A floor is about 12′ tall or say 4 meters. So a 100-meter building would be approximately 25 floors. Imagine standing at 2,954 meters (9,692 ft), it’s like climbing up 738 floors! Mount Apo is the highest mountain & volcano in the Philippines. It is one of the country’s most popular climbing destinations. Several trails lead to the summit, coming from North Cotabato and Davao provinces.
Today, hiking the highest mountain of the Philippines can be easily planned with the help of climb package, like the one offered by mtaposdventures
Main contact: Albert Gabriel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I say easily planned because communication is easier. An arrangement can be done in a stroke of your laptop keys, and an online fund transfer to confirm everything. Nevertheless, respect for the mountain by preparing enough to be physically fit, doing pre-climb to get the feel of long hikes are still very important. “We do not conquer mountains, we conquer ourselves.”
Since this kind of climb is a “to-do-before-reaching-35” thing, and the girls are not the type to hike every other weekend or own a mountain tent, we requested the easiest trail. We actually planned a traverse hike to Lake Venado and to Magpet, but due to a typhoon that was in Philippines’ area of responsibility that time (Typhoon Ompong) we only did a back trail. We climbed down the same way we hiked up on that Sta.Cruz/Sibulan Trail.
Inclusions of the climb package are
- Permit to Climb and Exit Fee
- Climb Certificate
- Guide Fee
- Transportation from Davao City to Trailhead and Exit Point to Davao City
- Meals for the duration of the Climb (dinner on the 1st Day Up to Lunch on Day
- Porter Fee for the Food and Staff in the Package
- Tents, sleeping bags, and insulators
- 1 Night Hotel accommodation in Davao City
- Mt. Apo souvenir T-Shirt
Pretty much we just have to bring personal stuff, hiking outfits for cold weather (19 degrees) such as bonnets and fleece jacket, and others. A porter to carry as much as 25kg of personal stuff will cost extra for the whole duration of the climb.
1st day of the hike; at the last village before the mossy forest of Mt. Apo National Park, at the village of Tumpis, Kapatagan, Sta. Cruz, Digos, Davao del Sur
We started early on the 1st day of this 3-day adventure. The guides of mtapoaventures.com fetched us at the hotel near People’s Park. We took a taxi to a bus stop and took a bus to Digos city, then we got off at this Shell gas station in Digos city after about an hour and 30 minutes; this is where the habal-habal drivers (arranged by the guides) were waiting for us. After some pee break, the habal-habal took us to the Kapatagan market, where we stopped off to have breakfast, it was about 9am already, and also we bought our packed lunches to eat on the trail.
The jump-off is a place they call Baruring, the road going there is very tricky that only experienced habal-habal drivers can maneuver. There is a small dam, with a river which in summer “normal” days is a dry river bed but at that time, water from the mountain was flowing. Was it an indication of what that hike and the next days would be? Will we be wet and gloomy? Actually no, and Thank God it wasn’t all raining. We might not have marveled at a sunrise or sunset or a clear view of whole Kapatagan and Davao at the summit, instead what we have was a good weather for 3 days. It rained but only for like – seconds! From that small dam, it was an ascent to the village of Colan, where we had the DENR (Department of Env’t and Natural Resources of the Philippines) informal orientation. The DENR personnel informed us that there were already 50 people on the campsite. He told us to not leave our trash and not be loud. As we went through the forest, it was amazing to hear the sound of the cicadas, like an ambulance or a sort of mechanical alarm. We reached the Tinikaran camp at around 4 pm. The guides said we all had a faster pace. Well, all those practice hikes in Babag and Spartan trail of Cebu paid off.
2nd-day hike through the Boulders to the summit!
Day 2 started even earlier at 4am. From Tinikaran Campsite 1 to the summit is about 4 to 6 hours walk depending on your pace and how many and duration of every stops. The boulder is the hardest part, as it is all open space, steep and can sometimes be unsteady rocks. Of course, there is talk of accidents, of people stepping into loose rocks and falling into their deaths. The boulders’ elevation is already at more than a thousand meters, at the sides, sulfur is emitting from the earth, there are unknown cracks, so stepping carefully and following the markings (yellow and orange flags), heeding the guide’s warning are a must. That same trail we took is also the trail for the famous Boulder face Challenge, joined by local and international extreme adventurists; that race starts with a hike from the beach lines of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur to the peak of Mt. Apo via the Sibulan Trail, then 5-km of river tubing, 36.6-km mountain biking, 53.5-km trail running, and 12-km road running! Extreme indeed.
that point where we stopped for breakfast at the boulder face
huge rocks looking like The Wall protecting the realm of the seven kingdoms
We reached the lake near the summit at around 11am, we had lunch at that lake with freezing water and immediately moved to walk to the summit. The wind, cold air, and the clouds offer almost zero visibility. We wanted to wait for the sky to clear as the other group who were there before us, said they had a very brief clearing, which was all that you need, but we could not afford to wait, as the guides were telling us we could die of the cold out and up there. As we went back to the lake near the summit, there was sea of clouds all for us to take in, Kapatagan was visible from up there, it was surreal to be that up high, looking down at a point where you came from, and realizing how far that walk and how hard that journey is.
view from the lake near the summit of Mt.Apo, some hikers were camping at the bottom, their tents looking so tiny, at the area called white sand. At night this area can be very cold, and no water source nearby, unlike the camp back at Tinikaran.
The walk down back to the campsite was as hard as the ascent but nothing like a troop of monkeys at the other side of the boulders to capture our attention. The guides said they are rarely seen and would only come out when only a few people are around. The young monkeys were very playful and they were picking on the same berries we picked on along the trail. With aching legs, we arrived back at camp around 5pm. We had a hearty meal of pasta and a sound sleep until we were awakened by a sudden drop of temperature around 4am wherein no matter how you curl up in a fetal position, the cold still gets to you. It really helps to have fleece pants to sleep into.
the same Sea of Clouds along the boulders
Day 3 – near the village of Colan where the boulder face and Mt.Apo are visible. Imagine again looking up at that huge mountain and realizing that you set foot at those white sulfuric rocks! and set foot at its highest point! whooo been there! checked! We did it!
Day 3 started at 7am. It would be a walk back to the forest, to the village of Tumpis and though Colan and down to the same jump-off point 2 days prior. We packed all our belongings, our heavy stuff given to the porter, and we made sure we left no trace of our trash. We said our thanks to Mt. Apo national park and focused on every step, as the path was a bit muddy and all ascent from the campsite. We reached Baruring about 10:30am, where we waited for the habal-habal drivers to take us back to the bus station of Digos City (about 2-hour ride depending on the driver’s speed). We had our lunch near the bus terminal, and we then took this taxi, the driver offered to take us for a fixed amount; 5 of us girls, our 2 guides, 7 people in a 6-seater taxi, in a city strictly implementing 4-passenger in one taxi no matter how big the car is. We arrived around 2pm at the same hotel we stayed at near People’s Park and all were limping up the stairs. We just laughed at ourselves at how funny we were all walking. And then we had our first shower after 3 days that felt so good, and we had tons of photos to remember and relive by the 3 days at the grandfather of Philippine mountains.