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Mt. Apo Traverse Climb @ 77…

Posted by on July 31, 2017

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

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, 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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