Discover Mt. Apo (DMA) boasts of its passion for adventure while maintaining a reliable, consistent, and professional stance towards bringing a totally worthwhile trek to the top of the country’s highest peak.
 
What makes DMA different from the other guided tour agencies or freelancers? 
As the co-founder, I have a personal bias in vertical marketing. Back when we are starting the business, I applied the horizontal marketing technique with Discover Mt Apo despite the name (Mt Apo). We tried to offer varied tours in Mindanao such as Surigao, Davao, Mt Apo and Samal Tours. Then we realised we are compromising our quality only to cater to a lot of options and packages. After a year, we scratched all other tours and focused mainly on Mt Apo.
What is the advantage of this? Put simply we are exclusive to climbing Mt Apo thus our aim is to always give the best climbing experience any climber could ever have. When you focus on one thing, you make sure you are the best and an awesome go-to Mt Apo expert. And we are!
 
As an adventure-seeker myself, I found that there’s a scarcity or a lack thereof of agencies that provide a “no-hassle”, “all-in package”, “from arrival at the airport to departure to whatever next destination our clients will pursue”. And a “done-for-you” processing and booking of tours around and outside the metro. Yes, there are quite a few freelancers whom you can call and ask to book your climb itineraries, but it is always better if a legit company handles you. Why? You can read here.
 
What inspired me to create Discover Mt Apo is the passion to provide a “no-hassle package” to everyone. Isn’t it great that you only focus on your upcoming climb and not on the nitty-gritty stuff? All the heavy lifting of arranging your climb is set for you. Know that by climbing with #TeamDMA, you have avoided scammers and low-quality services.
 
A colleague in my previous venture, who is a mountaineer, widened my knowledge in the unparalleled satisfaction of climbing and trekking. That feeling of having a peaceful moment watching the sun sets in paradise on top of a mountain or frolicking by the vast Lake Venado. He said that everyone has this “urge” to climb a goddamn mountain even once in their lifetime but doesn’t know how to start off. Thus, here comes DMA.
 
DMA is for everyone! For newbie climbers, seasoned mountaineers, adventure-seekers, students, team-building, solo-climbers, globetrotters, for everyone who finds solace in the grand beauty of the mountains.

DMA offers:

*EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

*ALL-IN PACKAGE (Food, Water, Sleeping bag, Tent, Guides, Porters, Climb Fees, Exit Fees, Private van Transport)

*CLIMB DATES OF YOUR CHOICE

*HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS (Optional)

*AIRPORT-HOTEL-AIRPORT TRANSFER

*PRIVATE VAN TRANSPORTATION (NEW AND FULLY AIR-CONDITIONED)

*CUSTOMISED ITINERARY
It is our constant desire and commitment to consistently provide our clients with the most sought-after services at reasonable rates. We have different packages for your varying requirements. Of course, that includes your preferred trail and climb dates in going up the splendid Mindanao peak. And since climbing and trekking are activities that are deemed strenuous, it is our guarantee to only assign a well-educated and highly-trained tour guide who will be with you throughout the journey.

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Rest assured that our tour guides are culturally and environmentally aware of why Mt. Apo is majestic. Thus, you will not only experience the challenges, like hurdling the boulders, but you also get to know the various awesome flora and fauna features of this magnificent place on earth.

If you wanna know more about the importance of hiring a company, read this article on reasons why.

Enough of this, why won’t you read what our clients say and their experience with us? See our testimonials or our Facebook reviews.

And by the way, please be careful because the enthusiasm and cheery personality of our tour guides are contagious!

Climb with us now,

Margaret Online Signature

Margaret Sulapas
Co-founder
Email: discovermtapo@gmail.com

Why Climb Mt. Apo?

If one would choose one word to describe Mt. Apo, it would be this: Majestic. Based on the experiences of those who have scaled the mountain’s heights, here are the four good reasons to convince you to make the climb.

  • IT IS THE HIGHEST PEAK.

Towering at 3,146 metres (10,321.5 ft), it is the country’s highest peak. It would certainly be a major achievement for neophyte climbers and experienced mountaineers to reach the summit.

  • IT IS HOME TO RICH FLORA AND FAUNA.

Mt. Apo it teeming with wildlife. It is home to more than 272 species of birds, 111 of which are endemic to the area. It also the natural habitat of the Philippine Eagle, which is known as the world’s largest eagle.

  • OPPORTUNITY TO MEET THE IPS.

