Monday, May 4, 2015

Bacolod: Hiking Tinagong Dagat in Mt. Mandalagan

Bacolod: Hiking Tinagong Dagat in Mt. Mandalagan

Tinagong Dagat is a potentially active volcano crater located deep within the rain forest of Mt. Mandalagan in Talisay City, Negros Occidental. This is a blog post detailing our recent hike up the mountain to reach Tinagong Dagat via Sitio Campuestohan Trail. Details on how to go about arranging your own hike are located towards the end of this post. 

Our group at the Tinagong Dagat crater that serves as the camping ground for the hike. 

I've always heard stories about a mysterious volcano crater in the middle of a rainforest that you can hike to. Yesterday, a group of friends and I decided to verify the stories for ourselves and hike to the crater called 'Tinagong Dagat' in Mt. Mandalagan.

(In case you're wondering why it's called Tinagong Dagat, it is because the volcano crater that you hike to is very flat and in a basin. When the rain comes, the basin will fill up with water and an 'instant sea' will appear. You can camp beside the shore and at night, strong winds will cause the water to ebb and tide, mimicking the sound of waves against the shore.)

We chose not to camp there and instead undertook a 8 hour day hike back and forth from the crater. Here are some highlights: 

  • The trail was infested with leeches at some point! They would drop down from trees to feast on our blood. Yum.
  • The trail was over grown and a bit disorienting. Our group was accidentally split up into three groups with only 2 guides. This meant some members of the group had to navigate by themselves in unfamiliar territory.
  • The trail was full of technical (but fun!) obstacles which required you to duck fallen trees, scramble up on rocks and jump from solid group to solid ground to avoid quicksand-like mud!
  • There was a torrential downpour caused by a low pressure area that descended on us on the way back to camp! Thunder and lightning included! This meant that the trail was all mud slides and loose vegetation. Some members were hampered by the sudden downpour that they arrived back at camp in the evening. 

Although tiring, it was very fulfilling being able to accomplish such a task and to bear witness to the beauty of nature that was Tinagong Dagat.

Next time, we'll go the easier way and camp there overnight!

Update: May 24, 2015

We were able to make an overnight hike to Tinagong Dagat on May 24-25. No pictures though because I took mostly videos on my action cam. Details ta

More details about the hike requirements and getting there below.

Start of the hike! Looks picturesque and easy? We were very very wrong!

Dense jungle cover! 

Finally at the crater!

The rain hit us again while we were having lunch. 

Selfie at the crater of Tinagong Dagat!

Very very wide open spaces. Good enough to play baseball and soccer on! The ground had very loose soil. Soft. 

Huge boulders also occupied the sides of the crater. You can set up camp near these boulders. 

Hike Details:

Jumpoff Point: Sitio Campuestohan, Talisay City
Alternate Jumpoff Point: 'Hospital' in Brgy. Patag., Silay City
LLA: 1450 MASL (TD)
Hours to destination / Days required:

  • Day Hike: 8 Hours (4 hours ascent and 4 hours descent on the same day)
  • Overnight: 4 Hours (per day)
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 4/9 (TD), Trail class 1-4
Features: Sulfur vents, crater lakes, tropical rainforest

Hike Pre-requisites:

***You are required to apply for a permit before you can hike to Tinagong Dagat from Talisay City.

  1. Write a formal letter of request to the city mayor of Talisay asking him to allow you permission to climb the mountain. Print 2 copies.
  2. Go to the New Talisay City Hall ( and have both copies received at the Mayor's Office on the second floor. The mayor's secretary will keep one copy for their file.
  3. Take your remaining received copy to the City Planning Office and look for the office of Mr. Paduano. (DENR Cheif). They will then give you a waiver form.
  4. Have all the members in your group sign the waiver form (Name, Age, Address, Community Tax Certificate Number) and then re-submit it to the City Planning Office.
  5. They will sign off on the waiver. Bring this waiver and your formal letter of request to Sitio Campuestohan in Talisay City to meet up with Mr. Arnel Quilaton (09128688073) of the Bantay Bukid Talisay.

How to Get to Sitio Campuestohan (Jump-off Point):

***Sitio Campuestohan is East of Bacolod heading towards the mountains. It is very near a local landmark called the Campuestohan Highland Resorts. Once you reach the resort, you have to make your way up a dirt and rocky road 500 meters up. It is there that you will meet up with your guides. 

Hike Costs and Budget (Day Hike):

***Since we did a day hike, it didnt cost so much. Here are the major costs you should take note off:
  • You do not have to pay any sort of environmental fee to hike.
  • Guides are Php 400 per day.
  • Porters are Php 500 per day.
  • Please note that you have to provide the food (breakfast, lunch or dinner) for your guides while on the trail. 
Here is what we ended up paying for our hike: (We were a group of 8)
  • Php 400 for one Guide (Eddy)
  • Php 150 for Guide's Tip (since some of us ended the hike late and they had to wait for them)
  • Php 400 for one Sweeper (Ariel)
    • A sweeper is a person who stays at the very back of the hikers and makes sure that no stragglers get lost.
  • Php 150 for Sweeper's Tip
  • Php 300 for Guide and Sweeper's packed lunch.
  • Php 150 for Tip of Arnel Quilaton because he had to go up and check on some stragglers that were lagging behind.
  • TOTAL: Php 1,150
  • PER PERSON: Php 1,150 / 8 persons = Php 143.75 per person.

