Age Does’nt Matter in Mt.Apo

Nanjaku Mountaineering Club of Japan

It was early of 2019 when I was contacted by a Japanese mountaineer of the Nanjaku Mountaineering Club in the person Mr. Noboyuki Kihara that his group wanted to climb Mt. Apo on March 2019. Exchange of emails were done and we set the date on March 8-10,2019 with seven Japanese climbers of the mountaineering group via Sta.Cruz trail.

Few weeks before the climb I have asked the details of the trekkers and I was suprised of their age group, they were all senior citezens. The group is composed of four women and three men.

Passing a farm trail in Colan Villge is the 1st experience you’ll encounter in Sta.Cruz Trail

The group arrive on the evening of March 7,2019 and we meet them at Bangoy International Airport , Davao City and brought them to their accommodation in D’Counter Executive Dormitel. On our way to the hotel i already made adjustments on my mind regarding how I will bring this group up when I observed that all of them were senior citizens and right that moment I called Voltaire my assistant guide for this trek to prepare extra number of manpower to assist us and take care of the group for the over-all safety of the group.

Right after arrival in the D’Counter they checked-in directly to their rooms and afterwards we had our climb briefing and collected their climb forms which we will submit it to the Tourism Office of Sta.Cruz including their individual medical certificate that states they are fit to do trekking activity. When i gathered the forms i found out that their youngest member of this trekking party was 69 years old and two of them havent brought a medical certificate but I as a procedure they have to submit and i told them they can get it in a nearby hospital tomorrow morning before we leave.

During the briefing , I explained to them the inclusions of the services that we provide and climb details such as the itinerary and meal plan. As their head guide i opted to decide that we will set camp in Tinikaran Camp 2 where we will there on the next 2 nights while trekking. This will enable us to maximize our trekking time as we ascend on Day1 and give us advantage on a shorter trekking distance on Day 2 as we asault the summit and descend back to campsite as we pass the boulders trail which more tricky so it will be easier for the guests.

After the short briefing we left of our guest for them to take enough rest as I gather my team for the trek as we planned our strategy on how to make this trek safely and injury free for it is our number one goal on every trek. Part of our strategy is to provide additional porters and guides to carry the all our logistics and provide assistance for the trek since our trail to Mt.Apo is far more manual compared to the mountains like Mt. Kinabalu, Mt. Fancipan , Mt. Rinjani and other Asian Mountains that are equipped with railings and stairs. Here guests will really do an actual trekking where they will hold on to some roots or trees or rocks while trekking which give a total adventurous `experience for the visitors.

Jungle trail to Tinikaran Camp 2
Good dinner with the Group

The following day March 8,2019 which is the first day of the trek, we went back to Dcounter pick the guests to conveyed them to Kapatagan (a Bario in Digos City which is the gateway to the East Side Trails to Mt.Apo) and collected the remaining medical certificate. The guest complied to submit the necessary forms but they asked if it is really needed since they are all fit and experienced Climbers an they even show me their picture of their Nepal Treks including high altitude mountains, but I explained that I have to make sure that everybody are Physically fir at that time since its our responsibility what ever happens to them. ( Safety is one of the biggest responsibility that both guests and guide should not forget). Right after few minutes we conveyed them to Kapatagan ( A Barangay under Digos City which is the gateway to the East side trail of the mountain).

Boulder asault early in the morning

We arrived in Kapatagan after 2 hours of travel via chartered van and had our breakfast and bought fresh meat , vegetables and other supplies for the trek and transferred to a vegetable truck as we proceed tot the trailhead in Baruring River

We started the trek around 9:30 in the morning with our guides and porters and all of us were amazed to this group because they were pretty in shape for they trekked up to our campsite that day as per schedule. although they are not as fast as the your groups but they are well disciplined and experienced. They even carry their own personal things except for the heavy ones which they put all in a different backpack for the porters to carry. That day we trekked for almost 8Km from trailhead and had an elevation gain of almost 1200MASL from starting point.

The group went up to the summit by passing Botoy’s Ridge

We ended the day with a hot meal of pork stew with vegetables and rice for our dinner prepared by our camp manager and we make sure everybody is well fed to energize their body for the 2nd day for it will be the hardest part of the 3 day trek to Mt.Apo for the climb to the summit will make you ascend 800 MASL and descend the same elevation with a total distance of approximately 10 Kilometers of boulders trail.

We woke up around 4 AM on March 9,2019 and served hot drinks to the group we hit the trail after preparing the necessary things to bring up such as meals and etc.

Mr. Kihara leads his teammate in the Boulders Trail on the 2nd day their Mt.Apo trek

We arrive the boulders few minutes after in total darkness since it was just around 4:30AM but we had or headlamps. what is amazing in this part of the trail when you arrive here before the sun comes out is that you will be able to see the city lights of Davao and Digos city from th top. right after few minutes we enjoy the sunrise as we go up and had our breakfast along the trail.

Breakfast in the middle of the Boulders
The group went up to the summit by passing Botoy’s Ridge

During this stage of the trek I old my guides and porters to be vigilant and make sure that everybody should not make a wrong step since the boulders trail is steep and some parts are loose and we could not afford any injury. So, we make the trek slowly and surely specially when we reach the steep part of Boto’y Ridge as we go up via Cabo’s peak(3rd highesto f all the 7 peaks of Apo).

Nanjaku Mountaineering Club in the Summit of Mt.Apo
Ms. SADAKUNI FUMIKA and MR. SHIGETOSHI SAKATA both 78 years the oldest to climb Mt. Apo

We arrive the Center Peak( Highest point) around 11AM took some photos rest for a while enjoying the moment and the scenery at the highest point of the country, then we go down to the summit camp site had our lunch break have some hot drinks and took some nap to recharge our bodies as a preparation in going back down to the campsite.

It was almost 1PM when we started the trek back down via the Davao Summit and the old crater then passing the 87degrees trail then back to the Boulders up to Tinikaran Camp2. Slowly but is still the name of the game and we arrive in the campsite around 5AM where we concluded the day with a good meal and took a rest early. Along the trail while we are going down from the summit , we have met groups of trekkers who congratulate them for conquering the mountain and they serve as their inspiration as an outdoorsmen.

Stretching after a days trek from the summit

On the 3rd day, e woke up around 6:30AM had some hotdrinks and breakfast but before we started eating the Japanese guest did their stretching first which is really a good practice . Right after break camp we go back down to the trailhead and back to Davao City having a stop over at Sta.Cruz Tourism Council and meet the its Tourism Officer “Julius Paner” who gave them the certificate as the oldest climber on both male and female who went up this mountain successfully.

