Bantay: Mt. Caniaw, Easy Breezy Morning Trip
Mount Caniao is the highest point of the mountain ridges on the northern part of Ilocos Sur. Its summit is almost 700 MASL, accessible through an 8-kilometer concrete road. It is nicknamed “radar” because of the radio equipment such as communications antennae, relay stations and radio and tv towers installed here, almost adjacent to each other.
At five in the morning, we traveled by motorcycle the road going to the peak of Mt. Caniao. From Vigan, we reached the summit in less than 30 minutes. We arrived just in time to see the sunrise.
Ever since the road called the Caniao Communication road was paved with concrete in 2016, access to the summit became more convenient. Previously, trekking to the peak takes up to three hours. It is a popular destination for the locals wanting for a rigorous exercise. With the concrete road done, the mountain attracted not only the hikers but also the cyclists and bikers seeking for a more challenging uphill climb. Three viewing decks have been constructed to serve as rest stops for the climbers.
With its steep road and sharp curves, very few tricycles ply this road. Single motorcycles are the most common motorized vehicles that you can see here. But when you reached the summit, a very satisfying reward awaits – a cool, refreshing breeze and breathtaking natural scenery. We went here very early in the morning to see a sea of clouds, but the windy weather blew them away by sunrise. A strong, cool breeze was perfect while we had a coffee break at the summit.
Being at high altitude, you can see the nearby towns of Abra such as San Quintin, Piddigan and the capital Bangued, located just by the river. At the distance, you can see the mountain ranges of Cordillera. At the opposite side, you can see the coastline of northern Ilocos Sur.
We didn’t stay too long because it’s chilly and windy. Not long after the sunrise, we decided to descend, just in time to see a group of bikers and hikers trying to reach the summit.
If you’re in Bantay or Vigan and just wanting to get sweat, seeking for a new thrill or just wanting to breathe some fresh air or have a bonding with nature, Mount Caniao is a perfect destination.
We highly recommend this destination because aside from being free, we’re sure you will not be disappointed with its offerings.
From Vigan or Bantay, take a tricycle (fare is PhP100) and alight at Dulce (seven kilometers from Bantay proper). At the junction is the Caniao Communications Road.
From Bantay take the highway Manila-bound and turn left before reaching Dulce Pasalubong Center. Take the almost 8-kilometer Caniao Communications Road until reaching the summit. Double precaution must be observed because of the steep road and the occasional erosion that may be encountered.