natural high

my 2nd visit to the highest mountain/volcano of the country, and this time, were mesmerized by the beauty of mt. apo :)

unlike my first trip, which expectedly, was battered by terrible weather, nasty winds and almost zero visibility, a curse with all my maiden climbs (for another story hehehe), we were blessed with fine weather, nice and butt-freezing temperature, fascinating view and thriving fauna and flora.

joining me is my friend Willie and activists/punks/mountaineers buds Jumar and Balong.

lots of entrance and exit points to our highest mountain. for this climb, we took the shorter but steep trail via Barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan City of North Cotabato. trek started for almost 3 hours in the great Marbel River. after several river crossing, then all uphill for 5 hours to lake venado (2283m), one of the highest-freshwater lake in the country. we camped beside the lake.

started the second day with a view of magnificent profile of mt apo, songs of montane birds and swim in venado. trek to summit camp, with occasional picking (and eating) of wild dark berries, lasted for 4 hours. winds aggravated the coldness but luckily it rained hard in the middle of the night, temperature gained few celcius higher. nice slumber again for me but for Willie, still another long, sleepless night.

last day, view of sunrise while eating our cooked oatmeal. since the mountain consists of several peaks (highest – 2975m), we hop from one vantage point to another. the view was simply breathtaking- old crater and the massive boulders spewed by the volcano, upland lakes, massive clouds looming above Davao City and Samal Island, the Davao Gulf, peaks of Davao Region and Bukidnon, and the wide flatlands of North Cotabato.

sadly garbage left by mountaineers littered across the campsite. true mountaineering is not a showcase of one's strength or machonism. it's about upholding responsibility and experiencing meekness under the grace of our Nature.

ended the climb with a visit to steaming lake agco and relaxing dip in the hot springs of a nearby resort, cold beer with marang as pulutan and a mad dash to catch my flight back to Manila.

a wish came true for Willie. gagaling din yang mga paltos at patay na kuko hehehehe. congratz! :) special thanks to Jumar and Balong for guiding us. sa cordi naman next climb...

Mt Apo

Kidapawan City, North Cotabato


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