We ended our trek having dinner together with the group and my guides in Davao City enjoying each others company for he last time while sharing of thoughts , thanks giving and giving salute to the NANJAKU MOUNTAINEERING CLUB of Japan as the oldest trekkers on record to Mt. Apo and being with them in the mountains is very significant one as a mountaineer .Hopefully me and my crew would b able to reach this age and still enjoy the outdoors.

Kudo’s to the NANJAKU Mountaineering Club of Japan.

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2019 Adventures Beyond Mt.Apo

Year 2019 is a very challenging season for our crew since Mt.Apo was closed for two times. The first time was during summer season from April to September and then on the month of November when Davao Region and North Cotabato was beaten by series of earthquakes.

Both closures affect the greatly on our team since they depend in Mt.Apo as a second source of livelthood, so we opted to explore other mountains such as Mt. Kitanglad (2,899MASL), Mt. Dulang-Dulang (2nd highest in the country at 2,938 MASL) and Mt. Kalatunagan(2,880 MASL), which are the highest mountains in the country. We also scaled Mt. Hamiguitan which is a UNISCO Heritage mountain that features vast variety of Flora and Fauna at an elevation of 1,6,20 MASL.

Every year, we also climb mountains outside the Philippines , and Mt. Fancipan of Vietnam which is the highest in the Indochina Region at an elevation of 3,13 MASL  was the one we trekked for 2019. The climb took  two days 1 night. The trail to the summit is a staggering 8hours trek passing inclined trail with the view of China from a far. Reaching the summit will bring you to a Buddhist Temple where you can see the largest Amitabha Buddha statue in Vietnam. Although people who don’t want to trek can reach the summit via cable car and return down on the same day, but only people who trekked up will be given the medal of success.

Passing a Pygmy Bamboo trail to Fancipan Summit
The Temple View in the Summit of Fancipan

Mt. Apo also hosted the “10th All Womens Climb” via Sta. Cruz Trail in celebration with he Woman’s Month and me and my crew were the one who supported the manpower for the success of this 2 days  summit trek.

Contingents of the 10th All Women’s Climb 2019

Last season also give us the opportunity to work with Mr. Ryan Pyle ,a Canadian the film maker who documents Mt.Apo for his TV Show Expedition Asia which will be aired in Discovery channel on 2020. This our is our first exposure with international film producers (aside from working for other local celebrity from local TV Shows like Ruby Dominggo)   in which Mr. Ryan Pyle and his crew did the dirty works such as directing , setting up the cams and the actual trekking in which me and my crew provides the local knowledge of the area and the logistics for e whole production in the mountain.

Ryan Pyle of Trekking Asia
Filming in Apo Summit with Ryan Pyle

Another significant trek for last year also, is when our group was able to bring the senior members of AMCI group with Ms.Patsy Ayala itself and her behalf Sir Alex Floro together , Bala ,Myong , Ms Zuzette, Kuya Mar, Weng, Double J, Baki and some members which used the Sta. Cruz Via Magpet Traverse Trail.

AMCI’s 2019 Mt. Apo Climb with Ms. Patsy Ayala herself

As our biggest achievement in bringing people on the  highest point of the country(Mt.Apo), year 2019 gives us the opportunity to successfully climb with the Nanjaku Mountain Club of Japan who were  group of senior citizen and seasoned trekker. In this group ,Mr. Shigetoshi Sakata and Ms. Sadakuni Fumika who were both 78 Years Old are the record holder as the “Oldest Climber”  who went to the summit of Mt. Apo.

Mr. Shigetoshi Sakata and Ms. Sadakuni Fumika
Nanjaku Mountain Club of Japan with mtapoadventures.com crew

All in all we have more than twenty climbs for the 2019 despite of the closure due to calamities. Looking forward for  the year 2020,  mtapoadventures.com and its crew are looking forward for a good climbing season and we are hoping to see you to one of our climbs.

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Mt.Apo in AMCI’s 35 Peaks

This years Ayala Mountaineering Club Inc. (AMCI)  climb to Mt. Apo is a historical one for the group for they include it to the thirty five 35peaks to be climbed by the group on  August 18-20, 2018 as part of their 35year anniversary celebration.

 

The climb started with a briefing of the group the day before the climb at D’Counter Executive dormitel where mtapoadventures.com usually houses their guest.

The climb was scheduled for three days  via Sta. Cruz trail on its ascend passing Sitio Colan and MT. Apo Boulderface and descend to the West side via Lake Venado by way of Ko-ong trail and Marble river that will exit in Agco Hot spring in Kidapawan City.

The trek was composed of  27 members of AMCI headed by MS. MARINELLE E. PADILLA together with me and my  seasoned crew Roger Navarro , Voltaire Lopez ,Butch Baylon, Arnold Ajoc, Paul Mendoza, Franklin Ponce and 10 of the local porters.

On our day 1 the group visited the local village of Colan which is along the way to the 1st camp site which is in Tinikaran Camp 1. There we purchased some of our last minute basic supplies like biscuits, soft drinks and rice as a support for the local economy.

Along the way, the group conducted tree planting activity at the entrance to the rain forest which makes them feel more closer to mother nature , then proceed to the camp site.

We arrive at the camp site around 4PM then we set our camp. I have been catering AMCI group on their climbs in Mindanao for more than Ten Years and I’ve known some of their cultures for a while.

The AMCI group aside for being well disciplined as a trekker ,they want to bring luxury to the outdoors and you can observe that on their meal plans that’s is why this group needs more time in preparing their meals and breaking the camps.

On the second day of the climb, the group passed the boulderface which tests the endurance of the group specially the first timers for the trail is exposed and would drain your energy faster as you think. Thanks to Voltaire who attended the weakest member of the trek to successfully reach the top of the mountain and safely arrive in Lake Venado where we set our next camp. During this night the group enjoyed the sumptuous dinner prepared by my assistant Moroy as we call him but his real name is Roger.

On the 3rd day we woke the group early since it would take this group with a minimum of 2 hours to break camp not including eating time since we will be having a long trek going down via Ko-ong trail.

Ko-ong trail is very suitable for first timers since there is a portion if this trial where you need to crawl down and test your upper body strength but its manageable as long as you a lot enough time to it .

