Category Archives: Visayas

Amindiwin traverse

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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.

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Kalanggaman and its sandbars

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Kalanggaman Island | August 2012

A last minute suggestion and insertion in our itinerary, the Kalanggaman Island sidetrip turned out to be the star of our Leyte trip. Located in the municipality of Palompon, it is an hour-long drive from the city of Ormoc (by private car).

Unspoiled and every bit a beach denizen’s paradise, Kalanggaman is pristine and well-kept by the local tourism office. Its powdery white sand compete with those of Boracay’s.  It has two long stretches of sandbars jutting from its eastern and western portions. The sandbars are visible and do not inconveniently (as a whole) disappear with the tide.

Cottages dot one side of the island with bigger huts located in the middle. There are two sets of clean restrooms and grilling areas on either side of the island’s main structure (that I assume houses the office and store of the keepers). They provide the usual beach activities like snorkeling and kayaking. They also have affordable scuba packages for beginners.

As if a good omen, we were treated to the sight of playing dolphins while we were on our hour-long boat ride to the island. The best experience Kalanggaman offers would be its superb sunset and sunrise views. Arriving just in time when the sun set, we dashed to the western side to witness the play of purple, pink and red above our heads. Since we were camping overnight, we pitched our tents near the island’s lone watchtower that was fronting the east. By the break of dawn, we lumbered towards the top of the wooden tower and waited for the sun to rise.

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