The moment I heard the familiar sound of my alarm I set for 3 AM, I immediately got out of bed despite the aching body from the activities we did the day before (we visited Blue Water Cave and Lake Apo prior to this as part of your Bukidnon weekend getaway). I then tapped my buddy, Larry, to wake up. We did not want to waste our precious time. The goal was to reach the peak of Mt. Capistrano in the break of dawn so that we could experience the sunrise.
After fixing our ourselves and checked out, we took a bus ride right-away bound for Malaybalay. It was a smooth process.
We alighted at the Sayre-Aglayan junction – the nearest access to Mt. Capistrano from Valencia City, from where we stayed the night before). Then, we negotiated for a habal-habal ride to inch closer to our destination.
The next thing we knew, we were riding on through a cemented road in the middle of wide grasslands. Or so I thought (I found out later in the day that those were rice fields).
(I must admit that the habal-habal ride was a thing to experience as well. I enjoyed the smooth ride under the flickering star lights.)
After a 15-minute ride, we arrived at the registration area where we logged our names in, and then paid the obligatory charges, including the tour guide fee.
When some sort of orientation was finished, we were ready to go. But first, we bought some bottles of water as we found out that there’s no water source along the trail.
And, we were off to go!
We started by climbing more than 200 concrete steps at the beginning of the trail. The rest was all uphill climb through an inhospitable terrain. Some parts were as steep as 80° and thanks heavens as there were ropes put in place to aid the level of difficulty climbing up. We passed through boulders, dense woods, and, to my delight, some wild berries.
Indeed, our trek to the peak wasn’t that easy. But the experience was rewarding, seeing the 360° view of Bukidnon in the break of dawn. The panoramic landscape, the sea of clouds, the relaxing blows of wind, the green plains below, some unique rock formations, the rolling hills extending towards the horizon – all these breathtaking views await hikers at the peak of Mt. Capistrano. No wonder why it is a popular hiking destination in Malaybalay, Bukidnon in Central Mindanao, Philippines.
The assault to the summit took us about 1 hour and 30 minutes. We were back at the base, the registration center, at around 8 AM.
Truly, it was a nice, fulfilling, humbling experience.
Take a look at some snapshots we have taken at the top.
How to get there from Davao City:
1. Ride a bus at Ecoland Terminal bound for Cagayan de Oro, alight at the Sayre-Aglayan junction
2. From there, take a habal-habal ride (just tell the driver you are going for a hike at Mt. Capistrano; he will take you to all the way to the registration area)
- Obligatory tour guide fee: PHP 500 /2 (maximum number of person: 10) = PHP 250
- Registration fee: PHP 50
- Davao-Malaybalay bus fare: PHP 400 x 2 = 800
- Habal-habal: PHP 40 per person x 2 = 80
- Breakfast: PHP 100
- Bottled water: PHP 15
- Snacks: PHP 20
- Budget hotel: 700/2 = 350
TOTAL: PHP 1,685
Where to stay in Bukidnon
We chose to stay in Valencia City the night before for one reason – easy access to plenty of accommodation options. In other words, we wanted to ensure that we had a place to stay to take a rest prior to our Mt. Capistrano Trek.