The last member arrive the exit point around 6PM on that day and we spend the night celebrating the success the group on a small resort in Agco with sumptuous dinner over a couple of drinks while enjoying the hotspring…

HAPPY 35TH ANNIVERSARY AMCI

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My Mt. Apo Encounter at ’68

Hiking in and around my neck of the woods is something I do 3-4 times weekly if not more depending on the weather. Apart from this, I have hiked part of the Lycian Way & Babadag mountain in Turkey, the Palestinian desert, Camino de Santiago and in my own province, I have hiked the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, Garibaldi, trails on Whistler and the Wells Provincial Park to name a few. I was prepared for Mt. Apo, or so I thought…
My personal adventure started on the motorcycle ride from the Bus Terminal on ?Digos?
A few years ago in Turkey, I took the risk of a motorcycle lift. The risk was not the trail but hitching a lift from a stranger. So I thought I got this… but the shock of seeing 2 heavy packs plus my own strapped on the motorcycle was just the beginning of the many “Are you sure you wanna do this?” moments. Then, of course, 3 bodies on this narrow-bodied motorcycle! I found the ride exhilarating, to be honest until…the part where the road got rocky with numerous potholes. The ride got so rugged I was sure I was going to get tossed out of the motorcycle and OMG, no one was wearing a helmet. Behind the motorcyclist’s ear I screamed, ” Are you kidding me?” ” What the hell!”  “WTF!” etc I wonder what he thought of me?!
To my relief, we arrived at the dam site( I can’t remember the name of the place) where we started hiking.
Day 1
I so welcome the sight of the villages and the villagers doing their usual daily chores. My impression was how happy the children seem to play with each other in nature. Right then and there I prayed that may this part of the world stay like it is for many more years to come before climate change and technology leave its disastrous mark.
At 32C I welcomed the entry into the woods, it was much, much warmer than what I’m used to. The flora was a feast for the eyes; the fauna’s incessant chatter was music to my ears. I would have liked to linger longer at each “new” thing I see but we were already behind schedule as it is and so had to establish camp at Tinikaran rather than Camp 2.
Tents were set up, the welcome meal amazingly prepared, after a few housekeeping instructions i.e. where to do #1 or #2, it was bedtime. It didn’t take long for me to doze off only to awaken a few hours later by the “Battle of the Musangs”. Man, they were loud! When I peeked out of my tent I saw a pair of yellow eyes glaring at me. I quickly zipped my tent again.
Day 2
After a breakfast of porridge, rice, eggs & tea we set off to another of Mt. Apo’s “reveal”. I was warned that Day 2 would be more difficult and though I’m still moving slow I found Day 1’s heat was more draining than Day 2. Challenging though pulling one’s self through the roots, hopping/climbing in and around the tree stumps, the lava rocks, and boulders, it was “cool”. The sulfur vent, though I found awesome, gave me a headache. I suppose this is the reason I didn’t see any birds flying. I would have run away from that environ if I could. We had lunch at Gabroq E-Camp. It was amazing to see the source of all the lava rocks. The crater didn’t seem big enough to have belched out all those ginormous rocks and boulders but obviously mighty.
We camped out onWhite Sand.
After dinner, Voltaire took me up to the first peak. It was anticlimactic. Voltaire was somewhat disappointed that I was not whooping and hurraying. My reply was, we’re only halfway, we have to descend yet! To his credit, Voltaire really wanted to take me to the second peak but that would mean going back to camp in the dark and I opted out.
Day 3
After a hearty breakfast, we started our descend in the rain the same way we came up. I respected Voltaire’s decision and rationale for doing so because I am such a slow poke. The wet sulfuric rain was stinging my eyes. Back at Gabroq, Voltaire was hopeful..we were doing good time or so he thought. Apart from being slow I was stopping quite often and looking back intently at the sight we are leaving behind. I felt I needed to imprint it in my brain coz a camera would not do justice.
My troubles began halfway down when the agony of my knees started to manifest its age which has been my nemesis on every steep hike. Voltaire was very encouraging all the way. Jun was ready to give a hand and towards the last village, I had to surrender my backpack to Jun. The last hour was terrifically agonizing. And the ecstasy? Seeing MacMac and his motorcycle waiting for us. I yelled, “Am I so glad to see you!”
 I’m glad I went into it blindly because had I seen photos or heard or read something about the trail, I would have probably bowed out because, at 68, my daughter would  have certainly posed the question, “And why are you punishing yourself?”
I would like to thank the professional staff of Mt. Apo Adventures especially Voltaire, my guide, my chef and caregiver; and Jun our porter/sweeper who appeared to be in constant Zen state.
Article Written by:
       MS. LORNA ELLEMA
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Mt. Apo’s Oldest Foreign Conqueror

In the past ten years, mtapoadventures.com has brought people to Mt. Apo from all walks of life—of different nationalities, newbies and experienced trekkers alike, and people from all ages.

This year, we made a new record. Ronald Candray, 76, summited Mt. Apo last February 11,2018 making him the oldest foreigner to climb via Sta. Cruz Trail. Together with us were my assistant, Roger Navarro, and two Skykes from Scotland Emma and Calum.

Mr. Candray, was born on April 1941, in USA and is now residing in Sweden. He was an athlete during his younger years. One of his hobbies is trekking the highest point of every country that he visits during the holidays. He still continues to conquer summits around the world to this date.

While enjoying a sumptuous dinner in an authentic Indian resto in Davao to celebrate his climb, I asked him what his secret is in making this possible and he says that it is because he maintains an active lifestyle, good diet and regular exercise.

Ron, at 76, still strong and sharp, conquering mountains with a smile on his face, has inspired me to set a new life goal—that someday, when I reach his age, I could still do the same—to be able to climb this mountain and experience its wonders. No one is too old nor to young to experience the wonders of nature. Conquering ourselves will always be an adventure of a lifetime.

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Mt. Apo Traverse Climb @ 77…

Last March 30 2017, Mr. Tony Olarte, 67, a former guest who did his first climb to Mt.Apo with us last April 2014, made a call asking me to organize a climb for his group of 4 trekkers to do a traverse climb to Mt. Apo.

Without hesitation I gave him the costing and climb details as to his preferences and we agreed to take the Magpet-Sta. Cruz Traverse trail and set the date on May 26-28, 2017.

The group was composed of Antonio Olarte (group leader), Juanito Braga, Rheyja Lou Cerrado, Vanesa Rein, Ivymar Jean Coyoca and Aireen Cardenas, together with my crew Roy Navarro ad 4 Local porters from the Ubo Manobo tribe. The last two participants were added a week before the climbing date. All of us were looking forward for the success of this climb since Mr. Juanito (Johnny) Braga has just celebrated his 77th birthday last May 13 making him the oldest to climb Mt. Apo via Magpet-Sta.Cruz Traverse Trail.

