A visit to Mt Apo, experiencing a world within a world

 

On the trail, one can see the rawness of things, with landscapes changing in every shift in altitude.

With cool temperature, climbers are treated to pleasant surprises coming in the form of exquisite flora and fauna.

Seeds of palm trees in the forest of Mt. Apo. Photo by Louie Lapat

Seeds of palm trees in the forest of Mt. Apo.

Photo by Louie Lapat

If you’re lucky enough, one can see a Philippine monkey-eating eagle hovering above its thick foliage of trees. The truth is, it’s a world within a world. 

A mosquito's final moment before it falls to the trap of a pitcher plant in the forest of Mt. Apo. Photo by Louie Lapat

A mosquito's final moment before it falls to the trap of a pitcher plant in the forest of Mt. Apo.

Photo by Louie Lapat

A vast expanse of serene flatland is what Lake Venado offers, respite to weary climbers. Here, sans the occasional clouds that obscure the view, one can see the grandeur of the mountain considered by many the ultimate Philippine mountain climbing experience.

At night, the tune of cicadas lulled us to sleep after we saw to our heart’s content a sky bedecked with stars.

This sacred ground of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao is also rich in myths and legends that add to the mystery that shrouds this mountain. A sense of fulfillment awaits climbers at one of Apo’s three peaks. It’s a rewarding conclusion to a trek in conquering the country’s highest mountain. 

The beauty of this mountain and the fulfillment that awaits adventurous souls who climb it should be experienced by every Filipino. But with this shocking forest fire, it looks like some things will never be the same again. This disaster, whether man-made or natural, should compel us as a nation to assess the measures to protect Mt. Apo. 

On paper, Mt. Apo seems to get the necessary protection it deserves through Republic Act 9237 which declared Mt. Apo as a protected area. This is the time when authorities should reflect on what needs to be done to better protect this area. 

After all this, maybe it’s about time for the government to temporarily close Mt. Apo to the public to let the mountain flourish and rejuvenate. During this time, educating the public on the importance of Mt. Apo should also be scaled up.

Maybe Mt. Apo is telling us something. Maybe we are pushing Mt. Apo to the limits. 

This mountain in the southern part of the country is a source of our national pride. The shape of Mt. Apo’s future depends heavily on what decisions are made and what actions are taken today. This mountain is too beautiful to be just plastered on tarpaulins, postcards and ad materials. The beauty of Mt. Apo lies within its lush forest. It’s about time to reflect and do whatever we can to protect Mother Nature’s tallest grandchild. It’s our moral obligation to help protect Mt. Apo for future generations to enjoy and experience. – Rappler.com

Louie Lapat is a government employee in Tagum City, Davao del Norte where he writes for a local government on weekdays. On weekends, he explores his beloved Mindanao and write accounts about it on his travel blog: dsprinkles.com.