How I conquered climbing Mt. Apo

I know, this is not the right moment and it’s a bit insensitive knowing what happened to our dear Mt. Apo. But if you bear with me; There’s a reason that made me hike Mt. Apo, it’s the fact that I haven’t experienced trekking in my entire life. I like outdoor activities, but trekking is not one of them yet and with my previous situation, I wanted to get disconnected from society.

Mt. Apo

*View of Mt. Apo in Sitio Paradise*

2nd of December 2015 Was the day I decided to trek Mt. Apo.

I could still remember my best friend asked me when I made that decision.“Sigurado ka na aakyatin mo ang Mt. Apo, besh?” “Are you sure you’re going to climb Mt. Apo?” with no hesitation, I said yes. I am very fortunate, my best friend is a mountaineer and was a tour guide in climbing Mt. Apo. Cause, I borrowed most of my trekking stuff from him. haha! And I get tons of How to’s, Not to’s, and tips when hiking and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t only apply in trekking Mt. Apo but in all aspects of mountain climbing. (I’m going to share my tips and guide when trekking below)

4th of December 2015 Was the day! the day I questioned myself on why the heck did I do that?!

Our Traverse trail is from Digos, Kapatagan to Lake Venado, Kidapawan City.

We hiked from our porter/guide’s place going to Sitio Paradise for 40mins and I was not happy about it. Like literally, I was not enjoying my hike because I was not comfortable and the weight of the bag was heavy. *the tent made it heavier!* But looking back where we left and seeing the view paid it off. But still, I was not enjoying it! There were lot of things running in my mind and was in mixed emotions.

I was so happy when we finally arrived in Sitio Paradise! Like, I really felt I was in paradise because I am able to remove my bag already! Seeing Mt. Apo from Sitio Paradise left me amazed, speechless, and stun. But, at the back of my mind, I want to back out cause I have to go through the heavy trek to reach the summit and the previous 40mins is way far from I’m about to experience.

We had the whole night to chill and I had the time to contemplate. Sitting in a waiting shed, seeing the community, and the view of Mt. Apo. I was taking my time to grasp it all in. Then I realized, previously in our hike, I was already out of my comfort zone. I was not complaining but I was filled with negativity. The challenge was just heating up but I was trying to get a pile of water to cool it off, I didn’t know how coward I was till I was in the situation.

We drank some liquor and had videoke to warm the night. There was a guy who tagged along with us, our porter/guide’s friend. The night totally tested me, we were already killing the solemnity whilst the guy was trying to approach me if he could come with us in our trek the next day and be my porter, I was tempted. I was ready to say yes, but there were voices in my head saying no. LOL.

I am a curious person, I like outdoors and adventure, but not adventurous enough. I am willing to try anything but at the moment I was not physically ready, I was sedentary due to my work and I only had 3-days jogging! *Not physically ready for a first timer, I guess?* So, I have decided NOT to get a porter! 😉 *acting like a warrior huh?* I just thought it wouldn’t be challenging for me if I get one. And, what’s the point of trekking if I’m acting like a baby. In that moment, I had the chance to climb Mt. Apo and I don’t know when will I be able to come back so why not take chances, yeah? Call me anything you want, but I was at the peak of knowing myself and my capabilities on this kind of thing. 🙂

5th of December 2015 The major trek and excitement begin! woot woot!

We left Sitio Paradise at 6AM, the first two hours were very uneasy. I have to deal with my heavy bag again, but my friend and our porter/guide’s bag was bigger and heavier so I have nothing to complain about. As we trek along, I was getting used to it and starting to enjoy the moment. Every time our guide says that’s where we left off, seeing how far we’ve gone through makes me happy, the view left me astonished.

The thrill starts when we entered the forest. I slipped a few times, laughed hard *clumsy problems*, sang lots of random songs depending in our situation *mostly, Disney songs lol*, Shout out some random deep quotes *known as #Hugot*.

Mt. Apo Goody-Goody

*Top View in Camp Goody-Goody*

We arrived in Camp Goody-Goody around 10:30AM. I was not sure if my pace was slow, normal or what but as a first timer the pressure was there cause I am with two mountaineers, our guide who knows the trail well and my friend who is an outdoor instructor, mountaineer, and a rock climber in Scotland. *so there’s no room for being a baby* LOL.

My best friend’s advice, if we reached camp Goody-Goody during lunch time or 1PM. It’s better to pitch our tent on the campsite and continue the trek the next day. This is for safety precautions because we’re about to proceed in Boulders.

Mt. Apo Boulders

*The Boulders*
(From L – R, Our guide, Ish, and Me)

We arrived in Boulders around 11:40AM, the rocks are simply amazing and the sulfur was bearable. We had our lunch there and continued our climb heading to summit. *YES! Almost there!*

Mt. Apo Summit

*Mt. Apo Summit*

We arrived at the Summit at 2:34PM, I can never forget it! It’s the time I finally reached the summit! Woo! I was just relishing the moment, so I didn’t get a chance to take photos when it was not zero visibility yet. We stayed overnight and left the summit the next day.*Photo above was taken the next day before we left the summit*

Mt. Apo Summit

*Descending to Lake Venado*

6th of December 2015 See you next time, Mt. Apo!

We left the summit around 9AM, we are too lazy to get up because of the weather. lol. We could have stayed for another day, but we needed to leave as we ran out of butane. lol. Thanks to DENR Team who lend us use theirs.

Lake Venado has huge field, well-known campsite and stopover towards the peak.

Marvel River

*Marvel River*

Marvel River

*Bridge along Marvel River*

Heading down was the easy and fun part for me! Except on the delicate parts and on the river trek where I got almost drawn away by the river. There are some parts where you have to jump over to the next rock. *Small legs issue I must say.* Which would totally test your strength and balance skills. 😉

We arrived at the exit trail around 3PM and didn’t care about the time much as we’re so excited heading to Kidapawan’s Terminal, going back to Davao City.

It was a blazed trail experience whilst I was at a crossroads. Going out of your comfort zone can be hard as you imagine, but being in the moment, taking your best shot in every step are worth it. I slipped a few times on the muddy path, got knocked and scratched by the branches I haven’t noticed, fell, when I took a leap. It was uneasy trek, but it didn’t made me frown; instead, I laughed, got up, and continued because I know I was not at my destination yet. But, when I finally reached the summit, it didn’t just end up there. It changed me to thrive more because the journey doesn’t end there. At some point, life does the same thing. Whether we are in our comfort zone or not, it’s a matter of how we deal and appreciate the things that come into our life. 🙂

PS. Due to long post, tips and guide when trekking will be on my next post. 😉

xx. Jen


Jen

Jen, 20-something ツ An aspiring wanderer from Davao, Philippines. Longing for the sound of the waves, the breeze of the ocean and solemnly hears the mountain’s whisper at night. 🌟

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