Our climbing tour lasted for 3 nights and 3 days since we travelled to Kidapawan City the night before the climb and stayed there for the night.

On the first day of our trek, we arrived around 6:30 AM at the trail situated in Tuasuvan Resort, Bongolanon, Magpet which features Bongolanon waterfalls. As per itinerary, we had our Filipino breakfast with steamed veggies, salted eggs ad fish together with rice. We then started the ascent to Bobong camp site after.

The first 3 hours of this trail will really measure your physical strength since it’s a direct ascend to the jungle with steep parts. When we reached Anus e-camp, we refilled all our water bottles and had an early lunch since its already drizzling at that time. The whole group really felt the agony of the trail but it was filled up with joy with the lush flora and fauna along the trail and the guys were very much inspired by Sir Johny who is very much doing fine at his age and the porters who carry the heavy supplies.

Afterwards, we continue to trek up and it already started to drizzle and we encountered rain until we reach Kaipisan e-camp around 3:00PM. We descended to Bobong campsite and arrived at around 3:30PM while the rest of the group together with Sir Toy and the sweepers arrived 30 minutes later, a little bit  tired but still with high spirits.

We started to set up camp and pitched the tents to prepare dinner while our guests enjoyed the water of Bobong creek while washing up. We concluded the day with sumptuous dinner of Sinigang Baboy (pork Stew with sour soup and a pinch of chili) and had a short meeting after for tomorrow’s climb.

The following day, we prepared breakfast at around 4:30 AM and 5:00 AM was wake up call for the trekkers. Coffee and hot choco were served then followed by breakfast. We broke camp and started our trek at 7:30 AM. Our 2nd day trek will end up to 87 degrees campsite passing Kawayanan campsite and Lake Venado where we had our lunch break. The trail on this part of Mt. Apo features mossy forest with rolling up and flat jungle paths with some obstacle.

We arrived in Lake Venado half past noon while the rest of the group arrived 30 minutes later. We took some rest, enjoyed the view of the whole Mt. Apo while having our lunch and did some photo shoots with the guys and continued trekking afterwards since everybody was very eager to reach the summit.

The trail from the lake to the summit is ascending and at this point the whole group feel the stress of going up specially the older members of the group but still decided to reach the summit. The temperature at this elevation starts to lower down so we advised everybody to put on some layers since the temperature will still go down further as nightfall approaches. After a few hours of trekking to the summit the whole group were amazed with the dramatic view of sunset with the whole view of Lake Venado down below. We were lucky to get that view since you don’t always get to see a beautiful sunset from the summit. We were in the West side of the mountain at this time so we experienced this as we go up to the summit which inspired the trekkers.

It was really dark when we arrived at the campsite and we had to go back for the members at the rear specially Sir Johny and Sir Tony. We had to make sure that they will arrive safely. It was already a little late when we had dinner but everybody were well fed, warm and comfortable enough to gain energy for the 3rd day trek which is all going down.

During the last day of our trek, unfortunately, we were not able to catch the sunrise since the weather was not so good. Fog was still covering the peak of Mt. Apo at around 6AM while we were preparing our breakfast and packed lunch. We had our breakfast and broke camp so we can do some peak hopping and descend as early as possible.

Sir Juanito (Johny ) Braga at the summit of Mt. Apo at age 77

We visited the Davao Side Summit and took some photos for souvenirs. At this time, we had a clearing and we saw the view of Davao del Sur and Davao City including Samal Island. The cloud formations were spectacular and everybody had a moment of appreciation for their efforts from all the hardship of going up and reaching the goal to be on top of the highest mountain of the Philippines. The climb was made even made more special and fulfilling that we did it with “The Oldest Climber To Reach The Summit Of Mt. Apo” in the person Of Sir Johny Braga at 77, through the leadership of Sir Tony and with the crew of mtapoadventures.com.

After peak hopping, we started to descend to our exit point via Sta. Cruz Trail passing by the old crater, the boulders part of Mt. Apo, Tinikaran Campsites and Sitio Colan. We arrived safely around night time at Sitio Baruring where our vehicle was waiting to bring us to Bario Kapatagan. Then from Kapatagan, we rode a van back to Davao City.

The whole group was exhausted at this point but written on their faces were contentment and self-fulfillment of being able to conquer the highest mountain in the country which not everybody could get the chance and the ability to do.

 

From the team of mtapoadventures.com, again, our salute and warmest congratulations to Sir Juanito (Johny) Braga for being the oldest Person to Climb Mt. Apo! You will always serve as an inspiration to us! When we’re 77, we hope to still be able to conquer Mt. Apo just like you!

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First Time’s Always Exciting!

I always reminisce my first time experiences. What is it? Where did it happen? How was the experience? And it always boils down to one thing, the desire of doing such. J Well, everyone has their own versions of “things to do”, whether it be travelling around the world, pigging out at the most expensive restaurant, doing sky diving, swimming at the deepest sea, getting a pet, or climbing a mountain. J Now, let me tell you my first ever major climb experience.

Three years back, I told someone that I want to climb the highest peak in the Philippines, Mt. Apo. My desire of climbing that mountain is as a high as 10,311 feet! haha. Oh well, fast track to 2015, that desire came true! J

It was supposedly my 27th birthday gift, too bad no schedule for my birth date. L Checking on the other dates, November 28-30 was the most convenient since 28th was Saturday and it’s my off from work, and 30th was a National holiday! So I’ll only take a leave for a day. J

Anyhow, before going to the trails you need to have briefing first. Sir Albert Gabriel of Mt. Apo Adventures, was our guide. He gave some orientations on what to expect during the climb. He answered one of my awkward questions like, where are we going to defecate? Because that is my big nuisance when going outdoor! Haha

6am on the 28th was the call time. I haven’t had enough sleep, maybe because I was keyed up? Haha I even came at D’Counter too early like 5:30am. J

There are nine guests in total, including me and I’m the only one from Davao City, others from Cebu, Manila, Gensan and India.

DSC_7304

Let’s go to the highlight. So how’s the climb? It was arduous! Haha. I thought I was really prepared physically but I was wrong! Farm trail was first. There’s a small community living there and it’s good to converse with some locals and realize how uncomplicated there lives are. They have planted crops like carrots, cabbages and potatoes as their source of living. That time, we saw some children bathing. If by any chance you passed by these kids, you can give them some sweets. That would make them happy. J Up there, my chest tightened and I have troubled breathing. The sun was up, and it was really hot! So I’m like bathing in my own sweat! But, after how many minutes of walking uphill, the tightening was gone. I guess I’m already in the swing of things. J

The second trail was the mossy forest. It’s a good thing that tall trees shade us from the sun. Somehow, it’s already fogging when we entered. We even experienced some intermittent rain inside so please don’t forget the poncho. The forest was mystical. It’s like someone’s been living inside preserving its beauty. I even saw for the first time what a moss is! Hehe. A few hours after, we arrived at campsite 1 or Tinikaran (name of a tree). In there, we set up the tents, had a little chit chat, did some power nap. We changed some clothes and Buboy one of the porters cooked pork sinigang for dinner. It was perfect since it’s already getting colder. I think around 9 in the evening, drowsiness was already knocking on me so I hit the sack and said my goodnight.

