From January 17 to 28, I went to Mindanao to celebrate my 21st year. I scaled some of the highest mountains in the country, visited an island and explored its wonders, stayed in some cities and discovered how each differs from my hometown, Manila. It was a 12-day long journey - fun, exciting and crazy.
Summary discussed in this link: Mindanao Mountain Madness
Mts. Talomo-Apo Megatraverse makes up the first leg of my epic adventure. For 4 days, we were inside the wilderness of these mountains, survived all the elements that pounded and tested us physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. A one of a kind adventure, certainly an experience to be treasured.
This post discusses the first three days of struggle inside the notorious but gorgeous trails of Mt. Talomo.
Day 1 - January 17, 2013
It was Thursday exactly 12 midnight when I came at the airport. I was 4 hours early for my flight to Davao. Well obviously, I am excited. My companions weren't there yet so I seated at one corner, tried to catch some sleep while waiting for them, but I couldn't... I am so excited, truly greatly excited. Well, who would not, especially if you know that something great is waiting for you. I waited six months for this climb, finally it paid off.
Two hours before our flight, my buddies for this climb arrived. I greeted them with smile, they greeted me back with smiles even bigger, haha. I know for sure, they, too, were really excited for this would-be-an-epic adventure. We're a bunch of 13 individuals who came from different walks of life, in fact, I do not know most of them personally, some I only met at the airport, but we all share the same passion for the mountains and that passion binds us all.
|At the boarding gate with my Talomo-Apo Climb companions. I will be seeing these faces in the next 6 days.|
excited ang lahat.
|this is it.. ready for take-off. |
We left Manila at 04:10 AM
|Touch down Davao City at 05:45 AM.|
I was so ecstatic upon seeing the summit of Mt. Apo from my window. Sa wakas, maakyat na kita very soon.
|While waiting for our service, I took some random photos here and there, it's my first time to be in Davao City (actually in the whole of Mindanao) so please understand.|
|siksikan sa elf truck. 20 minutes ride to the trail head.|
|the trail head lies on a banana plantation at Sicao Village.|
|easy start at Sicao Village|
|there were trail signs all over.|
After about an hour, we reached the first water source, regrouped there then proceeded again through the beautiful mossy forest trail.
|start of the seemingly endless mossy forest trail.|
|should I go under or over the logs?|
|yes, the trail has turned difficult, but still, the moss-covered surfaces were amazingly beautiful.|
|at this river, we had our lunch.|
Five hours from the time we started trekking, I realized something - Mt. Talomo was so very unwelcoming.
|mossy trail ulet, mauumay ka sa mossy forest|
|grand masters of the trail. Mam Ron and Mam Matet.|
parang mga hindi nahihirapan sa trail, ang lupet!
|the summit of Mt. Talomo as seen from the trail, and it was still too far!!oh my.|
|Even thought the trail was so difficult to deal with, I must admit, it's way much more stunningly beautiful than the ones I saw in the Cordilleras.|
We left camp 1 at 5:30 PM, all our head lamps were set for we know night time will soon caught up with us.
From camp 1, the difficult trail of Mt. Talomo has become more challenging and steep. Our pace was greatly slowed down, energy diminishing.
|we negotiated on Mt. Talomo's difficult trail even on the absence of daylight. sobra kaming na-challenge|
Day 2 - January 18, 2013
Second day of our Mt. Talomo adventure, I woke up without feeling any pain. Am I excited for the day, still I am! Now that I've fully recharged myself, I'm ready again to face Mt. Talomo. The time was 06:30 AM, we only have 2 hrs and 30 mins to prepare, eat breakfast, pack again and resume our day long trek.
|Lumot Campsite, as its name suggests, is certainly a wonderful world of moss. Never realized that until the day breaks. Parang lumot na tinubuan ng mga puno. ganda!|
|It was surreal, every inch of the area was covered with layers of moss. Even the very ground is a bed of moss. That's the reason why I had a very good sleep last night, parang nakahiga lang kasi ako sa kutson!|
|colorful flora of Mt. Talomo's summit.|
|summitted my first mountain in Mindanao.|
|mahabang lakaran na naman.|
|Here's my friend Jay, our team leader.|
|here's everyone, still smiling in the first few hours of our 2nd day trek.|
|to give you an idea how steep the trails of Mt. Talomo are...|
|we did a lot of scrambling on our second day.|
|bloody limatik bite|
|It was around 2PM when we arrived at mini Cabacan River where we ate our lunch. 45 mins lunch break|
|Cabacan River at 3PM|
|in the past 5 hours, the trail was very muddy... it's a great opportunity for the whole team to clean up at Cabacan River.|
Past the Cabacan river (we left the river at 4PM), the trail was still full of challenges. Logs here and there, muddy and steep trails, and river crossing too. We had no choice but to go through all of it, even in the absence of daylight.
|almost there, konting tiis pa.|
Day 3 - January 19, 2013
It was morning again, 3rd day of our epic adventure. I checked outside, it was raining pretty bad. Oh my! I sat inside our tent, fetal position, wondering what's waiting for us that day. Then all the struggle, pain and hardship in the past 2 days came to my senses. I should be ranting and regretting and ranting that I put myself into this, but instead, I smiled. I realized that my love for the mountains surmounts it all.
For more than an hour, we were just inside our shelters. We can't move, the wild pour of rain restricted us. It didn't subside until around 07:30 AM.
|it's raining at 6 AM|
|mga taong plastic|
|slippery log bridges|
|muddy forest trail|
follow the story here: Mt. Apo | Into the Highest