It's easy to fall in love when you're on top of the world, looking down and seeing the beauty of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, and Davao City in one sweeping view.
Having been invited countless times to scale Mt. Puting Bato in Samal and telling me that it was an easy climb, I was sorely tempted a lot of times, too. Mt. Puting Bato at 1,755 feet above sea level is used as a training ground for those who want to climb Mt. Apo and other higher mountains.
This August, I promised my friend Leo that I would climb Puting Bato with him, Nikola, and my travel buddy Olan. Nikola is also a non-climber or hiker so we were buddies.
I coordinated with the Island Garden City of Samal Tourism Office and City Information Office for a guide and transportation to starting point. Luckily, our guide Kuya Dario was available and is a member of the local disaster and rescue team. I was confident I would be okay. Ms. Diane of the Tourism Office also came with us. So off we went.
Kuya Dario asked our driver to stop along the highway and showed us where we were going and told us we were 7 kilometers shy from the start of the climb.
We left our vehicle at the starting point and started climbing. The way to the peak goes over slopes that are not too steep and affords views of the different provinces.
One stopover would face the Compostela and Davao del Norte provinces. You go under coconut, coffee, and other forest trees and rocks.
Nikola and I took breaks every now and then--- Me to catch my breath, and her to take a rest.
100 steps before the peak is a gate that was padlocked at that time. So our guide had to find a way along the sides of the fence while Leo climbed the entrance gate. Don’t follow Leo. We did not.
If there is a person manning the gate and it is open, this is where you pay 10 pesos as entrance fee and 25 pesos if you are going to stay overnight.
When you reach the peak, there is a stone eagle on a pedestal and a sign that tells you that you have reached Puting Bato Peak Park. From here you can see the whole of Samal Island and nearby Davao City, Davao del Sur and Davao Occidental.
You go down on the side to get to Huyong-Huyong Muntain Park to see the white wall of Mt. Puting Bato. From this vantage point, it is obvious why it is called Puting Bato because of the white stone wall amid the green.
Here, the wind flows freely refreshing you from the climb. Your eyes rest on the deep blue sea, the green forest and hills, and the blue sky. You can sit or lay back on the cottages as you pat your back for reaching the peak.
We all took turns having our photos with the wall as our backdrop then it was time to go down. The walk down was faster.
At the Cavanico Il Ma Re Resort where we stayed after, we were talking about how there is a sense of accomplishment when you climb a mountain. For me it was another achievement after climbing Hamiguitan in 2005 and Lake Holon in 2014. For Nikola who was a first-time climber, it was a feat and an opening of heart and mind to outdoor activities. For Leo, it was a breeze as he has been summiting mountains in different parts of the world. But still, any mountain is a challenge no matter how tall or short the climb may be.
Climbing Mt. Puting Bato is a good start for mountain climbing beginners and non-climbers but please do coordinate with the Island Garden City of Samal Tourism Office at 0947-890-1850 and look for Sir Janus.
How to Get There:
Major airlines fly daily to Davao City from Manila and Cebu. Travel time from Manila is an hour and 50 minutes and Cebu is 50 minutes.
From the airport, take a taxi to the Sasa 11 barge to Samal Island. Arrange with the City Tourism Office 0947-890-1850 for a climb to Mt. Puting Bato.