So did I sleep well? NO! haha. It was cold and my tolerance to chilly temperature is low. Somehow, I should be ready for the next track. Second day was for boulders (very big rocks) the verdict? Hard-hitting! The worst part? I cried haha. I was really bushed up and I got blisters on my pinkie toes L Good thing I brought my slippers with me. Another thing, I’m acrophobic. So just standing in high places makes my knees jelly! Especially when looking back and I’m already far above the ground, I could feel wooziness. I was really scared then and my pace is so time-consuming. So imagine I’m slow as a snail! Terribly too, when we arrived at the “87 degrees” I become more nervous and distrustful of myself with climbing it. It was steep and I’ve felt this is my finale haha. I even got nightmare that I couldn’t go down anymore and stay at Mt. Apo’s summit forever!  So I did a self check then, did I choose the right activity? haha.

DSC_7481

After the petrifying 87 degrees, we arrived at the old crater! J It was filled with knee length water. It was big too. I didn’t dare anymore plummeting my feet since I couldn’t take the coldness. As far as I remember, we went on to the three different peaks before going to summit’s campsite! J It was sunny that time but breezy, and it brings winterness to my bones.

 

ALBERT C.GABRIEL 09295452888

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Other reason for me is to witness the sunset and sunrise, and it didn’t fail me. It was stunning and great! We are blessed to have a good weather condition that time. It was my first time and it was really amazing! The sun was so near to me and the view’s so stellar! I couldn’t ask for more, really. It made me teary eyed. Best birthday gift ever! J Thank you Lord!

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The most struggling is the descent. I was in a ghastly situation that time. Not just blisters, cramps, low pace walking, crying but the sun was down when we reached the forest. Imagine how dark it was! To be honest my legs really hurt and I can barely walk. I was so worn-out. L But, I really need to finish this walk! Thanks to Nonoy and Buboy for being uncomplaining and not leaving me. They are the best porters ever! J And at almost 8pm, I arrived at the jump off point.

 

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The thing here is, we will always have fear of something. But then we just need to keep on going and just do it. It’s always hard for the first timer to climb a mountain especially Mt. Apo but then, it’s always exciting because you will be proud of yourself especially when you reach the summit! It’s a journey, there will always be potholes on the way but just continue the stride and it will be a rewarding end. Yes it was tiring but then it was worth it! So will I climb again? Without a doubt! Getting ready for the revenge climb haha! See you on the summit! J

 

Article  Written by:

Amazing Grace

graceymoonlit@blogspot.com

Categories: Adventure, Mt. Apo, Tours, Trekking, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trekking Adventures Offered

Since the closure of Mt.Apo since summer of 2016 due to the Forrest Fire that happened last March 24 this year mtapoadventures.com scouted some mountains to trek as alternative activity in the region.

Below are some of the mountains that we offer for climbing(Click the photo for details):

1.Lake Holon Trekking

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2.Mt Kitanglad-Dulang Traverse Trekking

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3. Mt. Candalaga Trekking

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4.Mt. Matutum Trekking

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5. Sicao Village – Tiko Village Trekking

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Kindly contact the Authur/Guide if you’re interested to one of these Trekking activities.

 

Categories: Adventure, Mt. Apo, Tours, Trekking, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Three Sister’s Journey to the Roof of the Philippines

Being the tallest mountain in the Philippines, Mt. Apo attracts hikers from all over. When I told my sisters I wanted to go, they immediately volunteered to go with me. I was actually surprised since they are not regular hikers, and Mt. Apo only happened to be the tallest mountain in the Philippines. But they said go go go, so OK.

After some research, we decided to do the Kapatagan-Kidapawan traverse and book the trip with Kuya Albert of mtapoadventures.com. Our package included a guide, two porters, camping materials and food. Kuya Albert was very responsive from our initial inquiry to the day we met him for the orientation.

Monday, Nov 23. Our flight was arriving in Davao early and we set to meet with Kuya Albert at Jollibee at 9am. We weren’t planning to eat, but when we got there we felt hungry so we ordered breakfast. We gave Kuya Albert our Application forms & medical certificates and he briefed us about the hike and introduced us to Kuya Paul who will be our guide.

Kuya Paul took us to a bus ride for about an hour or so. When we got off, there were two habal-habals waiting to take us to Kapatagan, where we will stay for the night.

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We arrived at Camp Linaw just before lunch.  It was very peaceful and serene. They had a koi pond that had some tilapias in it too. I think we were the only guests that time (it was a Monday). We were lead upstairs, which had 2 rooms. The mattresses were set up on the floor, but they were comfortable. It rained starting around noon, and Kuya Paul was kind enough to offer to buy food for us, which we graciously accepted. We also met Kuya Buboy, one of our porters who lived in the area. He dropped by to say hi. All in all, our stay at the camp was restful and enjoyable.

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Tuesday, Nov 24. We set up to leave at 6:30am. We stopped by a carinderia to have breakfast and get our baon for lunch. The habal-habal ride to the trailhead was a foretaste of what’s to come. All three of us rode in 1 motorbike, plus the driver.  So imagine four adults in a motorbike, trying to navigate some very tricky, muddy, and slick hill….I think I stopped breathing a few times. There was a portion too that one of us (me!) had to sit in front of kuya driver, otherwise I will fall at the back. Since I could then see the path in front of me, I got more nervous! Kuya driver even remarked, “Ma’am relax lang po kayo, naninigas po kayo eh.” Bwahahahaha! Kalurkey!

We couldn’t reach the trailhead fast enough, and I was just happy when we did. There we met our second porter, Kuya Nonoy. All groups are required to have a “local” porter (from the villages in the mountain) and Kuya Nonoy was ours! He carried our tents/sleeping bags/ cookware/food while we gave Kuya Buboy one backpack for our extra stuff and on we went!

We started the trek maybe around 730am. First five minutes and we were already sweating! We reached a village -it’s probably Sitio Colan – where there were some open cottages, so we rested there for a bit and removed some layers of clothing.

