Here are two great experiences in a span of one week when I surmounted two major mountains in Mindanao, Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato and Mt. Apo in Davao, particularly via Sta. Cruz Trail, Davao del Sur:
FEELING THE MATUTUM EXTREMITY. With a height of 7,500 feet above sea level, Mount Matutum is the highest peak in South Cotabato area. It can be scaled via the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok. It has established campsites but its peak don’t have water source, thereby adding the challenge to the already-daring track of this semi-cone-shaped paradise.
I climbed this mountain last November 29-30 via Glandang Trail, Tupi, South Cotabato with Gabo and Ms. Angie Tan of AMCI. Our expedition was steered by Randy, a porter-guide in Glandang who looked older than his age and eventually became a mere spectator of our intoxicated insanity. Yup you got it right, Gabo and I usually become emotionally insane when we got drunk, and that’s basically the reason why a minor climb has become a major experience.
UNUSUAL MT. APO CLIMB. Climbing Mt. Apo is a routine for me. However, with a new company from Tampakan municipality and SMI Mountaineering group who climbed this mountain last December 5-7, the routine has transformed into extraordinary. For one thing, it was the only climb that we weren’t interrupted by rains. For most of the times we climb this premiere trekking destination in the country, we were always cuddled by raindrops. However, when we had this pre-Christmas assault, we discovered one great friend – a very clear sky.
For another, it was the only climb that the temperature range reached the freezing point we could not sleep due to so much coldness. In the early morning of the third day, we were graced by a very nice sunrise; we took several photo shots at the highest peak side then back to the campsite and before we knew it, snow formations were at the top of our tents, the first ever that I witnessed in this tropical kingdom.
For another still, it was the only Apo climb that I missed the company of a bosom buddy Papong. I could not exactly remember climbing Mt. Apo without my LOGSAC twin, although his absence was not really felt. Guys like Bryan, Gabo and Yangee were more than mountain allies, they were mountain waiters who provided high altitude cuisines for our survival.
For the last thing, it was the only climb that we were not slowed down by alcohol. A bottle of Tanduay in the first night was more than enough, and a night in the summit allowed us to consume just a jug of GSM Blue.
In the succeeding climbs, however, I don’t think these unusual experiences would happen again.#