Also known as Alto Peak, Mt. Amindiwin (or Aminduen to locals) stands 1332 MASL at Barangay Cabintan in Ormoc, Leyte. The highest in Eastern Visayas, the Mt. Amindiwin traverse is a refreshing trek through moderately sloped and sometimes flat terrain before the steep ascent to the summit from its foot. A challenge from the usual dayhike itinerary is the inclusion of a traverse to and via Lake Janagdan (1120 MASL). The lake is one of the three Ormoc water bodies frequented by tourists. The others being the bigger Lake Danao (700 MASL) and the less known Lake Kasudsuran (820 MASL).
A dayhike to Amindiwin begins at the town center of Sitio Concepcion. The trek starts on concrete farm roads and progresses to wide open trails with portions of bush-lined paths with dainty flowers. 45 minutes into this and the “junction” is reached. This is where an offshoot of the traverse to Lake Janagdan is taken. Another half an hour of trekking brings one to the campsite that used to be a PNOC old drilling site. The lone water source along the trail is also in this area. Based on the route, habal-habals can actually be taken until this point. This cuts the climb to only three to four hours; from the foot to the summit and back. From the base of Amindiwin, it is mostly a near-vertical assault through dense vegetation, mossy trees and hanging roots. In less than two hours, the tree-covered summit is reached.
The traverse to Lake Janagdan from the “junction” was surprisingly more difficult than the summit trek. The paths are almost not visible and the trees heavily cramp the trails. After a little over an hour of bushwhacking, a portion of the lake peers through a small opening in the trees. Similar to Mt. Apo‘s Lake Venado, the wonder of having a serene body of water more than a thousand meters above sea level is astounding. The traverse back to Sitio Concepcion is straightforward. Frequented by locals and even tourists, the trail from Lake Janagdan back to the town is well-established albeit long and steep.
To arrange a climb to Amindiwin, the persons to contact are Sirs Ramil Morales and Benjie Mistola at +63 921 7243042 and +63 946 9543740. To go to Brgy. Cabintan by public transportation, a jeepney leaves Ormoc at 3:00 AM and 10:00 AM (it goes back around 5:00 AM and 12:00 NN). If traveling in a big group and for a more flexible schedule, it is advisable to hire a multicab or a jeepney.
Mt. Amindiwin was one of our destinations when we went to Leyte in August 2012. It is two hours from Tacloban and takes another two to Kalanggaman Island. PACKERS holds the distinction of being the first group to traverse Amindiwin and Lake Janagdan in a day; our actual climb itinerary is:
20:00 Depart Tacloban via Duptours (Php 120.00; trips available hourly from 04:00 AM to 08:00 PM)
22:00 Arrive at Ormoc; check in iaLodge (Php 750.00 per night)
03:15 Depart iaLodge
03:30 Arrive at jeepney pickup point
04:45 Leave for Brgy. Cabintan (Php 30.00; leaves Ormoc at 3:00 AM and 10:00 AM)
05:45 ETA Sitio Concepcion, Brgy. Cabintan; secure local guide (Php 500.00)
08:00 Start trek
08:45 ETA Junction
09:30 Base camp (old drill site) and water source
09:45 Amindiwin jump off
11:30 Summit; lunch
14:30 ETA jumpoff
15:30 Junction; traverse to Lake Janagdan
17:00 Lake Janagdan
18:00 Traverse to Sitio Concepcion
19:45 Arrive at Sitio Concepcion; dinner and spend night at multipurpose hall
06:00 Depart Sitio Concepcion via multicab (Php 350.00)
07:30 ETA Lake Danao
13:00 Depart Lake Danao
13:30 ETA Ormoc bus terminal