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We passed through vegetable farmlands and we saw some pretty flowers along the way.

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We reached Sitio Tumpis where the sign said “10.07km to Mt. Apo summit” so we knew we were still far! Hehe. Soon we found ourselves in the forest! It rained around lunch time as well. We stopped to eat lunch somewhere not too rainy. Hahaha.

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While on a break, the kuyas started discussing which camp site we would go to. The original plan was to camp at the summit on the first day. As I expected, we were hiking slower than planned. After weighing our options, we decided that camping at the summit was out of the question. That meant we had to go through the boulders at night, which wasn’t safe. Instead, we camped just past Tinikaran Campsite 2 (there was already a big group camped there when we arrived).

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The kuyas found a nice flat place in the middle of the foggy forest. The place felt magical!! We were immediately offered hot drinks (coffee or milo) by the kuyas! What a welcome offer on that cold rainy day! They set up our tents and we were able to rest for a bit while the kuyas started cooking! Dinner was sinigang!! Woohoo!!

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We also refilled our water containers from the water source, which was this little basin of water on a stream. It didn’t seem clean to me and I was battling whether or not to use my filter, but the kuyas insisted that the water was good. So….here I am and I lived to tell the tale. We had dinner and afterwards it was just chikahan with the kuyas. I was so cold, Kuya Nonoy offered me a drink from his plastic water bottle! I asked what it was and he said “Tanduay ma’am.” Well I never had Tanduay before! Indeed, there’s always a first time, so I took a couple of shots…and it did help. J We spent the time just chit-chatting and playing some music! All this and we were probably asleep by 8pm. Hahaha.

Wednesday, November 25. I know it was still early when I heard some rustling outside and …someone played music! It lasted for about a minute then all was quiet again. We would found out later that morning that it was Kuya Nonoy. He got up, fetched some water and started playing music – because he thought it was 5am already! Hahaha!

We had a quick breakfast…and a cute little monkey decided to join us! We watched him for a bit, packed our lunch and set off to tackle the boulders!

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After a short walk, we saw the sign! All smiles pa kami dyan!

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The boulders are a unique feature in this hike. It proves that Mt. Apo has erupted, though it is not historically known when it did. There were tricky parts on this trail, and we’re glad we didn’t have to do it the night before. We also saw the sulfur vents.

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Soon I saw the mini rock tower that they said we could clmb it! “Uhhhmmm….medyo madulas kuya!!” The kuyas helped me out…so that’s actual rock-climbing for me! 😛 Thank you to Kuya Nonoy & Kuya Buboy.

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After the boulders, we came to what they called “white sands” and it started raining again! Kuya Buboy once again had ready hot drinks for us!! Milo ulit sa umuulang hapon! Service de luxe!!

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After the quick break, we tackled the “87 degrees” hill. We had to scramble a bit and after that we saw the crater. I was ahead of my sisters for a bit, and it was raining hard, so my pic at the crater was really hazy. When they arrived, the rain mellowed a bit, so we had a better picture! We could also make out some of the names creatively placed at the bottom using stones…

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Moving up a bit more…and we’re at the summit- Davao side!! We were so giddy when we reached the summit! Finally! What an effort! It was raining still so the shots were hazy…we didn’t care. We reached Mt. Apo’s summit!

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Well, one of its peaks anyway, and not the highest one, apparently. There’s another one that’s 10m higher about half an hour away. Unfortunately, given the weather and our fear of not reaching Lake Venado before dark, we decided to forego going to the other peaks.

We had lunch at the summit camp. It was windy and very cold in the area. I tried jogging back and forth to make myself warm. Kuya Nonoy had refilled his Tanduay (courtesy of the porters from the other group…hehe) so he offered me some. I took a shot and I was good! 😉

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The trail down to Lake Venado wasn’t easy but it wasn’t too bad. There were parts that were slippery but manageable. By this time we were already used to holding on to roots, stems, trunks – whatever we could hold on to so we wouldn’t fall. My sister and Kuya Buboy were running stats on who had more falls. About an hour to camp, I saw Kuya Nonoy who was going back again (he did the same on the first day!) to take my sisters’ packs so they could walk faster. Ang bait talaga!

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When I reached the camp, the tents were already set up! Great, I thought, because I was feeling so cold already, and I just wanted to get into the tent to get warm. It was another tiring day.

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My sisters arrived about half an hour later, also very tired. It was still raining too, so we just stayed inside the tent. The kuyas creatively placed the tarp between our tents so they can cook the food there and we can eat inside the tent. J Dinner was spaghetti. J We ate to our hearts’ contents and there were still lots of leftovers! Good thing too, because it seemed like the porters of the other group weren’t being fed properly. L We slept early again that night, while the kuyas spent the night bonding with the kuyas from the other group (they had 7 porters!!)

Thursday, November 26. As has been our routine, we woke up early. We were mesmerized by the scene.
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We couldn’t help taking pictures!!

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After breakfast and before we left….we took some more pics!

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I think by then Kuya Nonoy had no more inhibitions, as evidenced by his pose! Hahaha!! After all the pics…off we went.

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I’m really glad we did the traverse. Otherwise we wouldn’t have seen this side of Mt. Apo. And we would have missed the magical Lake Venado! But the fun was far from over — the Kidapawan side had a lot more surprises in store for us!

j20aLadders! There would be more ladders than I could count on this trail. The first one was really scary. After a while, we got the hang of it…

And then there were the river crossings. Those were another story altogether! There were tree trunks or some made-up ladders you could use to cross…but most were thin and slippery! And if you fall…well, you’re just gonna have to deal with it! Nakakaloka!! The kuyas were very helpful at the crossings. There was one time, they even invented a hand rail, with Kuya Nonoy & Kuya Paul holding each end, while Kuya Buboy was taking our picture. Da best!

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This third day was tiring but still so much fun! By then we were used to our heavy packs and really just enjoying the trail.

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We passed a sayote plantation! Hehehe. So many big and nice-looking sayote! We learned that the villagers took them and sold them at the bottom of the mountain. Nice.

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My sister also sprained her ankle toward the end, so I carried her pack for her on the way down. When we reached the last village, and the trail was once again going up, Kuya Nonoy took the pack from me and I willingly obliged. Wehehe.

Before we knew it, we were done!! Wooooo!! So tiring, yet so fulfilling!! Thank you Lord!!

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Afterwards, as a thank you to our kuyas who took good care of us, we asked them to join us at Lake Agco resort so we call all take a well-deserved bath! It rained hard again after our dip at the hot springs, and we hung out at Lake Agco for a while before taking the habal-habal back to town. We had dinner of litson manok & liempo at Boyak’s – a befitting celebration for one awesome hike!

