My first stop for a long weekend on June 15 was a traverse day hike in Samal Island’s most popular trekking destination, Mt. Puting Bato. The hike was part of the training program for an impending major climb by my friend Ella who is set to take a Mt. Apo trek anytime between July and August this year.
I already visited this mountain 3 times as it hosted several trail running events in Samal, but this climb was the only legitimate opportunity for me to take photos especially in the summit area.
We took the Guillon entry point, the only trail with some upright tracks where Ella had a lot of enduring to do as a newbie in trekking although she said she had been doing outdoor hikes in her hometown in Malita, Davao Occidental. Unlike 3 to 4 years back, the trail head in Guillon is now very much accessible to any type of transportation modes. We started the trekking at exactly 8:00 in the morning where we met other weekend trekkers along the way.
After 30 minutes we reached the first campsite. This site serves as vantage to a great panorama of Davao Gulf and Davao City. Few minutes from Camp 1 is another part of the summit where the highest point is located. My GPS equipment recorded the highest point at 580 meters above sea level. And the third of the three stopovers in the summit of Puting Bato is the one accessible from Canibad trail. All in all, there are 3 collection points of entrance fees in Puting Bato at 20 pesos per site.
As we enjoyed the entire landscape of Samal Island at the peak, I saw two Brahminy Kite Eagles soaring around the canopy of farm lands in Samal particularly in Peñaplata and Babak District. Other birds I noticed were flock of Brown Doves in the stairway area connecting the first and second campsites. While not far from the trail going to Canibad I saw one White-winged Cockoo Shrike. Some butterflies also help embellish the peak of Puting Bato.
The route to Tayapoc is wide and established and is being covered with farm plants and bushes shading trekkers from the humid atmosphere of Samal. The beautiful site of beaches in Canibad is a scene to behold when descending via Tayapoc trail. In 45-minute time we arrived at the trail head of Tayapoc.
To some extent a day hike in Puting Bato can be a good start if one plans to climb a major mountain like Mt. Apo, Kitanglad or Dulang-dulang. After climbing it for four times I suggest one should do a traverse hike rather than a backtrack in order to appreciate Samal Island better.