|Elevation||3,145 m (10,318 ft)|
|Prominence||3,145 m (10,318 ft)|
|First ascent||1880 by Don Joaquin Rajal and party|
Mount Apo is a volcanic mountain which is located between the provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato in Mindanao in the Philippines. The tallest mountain in the Philippines, it has five different types of forest inhabited by hundreds of different endemic animal species, and it has several peaks also and has been declared a national park. One unique species that can be found in the forests of Mt. Apo is the Philippine eagle or monkey-eating eagle.
The mountain is located on the border of Davao del Sur (South) North Cotabato (West), Bukidnon (North)Davao city (East) two nearby provinces in the mainland Mindanao, (south of the Philippines).
The mountain and the surrounding area which form the Mount Apo National Park cover a land area of 64,053 hectares. About 19 kilometers up its slopes is found Lake Venado. The mountain’s high peak appears to be white, due to a crust of sulphur that is released in the mountain’s emissions. Volcanic in nature, the mountain has 3 craters but is not known to have ever erupted. The mountain is a source of geothermal power, however, with at least two geothermal plants located on it. Mt. Apo is the tallest Philippine mountain. It measures 3,143.6 meters above sea level. Despite its height, the mountain is considered easy to climb and is popular with climbers.
There are five distinct forest formations on Mt. Apo. These include lowland, low montane, high montane, and summit or scrub forest. Mt. Apo is known as one of the most ecologically rich mountains in the region. Due to the diversity of its landscape, and influenced by its climate, soil, rock formations, slant, and drainage, a wide variety of plants grow on the mountain. Hundreds of endemic species of plants, including rare and threatened species, have been found on the mountain. About 800 different types of endemic plants have been identified as growing on the mountain’s slopes in a segment between 300 to 1000 meters above sea level. Among these are the rare lauan and the endangered almaciga. There are 629 known species of flowers, including 42 endemics. There are 18 threatened species of flowers, including the waling-waling orchid.
The forests of Mt. Apo are home to various species of endemic animals. Some 227 vertebrate species, which include amphibians, reptiles, mammals, inhabit the mountain. As many as 118 species of butterflies have been documented in the area. The mountain is also home to 272 species of birds, of which 111 (40%) are endemic to Mt. Apo and two endemic bird species are endangered. One is the Philippine eagle or monkey-eating eagle, and the other is the abukay.
The first recorded climb on Mt. Apo was by a party led by Don Joaquin Rajal on October 10, 1880. The oldest climbers documented to have scaled Mt. Apo are Froilan Mendez and Salvador Sebastian, who were 65 and 76 years old at that time. They used the Kidapawan City trail to climb the mountain in 2009.
Transport to the mountain can be arranged from nearby Davao City, which is accessible by land, air, and sea transport.
Climbing the mountain
It takes about three to five days for climbers to reach the peak of Mt. Apo. There are several different trails that can be used to ascend the slope, of which the Kidapawan City trail is said to be the most difficult.
- Maitem, Jeffrey, and Fernandez, Edwin. “North Cotabato to Sue PNOC for Mt. Apo Intrusion.” In the Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 22, 2007.
- Mendez, Froilan A. “A Senior Citizen's Guide to Climbing Mt. Apo.” In the Philippine STAR.
- “Mount Apo Natural Park.” In World Heritage Site.
- Majestic Mount Apo. Davao-Philippines.com.