Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Climbing Mt Apo - The DIY way

For those of you out there who prefer to plan and trek Mt Apo yourself, you can do so easily by registering with the respective authorities in Davao Oriental.  Though I must caution that if you are a single climber, the cost would add up significantly and would be much more expensive than if you joined an organized group of 4 and above (where an organized group provides all the equipments and luxury of porters, while organizing yourself doesn't avil you with these).  However, if you are a group of 3, splitting up the costs of the guide, sleeping and cooking equipments and even porters would be a cheaper option and you get a private tour.
Listed below will be the information and organization you go to to register your own climb.  This is based on the starting point from Kidapawan - some 3Hours local bus transport from Davao City (costs approximately P150 per way).
Contact Kidapawan Tourism Office - Their facebook page is this Kidapawan Tourism Office.  I spoke with Gillan via facebook and she is very nice and helpful.  Their contact number is on the FB page as well.  They will help you to arrange all the registration, guides, food, equipment rental etc.  You can contact them prior to your arrival, and settle all the necessary things upon arrival the day before your climb.  They normally do registration on weekdays, however if you go on a weekend, contact them ahead and they can arrange.  Receipts can only be given out on weekdays, so you will get it after you finished your climb.
You can also contact Marlon Ceballos at see_values@yahoo.com or his facebook page Marlon Ceballos.  He is the president of the Kidapawan Mountain Guide association and he can personally arrange a guide for you.  He works together with Kidapawan Tourism Office.
There are many trails from Kidapawan, and you can choose to do a traverse trail or back-trek.  Traverse trails are harder and probably takes longer than 3 days, though you could push it through.  The Office requires you to pay the guide fee for a minimum of 3 days, although you could potentially complete certain trails in 2. 
The Kidapawan Trail starts with several river crossing, which is not ideal when you climb during the rainy season as flash flood is frequent and would be dangerous when crossing.  So do take note if you decide to start in Kidapawan.  The good thing about starting or ending in Kidapawan is that you get to go to the Hot Spring and get close to Lake Venado. 
Below listed are the fees involved:
Permit: P500 (local), P750 (Foreigner)
Guide: P800/day (local), P1,000/day (foreigner)
Porter (optional): P350/day max 15kg load
*Note: you will have to be responsible for providing food to your guide and/or porter
Tent rental: P250-P350/night (you will have to bring your own sleeping bag)
Cooking set rental: P200-300/night
Transport from Kidapawan to drop off point: P85/pax for a habal habal for 3 (this means if you are 1 person, you pay for 3 pax for the entire habal habal).  Unless you prefer to wait for the public transport.
If you choose a traverse trail, exiting from a different location, there would be an exit fee of approximately P250
Do note that the above guide fee is for the back trail Kidapawan.  Apparently there is a different guide fee for traverse route, which could potentially go up to P1,500/day.  Ask at Kidapawan for more information, or contact Sir Marlon.
Do note that the last bus out of Kidapawan back to Davao City is around 730pm, so make sure you are back down before that if you plan to head back to Davao.
I will post an entry on my climbing experience with an organized group - Mt Apo Adventures in a separate post.  As I mentioned, it is more expensive and less value for money for a single climber to register on my own, so I decided to go with a group which happened to have an available climb on the dates I wanted.  Also, the cost includes a night's stay in Davao at a pretty good budget hotel.  For those of you out there, hope this helps if you plan on doing it on your own or if you plan on organizing a group trek on your own.  It is also possible to start in Kapatangan (also about 3H from Davao) and do a back trek or traverse to Kidapawan. 
Do note that it IS COLD at night when you camp.  The temperature is between 2-8 degree celsius and can even drop to -2.  So do bring winter clothings for the night and also for the early mornings especially the sunrise.  If you have a thermal sleeping bag, it would be best.
There is another climbing group Climb Mt Apo who organizes such trip for P5,000 per head for a group of 3 or more, including everything except for food, tent and sleeping bag.  This group does not provide accomodation in Davao City.
I've also gotten some other contacts who can help to arrange Mt Apo treks, but for more details on the costs and itinerary, you would have to contact them direct to ask - Micheal delima michealdelima777@gmail.com.  He quoted me P14,500 for a solo climb which includes everything except sleeping bag and tents.  Conversely, he directed me to Jhoc Nalda (his FB page)  or contact him at +63 (0)9172558923/ +63 (0)9981924345 to arrange for cheaper/lesser expenses.   

No comments: