Mount Apo

philippines

This picture-perfect volcano will test and delight you.

Mount Apo is a picture-perfect volcano, and it’s vertical climb is the latest fitness challenge for uber fit Filipinos and travellers.

Country
philippines
Height
2,954 (9,692 feet)
Climbing Height
2,954 (9,692 feet)
Rank

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Natural Form and History

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - History

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Geological 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 to be 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.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Modern 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 abroad climb the mountain every year to reach its 3 peaks.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Current popularity as a climbing destination

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 - Overview of the Trail

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Overall Assessment

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Summary of trail accessibility

All trails take different amounts of time to complete, from one heavy day of vertical running to 3 days of trekking.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Trail options

Number of options
4
Summary

There are 4 known trails to pick from. The trails take from 2 days 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.

This trail is said to be the most picturesque of all, especially for nature lovers. This trail takes 3 days to complete with camping and rest-stops along the way.

This trail is considered a less demanding and the easiest way of reaching the peaks of Mount Apo. Climbers will pass by hot springs, rivers and luscious rainforests, as well as Lake Venado. This trail takes an average of 2 days to complete, which is including the ascent, the descent and overnight camping.

The beginning of this trail is parallel to the beginning of the Sibulan trail and they do cross at various points during the trek. However, the path is much wider than the Sibulan trail and it will take a few hours more to reach the peaks of Mount Apo. This trail takes an average of 3 days to complete with camping and rest-stops along the way.

This trail is known as being the most physically demanding and longest of them all. Although challenging, this route takes hikers through a range of less wandered areas of the mountain. This trail will take climbers 5 full days to reach the peaks of Mount Apo.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Most popular trail

The Sibulan Trail

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Standard itinerary

Number of days
3
Summary

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Day 1

Day 1:

0500 –Wake up and have a healthy and filling breakfast. Prepare for the climb. Check your pack.
0600 – Take a taxi from your hotel to Cabarisan.
0700 – Arrive in Cabarisan. Prepare for the trek.
0730 – Start the trek towards Sibulan River.
0800 – Arrive at Sibulan River.
0900 – Arrive at the entry of the trail.
1100 –Take rest and have lunch.
1200 – Continue the climb.
1400 – Arrive at Sitio Tompis base camp and take rest and then continue the walk to the overnight camp.
1600 – Arrive at Tinikaran camp 1.
1800 – Have dinner and relax. Prepare for the next day of hiking.
2000 – Sleep.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Day 2

Day 2

0500 – Wake up and have breakfast.
0700 – Leave camp and continue the hike to Tinikaran camp 2.
0800 – Arrive at Tinikaran camp 2. Take a quick break and continue.
0845 – Arrive above the treeline.
1200 – Beginning of the steeper segment of the climb.
1300 – Arrive at summit 1 and enjoy the landscapes.
1400 – Head towards the Mount Apo campsite.
1430 – Arrive at the campsite and rest. Have lunch.
1700 – Have dinner and relax. Prepare for the last day of climbing.
2000 – Sleep.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Day 3

Day 3

0400 – Wake up and prepare for the day.
0430 – Climb towards summit 2.
0500 – Arrive at summit 2 and enjoy the sunset over picturesque landscapes.
0530 – Begin the descent back towards Mount Apo campsite and have breakfast.
0700 – Begin the descent via the campsites visited on previous days. Take it easy and make sure to have lunch along the way.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Climbing Difficulty

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Terrain

Number of distinct sections
3
Summary

Although Mount Apo is considered to be an active volcano, it has no recorded eruptions meaning that the terrain along the mountain is still thriving, and lush forests are present filled with wildlife rather than volcanic rock. 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. Mount Apo can be split into 3 distinct types of forest.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Low-land tropical rainforest
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 routes and slippery stones, perhaps the occasional snake.
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Mid-mountain forests
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.
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - High mountain forests
As the hiker gets closer to the peaks, vegetation can still be seen but is much less lush and thick than at lower altitudes and very few animals are found due to lack of oxygen. Climbing becomes somewhat easier due to less obstacles but physical strength is mandatory to tackle very steep stretches to reach the peaks of Mount Apo.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Weather

