MT. APO is the highest mountain in the Philippines. Imagine yourself standing at its highest peak where clouds surround you and heaven is within the reach of your hands, you may see yourself like a superman. But hiking Mt. Apo is not easy, two days are spent of walking uphills and a day of downhills. Before the night comes, everyone should build their tents and prepare their dinner. Cleaning oneself is not a priority anymore. The team should reach the next station before the dark comes over. This makes so challenging and memorable.
Climbing Mt. Apo requires a month of preparation. A daily jogging gives strength and stamina. Eating less to lose weight and feel you like moon-jumping. Most importantly, one should have a complete gear like tent, backpack, raincoat and all the stuffs needed.
Before the tricky day has started, I had a week of weak preparation. I jogged but seemed so lacking. So, it has to be it since the day came by.
DAY 1 - Reaching Upper Paradise Campsite
Our team gathered in the city downtown early morning of the midweek of Christmas and New Year.
We hired a jeep going to Kapatagan, Digos City, Davao del Sur for PHP3000.00 one-way. We had four guides who were paid PHP300.00 per day for guide fee. A payment of PHP720.00 is collected per climber for the environmental fee.
After reaching Kapatagan, we hired another cab to reach Lower Paradise. It was then an entire rough roads. The driver demanded a high fare and we negotiated PHP1000.00. We arrived late in the afternoon. So, we hurried our steps to get to the next station, Upper Paradise where we have to set our tent and have our dinner before the night fell.
The most boring and tiring part of our journey was when we walked in an open fields where you are under the direct heat of the sun. So one must get prepared of applying lotions of high SPF.
The Baguio-like temperature was felt even at the first station. Thus, climbers must bring more thick socks to guard their shaking feet.
DAY 2 - Reaching Goody Goody Campsite
We woke up as early as 5:00am to prepare our breakfast and ourselves.
We rushed ourselves to get to Baroring for lunchtime. The source of water we used to drink is the natural spring. It is cold and delicious, though a little bit in yellowish color.
Our second night is spent at Goody Goody campsite. We arrived late in the afternoon. The campsite is in the middle of the forest. No more sounds you will hear but the whistling of the cool air. When the dark gets in, all climbers should be inside their tent already, sleeping.
|Two sanguines also got tired.|
DAY 3 - Mt. Apo Campsite
The next path someone must go through is the pile of boulders. Everyone must be cautious of the shaking boulders that when you held it, it falls you down to the bottom or even climbers below you will get hit. Once you passed through the strong builders, you can put trail marks to signify that this boulder can be passed through and is safe. Making trail marks is only a pile of three stones, it is called a cairn.
Upon reaching the top of the Mt. Apo, you can pass through on this area where you will actually see bursting of sulfuric acid. It is hot of course.
But what made me enjoyed on my humpy-jumpy journey was to collect wild berries. The ripe fruits can be eaten. The taste is somewhat like grapes.
The choleric temperament of mine dominated when I thought of reaching FIRST the peak of Mt. Apo amongst my team. So I climbed fast and walked long.
It feels so relaxing and free the moments you reach the very top of its peak. You feel like after all the hardships, you own not only the Philippines but the whole world. Wow!
This is the campsite where we finally set our third night. The freezing temperature will make you disabled to move. You most of the time rub your hands or wear all your used clothes.
I am always thankful how I am blessed to experience God's own wonders. Interestingly enough, I am always reminded that among all God's wonders, WE are His beloved, precious one.