Trips - Mt. Apo 

Mt. Apo Climb Report - 1999

by Alto Benedicto

   The Kidapawan Tourism bureau was very helpful to the extent of photocopying the latest topo maps made by PNOC (as opposed to the 1950s topo map I bought from NAMRIA).  They also provided (upon my paying a copying cost) another set of maps that show the various hiking trails.  There are a lot more hiking trails than the seven I originally thought there were. 

   Even if one factor in the inherent SA error in GPS, the NAMRIA maps are grossly in error in estimating the position of Mt Apo (and I've used the Luzon Datum as written on the map). I intend to provide Kidapawan with the data I gather, after I've transferred it to the maps (will take a while because of my schedule).

   I was fortunate to garner the services of the head of the Mt Apo Climbing Guide to guide me to the mountaintop. The guide's sole function is to show the route to the top, and cost is P300 (although negotiable).  The guide is college educated, knowledgeable on rescue techniques, and on modern backpacking materials. 
(we briefly participated in the rescue of two climbers--one was found, the other injured climber was still missing when I left.  We also helped an over-fatigued TV cameraman from the peak to Lake Venado).  An unexpected bonus on the trip was that I learned some hidden trails to Mt Apo that rescuers used.

   I find Lake Venado to be very nice, and early morning swim was very refreshing.   I also loved the way the lake is nestled -- with one side against the mountain.

Overall, I'm impressed by the rescue team (about 30 people) from various trails.  Also, the efforts made by the tourism bureau to preserve Apo.  Having said that, I feel there is still room for improvement, and I'll make my feelings known when I send them the map, among them: 

1. better trash collection, especially in Maiinit Hot Springs
2. better trail education for climbers (on not using the
   lake water for washings)
3. better transportation to and from base of hike (instead of
   using a dump truck which I'm sure real foreigners would
   find shocking).
4. better topo maps
5. better forest management (as trees as planted too close,
   in their reforestation campaign).
6. better trail and markings.
I'll definitely recommend my friends to Mt Apo.

Alto Benedicto ( is a biochemistry professor in San Jose, California.

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