Thursday, March 24, 2011

LOGSAC partakes twofold acts for Nature on March

The Local Government of Sta. Cruz Adventure Club has participated two major events at Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur to uphold its commitment towards environmental conservation.

On March 23, some of its club members joined the tree growing activity at Passig, Bato in celebration of women’s month. Members joining the said event were Jonas, Trecelyn, Irish, Grace, Pawiks, Chickay and Dan.

In order to ensure sustainability, the LGU of Sta. Cruz has espoused a scheme called “Adopt –A-Tree” where participants have to pay 100.00 pesos. The amount shall be used for purchase of an oak tree planting material, as well as in installing a tree guard to make sure that the trees planted is safe from stray animals.

A separate occasion spearheaded by the Aboitiz Group of Companies and the Environmental Management Bureau was conducted at Sibulan River, Darong, Sta. Cruz on March 25 where LOGSAC founders Jonas and Julpanz were actively involved. The event was called WORLD WATER DAY.

The whole outskirts of the river from HEDCOR Plant B stretching to the border of Barangay Sibulan were the areas considered for bamboo planting and river clean up drive. It was HEDCOR’s way of extending its corporate social responsibility. Also present to grace the event were personnel from the LGU of Sta. Cruz headed by mayor Atty. Joel Ray Lopez, Councilors Andy Ugdoracion and Lolita Legaspi and PAIC Manager Camela S. Infiesto.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Backtrack # 7: OUR VERY FIRST MT. APO CLIMB (October 2004)

My first climb to Mt. Apo happened when I don’t even have an idea about the thing called mountain climbing. Although already aware that Mt. Apo exists and that it could be scaled via Sta. Cruz, outdoor craze for me then was a mere fallacy.

I was shivering with innocence about mountaineering when one of my colleagues (Cheryl) called me up and tempted me to climb the country’s highest peak. Aching to conquer this mountain, I suddenly found myself face to face with the huge challenge. And it somehow eventually gave birth to LOGSAC and my passion to outdoor activities.

The date was October 17-19, 2004. I was accompanied by some LGU coworkers Cheryl, Garneth, Jason, Jovany, Bryant, Rheva among others. I also used to know Papong (now a bossom buddy in mountaineering) because it was his first time also. Other climbers I met during that climb were Val and Manolo.

I outfitted myself with a basketball shorts, a sleeveless t-shirt, a homemade sandal and a backpack barrowed from a neighbor. Papong also wore a worn out adidas shoes and a blue tee. Our gears were for comical caricature, indeed, we were first timers.

The first day was bloody where we slept overnight at Tinikaran Camp 2. On the second day, we started our assault to the boulders where we tracked the wrong path along with Papong, Jovany and Jason. The right side of the boulders from Tinikaran 2 was a pathway to hell, that’s why we traversed from there going to the original boulder trail (now called by Gabo as Gabroq E-camp). It was a crossover from hell to pressure cooker with our respective lives at stake. Our water had vanished instantly and our gas stove’s cord was lost. At around 5:00 PM, we reached the summit campsite and there I saw my other company already feeling Apo’s spirit.

We headed our way back via Lake Venado and Almaciga Century Tree on the third day. Again, we got lost. Our next 3 hours from Venado was spent rooming around in the place called “nowhere”. I was unsure then whether I could still arrive home alive and kicking. When our guide saw the original trail, we were the happiest persons on earth. We continued trekking until we reached Colan. Except for Papong, we were all exhausted. Cheryl was an instant differently-abled chick. Papong’s pair of adidas shoes was good only up to the dead crater. But despite all the odds, that climb seemed to have changed my entire perspective of life. It taught me several lessons, lessons that I never learned when I stayed in the lowlands and open seas for 25 long years.

Certainly, all of us have our respective mountains to climb for in our lives. We may at some point lose our trails but eventually we’ll all be meeting at the summit soon. The challenges that lay ahead are just ordinary but its rewards are extraordinary. Life indeed is an adventure itself. And for me, it all started when I climbed Mt. Apo.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Backtrack # 6: MT. MAGDIWATA (October 2007)

Mt. Magdiwata is a watershed forest located in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. With more pressing issues surrounding the watershed areas today, several entities have pushed for strict protection of Mt. Magdiwata as it is a major source of water supply for the province of Agusan del Sur. Its loftiness is evident if seen in the town of San Francisco, having a height of approximately 600 meters above sea level. Its jump off area is a large plantation of palm tree.

