Mt. Apo (Kidapawan Trail)
Davao City, Philippines
Me and three of my friends booked a Cebu Pacific promo ticket for Davao last June 2012. At first, we haven't decided yet what would be our itinerary. Month passed by, my friend decided that we will climb Mt. Apo. Conquering Mt. Apo is no joke. I asked him a thousand times if he was serious. Otherwise, we could just explore the typical tourist destinations in Davao.
Two months prior our Davao trip, we already booked our Mt. Apo climb. Yes we really were going to climb the Highest Peak in the Philippines. We didn't have any mountain climbing experience yet. I am very clumsy, fat and easily lose breathe if tired. I had my second thoughts on this one. But as I think of it, this experience is worth a try.
As a preparation for our Mt. Apo climb, we trekked the highest peak in Cebu, Osmena Peak (I will be writing a separate entry for our Opeak Climb). Two weeks before our Mt. Apo climb, we jogged every day. I know for a fact that these preparations are not enough. It scared me. My gears are not complete. I didn't have a tent, head lamps, etc. What I did was to buy the necessary things that were the most important things for our climb. I bought a trekking shoes, rain cover for my bag. I just borrowed the bag from my brother. (Now, I have a Deuter bag).
The most awaited time had come. We arrived at Davao around 1pm on November 30, 2012. We stayed in a pension house located at Magallanes, Davao City. The next day is our climb date. We met our guide and porters for our pre-climb meeting. We hired one guide and two porters. They were very accommodating. They explained us what to expect during the climb, what should we wear, and a lot more. They even recommended that we must do light backpacking.
Dec 1, 2012
We woke up around 4am. Travel time from Davao City to Kidapawan, South Cotabato is 4 hours. We reached Kidapawan around 10AM. We ate our breakfast at a carenderia along the street and rode a habal habal going to the foot of the mountain.
The excitement was rushing through my veins. Just as we started the trek around 11AM, we saw boiling mud small pools. We crossed seven rivers (mostly with strong currents). Our first trek was through the forests. The big roots helped us to reach the steep parts of the mountain. We arrived at our first camp (Koong Campsite) around 3PM. Our porters pitched the our tents. We rested for a while. It was very breath taking and we survived the first day in the mountain. We had the best dinner. They cooked sinigang na baboy which was very useful for the cold weather. Afterwards, we had socials and slept.
Dec 2, 2012
At dawn, it was so cold I couldn't sleep well. I woke up early at 5AM, noticing that the others are still asleep. An hour later, the porters woke up and cooked breakfast for us (hotdog and sunny side up eggs). We started our trek at 8AM. The trail was getting steeper and steeper. I was literally catching my breath.
Exactly at lunch, we reached Lake Venado. I cannot describe the happiness I felt when I see the beautiful savannah. We could also see the peak of the mountain. All I could say was, "We are almost there". We had lunch at Venado and headed trekking again to the top.
It was 4PM when we reached our destination. I was in awe and suddenly forgot that we were tired. Happiness and the sense of fulfillment we have had were extremely all over the place. We waited for the sunset at 5PM. I couldn't take my eyes off the sun's beauty as it sets. It was already very cold so we decided to go at our campsite (below the peak).
We had a sumptuous meal, 'linat-ang baboy' and fried fish. Since it was super very cold, we went inside our tents early. I had four shirts, three underpants and three socks but I could still feel the shivering cold penetrating inside my body. I was literally in chills. I forced my self to sleep for me to gain strength for our tomorrow's descend.
Dec 3, 2013
We woke up at 4AM hoping to see the sunrise. The temperature was getting colder (estimate: 5degrees celcius). We were at the second peak to watch the sun rise. I can't almost breathe, my eyes were very hurt because of the freezing temperature. The sun rose and we were very ecstatic to witness it. Another day has come and I still can't believe that we were at the highest peak in the Philippines. We went to our campsite waiting for our breakfast. At 7AM, we decided to go to the third peak. This peak was the very most scenic view among all peaks we reached. The skies were very clear and we could see the amazing view below.
We then started our descend since we received a text that there will be a super typhoon (Pablo) coming to the area. We were very fast scared that we would have difficulty to cross the river. We arrived at the foot for 6 hours.
I did not regret that I climbed Mt. Apo. It was really a test of endurance, physically, emotionally and mentally. This experience pushed me to explore other beautiful spots in the country especially the mountains.
.... My urge to climb more..