In the heart of Sibuyan Island lies the majestic Mt. Guiting-Guiting. Its daunting saw-toothed peaks, technical trails, and verdant forests made it a noteworthy adventure spot in the country. Popularly known as “G2”, Mt. Guiting-Guiting is one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the Philippines with a rating of 9/9. I was only expecting a longer hike and just a few difficult sections when I first set foot on this mountain, but my expectations weren’t met when the trails surprised us with cliffs, sharp jagged rocks, and unforgiving assaults that wore me out. I haven’t experienced this kind of fatigue in my previous climbs.
Guiting-Guiting means “Jagged” in the Romblomanon dialect. Its trails covers the towns of San Fernando in Magdiwang where the DENR Ranger Station is located, and the quiet town of Olango on the other side.
Sibuyan Island is considered to be the “Galapagos of Asia” because of its rich biodiversity. It is the second largest Island in the Romblon Archipelago and has countless of endemic flora and fauna, one of it is the rare pitcher plant that can be seen along the trails of G2.
It is located in the middle of the Sibuyan sea and is isolated to the rest of the country, contributing to the abundance of its unspoiled ecosystem. Evident to it was our 15 liter crystal clear water supply that our porters took from the pristine Olango river when we started the trek.
After weeks of planning, our group have finally came up with an itinerary for a 2 day traverse but upon arrival (the trip took us almost 20 hours, it was that long!), we noticed that there was an influx of climbers due to the long weekend thus cramping up the camp sites. We then decided to amend our itinerary and turn it in to an epic day hike.
This is where we met Sir Remy Robiso, Olango trail pioneer and the lead guide in Mt. Guiting-Guiting.
We hired a tricycle to the DENR station in Magdiwang to fill out the registration forms and pay the fees. This will be the exit point of our hike. The tricycle then took us for a bumpy and dusty 2 hour ride along the shores of the island bound to Sir Remy’s homestay in Sitio Olango.
We took a nap until 12 midnight and made our preparations at around 1am. Sir Remy, together with our guide and two porters met us to sort our things and have a few words before the climb.
Mt. Guiting-Guiting Olango Trail (0200H)
With flashlights on, we started the trek at a fairly good pace, we reached Olango river in 30 minutes and took a quick breather. The porters took out empty plastic bottles and gathered water for the group. I couldn’t believe the two of them carried almost 15 liters worth of drinking water on top of our heavy stuff! And to think that it would be hours before we reached the end of the hike.
With only the beam of our lights to show the way, the group continued to the dark trails until we reached the first steep assault. It was another 30 minute hike before reaching camp 1.
We took out our food supplies and settled a bit longer here in preparation for the technical sections.
We packed up, continued our hike to the next two camp sites until our pathways were blocked by gigantic rocks.
Scrambling cliffs at 3am
One of the most difficult parts of Mt. Guiting Guiting was encountered at dawn. We had to climb, hold rocks, balance ourselves and skip to the next rocky path which continued for the next hour. The sweat was dripping from my forehead drenching my headlamp at this point. What got me was when I looked back. The guide told me to be careful and then I found out that we were on the edge of a cliff!
What scared me was that I saw nothing but dark horizons and pitch black, bottomless ground. I started to tremble as I transferred my limbs from one rock to another.
I shouldn’t have looked back…
Camp 2 (0430H)
The rock sections were finally done and was replaced by the densest forest that I’ve hiked. There were occasional rocks that we had to skip and climb and some assaults where we had to muster our strengths and use our arms just to move up. The canopied sky was starting to shine out as we continued the climb. The peculiar sounds of crickets and other unfamiliar insects were replaced by the chirping of different kinds of birds.
Trek to the Helipad (0500H)
The trek from Camp 2 to Camp 3 was a bit chllenging. The dense forest and thin, technical trailhead made me sweat profusely. What excited me were the pitcher plants that I encountered along the way. This particular species of carnivorous plant is endemic to Sibuyan island and some can even grow as big as a Nalgene bottle!
