DigitalDavao visits Mount Apo, the peak of the Philippines. Mount Apo, the tallest mountain in the Philippines, is a beautiful background to the city of Davao. As a local, I have lived all my life in the city and dreamed of someday reaching the peak of the majestic mountain.
Everything started as a crazy idea of me and some of my bestfriends. Alexis Sayson, is our only friend who often goes through the route to the peak with his wife’s family. He was our only option as a guide. We had a date in mind and it was January 2016. We talked about this October 2015 and we’re only fit to drink booze. Some take an entire year to prepare for the hike to the peak of the Apo, but we were different and we could just be desperate.
The talks about the Mt. Apo climb around us was silenced as the holidays went by.
2nd day of January 2016 at Alexa’s birthday (daughter of Alexis), I brought up the talks about the Mt. Apo climb and came up with the date. 22nd day of January 2016. Yes, 20 days. I got Christian Alfonso and Dougz Buenaflor to commit for the journey, two of my best buddies dating way back in high school and I have known Alexis way back grade school years. Take note of this, whenever you plan to do something crazy, incredible or awesome, it is a must to bring the right guys around you.
Fast forward to January 21, excitement builds up as we met up at Miguel’s (Alexis’ brother-in-law) home to pack up and prepare of things for the journey. Miguel is the 5th guy in the team, an experience mountaineer and guide.
January 22, we left Davao City proper to travel to Bansalan, to meet Meting (porter/guide/local). Meting met us at a stop in Bansalan with two more habal-habal transportation to bring us to his home at Mainit, Kapatagan whereour journey to the peak of the Apo will jump-off. It was a long and dark ride to Meting’s place, road was scary and it isn’t even plain, rocks and bumps and it’s on the edge of the cliff. Meting had Miguel on his motorcycle with all the liquor that we brought for the journey. Unfortunately, they crashed twice on the way suffering skin burns from the motorcycle engine. The liquor, doesn’t have a scratch on the bottles. How’s that?
Dinner was served at Meting’s home, as we got welcomed by Meting’s mother and children. Dinner was Shake’s (Alexis’ Wife) Adobo, packed earlier. Occasional drinks for the night, it was freezing there in Mainit.
4am of the first day journey, I woke up and hurried to look outside. I got a good morning greeting from almost all the stars and planets from the galaxy. I felt like a real-life light chaser, a national geographic photographer with the best seat in the house for the best shot possible. This is what I really came for, to see the beauty of life and beyond.
I brought my Canon 50D and Asus Zenfone2Laser to document this journey. My dear friend from DavaoGeekHub.com, Josef, lent me his kitlens and 2 powerbanks to ensure I get a wide shot and enough power for the documentation.
Camp Goody-Goody! It was a long journey but we prayed for good weather and felt like God heard us. The road to the camp was dry most likely due to el nino. Alexis told us the we were lucky, because if it was muddy and wet we could have stumbled plenty of times already. Water was great! Meting gets us water from the water sources and it was cold and refreshing. Meting was not just a porter, he was the all-in-one package. He got jokes, magic tricks and even props to keep journey men happy and enjoying their journey to the peak.
Day 2, some dew fell in the morning good enough to set us off to the boulders. I never believed about the stories of 90 degree path to the peak but it remains to be seen. Everybody had filled all water bottles for we have limited water on the way. Next water source is located at the campsite near the peak.
It was showering as we went through the forest and a bit foggy as we approached the boulders. We took a rest and looked around, fog slowly moves away and gives a clear view of what’s ahead and where we were. Beauty all around us. Everyone pulls-out their camera and smartphones, smile! This is the beauty created by nature and enjoyed by men. My eyes took the best shots, an incredible experience.
“Someone must have prayed so hard, for us to be so lucky have this great weather and view”, said Alexis.
Moved through the boulders and sulfur steam, scary as f*ck. I got a bad balance on my feet and so much fear for heights, but this is the Philippines’ Greatest Height. I look stupid during our journey through the boulders but I don’t give a f*ck how I looked, as long as I get there, AT THE PEAK!
Plot twist, No water! Yes, we went through the boulder but we consumed about all water that we brought with us. We stopped on the white sand to take our lunch and prepare for the 90 degree journey. Mouths were so dry as we had our lunch, it was so hard to gulp the food but we had to. Dougz had his last small container and shared to us all. The liquid intake during this lunch was like a tablespoon of energy drink. Then, we take on the 90. Seemed like a myth and cannot be done, but people before us has done it. So, we will do this.
The crater, finally! We are at the crater and its dry. El nino has taken its toll. Names of former mountaineers formed from rocks. It has been an incredible journey and we need to finish it by reaching the peak.
The highest peak of the Philippines! Mount Apo. I finally have set my foot to the dream I used to have since childhood. Doing it with the group of friends that I have done a long list of crazy things with. I dare to say, 15 years of friendship taken to the top of the APO.
I, Jim Carlo “Balut” Magnaye has took this journey with four of my bestfriends, Victor Dominic Jude “Dougz” Buenaflor, Alexis Emerson “Ayong” Sayson and Christian “Payat” Alfonso. Do this journey with your bestfriends, Just like we did.
*All photos and video were taken using ASUS Zenfone2Laser.