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 second part of our Talomo-Apo Megatraverse, comprising days 3 and 4 - from the time we escaped the wilderness of Mt Talomo and reached Mt. Apo's Lake Venado, assaulted and set foot on the highest peak, and finally descended via the Kidapawan Trail.
If you haven't read the first part, here's the link: Mt. Talomo | Struggle to Success
Day 3 - January 19, 2013
The strenuous effort we've been exerting in the past 3 days has begun to take its toll on me both physically and mentally. The pain in my lower extremities is the demon that tries to dishearten my eager spirit. Almost every minute, I was asking myself the questions, "when will this end? are we there yet? why am I doing this? should I still push for my D2K climb after this?"
But then, all of a sudden, I heard my friends joyously screaming, "Lake Venado, Lake Venado..."
The name of the famous lake (probably the highest lake in the country) is like a bolt hurled to me by the gods, I was fully charged in an instant.
|behind those greens is Lake Venado. Sa wakas, nakarating din kami.|
Although it was so gloomy in the vicinity of Lake Venado, the fact that we're now facing Mt. Apo, the mightiest of them all, simply makes me the happiest person at that point of time.
|gloomy Mt. Apo and Lake Venado, sigh, but still happy that we made it here|
|here's our makeshift community until the next day|
|many preferred to wash up their muddy shoes and clothes at the lake before anything else...|
|some opted to clean their teeth... something I did not do until we reached Davao City again..|
Note: sometimes in the mountains, the harsh environment would deprive you from being hygienic
|others chose to talk and share their fun and memorable experiences in Mt. Talomo.|
|but as for me, well, it's picture-picture time!|
Day 4 - January 20, 2013
The following morning, aaaarrgghhhh! it was raining so bad again! My hope of seeing the Philippines from its roof crumbled. From that point, in my mind, I was already scheduling a revenge climb.
|around 6 AM, the team was prepped and ready to assault Mt. Apo's summit, even on a very bad weather condition|
Thirty minutes into hiking, the rain and wind intensified, temperature dropped so fast. It was terrifying.
All the elements conspired against us, the howling wind was deafening, the violent rain was piercing, and the temperature was really immobilizing. Mt. Apo became so cruel during our assault, it's as if we're battling our way to get inside a bastion full of defenders, almost or totally impossible. This continuous battering of nature made two from our team submit - a wise but painful decision.
It would've been easy to assault the summit from Lake Venado only if the god of weather was on our side. It was like an assault to Tarak Ridge, steep but not really a technical climb.
|smile pa rin ako kahit sobrang giniginaw na|
|we were shivering the entire time we're doing the assault. grabe talaga.|
Mt. Apo showed no mercy even during the final assault. The might of the combination of rain, wind and cold temperature, aka storm, never collapsed. We stopped somewhere to see Mt. Apo's crater, I saw it once, did not bother taking a picture, or even having a second glance (sobra sobrang lamig na kasi talaga).
|hiding behind the natural wind breakers|
|me at the highest summit|
should be back for the summit view.
them at the highest summit
|heartbreaking summit, but still very happy|
Then by 10:40 AM, we're back again to our camp at Lake Venado. I was so badly hungry that the first thing I grabbed upon reaching our camp were my spoon and plate. As soon as I finished my lunch, I went inside our tent to hide form the chilly winds outside. I did not go outside until it was around 12nn already where everyone was packed and ready again for the long trek down the Kidapawan trail.
|resting at Kidapawan trail|
I thought Kidapawan trail would be like that forever until we arrive at Lake Agco (the end point of the megatraverse), little did I know that there will be a series of river crossings (Marble River) near the end. And it was not a simple river crossing for Marble river at that time was raging.
|crossing Marble River. Not really deep, but the strength of the current makes the crossing a bit scary|
|we did more than 5 river crossing, most are waist-deep.|
We were joking that if ever we failed to find her, we'll summon a search and rescue team to look for her, including a chopper and a bunch of media people. Then she'll be featured in all the TV programs and her story will be the headline and cover of many broad sheets and magazines. hehe
We completed not just a simple climb on Mt. Apo, but the grueling Mt. Talomo-Apo Megatraverse. I may not have seen the summit view I very much wanted for my 21st year, but I was so blessed with something more treasure-worthy than that. It's here that I truly realized that it is not the summits that make up the best and most remarkable climbs, but companionship and experience you share on the trails.
A few hours after the successful traverse, on a roadside at the very heart of Kidapawan City, we welcomed my 21st birthday.
|a humble cake for the debutante.|
big thanks to Mam Joy for this wonderful mamon and sperma candle.
Our adventure in Mindanao continued as we head to Samal Island to celebrate the success our our epic climb and my 21st birthday. There, we met a very accommodating resort owner, converted her resort into a big laundry place, entered the city hall for a dose of air condition... these and a lot more in my next blog.
Follow the story here: Samal Island Adventures