I was worn out at this point because of the arduous sections. The foresty trails were so thick and the rocks that were blocking the way slowed me down. I had to brush the twigs off most of the time and re position myself to skip through boulders. It was a total momentum breaker.
When the sun finally rose, I looked back and saw the vastness of the island and Sibuyan Sea. Panting heavily, I took a quick rest and marveled at the views. It was overwhelming to think that I was in the middle of nowhere, climbing a prominent mountain on a secluded island. My friends already moved on without me which made me feel scared and amazed at the same time.
Contributing to the exhaustion of hiking Mt. Guiting-Guiting are its trails that you thought were just ordinary assaults, but huge walls of rocks will suddenly block your path requiring you to literally climb to the other side of the trail.
With the guide’s assistance, I have reached the “Helipad.” My friends already moved along, they may have reached RemVal’s Spring at this time.
Camp 3 (0630H)
It was a more open trail going to camp 3. I could see tiny colorful dots of people going up. My guide signaled them by shouting and they responded. Good thing my group was not that far yet.
RemVal’s Spring (0730H)
The guide and I became a two man team until we reached the summit. We made our way to the usual rocky and grassy ascent through RemVal’s Srping. There were several hikers that we caught up but I’ve decided to let them move along in order for us not to clog up the trails.
RemVal’s Spring was a damp, foresty part of Mt. Guiting Guiting. The thick roots that crawled along the trails made it a bit difficult for me. The air was also thinner making me pant harder and sweat even more. I had to shake the branches just to catch some water in order to cool me off.
Crash site (0830H)
And then I reached the popular crash site at 1,530Masl…
It was scary to think that an airplane tragically crashed on the slopes of Mt. Guiting-Guiting In the early 90’s. The search and rescue team thought it perished on Mount Halcon in Mindoro where they did the operation.
The locals then discovered the missing plane with skeletons of the pilot and passengers on Mt. Guiting-Guiting.
They also believe that the mountain has magnetic properties that pulls an aircraft to its demise.
RemValDely’s Peak (1030H)
After the steep climb to a more open area revealing the vast blue water of Sibuyan sea and the mountainous range of the island, we have finally reached the first peak.
Espana Peak (1130H)
Mt. Guiting Guiting’s notoriety was felt when I went past RemValDely’s peak. Jagged rocks were scattered throughout the trails and the assaults were steeper.
I had no choice but to muster all my strength just to get through the rocky ridge going to Espana peak. What surprised me was how I had to climb my way to the summit. Rocks upon rocks were jutted all over which I had to scramble through. What’s scary was I could see the seemingly endless ground as I transferred from one rock after another.
I have finally reached the summit at lunch time! Too bad there wasn’t any clearing but I didn’t mind at all. My friends were probably in the Secret Garden having lunch at this point.
Secret Garden (1230H)
My friends and I regrouped inside the Garden and since I came in last, I had very little rest. Most of them were already done with their food while some already dozed off when I arrived.
90 Degree Wall (1300H)
We were scaling down the 90 degree wall by mid day. My feet were shaking every time I tried to reach for the nearest rock. Good thing our guides aided us on where to put our hands and feet every time we progressed. We also handed out our cameras for them to take photos of us. It was just too dangerous to get your hands full in this section.
Peak of Deception (1430H)
The rocky descent was unforgiving! There were times when we had to sit just to slide down the loose, rocky trails.
Mabel’s Spring: (1545H)
The guide then told us that we have reached Mabel’s Spring. I had an impression that we were about to be refreshed by the mountain’s pristine water but what we saw were just piles of rocks. Dammit.
Kiss the Wall: (1600H)
We then made our way to the famous “kiss the Wall”
Camel Back: (1500H)
Clouds enveloped the ridges in the afternoon, covering the saw-toothed ridges of Mt. Guiting-Guiting. I was very exhausted when I reached Camel back but I had no choice but to move on and catch up with my group before it gets dark.
