After a sum of 10-hours of crossing oceans, and a whole day of hiking, the summit of  Pokis Volcano (Smith Volcano) one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the Philippines— this remote island welcomed us at sunset. April 11, 2017

THE BABUYAN ISLANDS

The Land of Fire and Sea.

A group of 10 Filipinos set out to complete the island volcano circuit of the Cagayan Region. A supposedly 10-day expedition cut-down to 6 due to the inclement in weather in the last remaining days, causing us to sail home as early as possible, if not we would have been stranded for weeks. 

We summited a total of 3 volcanoes, Pokis Volcano (670 MASL), Babuyan Claro Volcano (1160 MASL) and Camiguin de Babuyanes (720 MASL), and became the very first Filipinos to step foot and document the infamous and youngest island in the Philippines, Didicas Volcano. 

Island to island, volcano to volcano. This was our life for those past days living in a small boat packed with 10 people in the open waters of the Pacific. The expedition started with a whole day transit, a 13 hour bus ride from Manila to Tuguegarao, and a 6 hour car ride from Tuguegarao to the port of Claveria where we rested for the night. At the first light, we hopped on our small boat to Calayan Island which took us 3-hours sailing luckily in smooth waters.

The Start of Exploration touching down to the land of Fire and Sea— the Babuyan Islands. We spent our first days warming up in Calayan Island before the start of our 6-day volcanic expedition by exploring Sibang Cove and the Nagundungan Hills. April 7, 2017

Standing on the cliff by the open ocean watching the stars fade into the morning light of the sun. April 8, 2017

My friend Charles chasing the last light of the sunset as the hills turns into mere shadows consumed by dusk. April 7, 2017  

After exploring the island of Calayan, we then sailed for about 8-hours to start our journey to the remote island of Babuyan Claro. We met the next commander-in-charge of the island as the head chieftain sailed back to the main island as we arrived. We then sailed again for another 30 minutes to the jump-off point as we started our climb to the summit of Pokis Volcano. We reached the summit crater of the volcano surrounded by thousands of pitcher planets as the last remaining light of the sun welcomed us. 

Being at top of Pokis Volcano, it wasn't even the view of the pacific ocean that made the place so surreal but the whole place itself. Just being there, gazing through the light made everything worthwhile.

Mountaineering friends Coby and Gideon standing on the volcanic precipice of the summit crater of Pokis Volcano at sunset. April 9, 2017

Mountaineering friends Gideon and Jeshua trekking along the volcanic ridge of Babuyan Claro Volcano nearing towards the summit of the mountain. April 10, 2017  

 The colors of sunrise as we ascent the tallest mountain in the remote island of Camiguin. The Camiguin de Babuyanes standing 720 meters above sea level. April 12, 2017

The youngest island in the Philippine archipelago - the underwater volcano Didicas. April 11, 2017

After sharing dinner, laughs, and stories of cultural heritage with the Ibatans, the indigenous people living in the Babuyan Claro island, the next day we continued our volcanic expedition en route the tallest point of our journey,  a grueling 12-hour hike to the volcanic ridge and crater summits of the active volcano Babuyan Claro. We came across the most pristine rainforest we have ever seen, with  giant ferns hovering above our heads, and being surrounded by endless fields of pitcher plants it felt like we were transported to a new age.

The longest boat ride of our journey, we sailed for a total of 10-hours en route for our final summit climb in Camiguin de Babuyanes wherein we made a detour to the infamous Didicas Volcano, setting foot on its barren sands, with heavy currents and waves pushing our boat back. We had to use a raft to beach the volcano island since the waves were too strong for the boat to dock. Being the youngest in the team, made the landing more so significant, being the youngest person to set foot on the youngest island of our country, and the very few people to have completed the island volcano circuit of the group of the Babuyan Islands. 

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