It is not Mayon Volcano that is in the province of Camarines Sur, it is actually Mount Isarog.
Only a few people outside the province know the mountain, the highlight always goes to the perfect coned shape volcano in the opposite side of the region. The very reason why Isarog is a very well preserved natural habitat, nobody gives the mountain that much of attention. Hikers perhaps are magnetized by the giant, more than 2,000m above sea level, it is the highest peak in the whole Bicol Region. It is so vast that it stretches from Naga City to the town of Goa, Camarines Sur which is more than 20km away from the capital city.
The mountain has a wide opening crater but its last eruption was dated back in 1915-1916. It is called Vulcan de Agua by locals. Some stories say it is because it is not molten rock which is inside the mountain but water, a lot feared the story that once the mountain decides to wake up from its slumber and explodes that whole lot of Camarines Sur will be wiped out from the map. However, science likes to debate as always, claiming that it is rather impossible for one landform to contain water from within and cleared the myth behind the ‘Water Volcano’. Isarog is dubbed as Vulcan de Agua because of its lush rainforest and countless waterfalls of which only three are known: Malabsay & Nabuntalan falls, in Naga and Consocep falls in the town of Tigaon.
Isarog also harbors a myriad of species in its forests: the Isarog Shrew Mouse, the Isarpg Stripes Shrew Mouse, Isarog Shrew Rat, and Isolated Forest Frog. There are also 143 species of birds. While the mammals inhabiting the forest among many are the Philippine deer, monkeys, bats, wildcats, and wild pigs. The best treat of nature is the giant Rafflesia can also be found in Isarog.
Let us talk about views. People climb for the breathtaking views. Being the grandfather of all mountains in the region, stand atop the Isarog and you will get the perfect sight of the valley. Yes, this part of Bicol is a valley, mountains face across far from each other and the plain in the middle became the center of civilization. Mayon volcano can be seen from Camarines Sur to Albay, also Mount Iriga as well. From Naga city, the mountain stand in the east, it casts a dark but alluring shadow to the city that gets the touch of the sun a little too late in the morning. From the other side of the province however, say in the town of Tigaon and Goa, Camarines Sur, the mountain shines like a marble. The sunrays illuminate the rocks, the forest and even the Consocep falls (whose waters are dauntingly cold, you can stock up beers and sodas on its waters) is visible as a streak of white down the mountain because of the sun. Isarog wake up like a princess with the sun but when it rains it can sometimes hide in the rain fog.
Isarog Sky Garden
The easiest trail to conquer the sleeping giant is located at Naga City, it can take from 8 hours to 14 hours on a good day. There is also a trail in Goa, Camarines Sur that leads directly to the open mouth of Isarog. Trekkers take this long trail that can last up to four days because they get to hike on the very rim of the crater to the top. A few unknown trails can lead to the peak as well, adventurous local youngsters climb the mountain on their own desired path, making their own trail however for safety purposes only climb with the mountain guides appointed by the local government unit themselves. Camping in the forest can quite be dangerous only those who have the enough survival skills and kit are allowed to spend the night.
Tourists always think of island hopping immediately after the mention of Camarines Sur and they are referring to the Caramoan group of Islands which has been the site of several season of the reality competitive show Survivor. Camarines Sur is more than just Caramoan and the Camarines Sur Water Complex (CWC), a manmade surfing turf and sport water activities. Mount Isarog is one mountain filled with multiple adventure activities; hiking, camping, and swimming combined. All of which are hard to come by nowadays.