to go because the volcano had recently been upgraded to a alert 5 level.

The walk down was a relentless. We made good time back to the main gate and were there by about 4:00.  It was an unpleasant surprise when Bin told us that we were not getting pick up there.  We had to walk another 45 minutes to his roofless house.  Brenden's fuse was pretty short by then.  He was still getting over the poops so he didn't want to drink the stream water.  I was dehydrated but he was much worse.  We had o wait at Bin's place for another half hour for the tricycle to make it's way down the bumpy dirt path to pick us up.  The shower back at the hotel was one of the best of my life.

Travbuddies: Brenden (Can)
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photo by: issa005