I never consider myself as a mountain hiker least a proficient mountaineer. I’ve always thought mountain hiking is a very tedious form of outdoor activity. Dull and dreary, I assumed. So, whenever I got invites for mountain climbing, I courteously declined. Surprisingly, one unplanned trip took me to the highest point of an Island that changed my whole lackluster impression about mountain climbing. It was a day hike that carried me away to instantly fall in love with the mountains. And from then on, I have always liked to conquer the thrill of great heights. This I give credit to the day I made my first unforgettable climb to MOUNT PUTING BATO of the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaGoS).Mount Puting Bato is located in Barangay Guilon in the Island Garden City of Samal, a component city of Davao del Norte Province. Standing at a towering height of 1,345 feet (410m) above sea level, Mount Puting Bato is the Island’s highest point. Being the highest summit, it is one of most popular destinations in the Island and home to many climbing expeditions of many mountain climbers and enthusiasts.
Easily reached, Mount Puting Bato is a perfect destination for a great day hike. Its peak can be reached following two different trails. One is the Guilon Trail and the other one is Tayapoc Trail. The Guilon Trail entails approximately 2 hours hike from the jump off point passing through narrow trails and bushy woods. On the other hand, Tayapok Trail from the jump off site to the peak only requires a very minimal 30 minutes hike passing through an open trail and grassy upland. With its great accessibility, conquering Mount Puting Bato’s summit is indeed a wondrous day hike adventure.
Reaching the peak of Mount Puting Bato, all my exhaustion vanished away upon seeing the breathtaking 360° panoramic view of everything that surrounds the Island. The view of Davao City on the west; the green mountain ranges of Davao Oriental on the east; verdant Valleys of Compostela Valley on the North; and the tranquil Davao Gulf on the south. The majestic peak of Mount Apo peeping from the clouds also added amazing attraction of the view from top. It was really an astonishing sight.
My first trek to Mount Puting Bato was actually unplanned. Together with my travel buddies, it was supposedly a beach getaway at one particular resort but our itch for more adventure lured us to explore the other charms of the Island. The “no itinerary” adventure for that day brought us to the many must-see destinations in Samal Island and that included our unexpected climb to Mount Puting Bato, making it my first ever mountain climbing experience followed by other different amazing mountain treks.Today, I learn to love the thrill of every mountain adventures I have. There is a feeling of triumph and sheer fulfillment whenever I am at the top. Yes, the trek is tiresome. That’s inevitable but amusingly fulfilling. Mount Puting Bato ignited the love I have for the mountains. I’ll forever be grateful.
My first day hike to Mount Puting Bato was followed by another. And another. And another. I’ll never get tired to go up there. Now, whenever I bring friends to the Island Garden City of Samal, I make sure to give them a Mount Puting Bato experience. Tiresome it may seem but I guarantee them special pleasure that is undeniably memorable. So, whenever you’re in Samal Island, never miss to climb Mount Puting Bato. It has become one of my favorites in the island. And who knows? It could also be yours.
HOW TO GET THERE:
From Davao City, take an Island City Express Bus going to Island Garden City of Samal. Drop off at Peñaplata proper. From Peñaplata, take a single motorcycle (habal-habal) and tell the driver to bring you to Sitio Tayapoc, the jump off point going to the peak. From there, follow the trail going up to the summit of Mount Puting Bato.