I was fortunate to have joined an organized climb to Mt. Magdiwata on October 26-28, 2007 along with some 200 mountaineers all over Mindanao. The climb was perhaps one of the few, considering that this mountain is subject for conservation, thereby limiting eco-tourism intrusions. It was hosted by the LGU of Agusan del Sur and technically assisted by Davao-based groups CADRAE and MFSM. I was alone on that climb because the rest of my club-mates were at Mt. Apo conducting Octo-trek monitoring.

While others consider this mountain a minor climb destination, there are several factors that should be taken cared of when climbing Mt. Magdiwata. First is its intense technicality. Although waterfalls, community residents and farmers are familiar sceneries along the way, there were portions where ropes were installed to assist some steep assault and descent. Second, its summit is occupied with a community of religious fraction with atypical beliefs and practice. When you get there, you must act upon in accordance with their principle.

We reached the summit of Mt. Magdiwata early morning at around 1:00 AM, meaning, our trekking between 5:00 PM and 12:00 midnight was a titanic danger. We had to overcome a very risky trekking along bottomless cliffs from both sides and what was worse was that we were trekking in a very gloomy evening. The good thing, however, was that there was no casualty during the climb.

The climb was ended with an amazing reggae party in one of the inland resorts in San Francisco, Agusan.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Backtrack # 5: ADVENTURE AT FRUIT BAT SANCTUARY (December 2008)

Even before it was recognized by the Guinness as the world’s largest colony of Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bats or Rousetteus amplexicaudatus, we already visited the Monfort Eco-Park Bat Cave at Barangay Tambo, Island Garden City of Samal somewhere on December 2008 with my LOGSAC mates Jonas, Papong, John Jay, Kimoy and Chickay. We had this sanctuary as our side trip when we attended the 1st MFSM Day held at Ana Marina Resort.

This cave has five openings with an estimated bat population of 1.8 million and has been considered colony of fruit bats. Fruit bats, like other bats, have very long, webbed fingers that serve as wings.

Fruit bats are nocturnal, and hang from their feet during the day. They may hang with their wings wrapped around their bodies, or, if it is hot, may use their wings to fan themselves. Although fruit bats are good at flying, landing is another story! Fruit bats can't land gracefully, and instead must crash into bushes or trees to come to a stop, or try to latch onto a branch as they pass by. Sometimes these crash-landings disturb other fruit bats at the site, and cause noisy fights amongst them.

Fruit bats, as their name hints, consume fruit and flowers. These bats usually suck on the flowers and fruit, then swallow the nectar or juice and spit out the remaining pulp.

Quick Facts:
Fruit bats are the largest among the species of bats, and one of the most important to humans. Many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy on our table would not exist without these bats. They disperse the seeds and pollinate the flowers of many plants. Fruits that depend on bats for pollination or seed dispersal include: Bananas, Peaches, Avocados, Jack fruit, Mango, Guava, Cashews and Durian.

Threats to Survival: Habitat destruction is one big threat to the survival of many types of fruit bats. Storms, and hunting also contribute to the endangerment of some species.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


This climb was facilitated by Digos Active Mountaineer (DAM), a local mountaineering club in Digos City and a good club friend and neighbor of LOGSAC. The climb took place on September 22-23, 2007 in consonance to the celebration of Araw ng Digos basically aimed at promoting natural sites of the city.

Penek Busay, a Bagobo term for waterfalls climb, is an adventure river trekking and falls hopping following Digos’ major water body, Napan River. We passed through several fascinating waterfalls (approximately there were 15 of them).

Lagbong falls offered a very robust water rapids while the tallest was Magkasilin falls. The rest of the waterfalls offer distinct but lovely characteristics.

