Mt. Matutum is an active stratovolcano, its last recorded eruption was on March 1911 (PHILVOLCS). The fourteenth highest point of the country.
After five hours of a bus ride from Davao we reached Tupi, South Cotabato proper at around seven in the morning and had our breakfast. Then, we headed to the municipality’s tourism office and settled everything that concerned about the climb. There were four of us on this trip (Leo, Ken and Martin). We took a habal-habal ride (without the roof) going to mt. Matutum checkpoint and met our guide.
While on our way, we passed through a vast pineapple plantation. I was really having fun on that part of cool, smooth, and up and down ride over there. It was like a kiddie ride for me. The smile and laughter were all over my face, not worrying about the super bumpy and steep ride that we usually met when going to mountainous places. As we went along, I finally came to see mt. Matutum up close. I took a shot of the beautiful mountain while still on that habal-habal ride.
Our guide already awaits for us at the DENR checkpoint. While looking at the mountain, Leo said, we will probably hit the summit at three o’clock in the afternoon (But it didn’t turned out that way.😦 ). And I said “good that’s very nice”.
We started trekking at 9:00 am. We passed by an avocado plantation, fields planted with different crops, hills and community of settlers. The people there were warm and accommodating. The Kablon Farm can also be found in the area. And I said,” Wow, I l super loved their durian jam product. So here is where it came from”.🙂
We reached the forest line, wherein you can also set a camp on this site. The last potable water source is also located here and no more water can be found along the way except the water source from the crater which had a rustic color, smells, had to use filter if you don’t want to drink some floating substances with it, and had to boil it first before drinking.
After filling our bottles with water, we started ascending. Sadly, we really didn’t fill our containers with water that much because our guide told us that there’s a lot of water up there. The trail was a continuous steep path until reaching phase 1 at 11;45 am. We stopped here for a while and had our lunch.
At this point, we already felt the exhaustion. We weren’t able to sleep last night. A good sleep is a must before climb.
While eating, I heard the birds singing in different and some weird tunes. Never heard most of it before. Through this, I could tell that this mountain is a home to diverse species of birds. The temperature started to dropped down, so, we continued to ascend. The next flat surface will be at the summit. The forest gets thicker and colder as we moved on.
The diversity of ferns was surely awesome.
There were, I think two species of flowering plant that seemed to be ubiquitous starting from the forest line up to the peak of the mountain. Of course, I was able to collect data for my ant study while we were trekking, my climb buddies tried to helped out too.
I don’t know, but something weird happened up there in the forest. Still thinking if I’m going to share it or not. Maybe soon.
Our pacing was just fine. We’re so exhausted ( I think, because we didn’t sleep a day before the climb) but still pushing hard to not stop, We wouldn’t want to get caught by the darkness. It’s risky and it’s our first time to do that mountain. We usually see to it that our line was not broken by calling the attention of the lead person that you’re following if he’s no longer visible to your sight and checking if the pack behind you still follows you. We do this thing in all our treks.
The three of us regrouped, Martin was no longer in sight. We tried to call his attention by calling the last syllable of his name in an abrupt and quick utterance to reduce noise. But we can hardly hear our own voice. We tried clapping but it didn’t work because it made a dull sound due to the dirt that was all over our hands and little energy was applied in clapping. I was disappointed to myself for not bringing my whistle. Still, we managed to laugh at ourselves.
Are we there? Then we started to asked this kind of question over and over. The forest was so tricky. I f you look ahead, you will see light at the end of the trail, so it will made us think that summit was just nearby. We moved fast to get there only to find out that there awaits a harder trail upon reaching that mark. ” Oh no…“, says me. The trail was like this for about over and over. :)
More crawling through the holes and under the roots and huge fallen trees and logs (You’ll kissed the ground). The hard part here was when I wont fit through the passage because of my pack that I had to unpack. You had to Cling on the trees and leaping were also needed. I think I was the only one who had a good dinner. After taking like three spoons, the boys hurriedly went back to their tents. They said it’s cold. Ken didn’t even came out, he was sleeping flat after he pitched his tent . Well, I finished mine. I wont say no to food. hehe :)
The next day was fine and sunny. We had a nice and good meal. We will leave after lunch so I had a lot of time roaming around the area and search for my precious ants.
We left the camp at 11: 45 am and after three and a half hours, we reached the base.