I was actually so hesitant to hike the highest mountain of the Philippines in just one day. It was an insane take for me knowing that I’m not really fit, healthy and active, though I am trying to be that’s why I’m hiking.
Mount Apo is a dormant volcano located in Davao, Philippines. It has an elevation of 2954 masl which is the highest elevation in the country. It is famous for its unique sulfur rock formation and its majestic view from Lake Venado. But in this blog, my experience, we went through a different trail and unfortunately, Lake Venado is not part of it.
As far as I know, Mount Apo has 7 different trails and the trail we took is one of the easiest trails, the Sibulan Trail.
Preparations? I think I just have a minor climb 3 days prior, with Mt. Kulago and that’s it, no gym, no bike, no exercise, literally just bed and computer.
I already said yes and I can’t take that decision back since the hike is happening the next day.
So here it goes...
I waited in Digos Bus terminal for them, my hiker friends who are coming from Davao. The first thing we did is we have to ride a motorcycle going to Kapatagan, 30 minutes' travel time. 3 passengers in one motorcycle, driver not included, so we have only 2 motorcycles. By the way, we are only 6 in our group. We left some of our things at the house of the guide in Kapatagan, had some coffee and stretching.
We have to ride with the motorcycle again going to the jump-off area where the hike begins. How many minutes? 30 minutes! We really spend our 1 hour just going to jump-off from Digos terminal, it was far! But I don’t mind.
During those times when we are in the motorcycle, I kept on looking at the sky, stars are too bright and then I realized that there are actually no light-post that is why the shades of the milky way are somehow visible. I can definitely see if the spot or the area of the sky is the milky way, it is pretty obvious and familiar. Even though it is not my first time seeing such glitters in the sky, I still mesmerized by it.
We are all praying for good weather, I was starting to feel really cold. The jump-off is where there is water dum, not sure what it was but I can only hear the sound of water rushing. We started the trek at 4 am, while I’m walking, I kept on looking at the sky because it is really surreal.
The day-hike rule
There is a rule that if you didn’t reach the whitesand station before 12:00nn the guide will not allow you to proceed to the summit, which is for the day-hikers. I am optimistic to reach the desired time and luckily, I reached the whitesand station at 11:30 am as well as the other members of the group.
Prior to reaching the whites and station, we have to climb a series of stones or boulders and to tell you, it is like hiking going to heaven! There are times that fogs or clouds are covering the boulders so we have no idea how far it is. It was very challenging, very dangerous but fun. Shann, the only female in the group, reached the whitesand station 12nn and we are so glad she made it. She was in tears and very tired but at least, all of us made it.
We continue to hike to reach the crater of Mt. Apo. I was surprised to see that the crater is very dry. We had our lunch and rest for some minutes. We have to hike one more to reach the summit and it was amazing. For the nth time, I am always grateful to have very good weather, clear view and it is just awesome.
Finally, I brought my footsteps to the top of the Philippines. Very surreal and it felt so different. In just that moment, I have realized that the world is too big to stop dreaming. Reaching the top of the mountains is not only about telling yourself you can, but also realizing that you can aim high no matter how normal you are.
And it doesn’t matter how far you’ve been if you are not at peace. Hiking for me feeds my soul and my mind to filter the worries and problems. Reaching the top feeds my energy to smile and be grateful for everything I have.
I hope you can find your own way on how to become a person with peace. God bless and have a great day!