Mount Talomo or Mount Kolelan (as what the locals called this mountain) has an elevation of 2,674+ MASL which is listed as top 15 highest mountain in the Philippines. Due to forest fire happened in Mount Apo last March 2016 which leads to its temporary closure, Mount Talomo is now the new hiking destination in Southern Mindanao. This mountain is mostly forested and moss. At the summit, rewarding view of Mount Apo awaits. Sometimes Mount Matutum can be visibly seen. In terms of difficulty, it is rated with a 7/9 difficulty and has a 2-4 trail class.
This climb was supposed to be set in Mount Apo but due to forest fire, we resorted the scheduled climb on this mountain. We are considering Mount Kitanlad and Mount Dulang-dulang at that time but due to another forest fire, the said mountains were also temporary closed. At first, this mountain did not catch my interest because not everyone knows this mountain even I myself was shocked that there is Mount Talomo (actually Talomo is a known place here in davao). Also, I don’t have any baseline on how difficult its trail has but as what my mountaineer friends said, it’s quite technical in terms of trail and difficulty compared to Mount Apo (Kapatagan and Magpet trail). They keep on telling me “Goodluck bai” , “Ihanda mo na mga tuhod mo” and other sarcastic encouragements which makes me kinda worried and anxious, but I always remind myself that it’s all about mind over matter. 🙂
Purok 6, Sitio Utan, Barangay Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City is the major jump-off of Mount Talomo. From the rendezvous of freedom park in Roxas Avenue, we traveled for almost an hour to reached Calinan. From Calinan, we rode a habal-habal going to the entry point of Purok 6 and then we trekked for almost 1-1 and 1/2 hour going to Mount/Brgy. Sicao in which registration takes place. Registration fee is Php 350.00 but recently, they increases their fee into Php 500.00.
We started our trek at around 8:00 AM. Good thing that the weather is in good condition. Yahoo! The trail consists of 3 camp station and another campsite at the summit. Water sources on this mountain is very limited and that’s what makes this mountain more technical compared to Mount Apo.
We stopped over in Camp 1 to have some rest and refilled our tumblers and Nalgenes with water. Water source is only available here and the next is on the summit. It takes around 1-2 hours trekking time to reached Camp 1 from Mount Sicao.
I was amazed when I saw an actual pitcher plant. It’s my first time to witnessed this plant. The first thing that comes in my mind upon seeing this plant was they’re like a pitcher in which it can contain water and that’s it. I was totally wrong. My bad! This plant is unique in terms of its shape, size and their ability to obtain food – they’re meat eaters or carnivorous plants. There are many kinds of pitcher plants but here in Philippines, genus Nepenthes are the most prominent. These plants are usually hanged on trees and sometimes on grasses connected with a tendrils. It has a specialized pigment called anthocyanin in which it attracts crawling and flying insects as well as other small animals. These pigments are located on its cupped leaf and the rim portion of the plant contains a very slippery substances which makes the insects fall into the trap and voraciously being digested inside the plant. Another thing that makes me amazed by this plant is their ability to secrete acidic substances similar to those of human stomach in which it will digests their prey. Well it’s pretty obvious that I researched a lot about this plant. haha! Anyways, let’s go back on the main topic of this blog. 🙂
After we rested at Camp 1, we continued our journey going to summit. Our porter/guide says, it will take around 7-9 hours trekking time for it to reach the summit. Non-stop uphill climb are on our way plus a lot of 80-90 degree elevation with a slippery ground (majority of grounds are made of mostly moss) awaits. I never thought this would be as hard as I imagine. Along our trekking, the trail starts to get narrow and steep which makes it way more difficult and arduous.
When I saw this kind of trail, I reminisce those sarcastic encouragements that were said to me and I was reflecting out of it and asked myself on why I pushed this climb. HUHU! Nasa huli talaga ang pagsisi! hahaha! LIFE GOES ON and all I can do is to move forward and think of the reward that awaits when reaching the summit just like when I reached the summits of other mountains that I’ve conquered (pampagaan ng loob haha!). As we proceed, the mossy trail starts to get thicker and complicated as fallen trees became an obstacle along the way. Due to fallen trees – we crawled, we ducked, we balanced over mossy logs and carefully stepped on firm grounds (some parts of the ground are made of moss and stock of leaves and roots).
We are at the middle of the trail and I felt the weigh of my bag and my lower thigh start to have cramps and spasm. Despite the cramps and spasm, I decided to continue and have a rest when we arrived at Camp 2. Tuloy lang ang buhay! haha
PS: my picture is telling everyone that everything’s okay despite the cramps and spasm that I felt at that moment. HAHAHA!
