Friday, May 31, 2013

Mt. Apo's Magpet Trail & Tawsuvan Falls

Right after breakfast and packing our things, the remaining part of our group started our 2-hour descent to Lake Venado. A pair had descended an hour earlier via Mandarangan trail, since they have to be in Davao that night, while the rest of us will spend another night along Magpet trail. Below is a photo of Lake Venado that morning, about 30 minutes after we left the summit.

I was following the porters who went ahead of us. My trekmates as seen on their descent.

The PNOC geothermal plant below emitting white smoke. It is operated by EDC which is controlled by the Lopezes, and its very hard to get permit to get passage on their “executive” trail.

Another shot of Lake Venado, around 45 minutes on arrival to the lake. Lunch was taken on the lake before proceeding via Magpet trail.

Near the left trail that leads to the 90 degree slope of Mandarangan trail, we turned right to the slippery, almost-virgin trail of Magpet. It was a short ascend along the slippery edge of the mountain. Then its a long gradual descent followed by steep descent on the campsite along the bank of the river.

It was raining when we arrived at the Bob'bong campsite. The river water is clear and very cold. Had it been a hot sunny weather, we probably took a refreshing dip on it. Good thing that our guide Amboy and his group of porters are quick to setup our tents and dinner, as always.

GA cooked pasta with tuna and tomato sauce for our birthday girl MT, in addition to the rice meals. Breakfast is heavy with adobo, dried squid, and omelette, since we have to finish all our food to lighten our load. See photo below of the small campsite as we broke camp.

Like in the previous day, the rest of the Magpet trail is clean and pristine. Fallen trees are also common, yet this time we saw more new flora and fauna. Rain goes on and off during our descent.

Orchids are bountiful on this trail, like the seedling on the left photo below. On our last campsite, there is a nice wild orchid flower on a high tree with catchy orange red color. 

This is also the first time that we saw pitcher plants on the wild (see rightmost photo), and not on some ornamental farm. On the last rest area, I saw these big ants (center photo) crawling from a thorny plant to the makeshift bench.

Arriving at our destination in Tawsuvan Falls, only then that I noticed a brown limatik that is feasting on my leg. I got a small bite near my toe, and a big bite on that part, as the creature grew fat from my blood. 

As expected, I did not feel anything, because they secrete anesthesia. That bite of the fat limatik caused blood oozing from the wound for 6 hours since I removed the creature, proving the efficacy of their coagulant substance on their saliva.

Instead of resting first, I washed my shoes and shirts at the cold river water, and tried hard to remove some more pesky limatiks inside my shoes and socks. Then I took a dip near the foot of the waterfalls. But I could only stay there for like 5 minutes, as I cannot stand the very very cold water.

After I changed into dry clothes, only then that I relaxed on one of the huts with a cup of hot coffee prepared by the porters. While waiting for my companions, I had a chat with a group of 4 people from GenSan who are climbing Mt. Apo that day via Magpet trail. 

Learning that only one of them is a newbie hiker, while the rest have no hiking experience, I wanted to tell them to back off. But I they would probably be offended if I say that, so I just told them how hard it is to climb the mountain with the rains and steep trails ahead.

Tawsuvan Falls in Brgy. Bongolanon, Magpet, North Cotabato is a nice vertical waterfalls. While waiting for my companions, I just sat on one of the huts and watched its cascading waters, which is very relaxing after a strenuous 5-hour trek. 

There is no entrance fee, and the park has restrooms, well-maintained by the municipal government. The man on the rightmost photo above is our very helpful guide Amboy Torres. You can reach him at 0946-2950544. 

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