Mount Talinis, also known as Cuernos de Negros (Horns of Negros), is the second highest mountain on the island of Negros, and a potentially active stratovolcano. It is one of the mountains in the Philippines with the most challenging trails.
Reading all these facts was kind of frightening to me at first. Ever since I’ve ventured into mountain trekking, I have dreamt of summiting the most challenging mountains in the country. Mount Talinis is on top of my list.
Together with my friends from Malakat Outdoors, I was able to survive the arduous climb to this majestic mountain last month. But despite how difficult it was, I am proud to say that all of us were fully prepared and equipped to climb the steep slopes and rugged terrains of Mount Talinis. Prior to this trip, we have trekked the most challenging trails in Cebu City in preparation for this major climb.
We started our trek at the crack of dawn and entered this mystical forest. For hours, we admired the soothing sound of birds chirping and running water. The start of every trek is the most challenging. Our backpacks were heavy and unforgiving, but eventually, our bodies were able to adjust after a few minutes of trekking uphill. “You just need to wait until your backpack’s weight will sync to your body,” my partner would say.
After 5 hours of trekking, we reached this spot they call Guard House, where forest guards are stationed. We decided to eat our lunch there before we proceeded to our destination for Day 1 – Lake Nailig.
The trail going to Lake Nailig is the toughest. The ascent is so extreme at probably 60 degree angle. The amazing steepness of the slopes and the verdant vegetation is what makes Mt. Talinis a bucket list to any aspiring mountaineers in the Philippines. Mt. Talinis is also one of the cleanest mountains I’ve visited so far. So clean that the water in Lake in Nailig is 100 percent potable.
After what seems like the longest 4 hours of my life, we finally reached Lake Nailig at 1900 meters above sea level. Lake Nailig serves as the main camping ground to climbers. The view was spectacular despite the heavy fog.
My partner and I, along with our friend, Renan, were the first ones to arrive Lake Nailig so we immediately looked for a good spot to pitch our tent. Everything was going well until it suddenly rained as we were unpacking our stuff. I waterproofed my clothes and gadgets, but everything else was out in the open! We haven’t pitched our tent at this moment yet so were like disoriented chickens running around doing our best to save out stuff! Haha.
The next morning, we were all waiting for a go signal from our guides if we can summit. It was still raining and the fog was so thick. I was adamant to proceed climbing towards the summit because it is only 30 minutes away. Sadly, there was no sign of clearing, and our guides advised us not to summit this time because it is extremely dangerous, considering the heavy fog and rain.
When climbing a mountain, there will be times when you cannot summit for reasons such as this. I was sad because the peak was so near, but yet still so far. But we had to consider our safety, lest we might never return to Cebu intact. Climbing Mount Talinis and reaching Lake Nailig through one of the longest and hardest trail is already an achievement itself.
Just like my climb to Pico de Loro, this climb taught me that the mountain always says the last word. It wasn’t the right time for us to reach the summit of Mount Talinis. Hopefully, I can finally do so in the future.
Also read: Mount Talinis Diaries: Rancho and Kaipuhan Sulfur River