Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mt. Apo The Second Climb

It was not long since my first climb to Mt. Apo that my big brother (Kuya Philip) came home from Canada. For more than 12 years, it was our first reunion. Perhaps the love for adventure is really in our blood for Kuya Philip asked us (his 3 siblings and some of our cousins) to climb Mt Apo. At the time of my first climb in April, my younger brother (kiboy)and my cousin (kingking)had also climbed via Kidapawan trail. Maybe our mom told Kuya about it that's why he was encourage to climb also. And so everything was set.

In May 7, 1996, Kuya Philip, Kiboy, A-an (our younger sister), our cousins Indik, Kingking, Amil, Arjay and me left Davao early that afternoon. We visited first our aunt (Kingking's mom) in Makilala and spend our night there.

We woke up early next morning (May 8) and we went to Kidapawan. From Kidapawan we rode a PUJ (public utility jeepney) to PNOC (Philippine National Oil Company)- our jump off site. Mostly of the Kidapawan trail is river trekking. It has a very long river with a criss- crossing path and we crossed it like 7 times I guess. We passed the Marble River, the Mainit Campsite, the 87 and finally reached Lake Venado at around 3pm.

I was so surprised when we reached the edge of Lake Venado. Contrary to the last time I was there, the place was almost empty. It was like we're the only people in the world so, so isolated. It was a new experience for me, at least I have experienced how eerie it feels when Venado is so still and quite. We chose a good spot for us and we settled for the night.

The next morning (May 9), delegates from the Department of Education, Culture and Sports(DECS) arrived for their clean-up drive activity entitled "Oplan Wow DECS at Mt. Apo". Their activity aims to gather as much trash left behind by the climbers in the recent climbing season. The garbage is to be brought down to Kidapawan to be sorted out and to be recycled. TRIMMOC (Tribung Mindanaw Mountaineering Club, Inc.)- my mountaineering organization is also participating in this kind of endeavor. In fact, during our orientation before my first climb, we were told not to leave any trash when we climb.

Kingking and I were tasked to cook for lunch and to man the campsite, while Kiboy is to accompany the others to the peak. We estimated that they will be back in one and a half hours since the peak is not that far from Venado. After about 30 minutes, I was surprised to see them emerging from the tree line. Kiboy said they were lost, they cannot find the trail up. Poor Poor guys...!

After our lunch was cooked, Kuya decided we go home already. There's nothing much to do there so we agreed. We traced our steps back to PNOC. We rode the PUJ back to Kidapawan and from Kidapawan we took the bus for Davao City.

That was actually my briefest climb to Mt. Apo- could be considered an overnight climb to the highest peak of the Philippines.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Dream Come True


I have chosen my blog under "My Adventures" obviously because I love adventures. The wonders of nature give me so much pleasure that I could temporarily detached myself from the hustle and bustle of city life.

My passion really began when I was still in my 5th grade. On a clear sunny day in our school, I was struck with an awe as I stare into the most marvelous and amazing sight of the Philippine's highest peak- the mount Apo. There it stood in its majestic sculptured like features. Its bluish color so, so eye soothening. I was so captivated by it's beauty that I've said in mind, "I will go and visit you one day." Even today, I could still clearly remember how it crossed my mind.

Though I've dreamed of so much adventures since then, the realization finally came when I was in college particularly when I took up the subject- Ecology. Ecology is the study of ecosystems where living organisms interact with each other and with their non-living environment. Our lessons includes the exposure to places where we could fully understand and study these things practically. And so the adventures begun.


Our first assignment was to study the grassland. Our CI (class instructor) brought us to a coastal area in Matina Aplaya, Davao City. It was a clear moonlit night when we trekked a shore line filled with mangrove trees. The white sand was illuminated by the moon light and so it paved our way to the study area. We had a great time with the activity as it was not just learning but also enjoying.

Second is the Estuarine. It is a place where salt water and fresh water meets. It is usually the end part of a river where it meets the sea. For this, we went to the then Tagum Davao Del Norte (now a city). The water in the estuarine are usually brackish- a mixture of the two types of water. As a side trip we went bird watching in a swampy area of Tagum. We've seen egrets and other migratory birds stopping by to rest before continuing their long journey to find a suitable place for them.


Thirdly, we had the forest exploration. The Matigsalog tribe in Buda (the boundary between Davao City and Bukidnon in the south), were our very hospitable and friendly hosts. They welcomed us warmly and have their tribal head as our guide for the exploration. Our trek started at 7 am and ended at almost 5 pm. On the last part of the trek, we have found a small waterfall. It was really really a dream come true! It was so small that you could compare it to a bathroom shower. So, so funny! The base of the drop was just an ankle level.


Last but not the least, the fresh water. This was the most exciting one. Epol, Marilog District of Davao City was the perfect place. It was the training ground of the local mountaineering group- Tribung Mindanao Mountaineering Club, Incorporated. Our guide was their member. For the first time I felt like I am already a mountaineer. We had a night trek lesson trailing a difficult and treacherous way. That was the very first time I ever felt so elated despite having a hard time finding my footings. It feels so so good! There I've experienced for the first time to sleep in a tent while listening to the sound of the falls nearby.


On the following morning, we had a river trek going to what they call "the cascades". True enough we saw the curtain like drop of water, streaming through a 40 degrees angled slope of marble stones. The base drop is several feet deep. It formed a pool in the base actually. There we swam to the goodness of our lives. We also entered a cave beside the falls.


From then on, I've started going to places where I could enjoy the nature's best. I'll be posting pictures soon.