Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Mt. Palaopao, another Bukidnon’s rocky mountain visible in the highway of Kisolon, Sumilao proudly stands 836 feet above sea level. The top was once forested while the sides contain several caves and rockshelters which were used as burial grounds during the early 19th century. Now, the mountain is another traditional site for a religious pilgrimage during Holy Week. Its grandiose form catches the eyes of every passers-by. Its scenery draws an avid photographer and an ordinary hiker; its challenging rocky walls allure an experienced mountaineer. But a lot more await an adventurer and nature lover.

A cool morning a week after my second Mt. Capistrano trek, I was set to summit my long time dream mountain.

I took a lift to Sumilao Public Terminal. I was with Malaybalay Runners Earl, Dax and James.

While taking a morning meal, Earl laughingly told that his squad once got lost in a trek in CEDAR.    

We started the trek at the back of the terminal.

I was really challenged knowing that my trek partners are all runners who have joined 42K runs. “DON’T LEAVE ME BEHIND” was my plea.

The green scenery comforted my weary eyes.

The flying birds lifted up my spirit.

The mountain seemed simply low and a lot easier compared to my most recent climb.

I wasn't sure if the rule--- NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A MOUNTAIN --- would still apply.

The five minutes hike shocked us all! We were approaching a descending slope with a depth which seems to equal with the mountains height. We had to cross a river through a hanging bridge! What we first saw was just the tip of the (iceberg) mountain. We were deceived. Hahaha!

We laughed at ourselves while descending to what seemed like an abyss. Did we have a choice?

We encountered the locals doing their normal means of living.

An alluring clear river impressed the descending trekkers.

Past the hanging bridge are numbers of houses in Sitio Palaopao.

The few settlers have their own chapel, basketball court, fishponds, farms and gardens.

They were cheerful to show the way to the first timers.

Different trails crisscrossed when we got past the chapel.

Led by James, the team continued until the trail dead-ended.

I then pronounced ourselves “THE LOST BOYS”.

But hey, there’s a prize of getting lost! We were all looking up at the overwhelming rocky walls that wowed us all.

A majestic landform we haven’t seen hadn’t we got lost! So refreshing and relaxing. That area might be a camping site.

We trailed back looking for the right path we couldn’t really find.

We trespassed through farms and gardens.

Our spirits celebrated when we found a trail which we followed without a second thought.

The gloomy clouds covered us from the cruel rays of the sun.  

Soon we found out that the trail was leading to a private hut.

Another DEAD-END trail! For the second time, we got lost!  

Undoubtedly, the team deserved a title “THE CERTIFIED LOST BOYS”.

But we enjoyed getting lost. We got to see more wonderful views.

The lost boys continued moving.

We decided to blaze our own trail in ascending direction.

We set our focus to the concrete cross at the peak, no matter what.

“Beloved, if we just followed the cross in the first place, we would not get lost. Now, let us set our eyes and hearts to the cross and we will find the right direction”.

The lost boys might find me laughable… but my pastoral sermon really made sense.

Our seemingly endless wandering halted when we bumped on a bamboo cross.

Wooohooh! The lost boys finally found the right way!

That cross showed us a trail leading to some more crosses (14 stations according to Catholic tradition) up to the big concrete cross at the peak.

Nearing the peak, the awesome view of the grasslands just got more astonishing.

Aside from the limestone walls, I noticed sharp coral-like rocks resembling to those in Coron and some other islands.

Tracking the right trail, I was panting to contend the pace of the runners.

A two-hour hike took us to a peaceful rest at the cross.

We gasped the refreshing cool breeze.

We enjoyed the view of the lowlands.

We ate our snacks to gain strength before we continued trekking to the next peak, the highest actually.

We trailed through an unpaved ridge atop a 90-degree cliff covered with bushes, thorns and sharp rocks.

The sun cruelly scorched us while the wind blew heavily.

The height of a deadly cliff never failed to challenge my daredevil instinct.