Mindanao is considered a melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions. By climbing Mt. Apo, you will have the chance to meet indigenous tribes in the region which include the Manobo, Bagobo, Obo, Tagacaolo, and Ata. At each step of the way, you will also learn something new about the culture of these mountain tribes.

  • GETTING A BIRD’S EYE VIEW.

Once at its peak, you can already claim that you are on top of the world. Like a bird soaring above the sky, you will be rewarded with spectacular view of the Davao and Cotabato regions down below and will make you want to stay a bit longer.

Facts

History

The first two attempts to reach Mt. Apo’s summit were failures. They were led by Jose Oyanguren (1852) and Señor Real (1870). Success came in October 10, 1880, when an expedition led by Don Joaquin Rajal finally reached the top.

But there is a colorful story behind the climb.

Prior to the climb, Rajal had to secure the permission of the Bagobo chieftain, Datu Manig.who demanded that a human sacrifice be made to please to god Mandarangan. Fortunately, the datu decided to waive this demand. The climb commenced on October 6, 1880, and succeeding five days later.

Don Joaquin’s success led to numerous successful expeditions. These were well documented in the narrations made by Fr. Miguel Bernad, S.J.

Mt. Apo is said to be named after a nobleman named Apong, who was killed while breaking up a fight between two of his daughter’s suitors. Another origin of the mountain’s name comes from the word Apo itself, which in Filipino means “master” or “grandfather.”

Geography

Mt. Apo is the highest mountain in the country, and is situated between Davao City, Davao del Sur province and Cotabato province. The peak overlooks the highly-urbanized City of Davao which is 45 kilometres (25 mi) to the northeast, Digos City (25 kilometres) to the southeast, and Kidapawan City (20 kilometres) to the west.

On May 9, 1936, Mount Apo was declared a national park with Proclamation no. 59 by President Manuel L. Quezon, followed by Proclamation no. 35 of May 8, 1966, and subsequently, Proclamation no. 882 of September 24, 1996.

People

Mt. Apo is home to several indigenous tribes. These include the Manobos, Bagobo, Ubos, Atas and the Tagacaolo. Since time immemorial, these ethnic groups have lived and thrived in the mountain which they consider as holy ground. To them, Mt. Apo is their place of worship, being the burial ground of Apo Sandawa, their great-grandparent.

The mountain provides these tribes with a regular source of food and medicine, and more importantly, has become the foundation of their spiritual and cultural way of life.

Flora and Fauna

A total of 227 vertebrates which include 69 families of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals have been recorded in Mt. Apo. Likewise, 118 species of butterflies have been found in the area. The most popular bird to be discovered living in the mountain is the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jeffreyi), one of the world’s largest eagles and has been proclaimed as the Philippine’s national bird.

How to get there (the easy way)

The Kidapawan-Magpet trail is the easiest among the many trails to the peak and is the preferred trail chosen by novice climbers. The trail’s first stop is Lake Agko. From there, hikers cross the Marbel River using a makeshift bridge fashioned out of coconut logs but without strings to hold on to. This is one of the dangerous parts of the trail due to the threat of flashfloods which could instantly wash away the bridge.

After negotiating the Marbel River for about three hours, you will reach the first campsite in Mainit Hot Springs. Here, trekkers will be generously rewarded, as they can dip in a hot and soothing pool of mineral-filled water. However, you must reach this first campsite before 3:00 PM, because the next campsite, which is located in Lake Venado, is still 5-6 hours away.

But before proceeding, hikers must prime themselves, as they will have to travers a thick forest leading to two “killer trails”: the “87-degree” and the “90-degree” trail. Though it would take only about 15 minutes to negotiate these trails, they are known to take a major toll on climbers. Ropes have been installed along these trails to make them safer and reduce accidents.

After making it through this difficult stage of the climb, you will reach a swamp that that leads to Lake Venado. This is point where the many of the trails intersect. This area is ideal for resting and setting up camp. During the summer, Bagobo folk would set up stalls here.

From Lake Venado, it would take another three hours to reach the peak. But this time, instead of a rocky trail, hikers will be walking across a cogon grassland finally leading to the mountain’s summit where you will be simultaneously awed by the breathtaking view of the landscape below and the mountain’s crater which once spewed fire and brimstone. Here at the top, you will see wild berries, and temperate plants which you will not encounter at the lower stages of the trail.

When descending, the Magpet trail is suggested, through most climbers typically take the Davao (south) side. Mt. Apo is truly spellbinding, as it possesses a wide array of landscapes – from craggy rockscapes to virgin forests, to mossy swamps and volcanic structures. The mountain provides climbers an experience they will surely not forget.

