"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." - excerpt from my January 2013 Mt. Apo climb. Read the full story here.
Hence, I immediately planned a redemption climb. A comeback climb that has only one goal—experience Mt. Apo anew and hopefully gentler than the last time.
Day 1 - August 15, 2013
Came the month of August (six months after my first Mt. Apo climb), I, all by myself, went back to Davao to give the highest summit another shot. It was early morning of a Thursday when I landed and a fine weather welcomed me in Davao city. Oh it's great to be back, and do my revenge climb once and for all.
Arj, my friend slash guide for this climb, picked me up in the airport. We went first to their home to drop some of my stuff which I will use in my post-climb trip (watch out for that Camiguin Trip), had breakfast there, then headed straight to Ecoland Bus Terminal where we took a bus to Digos City.
|excited as always! Bound for Digos City.|
|At some point of the ride, we had to get off the habal-habal so that it will be easier to get over this muddy road. Parang nag-motocross, wild ride talaga!|
|oh not again please! hindi ako bumalik sa Mt. Apo para lang mag-papicture ulit ng 1x1 plain white background id picture!|
Mt. Apo via Kapatagan Trail
On a trail that runs across the fields of potatoes, carrots and cabbages, we started off the day's trek. It was just an easy, quick and hassle-free trek and I don't remember any steep parts. But the whole time we were trekking on these open fields, we were blanketed by fog.
|because it was a foggy afternoon, vision was limited to a few meters only|
|Hide-in-mist no Jutsu.|
|Kapatagan Trail would let you experience the verdant forest of Mt. Apo.|
After the river, several tiring high steeps followed, nakakahingal. Good thing, in between these challenging portions are easy flat grounds where we rested.
|obstructions in Kapatagan trail are usually fallen trees. Most are moist and mossy, thus slippery|
|water sources weren't a problem. There were plenty streams along the way.|
|Dusk caught up with us at Godi-Godi campsite.|
|At Godi-Godi Campsite with fellow hikers.|
Day 2 - August 16, 2013
As soon as we finished breakfast, and our things packed up, we left Godi-Godi to continued the trek. The day's goal was to reach the campsite near the summit via the boulders, settle there and pray for a good clearing at least for tomorrow.
Again, through the mountain's green forest, we trekked. At first, the trail ran flat, petiks lang, but suddenly, a long steep assault woke up my still sleepy body. Nakakahingal, agad-agad! A good 10 minutes was spent on this challenging ascent.
|steep assault to start our day|
|The boulders, was supposedly visible already from this part of the trail, but was unfortunately covered with layers of fog.|
The Boulders of Mt. Apo
Fact: Mt. Apo, our country's highest mountain, is actually a volcano. Need a proof? The boulders is the proof.Boulders isn't new to me. I've seen a couple of mountains having this feature (i.e. Mt. Bulusan and Mt. Kanlaon), but this boulders that Mt. Apo possesses was just really incredibly amazing and different. It left me speechless the first time I saw it. A geologic wonder talaga!
|approaching the boulders of Mt. Apo.|
|more and more huge chunks of rocks emerged as we get closer to summ.|
|the boulders, a must see in Mt. Apo|
|going through the boulders wasn't an easy task. You will need the skills balance and agility. Self control too is a requirement, sa sobrang ganda kasi ng lugar mahirap pigilan ang sarili sa pagkuha ng sangkatutak na larawan.|
|One of the many sulfur columns present on site.|
|I thought we were surrounded by fog, but those are actually sulfur clouds coming from the vents.|
|me at the boulders. feeling ninja ulit!|
|the sweet tasting berries.|
|At 10 AM, we reached Boracay. We had 10-minute break here before continuing to the final leg of the day's trek.|
The day's final leg was a steep ascending trail, with probably 60° to 70° inclination. Trekking through it was not that easy as the ground was full of loose, small to medium-sized rocks thus establishing a good footing was a challenge. And in some parts, we needed to scramble. This challenging final leg, which lasted for roughly 20 minutes on a gradual pace, eventually brought us to the lake. According to them, this lake is the old crater of Mt. Apo.
|we passed by this lake, believed to be Mt. Apo's old volcanic crater.|
|the lake was just knee-deep, so ok lang mag-tampisaw-tampisaw, at mag ninja-ninjahan|
By 11 AM, familiar sightings came about. There's the grotto where we stayed last time, the bushes where we hid from the battering cold winds, the rock where I rested and shivered, Ah! Summit campsite at last! Then more memories from our hike six months past flashed back nagbalik lahat na parang kahapon lang nangyari.
|the campsite once again. Parang kahapon lang nandito kami, lamig na lamig na parang mga basang sisiw.|
We thought the sky would cry briefly, but it lasted longer than expected. So for the mean time, we just had lunch inside our mini cave.
|the cave-like grotto, our home for like an hour or so.|
|a heart-breaking scene.|
At around 1:30 PM, we went outside to check if it's still very foggy. Surprisingly, it's not. I saw, for the first time in 2 days, a blue sky. Nabuhayan ako ng loob, looks like I'll still be able to witness the elusive Mt. Apo summit clearing.
|Blue sky after 2 days of cloudy weather.. but not for long.|
As day 2 nears its end, I prayed for a summit clearing for the next day. Sana talaga, sana lang tlga!
Day 3 - August 17, 2013
I woke up at 5 in the morning the following day, and straight from my comforter, I went out to check my luck. To my surprise, there were stars! Clearing!!!
The Highest Summit
Thrilled and excited, I, together with Arj, marched up the summit of Mt. Apo even if the sun hasn't risen up yet. Honestly, it was one of the most exciting happenings of my life. At long last, I will finally see the most coveted summit view of Mt. Apo.
|approaching the highest peak, with my friend Arj|
|I only prayed for a summit clearing, but the Creator gave me this, a majestic sea of clouds.|
|fellow mountaineers on the other side of the peak.|
|that's me folks! standing at the roof.|
|Mt. Matutum spotted|
By 07:30 AM, soon after finishing breakfast, we started prepping up for our descent. We will back trail to Kapatagan so the view and trail we experienced in the past 2 days is pretty much the same. And besides, I've already descended Kidapawan Trail before so I'm not too keen on doing it again this time for a traverse.
But before we went down, we had one final look at the summit.
|Standing at 2,956 masl|
|This is how the Philippines looks like from it's roof.|
|the crater lake of Mt. Apo as seen from above|
|Through the boulders once more. Samal Island also captured (upper left).|
|the mossy forest of Kapatagan Trail|
|the farm fields of Kapatagan, we're almost done!|
|we passed by this potato farmer. andaming patatas!|
From Sitio Paradise, we traveled back to Digos City, of course on a habal-habal. It was butt-numbing, but totally enjoyable.
|Had to ride habal-habal again, and catch the bus at Digos City!|
Mt. Apo via Kapatagan-Boulders, mission accomplished!
My big thanks to Arj Seron of Angtad Mountaineers for helping me out in this memorable redemption climb! I owe you this! My big thanks too to Red Simon, our porter for this climb, hardkor!
After Mt. Apo, I flew to CDO city and traveled to Camiguin Island to, again, climb mountains. Follow the story of my Camiguin Island Adventure in this link.