Kanlaon (2435m) is the highest active volcano in the Philippines, and since we were not far away, we decided to go for it. Better than a beach holiday for sure, especially at xmas time when all the beaches are overcrowded....
First we visited the DENR office in Bacolod and got a permit after 1-2 hours (the rules say you should apply 3 months in advance though). The permit fee is 300 pesos per person. The DENR office also arranges local guides. This is mandatory to get a permit, and the guide fee is 500 pesos per day.
Next morning we took a local bus from Bacolod to La Carlota (30 pesos), then a local jeepney from La Carlota to Guintubdan (30 pesos). Here we met the guide and shortly after we started on the 5-6 hours hike from 900 meters elevation to saddle camp at 2300 meter. It was hot and humid in the rain forest, and partly very steep as well.
We stayed a rather cold night in our beach-tent at the saddle camp and at sunrise next morning we ascended the last 30 minutes to the summit. I was very disappointed when I saw a higher point on the other side of the crater. But traversing along the rim to the true summit is not doable according to our guide, because of the extremely loose and dangerous rim. If I had been alone I would have given it a try, but with the guide watching us carefully, it was out of the question....
After I got down again I searched for the false-summit issue on the internet. It is not mentioned anywhere, and no one seems to care, not even the biggest mountaineering website in Philippines (www.pinoymountaineer.com) has mentioned this. So everybody claims the summit, when reaching only the false summit. I have so far seen no photos from the true summit on internet. I estimate the true summit is 30-50 meters higher than the false summit.
Anyway it was an interesting hike with awesome views. At the start of the hike, we met some few people descending, but after that we were completely alone on this volcano.