Another breathtaking view awaited us onward.

It took us another 45 minutes to summit the highest peak.

The leaning old rugged cross atop the hill simply blew away my mind. Its rustic stature gave me a sudden unexplainable feeling which left me almost teary eyed.

Like all my climbs, I truly enjoyed the marvelous fact that I conquered another peak. I savored every moment unmindful of the cruel heat.

Exhausted, I clung my body to the rugged cross and found rest (try reading between the lines).

Communing with that cross was truly an amazing experience.

Before we left the area, we took different poses of our victorious quest.

The cooling wind prompted us to descend enjoying each slope and every view of the mountain.

We arrived at the base and clearly saw the right trail with the first bamboo cross which was just beside the trails we mistakenly took.

Had we just given attention to the cross, we never got lost.  

An hour of descent brought us to the side of the tempting river.

We shared our little packed lunch and took a short rest.

The lost boys then rewarded themselves a cool refreshing plunge in the clear waters.

We remembered our younger days when we were escaping classes to swim in rivers, fishponds and carabao wallows.

After getting refreshed, the boys ascended back to Kisolon with wet shorts and briefs.

Looking back at the mountain we just conquered, we laughed out our exhaustion with our funny experiences.
The Lost Backstreet Boys: You are my fiiiire, the one desiiiire...
Tell me why, ain't nothin' but a heartache... 
Then we headed back to the bus terminal with bulalo soup in mind.

With a sufficed stomach, I took a bus home with my trek buddies (still partly wet down there, haha!) bringing wonderful memories of summiting a deceitful yet breathtaking peak, plunging like a child in a cool clear river and getting lost with the LOST BOYS...

NOTE: When trekking to Mt. Paloapao, you need to register at Sitio Palaopao. Ask permission from local officials. GUIDE is now required to summit Mt. Palaopao.


From CDO, take southbound bus and alight at Sumilao Public Transport Terminal at Brgy. Kisolon. Start trekking along rice paddies at the back of Public Market to Sitio Paloapao. Start the ascent.

From Malaybalay, take CDO-bound bus and alight at Sumilao Public Transport Terminal at Brgy. Kisolon. Start trekking along rice paddies at the back of Public Market to Sitio Paloapao. Start the ascent.



  1. hahahahahahahha nakakatawa jud ko Tupe :-)

    1. hehehe. sige ra lagi mi katawaha didto, tet. lingaw pud ang company sa LOST BOYS

  2. One of the best hiking experience I ever had. It was fun getting lost several times and taking a dip at the cool and clean river brought back childhood memories. The Lost Backstreet Boys song capped it all off! Hahaha!

    1. You started that song...Haha!

      Riding and aircon bus while wet (down there) was also rib-tickling. Hahaha!

    2. Nagka-storya mi ni Kagawad Baula adto monday pe. Sayang lang kay wala nya nadawat ako text adto Friday. Paubanan unta ta nya ug bata mo-guide. Natoltolan unta nato ang Paiyak Cave. Anyway, no regrets gihapon kay nalingaw man ta sa atong pagka-wala. Hahaha!

    3. Our unguided trek was really worth the adventure. The cave is more than enough reason for the next trek to that mountain.

  3. I really missed this thing peh. If I hadn't another schedule prior to that day as we already have set months ago, I am sure that I also had the same experience as yours. You are right, just follow the cross, it will lead you to the RIGHT PATH...nice one peh. I admired your courage guys not only conquering the summit but also seeing God's wonderful creation atop Palaopao Hills.

    1. tnx, bon. if you were with us, the trek would be more fun and funnier. haha! i will never hesitate to go back to this mountain plus the burial cave that we missed.