Finally, we’re on Camp 2. We stopped for a while and took our lunch and have some quick rest. *What a relief! I can now have a bit of rest. Some of the mountaineers who wish to take the itinerary into 2-3 days will camp on this area because of it’s wide area with it’s stable and plain ground – less protrusion, less pain upon setting a camp. Camp 2 is also called as the “Lumot Campsite” because of its very prominent moss that encompasses the area. As you can noticed, the moss are very thick and obvious compared to those at the Camp 1 and lower part of this mountain. It’s like you’re in a slenderman game or those at the Blair Witch Project Movie kind of setting. hahaha!
From Camp 2, another 1-2 hours is needed to reach Camp 3. At Camp 3, there is an open area in which you can witness splendid views of neighboring mountains and as well as falls, wild flowers and trees.
WARNING: watch your step if you’re going to have a sightseeing of those views because the ground is not so firm and might collapsed if you’re unaware of it.
Yey! finally we’re on our way to the summit. The presence of straight, tall and tiny mossy trees are the indications that you’re near the summit. All those exhausting and tiresome feeling were set aside and replaced with rejuvenating and ecstatic aura. Also, those painful cramps and spasm that I’ve endured a while ago was temporarily been gone especially when the porter says that we’re near the summit. Parang magic lang? haha! One thing is for sure about Mount Talomo, it’s VERY UNWELCOMING!
Yahoo! we’re at the summit. We arrived around 2:30 PM. we’re on time and was able to hit our target itinerary. I never thought that I could get along with my buddies in terms of their pacing in climbing. Imagine, this is my first time to climb with this type of difficulty. I am so proud of myself though. Sorry for bragging on it. I just can’t contain the feeling of fulfillment and achievement upon reaching the summit with that pacing. The day before this climb, I keep on asking myself if I can conquer it or can I go along with their pacing, given the fact that I’m the only one who is newbie on this climb. Nevertheless, all those doubts were replaced with confidence, courage and determination.
After we arrived at the summit and feel the breezed of the air, we immediately pitched our tents and this time I decided not to brought my tent (it’s too heavy haha) and instead, I have my plytarp (the roof part of an A-type tent) and “trapal” as my temporary shelter. At first, I was worried if I can withstand the cold weather brought by the wind during midnight and also the possibility of having a rain. Thank God that the weather is on the mood to welcomes us and enjoy our stay here in Mount Talomo. 🙂
At the view deck, you can witnessed the majestic Mount Apo. So sad how the forest fire really damaged the beloved mountain. It was on late March that the forest fire occurred. Many speculations as to what causes the kindling of fire. Some of the mountaineers who volunteered on quenching the fire were convinced that a irresponsible campers did those fire. This incident reminded us to be more responsible and cautious upon taking good care of God’s creation and instill the true meaning of Leave No Trace (LNT) principle. I hope that the temporary closure of Mount Apo will be enough for it to restore its beauty and majesty. Strict implementation of temporary closure must be followed and should not be taken for granted by some people who wish to climb the mountain for their own selfish desire.
As we finished pitching our tents, we rested for a while and after that, our guide calls us to witnessed the fascinating views of Mount Talomo. Look at the forest fire done in Mount Apo, so devastating. Anyways, Mount Matutum (that smaller one behind Mount Apo) was visibly seen. Anjo told us that we’re so lucky to have this type of clearing because it is seldom that this mountain provides the climbers this type of clearing. Moody daw kasi ito na bundok sabi nila.
On the right side of the view deck of Mount Talomo, you can see the majestic and grandfather of all mountain – Mount Apo and Mount Matutum (if you’re lucky enough just like us haha). On the left side, you will able to see the splendid view of Davao Gulf and a lot of mountain ranges. We’re so blessed with this climb because the weather was so good plus the views and also no ones got hurt and arrived at the summit safe and sound. Around 6:30 PM, there was another group of mountaineers who arrived at the summit. I think they’re around 6-12 people. We welcomed them and some are asking for a water. We offered them a space to set their camp but they decided to camp on Lumot Campsite.
Goodmorning! haha! It’s our last day of this adventure. I woke up without feeling of the pain especially my cramps and spasm. Yeheeeey! I can now enjoy my descend on this mountain later. As you can see, the view deck was filled with clouds and fogs. I was expecting of a beautiful sunrise but it turns out to be foggy and cloudy morning for all of us even those mountaineers who arrived lately yesterday woke up early just to witnessed a scenic view. Sad. 😦
Despite the foggy view, beautiful floras and exotic plants brighten up our view which somehow boost and enjoy the view. We took and pose for a picture taking. 🙂
For me, having a breakfast in the mountain is one of the most enjoyable part of this adventure. The usual food you’ve tasted in the city like bulad, noodles, hotdog and other breakfast meals that are usually prepared is like heaven when you have it on the mountain. It’s like you’re eating in a luxurious restaurant though! haha! After we took our breakfast, we immediately packed our things so that we can arrived early at the jump-off.
