Mount Apo: Philippines’ Highest Peak
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Mountain Stats
- #1 Highest in Philippines
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Natural Form and History
Natural Mount Apo Philippines - Natural history
Mount Apo meaning ‘grandfather’ or ‘master’ in local dialect is the highest mountain and volcano in the Philippines. Although Mount Apo has had no recorded eruptions, it is still considered an active volcano. Mount Apo is a basaltic stratovolcano which is part of a chain of volcanoes called the Central Mindanao Arc. Although it appears almost perfectly conical from most angles, Apo has 3 separate mini-peaks and a flat summit.
Natural Mount Apo Philippines - Climbing history
Since the first recorded successful expedition of Mount Apo on October 10, 1880 by Don Joaquin Rajal, thousands of eager hikers from Philippines and around the globe climb the mountain every year to reach its 3 peaks.
Natural Mount Apo Philippines - Current status
Mount Apo is definitely a crowd-pleaser, especially thanks to its almost perfect conical shape. It’s also a great physical challenge for the fit.
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Climbing Experience
Mount Apo’s vertical climb is the latest fitness challenge for uber fit Filipinos and travellers. The terrain along the mountain is thriving with lush forests and more wildlife than volcanic rock. Mount Apo can be split into 3 distinct types of forest. From the beginning of the ascent, climbers can experience the beauty and challenges of low-land tropical rainforests. Although striking and lush, the beginning of the ascent is seen as somewhat of a natural obstacle course. Hikers have to watch their step for tree roots and slippery stones, perhaps even the occasional snake. When reaching the mid-mountain forests of Mount Apo, the lush terrain will narrow down ever so slightly with less trees and animals around and more boulders and slopes to tackle.
The physical fitness and determination of the hiker is tested much more as they reach higher altitudes. As the hiker gets closer to the peaks, vegetation can still be seen but is much less lush and thick compared to the lower altitudes and very few animals are found due to the lack of oxygen. Climbing becomes somewhat easier due to less obstacles but physical strength is mandatory to tackle the very steep stretches to reach the peaks of Mount Apo.
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Trail options
There are 4 known trails to pick from. The trails take from 2 to 5 days to reach the summit, with some trails being more demanding than others. Climbers will pass through lush rainforests and rocky terrain on all of the trails, and they all get more steep and challenging towards the top.
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Support facilities
Guides and porters
Food & water
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Safety & Accessibility
The climate of Mount Apo is generally tropical and rainy. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. Heavy rains, floods and landslides are relatively common during the winter so it is recommended to not climb Mount Apo during these times.
The temperature at Mount Apo depends on the time of year with lows of about 9°C and highs of around 20°C. Strong winds are common at higher altitudes and at the peaks. The preferred months to climb Mount Apo are the summer months from March to May, when the weather is generally pleasant.
Altitude: Ascending slowly can help prevent altitude sickness.
Falling hazards: Wear comfortable and reliable hiking boots. Hiking poles can reduce the risk of falling.
It is recommended to tackle the climb with a partner or in a group to ensure help is there if necessary.
Keep an eye out for snakes!
Permits, Fees, and Regulations
Climbing permits can be arranged through the Tourism Office directly. Tour operators and guides can also assist in getting a climbing permit.
National Emergency Hotline: 911.
Police Hotline: 117 or (02) 722-0650.
Red Cross: 143 or (02) 527-8385 to 95.
Getting there and away
Davao Airport can be reached directly from Manila, Cebu and other main cities around the Philippines. The preferred way to travel to the starting point is via taxi or rental car. Taking a minibus or local bus is also an option. The distance covered from Davao to the starting point is around 57km. Depending on the traffic, the journey usually takes around 3 hours.
The climbing permit should cost approximately $40-50 USD.
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Special Tips
Tips for amateur climbers
Taking the most picturesque trail of them all, the Sibulan Trail is highly recommended to regular climbers who are looking to experience everything that Mount Apo has to offer. For an authentic and unforgettable experience of Mount Apo, hiring a guide is recommended.
Tips for advanced climbers
The longest and most demanding route, the Mt. Tolamo Trail is only to be tried by the most experienced and determined climbers. It is ideal for climbers who want to test their stamina and strength.
Tips for women
There aren’t specific dangers to women however it is generally recommended that this trek is done in groups, rather than individually.
Tips for trail runners
The Mount Apo Sky & Vertical Race took place in April 2019. The registration fees cost between $60-90 USD, depending on the distance participants chose.
Tips for nature lovers
69 recorded species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals can be found thriving in the forests of the mountain. One of the world’s largest eagles, the Philippine Eagle is also found here along with 272 other species of birds and 118 species of butterflies.