    2. I already bought a telefoto lens peh. Its high time to go back to palaopao.:-).

  4. Hahahahaha.... Laughtrip... Thumbs up..

    1. Thanks, dave. hope you enjoyed your maramag falls trek too.

  5. Hi, I added your blog to my blog. Yours have current posts. :)

  6. Just had a two day trek here in loop starting from Maluko, camp somewhere and proeeded the next day by exiting Sumilao. It was honestly a great and challenging trek....but we missed the crosses. I feel sad thinking about missing something significant of Mt. Palaopao... Hopfully someday I get to go back the see the cross and be at the top victorious and full of Gratitude...
    Congratulations and thank you!

    Kristie SB

    1. don't worry, Kristie. it just means you have to go back, see the crosses and even take a cool dip in kulaman river...

  7. Wow naysa. Dri ta sunooooood dok, jing, cam,ming? Kabalo ko inyo ni mabasa haha next saaaat ba. Kay rani. Kaya-mokat. :D

    1. hi, queenie! tnx for reading. kaya kaayo ni ninyo. enjoy!

  8. Ay kailangan pa diay approval. Haha Thank you sa pagshare ani sir.

    1. haha! walay sapayan, queenie. naay approval ang comments kay ang uban apilan ug links nga naay viruses.

  9. Cool read, Sir. Basa palang makaexcite na and unta mabisita namo ang place soon. If I may ask, Sir, naa bay spot sa buntod na relatively close sa Kulaman river kung asa pede makaset-up ug overnight camp (roughly 10-15 people)? If naa, asa mi pede magregister, mananghid, and all? Thanks. -Jay RS

    1. Hi, Jay! Tapad sa river ang community sa sitio palaopao. Pwede ra magtent duol sa chapel. Ask lang pud sa sitio leader and officials asa pwd magcamp.

  10. Noted, Sir. Daghang daghang salamat sa pagrespond. More power and keep trekking!

  11. good day sir...nice kaau imung adventures gnhan ko mo trek sa mt.palaopao any advice sir or contacts of guide sir?dghang salamat keep exploring..godbless

    1. hi, thanks for reading. wala pay guide sa palaopao kay easy trail ra man. but if you want companion, you may ask from locals at sitio palaopao at the jump-off.

  12. sir if im from cdo . hunong ko sa sumilao na bus terminal tapos sa gilid lang ang agianan ana sir padulong sitio palaopoa ? dle kaha ta mawala sir? thanks sir . i ready enjoy reading your blogs. by the way sir im a lone trekker

    1. hello, yuri. sure, dili na ka mawala diha. regular trail man na sa taga-palaopao. tnx for reading my blog... i'm a lone trekker too, most of the time. let's trek together soon...

  13. Hello Sir! Ask lng ko kng pila ka hours sakaon og naogon ang palaopao. thanks!

    1. hi, maam stefanie! 2 hours pasaka, 1 hour panaug ang palaopao.

  14. Hello Sir,
    I'm from davao, I just wanna ask is there a lodging place near mt. palaopao? thanks

    1. hi, anonymous. there is tourism lodge at the town of impasugong around 3 kms away from kisolon. but you need to coordinate before your stay. i somehow recommend you to lodge in malaybalay instead where many stays are available for walk in guests. anyway, kisolon is just an hour away from malaybalay.

  15. Sir Tupe, good eve. Mangutana unta ko kung pila ang guide fee. Additionally, mangutana pud ko kung pila ka oras ang ibudget namo if iapil namo ang Paiyak Cave sa adventure. Thanks. -Sabz

    1. hello, sabz. guide fee is negotiable, though strictly required. if you proceed to paiyak cave, just add two hours in your IT, including rests and photoshoots. by the way, as of july 2016, i was informed that going to paiyak cave requires permission from tribal datu of sitio palaopao. he has the discretion to allow trekkers or not. just register and coordinate with the local officials. enjoy....

    2. Okie, Sir, noted. Once again, daghang salamat ug more adventures!

  16. hello sir, I would like to ask if it is okay to trek without a guide? are there any fees to pay?

    1. as of my latest visit last august 2016, there is P10.00 registration and the community requires a guide to accompany the trekkers. guide fee is negotiable.