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DIY Itinerary to Solo Female Climbing in Mount Apo

diy travel guide and itinerary to mount apo
On top of Mount Apo
Travelling comes in many forms. Mountain climbing is one of those. As much as I envy a photo of reaching a summit for a view of a sea of clouds, yours truly isn't keen to do it. I can walk for 3-4 hours on a flat surface say, on a city tour but never through mountain climbing.

A few days ago I am browsing the feed of two of the most active communities on Facebook for Filipino backpackers. It is a group of 24, 000+ locals who are mostly young and who travels on a budget. They're highly sociable individuals sharing their travel photos, itinerary, contacts, resources and most of all "hugot" lines. To non - Filipino readers, hugot lines are pickup lines delivered out of humor and fun. It is also a form of joke when one is falling madly in love or bitterly heartbroken.  If what you feel inside is too much to keep but can't say it directly to the right person , you kind of imitate it in a form of joke to others just to feel relived. I tell you I've been constantly laughing whenever I see a fee hugot lines inserted in between a trip itinerary.

mount apo in davao

Among them who caught my attention is a young Filipina posting her photo who just recently went to Mount Apo alone. Of course with a guide but the fact that she finished it for 2 days it is such a big accomplishment. The regular trekking to reach the top and return back to the base is 3-4 days.

The Apo mountain in Davao is the highest in the Philippines. It is classified as an active volcano with an elevation of 9, 000+ feet above sea level. Mount Apo is a national park under a local law and currently on a waiting list to be the next UNESCO world heritage site in the Philippines. I quickly googled about doing a Mt. Apo Kapatagan trail and Mt. Apo Kidapawan trail, or what it's like to be a Mt Apo Pinoy Mountaineer actually but whew this girl in her early 30's is  already contented knowing more people are able to conquer this volcano.

I quickly sent her a message on Facebook and tried my luck if she is willing to be share her solo mountain climbing in Mount Apo, her backpacking story and her is a person. After a day I'm so glad she replied positively.

itinerary to mount apo davao

This is her Mt Apo climb itinerary:

Day 0

23:00 Manila- Davao via CebPac

Day 1
01:00-Davao Airport
01:30-Taxi to Meet up Location with Guide
02:30-Free ride to Ecoland Bus Terminal
03:00-Ecoland Terminal; Bus Bound to Cotabato-Drop off Bansalan,Davao del Sur
04:30-Bansalan Bus Terminal, awaiting for habal habal driver.
05:00-Habal- Mt. Apo jump off
07:00-Mt. Apo jump off; prepare breakfast
08:00-Start Trek (Mossy Forest, expect assault trail, cold temperature- expect nyo na lahat ng unexpected para di kayo masaktan. smile emoticon
13:00-Godi Godi- Lunch
14:15-Start trek to Boulder- passed the sulfur crater, lake na walang water kasi tag tuyot.
17:00-Peak 1 (Summit) be ready mesmerized to Mt. Apo breathtaking sunset; sea of clouds
18:00-Camp site; pitch tent; Prepare dinner; expect very cold weather 
20:00-onwards, borlog agad ang lola nyo, it was my first time experienced na hindi nakisocial sa campsite. It was because I'm super duper pagoda and need to wake up early for sunrise viewing; two finger cross praying for clearing. 4° ang temperature sa madaling araw

Day 2
05:30- Wake up, prepare for breakfast 11°-15° ang temperature.
06:00- Breakfast
07:00- Trek to Peak 1 for sunrise viewing.
07:15- Peak 1-Summit. May energy eh kaya may kabilisan umahon. Luckily Mt. Apo allow me to experienced such great clearing. Sunrise at it's best. Sea of clouds again.
08:00- Descent to camp site.
08:15- Camp site, Break Camp
09:00- Start serious descent, back trail.
10:30- Boulder, Sulfur crater;photo ops, aside from summit photo ops,eto lang yung 2nd 10 mins photo ops namin ni guide.
10:40- Continue descent.
13:00- Godi Godi; Lunch
14:15- Start descent to jump off
16:00- Jump Off
16:30- Habal Habal to Bansalan bus terminal
17:30- Bansalan;Dinner
18:00- Departure-Bus to Davao
20:30- Davao City, Ecoland Terminal
20:40- Free ride (taxi)- D'Morvie Lounge/Hostel
21:00- Check in, Shower, Took a 4 hrs sleep.

