Conquering the grandfather of Philippine mountains

One of the best fulfillments for fanatic trekkers and adventure seekers is to climb the highest mountains.

In the Philippines, we have Mount Pulag in Benguet, Mount Dulang-Dulang in Bukidnon and Mount Pinatubo in Zambales.

The famous Mount Apo in Davao City is the country’s highest mountain and is considered the grandfather of Philippine mountains — with an elevation of 2,954 meters (or 9,692 ft) above sea level. Mount Apo, which is also the 24th highest peak of an island on earth, is located in the border of Davao del Sur in Davao region and North Cotabato in Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos).

Many Filipino mountain climbers dream of conquering Mount Apo and reaching its summit to witness its unique sulfur rock formation, the famous “Boulder Face” and its majestic view of Lake Venado.

Climbing the highest mountain is never easy. One has to be prepared mentally and physically for the ultimate goal.

If you’re planning to climb Mount Apo, here’s a simple reminder or guide before taking the long trek. 

It takes three hours from Davao City airport to go to Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. It will be more convenient if you already have a contact person from the local tourism office to easily acquire a climbing permit. The whole climb takes about three days, not including Day Zero. The total cost for one person is P10,000 including airfare.

Make sure you have all the basic equipment needed, such as a tent, a cooking set, hiking bag and hiking shoes — and bring only what’s necessary. Water sources are available in every campsite and along the trails. Always observe outdoor ethics and the LNT (leave no trace) principle.

One of the highlights of climbing Mount Apo is reaching the white sand station and the “Boulder Face” area, where you can marvel different rock formations and the wild berries, which serves as trail food for the climbers and available only in the area.

One can enter and take pictures inside the wide mountain crater. There’s also the majestic Lake Venado located at the foot of Mount Apo with an estimated surface elevation of 7,200 ft (or 2,195 meters) above sea level.

A never-say-die attitude is a must. Focus is crucial.  And, of course, patience is important if you really want to climb the highest mountain in the Philippines. It will be worth it.