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If you’ve reached this part, congratulations! Either you’re a very patient person, or you’re really interested in climbing Mt. Apo! As you can see from our pictures, we had a great time. Even my sisters, who were newbies and didn’t train so much, definitely enjoyed – though there were times they looked like they wanted to give up. Hehe.

We can’t say enough about Kuya Paul, Kuya Buboy and Kuya Nonoy. There were times when all three of us weren’t together because our paces were different, but all of us always had a kuya with us! J They made sure we were having fun too. The jokes and life stories were definitely part of the awesomeness!

There are some hikes that you do once and you’re done. For me, Mt. Apo is a place I won’t mind visiting again.

 

Article and Photos by:

Ms.JEANETTE CASTRO

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

My Mt. Apo Journal

My heart is pounding fast. I could almost feel it going out from my ears. I am out of breath. Sweats dripping all over my body. I feel numb. My eyes blur that I need to blink it away. My legs tremble that I sometimes sway. I am walking but no longer thinking. Suddenly, I feel the anger. I feel the pain. With so much effort, I thrust my trekking pole. I need to do this. I should never stop. I never stopped.

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On August 9, 2015, I received a message from Allan, inviting me to conquer Mt. Apo. He had two available slots since the original members of their team backed out. He was so frustrated that all the people he invited turned him down. Then he thought of me. I did not over think. I immediately said yes and ended our message. While I was in bed, I became restless and afraid. In just a month, I will be climbing Mt. Apo. What has gotten to my mind? Am I too depressed and frustrated to go into the mountains which is way too risky? Ample preparations need to be done. And I know I’m running out of time. I panicked. I need to decline the offer. But I’ll do it in the morning. I will disappoint Allan since I already said yes, but what should I do? I chickened out!

As I checked my e-mail, I noticed Allan’s messages which I haven’t read last night. It says that we will be only four, Allan, his best friend Dominique, I and the person whom we will invite. He is the only person I know in the team. He was afraid of going up but he needed to support and fulfill his best friend’s dreams- conquering Mt. Apo. Dom travelled far just to be in Davao. I, knowing Allan’s health condition understand that he needed someone of his pace. Dom is an adventurer and is very fit to climb. As for Allan, he needs a lady friend. Had I declined the offer? Obviously, NO. In the end, we kept on looking for the last person who will go with us. I told myself, if it would be so close and we would not find the last person, I would back out. I considered it as a sign.I’d contacted college and high school friends, previous workmates. We’d even approached a friend of mine at the mall. Few days left to Mt. Apo and not a single person said yes. Three.days before, our friend said she would go but in the evening decided not to.  Two days before the climb, I’d opened it to my cousin and her response was positive. We just had to wait for her boss’s approval, which was a big NO. She will be having a medical mission a week after that. If she wanted to come she needed to give up the mission or otherwise. Great! So it will just be Dom, Allan and I. I should back out. All throughout the month, I never did prepare. And my medical certificate would be my reason not to go. I’d prepared my lines, “Allan, I’m sorry I can’t come since the doctor wouldn’t allow me to go with you. “ Did it go that way? At 3:30 pm on September 3, I visited the doctor. I was very nervous that he might not provide me the med. cert. He almost opted for an ECG because my heart beat fast. My pulse rate was checked and voila! He gave me the “Physically and emotionally fit to go on trekking Mt. Apo.” Heavens! That means I AM OFFICIALLY GOING! I rushed to the mall nearby and bought a red poncho and yellow gloves. The orientation began at 5:30 and I was an hour and half travel away from Davao city.

Anyway, some people knew that I’ll be going but not my family members. I knew they would not allow me. So I told them that I’ll be going on a retreat at the ‘foot’ of Mt. Apo. It’s a gift from a student abroad. How could I not decline the offer when it’s all for free. But before I left, I told my sister where I was heading just in case something happened to me in the trip. At least one knew where I really was. She was so worried. Duh… I let her be. I just carried a small backpack but my real hiking was hidden below so that they would not wonder. Here’s to my ‘retreat’.

Fantastic Four

By 9:00 p.m., I arrived at the “Counter Inn” where we were housed. Allan is my classmate in high school. We have something in common-singing. (We’d entertained the forest and trails in Mt. Apo. We faced the boulders and did our concerts, as if we had audience. We were sometimes left out by the group because of it.) Dominique, Allan’s bestfriend, a French has been working in Wallis and Futuna. He was a very friendly, humorous, generous and entertaining person. (We were amused every time he calls out someone left behind the trail. We know it’s his if we hear a baritone “Woooh.”)  They said that the orientation was done and they will do it for me. Allan told me that we have another companion for the trip, Kristoff. He was an overseas worker in Singapore. Silent and deep, first impression- he’s too serious but as we go on the trek, we’ve seen his bright side. He just saw our schedule for the hike and was interested to go along, alone. That makes four of us now.

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Along the journey, we were accommodated and helped by our guide, Albert and our bubbly porters Roy, Buboy and Kuya Allan. They were a great team, sensitive to our needs. After our day long walking, trekking and climbing, our tents and meals were prepared. We found friends in the heart of the forest.

Ready. Set. Pant.

September 4, 2015, by bus our team travelled to Digos city where later we would be riding on a ‘habal-habal’. We also had Albert as our tour guide. With him was Roy, one of our porters.He said we would be meeting the rest of his men in Digos. Dom was very curious how a habal-habal looked like. He expected that it was similar to a motor bike but he got furious when told that it was a motorcycle that could carry six people. Well, he managed to meet a habal-habal with seven loads as he counted which made him more amazed. On our way to Kapatagan, we stopped over a ‘marang’ counter. It’s a milky fruit that seasons in Mindanao every August to October.Dom and Kristoff had their share of ‘marang’ experience.They preferred it than eating durian which they found stinky. So we continued our habal-habal adventure.

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Lessons from the Grandfather

Even with company, I was alone with myself. While walking, trekking and struggling, I found time to be with my self. How did I see my journey in Mt. Apo? I wanted time for myself in as much as I tried to hide it. Before the hike, I was anxious, in search for something. This journey helped me discover more of who I really am. How do I see things I encounter along the way?

