As the second mountain of our ‘Bicol Express’ – a week-long journey across Bicolandia involving several dayhikes – Iron Lady Jo Steven and I climbed Mt. Malinao with Alinao Guardian Mountaineers head JR Casi. Now Malinao is one of the three peaks of Albay, together with the famous Mt. Mayon and the little-known Mt. Masaraga.
We met at Tabaco, then proceeded to the jumpoff at Brgy. Tanawan, Malinao, Albay. The rice fields were golden, and against them the mountain rose beautifully as we approached the trailhead.
We started hiking at 0830H, from a cold spring resort. From there, we passed by abaca plantations and, after an hour or so reached the Sugad Plaza, which is an open area featuring nice views of the Eastern coast of Albay. We also caught a glimpse of Mayon Volcano, even as it was fast getting covered with clouds. Another attraction of the trail are the rivers and streams with some nice cascades. It is said that elsewhere in the mountain there are some really nice waterfalls.
Sugad Plaza is a favorite campsite, with a wide space (hence the ‘plaza’ in its name) and a nearby water source. From Sugad Plaza to the peak, we passed through a nice forest, with some remarkable flora. The trails were straightforward and were reminiscient of other forested mountains like Mt. Cristobal and Mt. Makiling. It was not particularly steep, and the trails were well-established.
By 1215H, we had reached the peak, which at 1450 MASL, is part of the ‘crater rim’ of Malinao, it being an ancient volcano. Although at first we had no view, after half an hour of waiting, the clouds parted and gave us a view of the ancient crater, which is now verdant with vegetation.
After another half an hour, we commenced our descent and got back at the trailhead after two odd hours of pleasant hiking. We had a nice post-climb dip at the cold spring pool before heading back to Legazpi. We bade JR farewell, but we would, in just a few days, meet with him again for another exciting climb, this time up the famous Mt. Mayon using the new trail. It will come up in a future ‘Hiking matters’!
SEVEN BICOL CLIMBS IN EIGHT DAYS