It was a nice and hard experience spearheading a climb of twenty eight (28) anti-human trafficking advocates from all over the world last May 2-4, 2012 via Sta. Cruz Trail, Davao del Sur. The climb was dubbed MT. APO ULTIMATE SURVIVAL CHALLENGE by The Chain Reaction Project (TCRP), a non-government organization based in Singapore whose primary purpose is to fight human-trafficking problems in the country. Resources generated out of this advocacy climb will benefit the “CENTRE OF HOPE”, a project of the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc.
During the 3-day climb, TCRP participants have put their survival skills to the test and eventually faced off on a high pressure emergency situation. With my team leading the expedition and one survival and tracking expert from ZeroRisk International, the team was able to withstand the firm challenge. It was especially hard on our part considering that all of the participants are first-timers to Mt. Apo and majority was women.
|The TRCP expedition team in an assault to the boulders of Mt. Apo. Photo courtesy of Roxy.|
I have mounted an easy itinerary for them to cope up with the time as we left Davao City by 3 AM on May 2 and camped at Tinikaran 1 on the first evening. However, we were disturbed by an early afternoon rain and when we arrived in Camp 1, we could hardly set up our tents because the ground was wet and muddy and the temperature has lowered down. As TCRP leader Tingjun would put it, the Tinikaran 1 experience was a “nightmare”.
|The second night was spent camping at the summit campsite. Photo courtesy of Roxy.|
The second day was a lot better with the sun welcoming as warmly. We trekked through the boulders and arrived at the summit not later than 3:00 PM after a treacherous assault via sulfur and rocks. The evening temperature also was quite bearable and there was no rain on the second night, allowing the team to loosen up.
The descent from the summit all the way to Davao City was another hell of an experience. After traversing the boulders for more than 3 hours, the team was back to the jungle which had given some other team members several reasons to cry. The muddy trail gave us seven injured members. They could hardly walk that I need to hire a horse to ferry them from Basakan and Tumpis areas to sitio Calamohoy where our vehicles were waiting. The buddy system was very effective as I assigned some of my crew to assist and secure injured participants. The good thing was that all the expedition members came back to Davao City alive, kicking and smiling.
|The expedition team on top of the Philippines' highest peak. Photo courtesy of Roxy.|
This Ultimate Survival Challenge was another ordinary climb for me but it gave me extraordinary experience. It was so far the hardest climb I organized given with the different outlooks and emotions of the participants who are of different nationalities. It gave me lessons to improve my skills as a mountain guide.
However, I am glad that in my own little ways I have contributed to TCRP’s sense of purpose of helping the victims of human trafficking. I would therefore like to thank all members of my LOGSAC team and other personnel for technically assisting me with that larger-than-life expedition, to wit: Oliver Enot, Lito Roque, Michael Gapula, Noel Bartolome, Axel Merca, Hardy Joy Desuyo, Glenn Mark Bauya, Darwin Juntilla, Kervi Palanca, Jonas Florencondia and Kristian Jeffrey Mellina.