You might as well marvel where in Mindanao Camotes Ridge is located. For a Sta. Cruzian like me it is a distant mountain range located in Barangay Zone 1, some 5 kilometers away from the town proper and can be accessed via Barangay Hall or in Luceba Village, a familiar running route for St. Joseph Runners (SJR).
Today my feet brought me to Camotes Ridge with fellow SJR Phede. We took the Luceba route along a vast agricultural lands of banana and coconut and some farm houses along the way. It has been my quest to visit a hill which is very visible from the town proper with a clear view and is only sealed with a farm house. From a distance it is very tempting for hill runners like me. The farm house is owned by Manong Pitok Luchaves, a native from Sta. Cruz and is staying in his farm in Camotes.
The trek was pretty much the same with my other day hikes only that there were minor strain I gained because Phede was really not the usual trail runner, he is very fast even from the beginning of the trek. We took the all-uphill trail to the summit in 1 and a half hours and reached Manong Pitok’s house by 10:30 AM.
Camotes serves as vantage point to several notable landmarks of Sta. Cruz which includes Mt. Tambaraan in the extreme west, Mt. Marayat in northeast, Mt. Malusing (796) in extreme north and Mt. Sinoron in extreme south. The hill of Camotes also borders sitio Loay in Barangay Zone 2 and sitio Kibarangan in Barangay Coronon.
Fronting the eastern part of Camotes is a gorgeous view of Davao Gulf. The settlements of Barangay Coronon to Tagabuli are another good ranges of visions that even extends to as far as the municipality of Malalag. I was very unfortunate though because my GPS did not function well and I was not able to record the elevation of Camotes. However, with the type of vegetation thriving the area and with some guess estimates I think it is within the 300-400 masl range.
After a refreshing buko break being offered by Manong Pitok we departed the area at around 11:00 in the morning. By lunch time I was back in the office.
Camotes ridge somehow offers another site for us trail runners and overnight campers to look into in the future. This is another manifestation that Sta. Cruz is truly blessed with wonderful sites that are yet to be explored and discovered.