As I packed my things, I saw this stick insect. At first I was reluctant to touched it because it might bite or whatever but here it is, so cute and it resembles a praying mantis without a spiny legs and wings.
Here’s our dog guide, Kage; so energetic and good dog. I was very amazed of how strong this dog is. Imagine, he was able to joined the Mount Talomo-Apo-Matutum Traverses and as what the son of Datu Sicao (leader of Brgy Sicao) said, it took them 7 days to complete the traverses. Wow! It’s a totally knee-breaking and very tiring climb indeed. I couldn’t imagine how tiring and exhausting that adventure was.
These are Ton2x (left) and Arnold (right) our guide/porter. I was astounded by how they managed to carry a 20kg porter bag (which contains our food and other stuffs). Come to think of it, that was very heavy especially for this kind of trail difficulty. I never thought at their age, they have to does this type of job. So sad to think that in 2 days, they only received an amount of Php 700.00 (350/day) each. As I interviewed them, 3/4 of their income will go to their family and another part is for their own expenses (allowance, school material, etc). Despite their current situation, they still managed to give a smile and even cracked a joke which makes me realized not to give up whenever I’m on my worst.
We left the summit at 8:30 AM and arrived at the village by around 1 PM. We took the descend of the trail for around 5 hours. Pretty fast though! hehe!
All I can say on this adventure was – VERY UNFORGIVING CLIMB! Until now, I could still remembered those sarcastic encouragement and finally have the right to shout to the world that I conquered one of the most difficult mountain in the Philippines. Another adventure to be remembered of. Another mountain conquered and this time, a 7/9 difficulty. Amazinggggg! Such a blessed climb for providing us a good weather and no ones got injured upon the duration of the adventure. On this climb I realized that, all of us are equal footing when you’re on mountain climbing. Statuses in life don’t matter because all of you will experience being dirt, poured with sweat and tired. You’ll meet people at their best, and admire them at their worst. Here you can have the most delicious coffee, noddles and rest. hehe!
I would like to thank my companies on this climb: Anjo, Jeffrey, Fox and Baiklyn (again, don’t know how to spell correctly her name hahaha) for the times we laugh, converse and share some experiences in life. Surely this adventure would not be forgotten and be cherished. Thanks for the friendship! Lastly, to God for guiding, protecting and for the scenic view that He provides to us throughout the venture. Hoping for more fun-filled and more challenging mountains soon.
See you on my next blog post. 🙂
HOW TO GET THERE:
1. You can have a taxi going to Bankerohan and ride a L-300 van going to Calinan. The cost of taxi may vary depending on where you’re coming from. For those coming from airport, it may cost around Php 200-250. From Bankerohan L-300 van terminal to Calinan, it cost Php 45.00.
TRAVEL TIME: 1-3 hours but may vary depending if it is traffic or not.
2. From Calinan, you can hire a motorcycle going to Brgy. Tamayong which cost Php 50.00 each.
TRAVEL TIME: 30-45 minutes
3. From Brgy. Tamayong, you can now start to trek going to Brgy. Sicao or Mount Sicao Village OR you can hire a motorcycle which cost Php 100.00 each.
TRAVEL TIME: 1 to 1 1/2 hours if you’re going to trek; 30 minutes for motorcycle.
You can contact Anjo Dorado at 0909-228-0108 or you can pm at his Facebook account or like TEAM EXPLORER page on FB for more information and schedule of climb events here in Mindanao. Very accommodating and trustworthy organizer indeed.
OR if you wish to do it without hiring an event organizer, you can directly go to Brgy Sicao and have registered at Datu Sicao. Hiring a local guide is a must.
BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES:
Php 100.00 – Taxi going to Freedom Park, Roxas Avenue, Davao City
Php 45.00 – Jeepney going to Calinan (same price as L-300 van)
Php 50.00 – Motorcycle going to Brgy Tamayong
Php 350.00 – Registration fee.
*NOTE: registration fee is now Php 500.00
Php 350.00 – Porter fee (if you wish to hire)
TOTAL: 550.00 (excluding porter fee)
*In above expenses, food is excluded for it may depend on your itineraries, preferences and other miscellaneous expenses. Also, if you wish to know the itinerary of this trip, fee free to comment below. Thanks. 🙂
SHARE US YOUR CLIMBING EXPERIENCE/S ON THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW. IF YOU CLIMBED THIS MOUNTAIN, MUCH BETTER. :))))))