Other Preferred Trails

For those who would like to test their mountaineering skills and push themselves to the limit, they can try these challenging trails:

  • CLIMB MT. APO VIA THE SIBULAN TRAIL.

Reaching Sibulan in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur would only mean less than an hour of driving from Davao City. The Sibulan -Mt. Apo Trail is said to be the most interesting trail because of its width. Despite its narrow path, this particular way to reach the peak of Mt. Apo boasts of lush vegetation and a jungle that features the richness of an ecosystem that is home to different flaura and fauna species. By passing through this trail, your stamina and determination to reach the top will surely be put to test as you have to hurdle some boulders.

  • DISCOVER MT. APO VIA THE KIDAPAWAN TRAIL.

Going to Mt. Apo using the Kidapawan, North Cotabato trail is regarded as the easiest way up. On the average, it will only take a backpacker two days to finish the entire climb, which means going up and going down, including taking of photos while enjoying the trek. Through this trail, a climber will enjoy the hot springs, river crossings, and a steep forested way that leads to the top via the swampy Lake Venado. From Davao City, a climber has to travel for about three hours to reach the Kidapawan –Mt. Apo Trail.

  • MT. APO CLIMBING VIA THE KAPATAGAN TRAIL.

When you want to reach the summit of Mt. Apo via the Kapatagan trail in Digos City, Davao del Sur, you need to travel a little over an hour from Davao City to be at the foot of this trail, which is adjacent to the Sibulan route. However, unlike the Sibulan –Mt. Apo Trail, this route is wider and would take you a little longer to get to the top.

  • EXPERIENCE MT. APO VIA THE MT. TALOMO TRAIL.

The Mt. Talomo – Mt.Apo Trail is touted to be the most challenging route. While it is only found in Davao City, a climber or backpacker has to allocate five days (includes both going up and down) to completely enjoy the majestic view from the top of the country’s highest peak.

Preparation

Preparing for your great Mt. Apo climb is definitely a thrilling experience for you, especially if it’s going to be your first.

In climbing Mount Apo, there are certain things that you need to check to ensure that you are indeed prepared for the experience.

First of all, you have to be physically fit to climb Mt. Apo. A visit to your doctor prior to your trek is a great idea.

Second, you have to possess functional mountaineering knowledge and skills.

Third, you have to be equipped with basic camping gears and supplies for survival during the entire period of the hike.

Best Time to Climb

While climbing Mt. Apo is generally allowed all year round, there is a specific period which is considered to be the best time to schedule your journey.

To completely enjoy your trek to Mt. Apo, schedule it between November and May, or during the dry season.

Laws and Regulations

Mt. Apo is considered as one of the country’s major landmarks and national treasures. Being such, the national government, in partnership with local government units, have enacted laws and lobbied for policies that will ensure the sustainable management and protection of the mountain and its surrounding environs.

  • Republic Act 9237. Passed in 2003, this national law declares Mt. Apo as a protected area. Under Chapter V, Section. 16, it penalizes anyone who, “Destroys, damages, mutilates, defaces, or commits any act of vandalism on any object of natural beauty, object of anthropological or cultural importance, or non-renewable resource within the protected area.” It further states under Chapter VI, SEC.21, that the “Utilization of Non-renewable Resources. Any exploration, exploitation or utilization of nonrenewable resources within the protected area shall not be allowed.”
  • NIPAS Act. Enacted in 1992, the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act lists all the protected areas in the Philippines which are being administered by the DENR. This includes national parks such as Mt. Apo, which are designated forest reservations that have been withdrawn from settlement, occupancy or any form of exploitation except those in conformity with an approved management plan and set aside exclusively to conserve the area or preserve the scenery, the natural and historic objects, wild animals and plants therein.
  • Writ of Kalikasan. Issued by the Court of Appeals in 2014, this is a legal remedy under Philippine law which provides for the protection of a Filipino citizen’s right to “a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” as provided for in Section 16, Article II of the Philippine Constitution. The case was filed in response to a petition filed during the 15th Congress by House Representative Angelo. Palmones of party-list group Agham (Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan, Inc.).
  • Lobby for inclusion of Mt Apo in UNESCO World Heritage List. In 2009, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) nominated Mt. Apo to be included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in the Philippines. UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage of a country as contained in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. The mountain is the epicenter of endemism in Mindanao, as it is home to 272 bird species, 111 of which can only be found in the area. It is also home to the critically-endangered Philippine Eagle, one of the world’s largest eagles.