Actual Expenses:

Taxi- Airport to guide meet up loc: 150php
Bus-Bansalan: 124x2=248php
Habal Habal- Bansalan to Mt. Apo Jump off vice versa 600x2= 1200
Registration fee- 250php(specially for me price daw-charot-1k ang reg fee in real talk)
Guide fee- Free, sobrang bait lang ni Sir Bon at hindi ako siningil ng guide fee,it's his first time na mag guide na 2 days lang tinapos ang Mt.Apo. Its 3 days usually. 800-1200 per 10pax ang usual guide fee. Pwede din kumuha ng porter 600-800 ang fee per porter.
Dinner in Bansalan- 100php(me and sir bon)
Bus-Davao City- 124x2=248php

Other expenses-200(yosi,kape at drinks ni guide) yan lang kasi nakayanan ko at napakaswerte ko kasi hindi sya demanding.
D'Morvie Hotel- 250ph per night.
Food during the climb: Can goods etc. which I bought sa Manila palang. 500php


Magdala ng sleeping bag at thermal jacket dahil malamig talaga, mas malamig sa Mt.Pulag. During sunrise pinahiram ko yung thermal jacket ko sa isang first time climber, puro cotton kasi dala nya kaya basa lahat dahil sa hamog magdamag. Oopps engaged na si kuya kaya wag kayo anu dyan.hahaha Matagal ng nanlalamig ang puso ko kaya sanay na ko sa lamig.hahaha.Wala man sigurong poreber pero meron namang wagas, wagas na hangaring makatulong kahit sa maliit na paraan lang.

She is  a project admin in one of the country's leading telecommuncations company. She started climbing since November 2014. Ask her how many  mountains she was able to climb, it is twenty five!

She is a really inspiring light backpacker. She said that for 3 days she in the wild, she just carries a school - type bag. In her flight to Davao, she even had no check in  baggage

Regarding things to bring in climbing Mt. Apo: headlamp, a pair of gloves. sleeping bag, and thermal jacket.  Of course the basic essentials of mountain climbing is an outdoor stove and a tent. Like me she also carries a shawl. She loves it because of its multi- function: it could be a face cover, a towel,  and a bedding.  She said she only has 4 pair of clothes coz she is heading to Surigao del Sur after the climb. Aside from canned goods, she brings rice and jelly ace as her food trail because it is sweet so it is a good source of energy and combats thirstiness. 

Some of her most memorable mountain climbing experiences 

Mt. Maranat,  her first mountain, Mt. Maculot -  her first solo climb slash on a night trek and Tarak Ridge - consumed almost 23 hrs for trekking(ascend-descend) then she accidentally left her phone in summit so she has no choice but to climb back to retrieve it. Lucky phone! 

Contact details for Mount Apo guides

To those are looking for a guide to Mount Apo, she recommends Sir Bon (Renslou  Justo). You can contact him via these numbers: 09297842463 and 09274584029. 

She plans to climb Mt. Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia and explore Mindanao.  She is currently on a solo backpacking trip to Cebu.  Been checking her travel photos showing up on my Facebook feed right now actually. I have nothing but admiration to this fearless Filipina and single mom backpacker!  

All photos are credited to Miss Shiela Marie Galapia. Disclaimer: This guide is only a sample of a basic mountain climbing in Mount Apo. We encourage you to research further regarding climbing preparations for Mount Apo. We wish you the best of luck to climb the highest mountain in the Philippines!


  1. Just wanted to say "Beautiful article ! " ..... more later .......

    Maria's #1 Fan In London

  2. yeah coz she got a very inspiring story that is why :)

  3. Phone number for Renslou doesn't work. Maybe give us his email? Please. Thanks.