In the volcanic island of Camiguin in Northern Mindanao stands its most famous volcano, Mt. Hibok-Hibok. Not many people know that Camiguin is a literally a hot plate with no less than seven volcanoes in the small island. Mt. Timpoong, at 1450 MASL is actually higher than Hibok-Hibok, but the latter has risen to fame because of its explosive history. Five eruptions have been recorded since the 1827. The latest, in the early 1950s, killed 600 people.
Mt. Hibok-Hibok is a popular hiking destination in Camiguin island. A permit from the DENR office in Mambajao is required. It normally takes 3–5 hours to reach the summit; the usual jump-off is Ardent Hot Springs in Mambajao. Views from the summit include the nearby White Island, Bohol to the north, Eastern Mindanao to the east and the island of Siquijor to the west. The mossy crater of Camiguin’s past eruption can also be seen.
Climbing Hibok-Hibok is quite challenging for a daytrip. It takes 3-4 hours to reach the peak depending on your pace. The altitude gain is quite rapid and sun cover is minimal.Yet the views are unique and spectacular. At the peak, on a clear day, you can see the mossy crater of the volcano. To your north is Bohol, and you can even see Surigao at the east, and Siquijor on the opposite side. Flanking the island of Camiguin is White island, which truly looks white from atop the mountain. Even more unique to Hibok-Hibok is the blade-sharp rocks at the peak area. The pitcher plants that grow on these rocks make the landscape a little bit eerie. All these elements make Hibok-Hibok a must-stop for hikers who are visiting Camiguin.
Volcanologists classify Hibok-Hibok as a stratovolcano and dome complex with an elevation of 1,332 metres (4,370 ft) and a base diameter of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). It has six hot springs (Ardent Spring, Tangob, Bugong, Tagdo, Naasag and Kiyab), three craters (Kanangkaan Crater, site of the 1948 eruption; Itum Crater, site of 1949 eruption, and Ilihan Crater, site of 1950 eruption). Its adjacent volcanic edifices are Mt. Vulcan, 580 metres (1,900 ft) high, NW of Hibok-Hibok; Mt. Mambajao, 1,552 metres (5,092 ft) center of Camiguin; Mt. Guinsiliban 581 metres (1,906 ft) high, southernmost Camiguin; Mt. Butay 679 metres (2,228 ft); and Mt. Uhay, N of Mount Ginsiliban. There are also domes and cones at Campana Hill, Minokol Hill, Tres Marias Hill, Mt. Carling, Mt. Tibane, and Piyakong Hill.
Today, although Hibok-Hibok remains an active volcano, it has no signs of activity. In fact, the only signs of volcanism are the hot springs that count among Camiguin’s tourist destinations. One of them, Ardent Hot Springs, is actually the jump-off point for a Hibok-Hibok climb. A rewarding dip at the 37 C pools is a great post-climb treat.