Whispers in Sarangani highlands: Is Kitbog Quiboloy’s hiding place?

Rommel Rebollido

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Whispers in Sarangani highlands: Is Kitbog Quiboloy’s hiding place?

FETCH. An SUV, referred to by locals as fugitive preacher Apollo Quiboloy's property, fetches worshipers from their homes and takes them to Kitbog in Malungon town for a church service on Sunday, May 12, 2024.

Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

The secluded area has been referred to by fugitive preacher Apollo Quiboloy as his 'decision mountain,' and where his ministry began

IN the remote highlands of Sarangani, fugitive preacher Apollo Quiboloy continues to exert influence over his followers, despite facing multiple arrest warrants for criminal charges.

A vehicle associated with Quiboloy regularly brings worshipers to his Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) services in a mountain Blaan community in Malungon town. Then, there is a helicopter frequenting the area, sparking talk among villagers that he might be using the secluded area as a hiding place. 

On a cloudy mid-morning on Sunday, May 12, an old dark blue Nissan Patrol off-road vehicle emerged on a dirt road from Kitbog and passed a row of houses in Kalonbarak. Both sitios are in Malungon.

Minutes later, the full-size SUV reappeared on the opposite side of the road, now packed with people dressed in their Sunday best, moving slowly as it headed back to Kitbog, about three kilometers away. The family of the town’s mayor runs a mountain resort along a ridge with a breathtaking view of Malungon.

The vehicle fetched worshipers to attend a KOJC service in Kitbog, said a sitio leader, who requested that her name be withheld. 

‘Decision mountain’

“Sakyanan ni Quiboloy na. Kuhaon ang mga miyembro nila aron mosimba sa Kitbog,” the resident said. (That’s Quiboloy’s car. They use it to fetch worshipers from their homes and take them to Kitbog to attend church service.)

A black helicopter, belonging to Quiboloy, has also been frequently landing and flying out of Kitbog.

Talks are rife among Blaan residents of Kalonbarak that the fugitive pastor could be hiding in the remote highland community. Quiboloy, who styles himself as the “appointed son of God,” had in the past referred to Kitbog as his “decision mountain.”

Road, Gravel, Outdoors
REMOTE. A dirt road snakes on hilltops from sitio Kalonbarak to the KOJC compound in sitio Kitbog, Poblacion, Malungon, Sarangani province. Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

Kitbog is also among the places suspected by former workers of Quiboloy’s group to be a potential hiding place for the leader of the KOJC. Quiboloy has evaded the law despite having three warrants for his arrest for a string of criminal cases.

Kitbog is roughly 15 kilometers from the highway, accessible by an almost continuous steep climb along a zigzagging road with alternating sections of concrete and limestone pavement cut into the mountainside.

Gaining altitude on a 30-minute bumpy uphill ride, one gets an aerial view of Malungon town proper and, in the distance, the provinces of Davao del Sur and South Cotabato.

An article published on the KOJC website refers to Kitbog as the place where the “appointed son of God” realized “God’s calling” and where his ministry began in the 1970s.

The community leader we spoke to said Quiboloy always leads Sunday church services in Kitbog, but then pointed out that it was only “on video.”

“Wala siya diha, video lang parehas sa tanan simbahan nila sa abroad (He is not there, only on video like what you see in their other churches abroad),” the resident said. 

The Blaan community leader denied being is a KOJC member, saying they go to a different church near their house.

On May 4, Quiboloy’s black helicopter landed in Kitbog, but the community leader said they could not tell if the preacher was on it.

“Halos man kada adlaw dunay moabot helicopter (Almost every day, a helicopter arrives),” the resident said.


The sitio leader recalled their younger years in the 1970s when they tagged along with their parents to attend Quiboloy’s church service in Kitbog.

The source described Quiboloy then as a young preacher of a Protestant church in Kitbog, its rolling terrain thick with forest and very few residents. People then had to walk or go on horseback to move to places.

“Bata-bata lang na siya ni Major Sanchez sa una, wala pa siya nailhan,” the source said, referring to Quiboloy. (He was just a sidekick of Major Sanchez before, when he was still unknown.)

The major referred to was the leader of a Presidential Assistant on National Minorities (Panamin) team sent to the place to look into the concerns of indigenous peoples, mostly Blaan, during those years.

The community leader is related to Sarangani tribal chieftain and Malungon town council member Datu Edmund Pangilan, who belongs to a prominent Blaan clan that owns vast tracts of land in Kitbog.

Domain stewardship

Quiboloy was conferred the title “Datu Tud Labun” by the Blaan community on May 29, 2023. He is now in possession of a vast land area in Kitbog, which he acquired after being conferred the royalty title.

“Pastor Quiboloy was presented with the stewardship of their (Blaan community) ancestral domain,” KOJC said on its website. It was not mentioned how vast the ancestral domain is, but many residents believe it is around 200 hectares.

Path, Nature, Outdoors
COVERED. Shielded from the road by thick vegetation, a house appears unoccupied. It is located along the road from Kalonbarak that ends at the KOJC compound in Sitio Kitbog. Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

During the conferment rites, the preacher vowed to turn Kitbog into a “pilgrimage destination,” similar to the Prayer Mountain and Glory Mountain in Barangay Tamayong in Davao City.

In a video posted on the KOJC website, Quiboloy said, “We will make a city out of Sitio Kitbog.”

House in Kitbog

A KOJC Kingdom Chronicles video shows a modest house of Quiboloy in Kitbog.

Atop a hillock by a sharp downhill curve along the road from Kalonbarak to Kitbog stands a painted house covered in vegetation. It is quite different from other houses in the area, fenced with a lawn, a garden of flowers, and lined with pine trees.

But on Sunday, May 12, Fernando Pangilan, a resident of the place, said the house belonged to his brother, Datu Edmund Pangilan.

Pangilan said the house has not been occupied for some time because his brother, who is also a church pastor (not with KOJC), stays mostly at his house in Malalag Cogon, a barangay along the highway to Davao del Sur.

From the house in Kitbog is an overlooking view of green structures at a distance amid rolling terrain. 

The structures belong to KOJC, Pangilan said. “You can go there and see for yourself the place,” he offered.

This reporter has been trying to contact Datu Edmund for a week to no avail for his comment about the ancestral domain, whose stewardship was allegedly presented by the Blaan community to Quiboloy.

Arrest warrants

A young policeman at the Malungon police station on Thursday, May 9, was startled when he was asked if they had monitored the fugitive preacher in the town.

The young policeman said what he remembered was that whenever Quiboloy was in town, “his people usually coordinate with the military, not with us.”

Plant, Vegetation, Countryside
FROM A DISTANCE. A view from a roadside house in Kitbog, overlooking KOJC structures in the distance amid rolling terrain. Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

Informed that there were three arrest orders for Quiboloy, the policeman asked for copies of the warrants.

The arrest orders – one issued by the Senate on March 19, another by a court in Davao City on April 1, and a court in Pasig on April 11 – were for a string of criminal offenses, including alleged human trafficking, child abuse, and sexual abuse.

Asked if they had been to Kitbog, the policeman said they “cannot go there because it is a private area.”

Another policeman, in half uniform and who did not identify himself, said they cannot just go to Kitbog “because of the nature of the events going on in the place, religious, mahirap na (it’s risky).”

This reporter asked to talk to the chief of police, but was told he was at the provincial police office attending to important matters. –

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