Mahagnao Volcano and Natural Park emerges as new camping site in Leyte

By Sarwell Meniano

April 29, 2024, 3:08 pm

<p><strong>CAMPING.</strong> The campsite at the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park (MVNP) in Burauen, Leyte.  The ecotourism site is offering camping as the newest attraction for nature lovers exploring one of the emerging destinations in Leyte province. <em>(Photo courtesy of MVNP Ecotourism Association)</em></p>

CAMPING. The campsite at the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park (MVNP) in Burauen, Leyte.  The ecotourism site is offering camping as the newest attraction for nature lovers exploring one of the emerging destinations in Leyte province. (Photo courtesy of MVNP Ecotourism Association)

BURAUEN, Leyte - The Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park (MVNP) is one of the emerging destinations in Leyte province and nature lovers could check out this newest attraction that offers camping activities.

Municipal tourism officer Carmela Crebillo said there has been growing interest among camping enthusiasts to stay overnight at MVNP since March after a group shared on social media a view of the picturesque sunset in the area.

In February, a group of local travelers posted a photo of their overnight experience while in the vicinity of MVNP in nearby La Paz town.

Due to the limited space on the Lapaz side of the natural park, many came to the Burauen side of the ecotourism destination.

“We have been meeting with the people’s organization to discuss the limitations of camping activities and tour packages for campers. We want people to provide an opportunity to explore nature while preserving it for future generations,” Crebillo said on Monday.

Elma Retostos, president of the MVNP ecotourism association, said with a minimal cost of PHP300, they could rent a tent and a blanket. For those with tents, they have to pay PHP200 for the space and blanket.

Members of the local people’s organization also cook food for tourists.
Bonfires are only allowed until 10 p.m. to respect other campers who would like to have a peaceful and good night's sleep.

“Every week, five to 10 groups are coming to camp here. Most come here on weekends,” Retostos said.

Crebillo said more tourists have been exploring MVNP to experience its naturally cool environment.

“The weather is hot, and people prefer communing with nature instead of going to malls. It's the perfect place to relax and escape from the scorching weather in the city,” Crebillo added.

The community has been offering two tour packages for years: the Tanguile and Bulkan trails.

The Tanguile Trail is named after the dipterocarp Tanguile trees dominant in the area, giving visitors the experience of what it is to “commune with nature and immerse in a forest atmosphere.”

The trail brings a sense of relaxation through your five senses: seeing the forest surrounding you, hearing the chirping birds and forest winds, touching the cold ground by walking barefoot, inhaling the wonder of blooms, and tasting the sweetness of young melastoma plant pods.

The trail ends at Malagsum Lake, one of three lakes in Mahagnao known for its green, acidic water, a sanctuary for about 2,000 wild ducks of several species.

The Bulkan (local term for volcano) trail, on the other hand, gives visitors a chance to see Philippine Macaque monkeys while hiking through a dry stream bed.

Through this trail, one can reach the top of the inactive volcano, overlooking two lakes in Mahagnao.

Along the way, tourists will find some sulfuric gems, but picking them up is strictly prohibited.

The biggest lake in Mahagnao village has a length of 15,590 meters and a surface area of about 16 hectares, making it ideal for boating, kayaking, and stand-up paddling.

Tourists will also discover the local cuisine through a buffet lunch of rice, native chicken cooked in coconut milk, local fish simmered in vinegar, fried local fish, mixed local vegetables, fried dried fish, camote (sweet potato roll), fruits, and coconut juice.

The cost of each tour package is PHP1,035 per person for a group of five, according to Retostos.

Proclaimed as a national park in 1937, MVNP is endowed with different natural attractions: a lake, falls, multi-colored mud, virgin forests, and a lagoon.

In 2018, the park was proclaimed a protected area through legislation.
Mahagnao, located 860 meters above sea level, is 18 kilometers away from the town center of Burauen. (with reports from Del Sevilla, OJT/PNA)