One peak at a time

Mountain climber Halourd Diano finds bliss scaling perilous summits

Text: Deneb R. Batucan
Images: Contributed


LIVING in a tropical island, we have been blessed to have an abundance of nature. From the seas to the mountains, there is so much to explore and so much beauty to behold.

This is what pushed Halourd Diano, an experienced hiker, to keep on climbing. One of his passions is to climb the perilous mountains of the Philippines. It’s definitely a tough journey trekking through arduous weather and dangerous trails, but to Halourd, nothing beats the satisfaction of being at the summit and basking in the beauty of Mother Nature.

He started trekking in various mountains here in Cebu when he was just in high school. Being a sports buff ever since he was little, the mountains challenged him. “It was hard for me as a beginner, but because of my love for nature and the want to see God’s creation, I started to love it,” he said.

Mountaineering is a great outdoor activity to get fit and healthy. According to Halourd, it’s such a challenging yet fun exercise. But trekking is not for the faint of heart. Before going on your first trek, it’s important to know the basic do’s and don’ts.

“It’s important that every hiker must go through a Basic Mountaineering Course or BMC. It teaches us the basics of mountaineering and includes fitness training, safety, team building, Leave No Trace (LNT) principles, camping, etc.,” Halourd said.

There are a lot of mountaineering clubs all over the Philippines that offer the BMC crash course. Some take one or two days, which just gives the overview of all the trainings, but some may take months. These trainings would include practice climbs and fitness training to get you ready for your hiking goal.

Halourd’s next climb is Mt. Holon in Cotabato, which he will conquer next month. He is beyond excited to climb again. But with all the fun and excitement of hiking, Halourd also insists that by going to these treks, it’s important to leave it as they were. “Kill nothing but time, take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints,” he said.

Top 5 climbs:

1. Mt. Guiting-Guiting

Mt. Guiting-Guiting

Halourd says every mountaineer wants to climb this mountain, which is known as the most difficult and technically challenging climb in the Philippines. Also known as G2, this mountain in Sibuyan Island in Romblon province has an elevation of 2,058 meters (6,752 feet) above sea level.

2. Mt. Sumagaya-Lumot

Mt. Sumagaya-Lumot

The Mt. Sumagaya traverse to Mt. Lumot is an interesting trail for Halourd. Mt. Lumot, or the “Mountain of Souls,” is known to be the tragic plane crash site of Cebu Pacific Flight 387 in 1998. While going through the trail, remnants from the crash such as clothes and accessories are still littered around it.

3. Mt. Apo

Mt. Apo

The dream mountain of every Filipino mountaineer, Mt. Apo is the Grandfather of Philippine Mountain with an elevation of 2,954 meters (9,692 feet) above sea level. It is one of Halourd’s most fun climbs and he considers it a dream come true.

4. Mt. Pulag

Mt. Pulag

The third highest mountain in the Philippines, Mt. Pulag, also known as the “Playground of Gods,” is Luzon’s highest peak at 2,922 meters (9,587 feet) above sea level. When Halourd reached the summit, it was one of the most beautiful sights he saw. Its summit is known for its sea of clouds as well as the view of the Milky Way Galaxy at dawn.

5. Mt. Kanlaon

Mt. Kanlaon

Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Mt. Kanlaon is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippines. It has erupted 28 times since 1919 and is the highest peak in Central Visayas with an elevation of 2,465 meters (8,087 feet). The fact that it is an active volcano added a certain kind of thrill when Halourd climbed it with friends.

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