Reflections at Candongao Peak (Kandungaw Peak)

“Do one thing for me,” said her mentor. “Leave. There’s no use in staying in a place or situation that does not make you happy and let you grow as an individual.” And for the first time in her life, she felt absolute freedom. -050616journal

Where are we going? To Candongao Peak!

The mountains have become an essential part of my life. They have taught me lessons that no amount of restructuring of the curriculum can teach. They have given me a number of acquaintances to connect and friends to keep for life. They have helped me widen my horizons and better understand people and situations. But more than these significant moments, the mountains shaped me into the person I am right now – risk-taker, courteous, respectful, firm, and free.


Arj and Angel at the peak of Candongao

Like most people, I have struggled to become who I am right now. Looking back to the past years, I never imagined I would be as insanely brave as I am in the present. Neither did I expect to become a wanderer, worse, solo adventurer. Never did I picture myself like one of those great hikers and explorers I have seen and read in books and movies. I was a bookworm, otaku and unimaginably-shy-snail back then. I despise making conversation, even with my friends. For me, as long as I have books, TV and internet connection, I will live for all infinity. I was a self-acclaimed introvert at that time.

Entrance of Candongao Cave


Exit of Argao Coal Mines Resort

But the earthquake in Bohol happened. I found the courage to volunteer. I have meet hikers, mountaineers, runners, and many other people who are deeply passionate with outdoors. I have become close friends to colleagues who were altogether happy in venturing into places I have only read on academic books and watched over Youtube for Philippine Geography discussion purposes. I found somebody who’s intensely in love with traveling and discovering places unknown to many. And with everything happening like a meticulously woven pattern designed by fate, I, slowly and unconsciously, developed the will to follow my own trail and go out for an adventure – the way my favorite book and anime characters did.

Hitching up a ride with these fellow miners and farmers of Mantalongon


Yes, it’s scary at first. Meeting new people. Talking to stranger. Stretching out your patience in dealing with those who you don’t want to be with. It’s a test of character, and I tell you, you’ll be amazed on how amazing you can be!

Our kind of swinging groufie at the hanging bridge at Argao Coal Mines Resort

So when you really want to go somewhere, or achieve something, go for it. Even if nobody from your set of friends or circle of acquaintances would want to go with you. Eventually, you will meet people who share the same sentiments and experiences with you. I never had regrets so far. And even if there are some inconveniences along the way, I see each wandering moment as a lesson that teaches me about life, about myself.

L-R: Me, Arj and Angel

So when you finally found the courage to pack your things and go (even if it’s just a jeepney or bus away from home), LEAVE. There will be hesitations. But just LEAVE.


I tell you, you’ll never be the same person when you come back.




  1. Candongao Peak is located between the boundaries of Dalaguete and Badian. You can access it from Badian (3-4 hours trek) or take the shortcut (1 hour assault) via Mantalongon, Dalaguete (same route to Osmena Peak).
  2. Thanks to our organizer, Macel Macairan, and to our teacher-slash-guide, Dolores, we were able to visit not only the peak but also the cave lurking just several feet below the peak of Candongao (accessible on the trail on the right side of the nipa hut built near the peak). After the half-day Candongao Adventure, our group decided to proceed to Argao Coal Mines Resort. That was actually the second time that I’ve been to the resort; but we took the Argao trail on my first visit there (Click link for details – includes Agta Cave and Bugasok Falls).
  3. Argao Coal Mines Resort is one good sidetrip after conquering Candongao Peak. It offers a coal mine tunnel, hanging bridge, 30 feet cliffjump, and infinite pools adventure. Really a must go!
    Cool dip at the 5 feet twin pools at Argao Coal Mines Resort
    40 feet diving board at Argao Coal Mines Resort


  4. Expenses:
  • Bus fare to Mantalongon, Dalaguete – P120 (Carbon Gasoline Station Terminal – goes directly to Mantalongon, Dalaguete)
  • Habal-habal fare from Mantalongon to Candongao Peak jump-off and then to Argao Coal Mines resort (back and forth) – P250 all in
  1. For inquiries, feel free to comment below or contact me via Facebook. I do reply immediately. NO worries.


I hope you’ll finally find the courage to leave and be free from all the chains that society has tied on you. Enjoy! And I hope to see you in my next adventures!