Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mt. Apo Summer Climb a Dream Come True

Posted by Dexter Gazmen On 2:49 AM No comments
Entry Point : Sibulan Trail, Barangay Sibulan Sta. Cruz, Davao Del Sur
Exit Point : Mandarangan Trail Kidapawan City

I couldn’t even put in plain words the overwhelming feeling that we survived Mt. Apo, because for an amateur mountaineer like me conquering the Philippines highest mountain peak is really a big time achievement. Thanks to Romar Laurejas for organizing a summer climb at Mt. Apo. Romar is a friend of mine who is also an outdoor enthusiast and a mountaineer.  Because of him I was able to climb the grandfather of all mountains in the Philippines.

Our adventure starts with almost five hours of hiking and river trekking until we reached the Tumpis based camp where we settled our first night of Mt. Apo escapade.

The second day of our trek is headed to the wooden area of Tinikaran all the way to Tinikaran Campsite 1.  We reached the camp at 1:00 pm and some of our colleagues arrived at 4:00pm, so we decided to call it a day and set up our tents due to bad weather. The group could not take the risk of trekking another 3 hours to reach the boulder for safety reasons.

View of Mt. Apo boulders while on our way to the forest of Tinikaran.

Now who got a strong stomach drinking on Tinikaran Campsite 1 water source? I suggest you should not use it for drinking, but if there are no other choices then have it boiled or pour some aqua tabs water purifier on it. Some of my friends just mixed it with juice and iced tea and presto! It’s good to go, especially if it includes Emperador hard liquor.

Since we are now one day behind the schedule of our itinerary, we woke up early and starts ascend to Mt. Apo boulders all the way to the summit.

We do early morning exercise and muscle stretching before we assault.

Eye-catching mossy forest captured on my lens while trekking the forest of tinikaran.

Finally after two hours of trekking we reached the boulder of the great Mt. Apo. The views are remarkable; we excitedly rush to have a photo taken on the gigantic and sulfuric rocks.

We trekked treacherous assault via sulfur and rocks through the boulders, and because some of us doesn’t wear mask we are exposed and inhaled a lot of sulfuric gas that results to dizziness. I also stop and pour some water to my t-shirt and used it as a cover to my face to minimize the sulfur intake. Walking through the boulders really is a thrilling and an adrenaline pumping adventure. We also grabbed some wild berries found at the boulder, which serves us the trail mix while trekking. We spent six hours, trekking the boulders for us to reach the summit.

Wild berries found at the boulders.

Geronimo! After six hours of strenuous trek finally I stand at the altitude of 2956 Meter above sea level (9,692 ft), the grandfather of all mountains in the Philippines and also the highest mountain in the country. 

Lakwatserongmamoy embracing the magnificence view at the summit.

Rocel Sepulveda dedicates her successful climb at Mt. Apo to his loving father who always there to support her, for every outdoor activity she goes to.

Every man who climbs Mt. Apo has their own stories and goals, some wants to fulfill their dream climbing the highest mountain in the country, others want to proved themselves they can do it, and for several people it is a unique and romantic place for their love story. 

Like for these couples Jorge Cueva and Sheilla Vallente, they prefer to have their prenuptial taken at Mt. Apo and choose to have a painful and exhausting climb. I ask them why choose Mt. Apo? Are you either an outdoor enthusiast or a mountaineer? Jorge answered; just want to have a unique and memorable experience that we can be proud of sharing and to tell our remarkable stories to our future children.  Jorge is a chef in an international cargo ship and Sheilla is a teacher. Needless to say, the couples Jorge and Sheilla will surely have a wonderful story to share.

View of Mt. Apo old crater at the summit.

View of summit campsite seen at the peak of Mt. Apo.

Our three nights and four day of expedition will be remembered and treasured for the rest of my life. This summer climb gives me the chance to meet amazing group of peoples from different places. They shared a wonderful memories and a gift of friends. Thanks so much Kampo Uno for the laughs and drunken moments, the gigs and the jamming we shared. Also thanks to KWOC, Romar Laurejas and the rest of the gangs for the awesome adventure we had. Hoping to see you again guys on our future climbs. See you on trail as they said.

And for the aspiring mountaineers and adventure seekers who want to climb Mt. Apo, I suggest you try Sibulan Trail, this is really a very good trail for a hardcore mountaineers and thrill seekers. 

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