Itinerary: (Day Hike)

5:00 AM - Wake Up Call
6:00 AM - Meet up McDonalds Lopues East/Breakfast/Buy Food for the Guides
6:30 AM - ETD Sitio Campuestohan
7:00 AM - ETA Sitio Campuestohan/Register
7:15 AM - Start Hike
11:30 AM - ETA Tinagong Dagat Crater/Lunch
1:30 PM - ETD Tinagong Dagat Crater
5:30 PM - ETA Sitio Campuestohan
6:30 PM - Arrival Bacolod City

Hike Costs and Budget (OVERNIGHT):

  • You do not have to pay any sort of environmental fee to hike.
  • Guides are Php 400 per day.
  • Porters are Php 500 per day.
  • Please note that you have to provide the food (breakfast, lunch or dinner) for your guides while on the trail. 
Here is what we ended up paying for our hike: (We were a group of 6)
  • Php 400 for one Guide x 2 days = Php 800
  • Php 250 for Guide's Tip (since some of us ended the hike late and they had to wait for them)
  • Php 400 for one Sweeper x 2 days = Php 800
  • Php 250 for Sweeper's Tip
  • Php 500 for Guide and Sweeper's food (lunch, dinner, breakfast)
  • TOTAL: Php 2,600 / 6 persons = Php 433 per person

Itinerary: (OVERNIGHT)

Day 1:

8:00 AM - Wake Up Call
9:00 AM - Meet up McDonalds Lopues East/Breakfast/Buy Food for the Guides
9:30 AM - ETD Sitio Campuestohan
10:00 AM - ETA Sitio Campuestohan/Register
10:15 AM - Start Hike
2:15 PM - ETA Tinagong Dagat Crater/Lunch
3:00 PM - Set Tents
(Note that sunset and low light is early in Tinagong Dagat because of the surrounding mountain ridges blocking the sun)
4:00 PM - Dinner and socials onwards

Day 2:

7:00 AM - Wake Up Call
7:30 AM - Cook Breakfast
8:30 AM - Breakfast
9:30 AM - Pack up 
10:00 AM - ETD Tinagong Dagat Crater
2:00 PM - ETA Sitio Campuestohan
2:30 PM - Arrival Bacolod City

Gear to Bring:

The following items I found the most useful during my hike:
  1. WATER! At least 3 litres of it was necessary for the 8 hour hike. 
    • Tip: You can fill your water cannisters from a cemented stream only during the first hour of the hike. Other water sources are far. 
  2. Knife! For killing all those damn leeches and making hasty repairs to my hiking stick
    • Tip: Cover up as the leeches are drawn to body heat and will fall on you as you walk past the trees they are perching on. 
  3. Hiking Stick! (not pictured) helped in those steep and slippery parts of the hike!
  4. Gaiters! (not pictured) these are apparel you place between your boots and open pant legs. They stop things from crawling up your exposed pant leg and into your junk!
  5. Trail Mix! (Not pictured) helped stave off hunger.
  6. Flashlight and Head strap! When it rained, cloud cover made the trail very dark and slippery because of the dense forest canopy. I used my flash light to illuminate my way and serve as a emergency indicator as to where I was in case anything happened to me.
  7. Whistle & Compass - my all in one tool helped me alert my fellow climbers where I was and point me in the right direction of the hike when we were semi lost lol 
  8. First Aid Kit!!! Nuff said.
  9. Rainproof Jacket - Nuff said.
  10. Emergency Blanket - This helped a lot post climb as all of us were drenched and the mountain air was cold.
Update on May 2015: (Overnight Hike)
  • For those taking an overnight hike:
    • Tent - Make sure it is waterproof
    • Thermal Insulator - You need to put this below your sleeping bag to make sure that the coldness of the ground doesnt seep into your bag when you sleep. You can simply buy thermal insulation foam for cheap at any hardware store.
    • Sleeping Bag 
    • Portable Stove and Cookery - Cutting branches for firewood is not allowed at the camp site. Therefore bring your own butane gas and cook set.
    • Water Container - There is a nearby spring that you can refill your water from. It is safe to drink.
    • Flash Lights and Lamps - it gets really really dark there at night. 

Well, there you have it. As detailed as I can get. Do let me know if you have any problems or questions with the hike. Who knows I might be able to join you guys if you go haha


Jervine DelaPena said...

Hi, can we have the contact # of Kuya Eddy (guide)? Thanks!

Andreo Bongco said...

Hi there! Here's the number of Arnel Quilaton, the head guide of the Bantay Bukid in Talisay. 09128688073.

Jervine DelaPena said...

Sir thanks for the reply. We're coming from Manila. How can we go to Sitio Campuestohan from Bacolod-Silay Airport? Are there vans jeepneys we can ride?

Andreo Bongco said...

No problem sir. Before you plan on hiking sir, please read the pre-requisites for a hike to tinagong dagat on this blog post. You will need a special permit from the mayor in the city hall of Talisay first

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MisterLNT.Ph said...

2. Knife! For killing all those damn leeches...

//We do not kill the animals we encounter in our hikes. We are just visitors so we are the ones bothering them. Learn about LNT principle #6 at and visit

Leave No Trace principles are a set of outdoor ethics to minimize our impact to the environment -

Dakilang Laagan said...

I'd always thought that it would really take three days to conquer this mountain. But since it could be a dayhike activity, probably will include Mandalagan in the list. :) :) :)

Anonymous said...

hi. do we need to pass the letter 1 month before the hike? or is it okay to pass this week (jan 2017) and our proposed date for the hike will be on feb 18?

hart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hart said...

if dayhike lang kaylangan prin ba ng permit...
thanks sana maymksby kmi sa pag ahon nitong april...

Rimex Pates said...

Sir, ask lang ko if naa part sa trail nga mabasa ang sapatos? like mo sod jud ang tubig sa sapatos?

Elvie Cabigon said...

Hello there,
1. How much do you need to pay for hiking permit?
2. Can 1 person process the permit and just attach hiker’s signed acknowledgement letter to the letter request?
3. Can permit be processed on the same day of the hiking?

Thank you!