Habitually, I brought with me several clubmates Jonas and Papong to this great escapade. We tried to trek late and allowed others to go ahead of us because we enjoyed taking pictures of the river and waterfalls. Much to our surprise, we lose our trail when we were supposed to start mugging the track going to the campsite. Lesson: Follow every climb itinerary, don’t go beyond it, otherwise it will be a nightmare of consequence.

Although there was threat that the water level might rise anytime on the evening, we enjoyed our overnight stay there along with the chirping of night sekadas, forest birds and the reflecting sound of the river flows. As usual, Jonas got drunk early and had to sleep early. I and Papong went tripping from one cluster of mountaineers to another. Every cluster offered goblet of hard drinks, that’s why we love doing it.

The second day was more of a recreation. After descending in a separate trail (not a river trekking anymore), we stayed at Barangay Goma for a post-climb party.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Backtrack # 03: MT. HAMIGUITAN (June 2008)

This week’s Backtrack features Mt. Hamiguitan as a LOGSAC destination three (3) light years ago dated June 16-18, 2008. Joining me and Papong was a good friend and cousin-in-law Ian Cinco and several buddies from Digos Active Mountaineers. The climb was tinted with so many alluring waterfalls before reaching the summit. Every waterfall was a bathing stopover then.

Mt. Hamiguitan is a mountain located in the province of Davao Oriental. It has a height of 1,620 meters (5, 314.96 ft.). The mountain and its vicinity has one of the most diverse wildlife populations in the Philippines. Among the wildlife found in the area are Philippine eagles and several species of Nepenthes. Some of the latter, such as the Nepenthes peltata, are endemic to the area.

The mountain has the only protected forest in the Philippines, with an estimated area of 2,000 hectares. This forest is noted for its unique pygmy forest of century old trees in an ultramafic soil, with many endangered, endemic and rare species of flora and fauna (Courtesy of Wikipedia).

It took us one day to complete our hike to the summit (the bathing stopover had caused our delay). We camped overnight at a campsite near the summit with a very clean and palatable water source. Nestled within the highest range of Davao Oriental, Mt. Hamiguitan is very cold but its spectacle is very delightful.

On the second day we had a tour to the widest bonsai field in the Philippines. We have dwarfed all the vegetations feeling we were all Goliaths in a miniature garden. We went to a hidden lake which they locally call “Tinagong Dagat,” a hushed lagoon situated in the middle of a jungle. From Tinagong Dagat, we climbed to a hill where we saw the entire landscape of Mati City including its neighboring towns, very beautiful scenery. We also paced through their Twin Falls, an identical cascade of water and took a bath there with authority.

This climb is one of our most memorable climbs. Aside from the new acquaintances, the mountain itself and all its glory is a very nice experience.

A rare destination at that, Mt. Hamiguitan is now temporarily closed by the local government of Davao Oriental for mountaineering activities. It is currently in the process of completing the requirements to be declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hopefully its reopening will be done sooner so that mountaineers will have another chance of seeing this God’s wonderful masterpiece.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Backtrack # 02: MT. MATUTUM AMYAK MALEH (March 2007)

With a height of 7,500 feet above sea level, Mount Matutum is the highest peak in South Cotabato area which can be scaled via the Municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok. This semi-cone mountain has a vertical gradient onward to the summit. Mt. Matutum is a technical mountain, with no water source at the peak. Before arriving at the jump off area, a huge pineapple plantation owned by DOLE Philippines is another attraction.

The Local Government of Tupi, South Cotabato is holding a yearly Linggo ng Mt. Matutum called Amyak Maleh, a conservation program of the mountain considering that it is a main watershed area supplying water to the SOCSSARGEN region. The 2007 version of Amyak Maleh had our club joining; with Chickay, Tateh and Papong backpacking this beautiful slice of Cotabato’s natural heritage on March 17-19, 2007.

The itinerary of our climb was bloody on the first day where we completed the assault in one day. Considering several psychological baggages being new in the area, I and Tateh had so much catching up to do with Papong and Chickay; both already second-timers in Matutum.

Nonetheless, the climb was pretty succesful although we experienced rainshowers in the evening and early morning of the second day.

Special thanks to the personnel of LGU Tupi (Maulvi, Nonoy and the rest of the group) who accommodated us during our stay there.