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Overview of climate

The climate of Mount Apo is generally tropical and rainy and rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. Heavy rains, floods and landslides are relatively common during the winter month so it is recommended to not climb Mount Apo during these times. The temperate on 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.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Best time to climb

The preferred months to climb Mount Apo are the summer months from March to May, when the weather is generally pleasant. Climbing is more enjoyable in the early morning.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Common weather challenges
  • Rain: It can rain almost daily, even during the summer months. Slippery paths and stones are prominent on the mountain after rainfall.
  • Wind: Wind-speeds become stronger at the higher altitudes.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Safety tips

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Climbing safety
  • Altitude: Ascending slowly can help prevent altitude sickness in those more prone.
  • 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.  
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Personal safety
  • Climbing in groups or with a partner is highly recommended.
  • Watch out for snakes!
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Safety for women travelers

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Recommended equipment

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Footwear
  • Reliable hiking boots
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Clothing
  • Raincoat and/or Windbreaker
  • Waterproof trousers (to stay extra dry in the wet season)
  • Thermals (if its chilly)
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Bags
  • Waterproof backpack
  • Camera bag (optional)
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Weather protection
  • Rain coat
  • A sun hat
  • A warm layer (for higher altitudes)
  • Sun glasses
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Climbing support
  • Hiking poles (optional)
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Navigation tools
  • Headlamp / flashlight
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Medical equipment
  • Basic first-aid kit (for longer hikes)
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Food
  • Water
  • Energy drinks
  • Lunch (optional)
  • Dry food items (chocolates bars, energy bars, etc.)
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Hygene sanitation
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Tissues
  • Tooth brush and tooth paste (for overnight stays)
  • Plastic bags to store garbage (please don’t litter)
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Connectivity
  • Mobile phone
  • Portable charger
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Documents
  • Identification
  • Permit

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Support facilities

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Resting stops and facilities

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Rest stops
  • There are several rest stops along the various trails.
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Base camp
  • There are 2 base camps; Tinikaran camp 1 and Tinikaran camp 2.
  • It is recommended for hikers to make reservation at base camp beforehand during busier times.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Guides and porters

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Do you need a guide?

Hiring a guide is recommended for hikers who have not previously climbed Mount Apo. Guides generally climb in groups of 2-5 people per trip.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - How to find a guide?

The Tourism Office in Kidapawan can help in arranging a guide. There are also many tour operators and guides advertising their services online at decent prices.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Tips while working with guides

Try finding reviews of guides online, and consider offering one.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Porters

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Do you need a porter?

A porter might be handy for the longer-duration hikes, if you aren’t comfortable carrying your own load.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - How to find a porter?

Porters can be booked through tour operators, guides or at the Tourism Office.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Tips while working with porters

Give them feedback or leave a review about the experience.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Food & water

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - At the start of the hike

Shops selling snacks, refreshments and bottled drinking water can be found at various starting points around the mountain.  

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - During the hike, along the trail

It is advised for hikers to carry bottles that can be filled at the natural water sources which are situated at various rest-stops on the mountain.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - During the hike, at base camp

The restaurant at Tinikaran camp 1 has a restaurant.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Network connectivity

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Phone and data (3G) connectivity

3G connectivity is limited at higher altitudes of Mount Apo. However, there are several networks offering connectivity along the trails, including at the camps. The signal may completely drop in some areas during the climb. Check with the network provider beforehand if their signal reaches the mountain.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Accessibility

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Getting there

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Nearest airport
Davao Airport
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - From the airport to the starting point

Davao Airport can be reached directly from Manila, Cebu and other main cities around 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 57 km. Depending on traffic the journey usually takes 3 hours.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Climbing permits

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Is a permit needed?
Yes.
Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - How to get a permit?

Climbing permits can be arranged through the Tourism Office directly. Tour operators and guides can also assist in getting a climbing permit.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Special Tips

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - 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.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - 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. This trail takes climbers through a range of picturesque landscapes and terrain which will leave them with an unforgettable experience of Mount Apo. This route is ideal for climbers who are looking to test their stamina and strength.

Climbing Mount Apo Philippines - Other Mountains in philippines

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