Luck — a force that brings fortune or adversity. One that causes good or bad things to happen. Some people get good luck handed to them; some get a second chance. Some get it by pure coincidence while others have to work their ass.
Most hikers, if not all, dream of climbing Mt. Apo. At 2,954 masl, it is the highest point in the country. The closest any Filipino could get to the sky. So naturally, my friends and I want to set foot on it too. But we all know what happened in 2019.
Fast forward two years later, with the lingering global pandemic and political turmoil, here we are back at the airport, on our way to the same land. We were one of the few groups climbing Mt. Apo before its annual closure. Save the best for last indeed.
A fantasy turned reality
Coming along were familiar faces from our Kala-Wiji climb, with the exemption of our two SMS (tito) heartthrobs, CJ and sir Arc, Zan (who was still hangover with his Palawan trip), and John (who found love in the sea). Despite this, the fun continued since we finally got to climb with the SMS big three, Chiarra, An and Sandy (who were back in Mt. Apo for revenge), Kim ( the munyeka behind thestrollingmind), Analyn (the songerist behind themountainpoet), and Karl (the passionate PT behind karliciouso).
Our original route was supposed to be via Sta. Cruz – Bansalan Trail. However, as it has been two years since our first registration, Bansalan LGU “lost” our papers and won’t honor our downpayments anymore. We thought we’re doomed for misfortune since we’ve had this this kind of plot twist before, but I guess it’s true when they say that “a bit of bad luck is a blessing in disguise.” Our new route was through the Sta. Cruz – Century Tree trail circuit. Finally, a chance to see the majestic Lake Venado!
The first part of the hike involved a steep ascent to the jump off area. This was also where Kim, who’s on her first major, learned the value of preparation and pre-climb. With the weight of fullpack working against the unending assault, she made the good decision of opting for a porter.
We reached Sitio Colan, an ancestral domain of the Bagobo-Tagbawa tribe, at 12 noon. There, we had our lunch and orientation with the DENR. Quarter to 2 pm, we started our ascent to the first camp at Tinikaran I.
An hour later, we passed by a farming community where we were met with mist and fog. The sky was gloomy with a hint of rain. Soon enough, it did. With our rain covers and rain ponchos on, we continued the hike to a forested trail that serves as the entrance to Mt. Apo’s forest cover. It was past 3 pm when we reached the first rest area, Basakan E-Camp.
Quarter to 4 pm, we reached the Bugha-anan site — a stopover station along Sta. Cruz trail that is famous among bisaya hikers for its colloquial meaning.
Another hour later, we passed the Big Rock E-camp. The rain had gotten lighter at this point but our enemy is the fading light. Dusk was rolling in. We needed to get to Tinikaran I before the sky turned pitch black because (1) there were other groups climbing Mt. Apo and we need to secure a good spot to pitch our tent; (2) we need to get as much rest as we can for challenging the second day.
At 6 pm, we reached the campsite. It was dark and we were just as wet and muddy as the ground. Pitching our tents on a cramped space was a challenge, but we were thankful still that it stopped raining.
So… if I were to sum up our Day 1 in one word, it would be YES! Yes, this is finally it. Yes, we’re climbing the country’s highest. Yes, no more plot twist (and hopefully no coming bad luck). Yes, we’re all hungry and happy and a lot of things in between.
Until next time! Stay tuned~ 💛
P.S. Also check out this full blog from Junji of wanderingfeetph. 🤩