Come, climb the Philippines’ highest peak!
The City of Kidapawan intensified its campaign to boost the city’s tourism industry by promoting treks to Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak with an elevation of 2,954 meters above sea level, through the Mt Apo Sandawa Climb Festival, which opened April 9, 2014.
Although there are trekkers that climb the summit of Mt. Apo throughout the year, the biggest influx of tourists happens during the holy week, which usually falls in the month of April.
Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, Tourism Officer Joey Recimilla, and Department of Tourism Region XII Director Nelly Nita Dillera led the opening ceremonies of the Mt Apo Sandawa Climb Festival at the jump-off site in Sitio Agco, Barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan City.
A group of cultural performers, the Kalumad group of Sitio Agco, welcomed the Mt Apo trekkers.
Datu Simeon Serrano, a Manobo spiritual leader, performed the Pamaas, a ritual that is done for the protection of the visitors of Mt Apo. The ritual involves a prayer led by the Baylan, the marking of blood (from a chicken) on the forehead of the participants, offering of eggs and betel nut, and drinking of wine.
A group of Air Traffic Controllers from all over the Philippines was among the first to scale the Mt Apo Summit in time for the Mt Apo Sandawa climb festival. They were lucky enough to be sent off by Mayor Evangelista, himself.
DOT XII Director Dillera said that Mt. Apo is one of the adventures that are being promoted in the 12th Paradise campaign of DOT Region XII.
“There are 12 times 12 wonderful experiences that Region XII offers its tourists,” Dillera said.
Wanna Climb Mt Apo?
Here are some basic information for those who would want to climb up Mt. Apo via Mandarangan Trail (Kidapawan). There are several other entry points to Mt. Apo but according to reports, the Mandarangan trail is the friendlier one. I can’t compare yet as I have only taken the Mandarangan trail.
Traveling to Kidapawan
For those who will be flying to Mindanao, Kidapawan can be reached via Davao or GenSan airports. Take the bus to Digos City Terminal (Fare: 145) and another bus from Digos to Kidapawan (Fare: Php 78). From Kidapawan, you can ride a motorcyle to Agco in Barangay Ilomavis (Fare: Php 85/head, minimum of two persons per trip) or hire a van (can be provided by a tour operator).
The fees that you have to prepare for are the following:
- Climb fee: Php 500 for local tourists, Php 750 for foreigners Php 400 for students. They have a no guide, no climb policy.
- Guide Fee: Php 600-800 for local tourists, Php 800-1,500 for foreigners
- Porter Fee: Php 350/head/day and an understanding that they should carry around 15 kg of load only.
Arranging a Climb
Please contact the Kidawapan Tourism and Investment and Promotion Center through their Facebook Page.
There are tour operators in Kidapawan who offer tour packages to make your experience enjoyable and memorable.
Watch out for stories about my recent climb to Mt Apo. Keep posted by following this blog.