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.