Since my childhood years, I have always seen Mt. Apo in an unreachable distance. Living at the foothills of Mt. Kalatungan, while working in our farm, I would be thankful to clear mornings unleashing the majesty of the country's highest summit entouraged by Mt. Matutum (South Cotabato) and Mt. Pianggayungan (Lanao del Sur). Back then, never in my dreams would I summit any of them. It never came to my mind.
All of the sudden, I became a mountaineer. I just love mountains!
Every mountaineer dreams of conquering the highest summit. When I started mountaineering, I thought Mt. Apo would always remain a dream.
Apo, standing 3,144 meter ASL vastly stretches from Davao del Sur and
North Cotabato provinces. Lake Venado, resting at the mountain's
shoulder, is among its highlights. Another crater lake graces the
In Davao del Sur's side is a sulfur emitting area where you have
to ascend for 3 hours. Boulders, smoke and wildberries equally dominate
Cotabato area is a wide reforestation project of PNOC. On its base are
other tourist spots like Tausuvan Falls, Lake Agco and other mountain
My heart bled when fire incident happened in 2016 causing vast damage to the mountain. When it was closed for rehabilitation, I knew I will miss it. But that was the best solution to let the damage heal. It deserved to be left alone. It deserved rest. A very long rest.
Now that it reopens, I just feel a worried, especially now that commercial mass tourism has become a trend. Almost everybody is a tourist. Sadly, not all hikers are mountaineers.
Opening the mountain right away, accompanied by tremendous increase in fees caused many serious concerns and questions.
Well, many have voiced out their opinions. Many have opposed. Hopefully, issues will be ironed out real soon for the best welfare of the mountain.
happened to summit Mt. Apo 2times, 3 weeks apart, in 2008. I know many
changes have happened since then. And I know I was blessed enough during those
times because the mountain was not yet crowded like Divisoria nor
Baclaran. Though, irresponsible climbers were undeniably there, getting
drunk, throwing trash anywhere, making disgusting noise and spoiling the
Anyway, here are some of my bit of heaven moments with Mt. Apo almost a decade ago.
A. FIRST CLIMB: VIA KAPATAGAN, DAVAO DEL SUR
B. SECOND CLIMB: VIA MAGPET, NORTH COTABATO
My climbs were made possible by Philippine Association for Intercultural Development, Inc. (PAFID), my group Green Advocates for Life (GALI), with my officemates, fellow hikers and my friends from Central Mindanao University (CMU).