Thursday, March 22, 2012

Revisiting Mt. Apo with veteran and aspiring mountaineers

It’s been a year or so since my last climb to Mt. Apo, the mountain I considered my backyard for eight long years now and when I organized a climb last March 16-18, 2012 via Sibulan Trail, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur; I couldn’t help but enjoy another great climbing experience with two neophytes Hardy Joy and Glenn Mark and three LOGSAC veteran mountaineers Tolits, Jonas and Pawiks.

We trekked the usual Tinikaran Trail way above the average pacing because Hardy and Glenn are faster than expected. We arrived in Camp 1 at exactly 12:30 in the afternoon and since we all had the luxury of time and good weather, we spent the rest of our time chatting while enjoying four long bottles of local wine we bought at sitio Colan. This, despite my desire to refuse drinking in high altitudes I could not make a “pass” during this climb because of the very witty buddies.

Our ascent to the summit on the second day via the boulders took us just 3 and half hours. When we arrived at 87 degrees, rain started to fall and the temperature lowered a bit while we took our lunch. There we also saw several climbing groups from Davao City using the Kapatagan trail. We camped at a stone tunnel in the summit campsite and headed back to Colan the next day where we experienced severe coldness.

At this point this corner will have to give brief description to the members of this memorable expedition.

JULIUS R. PANER (Blogger). The overall team leader of this climb. A Veteran mountaineer, he could not even remember how many times he climb Mt. Apo since 2004. Being in-charge of mountaineering activities in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur; Julius needs to regularly observe and monitor the status of the country’s highest peak and its hinterlands, including the human resource component of mountaineering.

LITO G. ROQUE. Tolits is the president of Sta. Cruz Active Volunteers for Emergency and Rescue Services or SAVERS. He is also a founding member of LOGSAC, a Mt. Apo guide for years, a member of TRIMMOC Sta. Cruz Chapter and an employee of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office. When you talk about high mountain concerns, Tolits knows just everything and can be a reliable buddy all the time.

HARDY JOY DESUYO. One of the two first-timers, Hardy almost spent all of his life in the lowlands. When he got the chance to be employed in the tourism office, there was this urge from him to really climb Mt. Apo and the opportunity knocked which he all praised for grabbing the chance to join the said climb. Hardy was delighted upon seeing the boulders and made sure he will keep climbing back.

NOEL BARTOLOME. Better known as Pawiks, Noel was the climb’s chief cook, preparing high altitude rations for us. Our foods were made of vegetable mixes, dried fish, pork adobo, egg and canned goods and Pawiks made sure all of those were properly cooked to satisfy our food craving especially in the summit where our respective appetites were vanishing. He is also a season mountaineer and a member of SAVERS Rescue and LOGSAC. Pawiks has also been climbing Mt. Apo countless times.

GLENN MARK BAUYA. Glenn Mark is a neighbor of Hardy Joy and just like Hardy, he was also a first-time climber in Mt. Apo. He was in fact the latest and surprise addition to the team as he confirmed to join just two days before the climb. An average pacer who suffered minor fatigue especially in steep portions of Tinikaran trail, Glenn said the climb was quite rewarding although it was also very tiring.

JONAS FLORENCONDIA. Jonas is the oldest member of the group at 45 years old but definitely looks younger than his age. Jonas did most of the pacing task because he's also been climbing Mt. Apo all throughout his life. When boredom stucked us in the mountains, Jonas would always be ready to share his own non-sense stories. He is LOGSAC's vice president.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Nature Watch: Frigatebird rescued in Sta. Cruz

A specie of migratory bird called the Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) on March 16, 2012 at the Escandro Area, Barangay Zone 2, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. According to Mr. Rey Caligado, Zoology Technician of DENR-PAWD, the bird mostly comes from neighboring countries like Taiwan or Borneo.

The said wildlife was turned over for safekeeping pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 9147 otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.

The Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) is a large dispersive seabird in the frigatebird family. Major nesting populations are found in the Pacific (including Galapagos Islands) and Indian Oceans, as well as a population in the South Atlantic.

The Great Frigatebird is a lightly built large seabird up to 105 cm long with predominantly black plumage. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism; the female is larger than the adult male and has a white throat and breast, and the male's scapular feathers have a purple-green sheen. In breeding season, the male is able to distend its striking red gular sac. The species feeds on fish taken in flight from the ocean's surface (mostly flyingfish), and indulges in kleptoparasitism less frequently than other frigatebirds. They feed in pelagic waters within 80 km (50 mi) of their breeding colony or roosting areas.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Crisscrossing Sarimoro Mountain Range

Two sets of climb on February 20 and 23, 2012 were organized by this club as officially instructed by the local authorities of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur to validate the reported tension cracks in the area. The location was at Sitio Sarimoro, Barangay Coronon; situated Northwest of the municipality and majority of the land class is extremely mountainous. The first climb was a mere rapid field assessment while the second was a corroboration climb with a team of geologists from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau conducting actual field analysis of the cracks.

Joining such a technical climb allows my group to explore more beautiful mountainscapes in Sta. Cruz which were not discovered before. Sarimoro range is a carpet of lime vegetation as seen in distant reference point. While we were standing above the Habitat for Humanity (HH) in a hill measuring some 60 masl, we saw the gorgeous 796 peak in Barangay Zone 1, the sight I and Jonas had always wanted to climb around even before we created LOGSAC. The western slope features the famous kawa-kawa mountain of Coronon, considered to be the main source of Binuangon Spring where the barangay’s potable water is wheedled out.

In a secluded portion of Coronon adjacent to sitio Sarimoro, we saw the rock face in sitio Langan positioned in a very interesting vicinity. According to local folks, that stone structure is a point where several other stone formations below are located and there are even caves in there that prompted our group to set an exploration climb anytime March 2012.

Lastly, the eastern lower slopes from HH features overlooking vistas of Coronon which include the green building of WL Foods, Franklin Baker Company, Maharlika Agri-Marine Ventures Corporation, the paved national highway and the scenic Davao Gulf.

Much as we were delighted with the result of our tension crack analysis as it is not as alarming as others have earlier thought, we were more delighted watching the many beautiful panorama of Coronon.

Thanks to those who joined the climb namely: Tolits, Pawiks, Kiba, Jonas, Melvin, Mulong, Jopacs. Special thanks also is due to the two geologists from MGB and to the Barangay Council of Coronon for providing the guides.