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.