After almost a year since a grass fire burned some portions of the mountain that led to its closure, it was then announced on April of 2017 the re-opening of Mt. Apo Natural Park. Although there are people who rejoiced for the opening, considering the amount of climb permits went up from 2,000-2,500 for standard and peak season which is almost 50% higher than the previous rate, they are more than excited that Mt. Apo will showcase her beauty again for ecotourism and will give way to economic opportunities for the people residing in the area. Many have also protest especially those mountaineers, as they are more concerned that it may worsen considering it’s still in the process of healing and recovering from devastation. Different sentiments and opinion were raised, different perspective.
In our opinion (wanderman and woman) we considered ourselves as Mountain Enthusiast not as a Mountaineer, we have our own reason why we climb mountains, we have different perspective and thoughts about it. I believe, all we need is just to follow the rules and regulation declared by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-PAMB and be a responsible individual. Remember to stick with the policy, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and bring nothing but memories”.
This is not our first time reaching the summit of Mt. Apo, but we are way too excited to climb again for the second time around. Together with Parokya ni Basti and other first timer, we climb our way up to the highest mountain in the Philippines, Mt. Apo standing 2,956 MASL covering the provinces of Davao Del Sur and North Cotabato, said to be the Grand Father of Philippine Mountain. We decided to have our climb for Kidapawan-Sibulan trail.
We have prepared for this exciting event couple of months, as it requires diligent and thorough setting of schedule because some members are from different regions. Some are from Baguio, Dumaguete and Misamis Oriental.
Lets start with Day 1
All members were gathered at Lake Agco, Barangay Ilomavis at 9:00 in the morning for small briefing and orientation, where our jump off begins.
There are things that you need to be aware of for Kidapawan trail, you will have to endure too many assault, gasping trek, river crossing several times by walking through coconut logs, and the “killer trails” said to be 90 degrees elevation that’s why you need to be extra careful but it is truly an unforgettable adventure. Below are some of the pictures taken during our trail.
After the difficult and thrilling accent, we have finally reached our first campsite around 5:00 in the afternoon at Lake Venado. This time, we were all mesmerized with the hidden glory of creation. It is very serene, the entire place is surrounded with grassland that makes it more unruffled to watch.
Just a few minutes from rest, we began setting up our camp, arranged our things, changed clothes and had a full blast of rest. After an hour, we then started preparing our dinner. With our very good and accommodating guide and porter offered to cook our menu’s, we didn’t protest 😀
Spent a few hours chitchatting with the group and guides who always loved to crack their jokes, indeed an enjoyable night for us at Lake Venado.
Woke up at a very cold morning, the sensation is really intense and felt as a reminder that we are so near at the peak of Mt. Apo. Our plan is to reach the summit before sunrise, it was discarded and just prepared our breakfast and for our lunch. Soaked ourselves the the majesty of the place and had some picture taking. We headed to the summit and leave the grassy land of Lake Venado by 8:00 AM.
It took us 3 hours to reach the peak, we had an amazing, cold and not quite clear view of Davao Peak but it’s all worth it.
After some photo pose at the top, we have descended and proceeded to boulder trails. This time, it is different, this part of the trek seems to be the hardest as you need to have a secure, stable and steady rocks, it needs full control of footing and extra careful.
(tips: since its a downhill trek, you have to bend down as you put your foot down, to keep your balance. Don’t forget to wear gloves for protection, because you need to hold the rocks when going down, these are sharp-edged rocks. Take a step one at a time).
After a very tiring descend, we reached Camp 1 at 6:00 PM. Had to quickly set up our tent as it started drizzling that time. Our dinner were prepared by our guide and that is why we are so blessed to have them, and since its our last night we had a really great time with them. I could realy say, a perfect way to spend your spare days is at the top of Mt. Apo.
Tips in climbing the highest mountain of the Philippines:
1. BOOK A GUIDE – Climbing mountains are too risky, to be assured of our safety and security we need someone who has expertise in difficult terrain in climbing mountains. You may contact Sir Arnel (09306208960).
2. BE PREPARED – Be prepared in all aspect, most especially with your body. At least a month or two, make it a habit to run a few miles or make cardio exercises, just to make sure that your body can cope up with long trail, difficult terrain and a lot of ascending trek especially it is a 2 days and 1 night climb. Never underestimate the Kidapawan-Sibulan trail, this is one of the hardest trail for Mt. Apo climb. This is to prepare your body both mentally and physically.
3. BRING MORE FOOD – Food are basic needs during the climb, both camping food and trail foods. It is better you prepare a meal plan for the whole duration of the climb, but be sure to bring extra food for the guide and porters.
4. BRING ESSENTIALS – After climbing Mt. Apo, rest assured you will get sun burn due to it’s high altitude and is directly hitting the heat of the rays. To prevent from this, don’t forget to apply sunscreen and wear gears like headware, sleeves and cap.
5. RESPECT THE MOUNTAIN – Being a mountain enthusiast, it is also accompanied as being a responsible hiker. Never leave any piece of trash in the mountain, when you descend, be sure to bring with you your garbage, plastic wrappers, tissues and waste materials. Keep in mind, “Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures and kill nothing but time”.
0500 Take van from Davao City to Kidapawan
0730 ETA Kidapawan City; register and secure guides at Tourism Office
0830 Proceed to Brgy. Ilomavis
0900 ETA Brgy. Ilomavis, start trek
1400 Resume trek to Lake Vendado
1700 ETA Lake Venado (2280 MASL). Set up camp.
2000 Lights off
0600 Early breakfast
0700 Picture taking
0900 Start summit assault.
1200 ETA summit of Mt. Apo.
1230 Lunch at summit
1400 Descend to the boulders
1800 ETA at Tinikaran Camp 1
1830 Set up camp, rest
2100 Lights off
0600 Early breakfast
0800 Break camp
0900 Start trek to Sitio Colan
1200 ETA at Sitio Colan
1300 Ride a van going Davao
They say, “Love is sweeter the second time around” but for us, climbing Mt. Apo is twofold sweeter. -Wanderman and woman