The sun eventually came out from the grey clouds revealing the rocky surface of Mt. Guiting-Guiting. In spite my urgency to keep up, I couldn’t help but take a quick rest. I overwhelmingly stared at the mountain in front of me, I still couldn’t believe I scaled through its cliffs and its treacherous ridges.
In spite the 14 hour trek, we still had a long way to go…
Knife’s Edge: 1630H
My Facebook status the day before was: “Survive Knife Edge” and here I was, attempting to pass along its sharp, jagged rocks and get to the other side in one piece.
Mayo’s Peak: 1800H
One more push and I was finally able to reach Mayo’s peak! I crawled my way to the top just to cope with the fatigue and the stubborn rocks.
We reached the peak at sundown and I took a quick look at the surroundings. It was nothing but vast waters and the horizons faintly showed other prominent peaks in the country. It was also amazing to think that we were just a boat ride away from the province of Capiz.
Camp 3: 1700H
With head lamps on, we started the descent to Camp 3. It was a faster hike as we excitedly traversed our way out not knowing that it would take us another 8 hours to finish the whole trek.
Camp 2 to to Camp 1: (00:00H)
This section was the most frustrating and painful part of the hike. I could feel blisters forming under my feet and the thick, damp, slippery overgrowth and roots were not helping at all.
We were so exhausted that we even had to doze off on the middle of the trail. Screw the cold and wet ground. I also didn’t mind the crawling insects, what we needed was a quick nap…
Tampayan River: 0130
We finally made our way to the river and just buried our faces in the flowing water before taking another well-deserved rest. Our guide then told us to move along since we were getting near the exit. With all my strength, I forced myself to stand up and ignore my aching muscles and sore, blistered feet.
Exit point: DENR Bgy. Tampayan: 03:00H
Finally, at 3am, we have finished the most grueling traverse that we have experienced so far! We climbed Mt. Guiting-Guiting in a day!
With tired eyes, limping body, and trembling limbs, I went to the nearest chair I could find to take a rest. I didn’t notice that I fell in to a deep slumber until the service tricycle arrived to pick us up after an hour.
- Location: Sibuyan Island, Romblon
- Major Jump-off: Brgy. Tampayan, Madgiwang, Sibuyan
- Height: 2058 MASL
- Days required / Hours to summit: 3 days / 10-13 hours
- Specs: Major Climb, Difficulty 9/9
- Trail Class 5 with rock climbing/scrambling
- First recorded hike to summit: 1982
- First four to reach the summit: Mon Ruiz, Kim Valino, Roel Tan Torres (UP mountaineers) and Edwin Gatia (Philippine Mountaineering Society)
- Mayo’s peak was named after Mayo Monteza, one of the pioneers who celebrated his birthday during the historic hike.
- Guiting-Guiting means “jagged” in the local dialect.
- Part of the famous “Knife Edge Trilogy” together with Mt. Halcon in Mindoro and Mt. Mantalingajan in Palawan. Both have difficulty ratings of 9/9.
- Take any bus bound to Batangas port
- We took Dela Rosa Transit in Alabanag South Station
- Duration: 2 Hours via Star Tollway
- Cost: 160/Pax
- Book a Roro (Montenegro Lines) bound to Odiongan port
- Duration: 10 hours
- ETD- 5pm
- Cost: 760/pax
- Take a passenger Jeepney from Odiongan port to San Agustin
- Duration: 2 Hours
- Cost: 150/Pax
- Take a Roro from San Agustin bound to Sibuyan Island
- MV Querubin- Montenegro Lines
- ETA to Romblon (Pick up Passengers): 1hr
- ETA From Romblon to Sibuyan Island: 3.5hrs
- Cost: 650php
- Hire a tricycle to the Jumpoff / Homestay
- ETA to destination: 1.5-2hours
- Cost: 100/pax
|DENR / Registration||300php||Per pax|
|Accomodation/Lodging (PAO Complex)||600||Per day/room max of 3 pax|
*Rates may change without prior notice.
For inquiries please contact Remy Robiso via 0906-635-6901