We need to experience different trails; and honestly, I so hate the jungle. Its narrow, slimy paths, grasses taller than humans brought restlessness in me. It was very humid! I became their laughing stock when it started raining and I happened to have bought a red poncho for kids. This left me being like little red riding hood! I had to hold on to the roots and trekking pole just to be on the trail. I didn’t like what I was seeing, all but green jungle, so dark. That moment made me realize that I couldn’t always hold my head high. Once I raised my head and tried to see what’s ahead I ran out of breath. Our guide told us that we needed to see at the eye-level if not eyes on the ground to stabilize our breathing. No need to rush things. We had to be in our own pace.Also, there are things bigger than me and who I am. That some good things are valued because it was hidden and discovered. The pacing I have in going up and down reflects how I do things. I saw my patience and felt my patience going out during the tough parts. Some things would block your way. Thus, in life, you need to be humble, patient and cautious.

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The next trail was the boulder. We were greeted with humungous boulders. And I feel my drive awaken! This is the part that I most like. Going through the different sizes of rocks, transferring, balancing and grasping on them makes my adrenalin rush. I see rocks as the challenges in life. There are times I choose on passing through the small ones but at times dare to defy the big ones. It is a mountain of rocks and life is a mountain of challenges. There were times that you feel like giving up because it’s too steep and almost unending but unbelievably, you managed to pass all of it. I remembered Dom telling me that whenever we will encounter bigger boulders, look around and you’ll see easy way out. Problems and challenges aren’t solve in an instant. You have to decide and discern or else you might fall into the cockpit. Names were written on the boulders. It’s a reminder of people who hurt and gave the challenges you’ve been through. They may or may not be forever etched on the rock, but it has managed to leave a mark your life. What even makes the trail difficult but interesting is the annoying and disturbing smell of sulphur. It sometimes choked us. This reminded me of things, our darkest secrets which we can never hide forever. Just like the sulphur, it would find its ways to be revealed. And revealing would really help a lot. It lessens the weight on your shoulder. In life, we need to show and leave our excess baggage in order to carry suitcases, in order for us to be successful.

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On our way to the boulders, we stopped on a clearing. Set forth in our eyes is a very steep and rocky mountain we thought as the peak. We relaxed for thirty minutes, one of the longest rest we had. Thinking that this is it, we climbed it. We came across the crater. The wind started to whistle and blew hard that we need to hold on to our pole and grasped roots in going higher to the peak. Cold, excitement and tiredness started to rule our system. It was difficult for us to climb. We had our sure and slow steps. Finally, we’ve made it! But was later on disappointed as Albert told us, “Welcome to the summit! This is the fourth highest part of Mt. Apo.” I feel our smiles fading. We look around and saw nothing but clouds. We hadn’t seen any other part. “ SurekaKuya? Asanmandiayang peak ani? Di ntomasakaang highest part? Dirirakutobtnan hikers?” I’m starting to get disappointed. He said no. After saying it, the clouds paved its way and we saw a higher part. “That’s it? That’s the peak?” We can’t take it anymore. Our knees our tired and trembling. He said no. “It is the center peak, and at the back, covered with clouds was the highest part of Mt. Apo.” No way! We are not going in there. Dom complains having only a hundred more step and has not plan of conquering the peak. In silence, we felt the same. So, as if our guide hadn’t heard us he managed to start walking. We scrambled on our feet. We felt tired and hungry. But we continued to follow Albert. We consoled each other that it would take us 200 steps to the center peak and 300 steps to the highest peak. Darn! We had the center peak for 20 minutes and the highest peak for 40 minutes. We could not almost believe we’ve reached the top not until he started shaking our hands and saying, “Congratulations, you reached the peak of Mt. Apo!”

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We succumbed to the beauty of Mt. Apo. We took pictures and videos of the exhilarating view. After our high moment, we had geocache hunting. We need to look for it within the 10 meter radius. If we saw it, we can write something in the notebook and leave things with sentimental value and get something from the box as well. So we’re off for a treasure hunt! It was Allan who saw it under a big rock. We wrote our emotional messages and left some things which need not to be with us as we go home. To be full, we need to be empty. We let go of our negativity and looked forward to whatever tomorrow brings.Then, we started our descend.I looked at the trekking pole I am holding. Of all others, this is the most significant thing to me in the journey. As I was searching through the meaning of a trekking pole, I came across MacNamara and Nale’s (2014) reasons for trekking poles.

  1. Trekking poles, like ski poles, allow your arms to help propel you forward and upward. Whether walking on flat ground or up steep hills, poles can help to increase your average speed.
  2. Poles reduce the impact on your legs, knees, ankles, and feet.
  3. Trekking poles can be used to deflect backcountry nuisances. They can push away thorny blackberries and swipe away spider webs that cross trail.
  4. Walking with poles can help you establish and maintain a consistent rhythm, which can increase your speed.
  5. The extra two points of contact significantly increase your traction on slippery surfaces like mud, snow, and loose rock.
  6. Poles help you maintain balance in difficult terrain such as during river crossings, on tree root-strewn trails, and on slippery bog bridges. Staying balanced in turn helps you move more quickly and more easily.
  7. Poles can act as a probe to give you more information than you can get with you eyes.

 

God is our own trekking pole.The following are what God does in our lives. I remembered the times I was walking and leaving my pole, in frustration, I often snap it away, throw it first and becomes annoyed holding it. Despite it, I managed on holding on to my pole.

While we were in camp, realization hit me. The Grandfather had given his lesson. We are our own Mt. Apo. We stand tall, proud and unpredictable. Not everyone knows who we really not unless conquered. The hikers are the people we encountered in our daily lives. We draw attention. For every person who wish to know, we have put down our defences and shown who we really are. We don’t always look very welcoming just like Mt. Apo. We revealed our beauty and ugliness at the same time. We exposed our slopes, steeps, boulders and sulphur smelling attitudes. As a person, we promised a lot of things. Not all is a brave soul who dares to discover our very person. Some had tried but failed and left. Some had conquered but never returned. Yet there are just few who had had conquered and kept on going back. If you wish to like the person, admire the view and marvel its aesthetic aspects. But if you wish to love the person, discover its beauty, know its crevices, dullness and ugliness. The way in knowing a person’s true being is to discover and reveal even the muddiest, coldest and most dangerous parts hidden.

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As we headed back to the foot of the mountain, Taylor Swifts song played on my mind. A song I felt was dedicated by Mt. Apo to us hikers. “ Someday when you leave me, I bet this memories follow you around…Say you’ll remember me…even just in your wildest dream.”

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Drained of strength and energy, I bade you a blissful smile. Cheers to achieving one of my wildest dreams. Cheers to conquering Mt. Apo.

 

Article by:

Ms. TEENA MARIE BANGOY

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Categories: Adventure, Mt. Apo, Tours, Trekking, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment