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.

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