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Conquering Mt. Apo: A Thrilling Adventure to the Philippines’ Highest Peak

Posted by on June 3, 2024

Embarking on an exhilarating journey to the summit of Mt. Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines, was an unforgettable adventure guided by Albert Gabriel of With 15 years of experience, Albert is a seasoned professional who expertly led us on this challenging yet rewarding trek via the east side of the mountain. This trek, tailored for advanced and experienced trekkers, features an elevation gain of approximately 2,000 meters above sea level (MASL) and spans a distance of 13.7 kilometers from the trailhead. It promises breathtaking views and unforgettable memories.

Our adventure began on May 11, 2024, at 6:00 AM when we met at our hotel. By 6:15 AM, we were on the road, heading to the jump-off point in Sitio Baruring via the Digos-Kapatagan Road. At 8:10 AM, we arrived in Kapatagan, where we purchased a pack lunch and had breakfast before continuing our journey. By 9:00 AM, we reached Baruring, sitting at 1,141 MASL, and began our trek. With Albert’s expert guidance, we made steady progress, reaching Colan by 9:30 AM and Tumpis by 10:00 AM. We enjoyed our lunch at Baskan E-Camp and continued to Tinikaran Camp 1, arriving at 4:00 PM. After pitching our tents and having dinner at 6:45 PM, we settled in for the night, with lights off by 7:30 PM.

The next day, May 12, 2024, started early with a wake-up call at 2:30 AM. We had hot drinks and a light breakfast at 2:45 AM before beginning our ascent to the summit at 3:00 AM. The trail took us past steep trails up to the Mini Rock Tower where we had our main breakfast of egg omelet the continue to Gabroq E-Camp, and Botoy’s Ridge. By 8:00 AM, we reached the entrance to the boulders and continued to the Old Crater . With Albert’s expertise, we finally reached the summit on the Davao Side, at 2,934 MASL, by 8:41 AM, just in time to enjoy the clear view of its surroundings and took some photos. Few minutes after we began our descent back to the campsite at 9:00 AM, having some snacks along the way. Just before we entered the jungle, we saw the Majestic Philippine Eagle soaring above the tree lines over Sta.Cruz area which my guide Albert informed me that it was the only 3rd time he saw the eagle in the wild since 2008 when he started guiding people to Mt.Apo . This breathtaking spectacle that embodies an impressive wingspan which this magnificent raptor glides effortlessly through the air and its powerful wings beating in rhythmic grace as it ascends to the heights of the forest canopy. Also , we encountered a troop of Philippine monkeys at the entrance to the boulders and we quickly pass them for they seem to be aggressive but did not go near us. We arrive at the campsite by 12:30 PM for lunch and a short siesta. After breaking camp at 2:00 PM, we descended back to Tumpis, reaching Baruring by 6:00 PM. We then headed to Kapatagan, and finally returned to Davao by 9:00 PM, concluding our incredible adventure.
The trek started with a scenic farm trail traversed by the Bagobo Tribe, the indigenous people residing at the foothill of the mountain. As we progressed, we navigated through a lush jungle trail, rich with diverse flora and fauna, showcasing the natural beauty of the region. The final ascent involved a rugged boulders trail, which added a unique element to this climb, distinguishing Mt. Apo from other mountains in the Philippines.

Given the demanding nature of this trek, Albert ensured I am well-prepared and equipped with the necessary gear, including appropriate trekking footwear, weather-appropriate clothing, camping gear, sufficient food and water supplies, and safety equipment.

This trek to the summit of Mt. Apo offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the natural splendor and cultural richness of the Philippines. The combination of challenging trails, breathtaking landscapes, and unique cultural encounters with the Bagobo Tribe made this adventure an unparalleled experience for seasoned trekkers.

“Had the most fun summiting the highest point in the Philippines—the stratovolcano Mt. Apo in Davao at 2,952m/9,692ft. There was a jungle, mud trail, boulder face, forest full of ferns, Eagle, wild monkeys following me after lunch, lots of sulfur vents, some hot springs, and more.”

Article by :
Jessica Marie Butnariu of Romania

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