Attractions

Mount Apo

Written by Patrick

OVERVIEW MAP NEED TO KNOW TIPS & HACKS GALLERY NEARBY

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OVERVIEW

Hikers on Mount Apo

Caption: Hikers on Mount Apo | Image Source

Mount Apo is the most prominent and highest mountain in the Philippines with an elevation of 2,954 meters above sea level.  It has three peaks with the southwest peak having the highest elevation and is topped by a wide crater containing a small lake.  While it is classified as dormant stratovolcano, Mount Apo has actually no known historical eruptions despite the presence of volcanic rocks and volcano craters (solfataras) in the area.

Mount Apo, also called Apo Sandawa, is a national park and a protected area considering the hundreds of species of flora and fauna inhabiting this imposing mountain.  It is home to the critically endangered Philippine eagle, the national bird of the Philippines.  Over 200 bird species of birds, 111 of those are endemic to the area, also inhabit the mountain.

The mountain has four major lakes, 19 major rivers, 21 creeks, waterfalls, 2 geothermal plants, and 2 hydropower plants.  Conquering Mount Apo is probably every mountain climber’s dream but is best explored by experienced mountaineers and hikers only due to its elevation and difficulty.  Hiking the mountain takes 3 to 4 days roundtrip.

Fast Facts

Attraction:
Mount Apo Natural Park
Type of Attraction:
Address:
Davao City | Digos | Kidapawan | Sta. Cruz
Phone:
+63 (082) 553 1441 – Davao del Sur tourism | +63 998 950 2558 | +63 917 556 0499 – Mt. Apo Adventures (tour operator)
Hours:
Open 24 hours
Closed:
June to August (off-season period)
Best Time to Visit:
November to May
Food & Drink:
YES
FREE WiFi:
NO
Cost:
Cost per Person:  $15+
Payment Type:
Cash
Fees:
2,000 – 2,500 pesos ($40 – $50 USD) – Permit fee (refresher course included)
1,000 – 1,500 pesos ($20 – $30 USD) – Exit fee
7,000 – 9,000 pesos ($140 – $180 USD) 3-day tour package rate
Notes:
Exploring the mountain alone is prohibited so make sure to book an accredited guide prior to your trip. These guides can help ensure your safety as they know the terrain and the challenges you may come across during your climb.

Careful planning and bringing along your complete gear are not enough preparation. The climb is arduous so make sure to prepare physically and mentally.

Do your assignment. Learn more about the mountain by studying the maps and acquainting yourself with the weather condition of the area.

Follow the rules and regulations implemented by the local government and the management. Never leave your trash, don’t kill any animal, and avoid taking any plant from the mountain.

Cost per Person:  $= $1-5  |  $$ = $6-10  |  $$$ = $11-15  |  $$$$ = $15+

MAP

This attraction is located on Mindanao Island near Kidapawan City.

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NEED TO KNOW

How To Get To Mount Apo?

There are several trails leading to Mount Apo – Kapatagan Trail, Talomo Trail, and Sibulan Trail are accessible via Davao while Kidapawan Trail, New Israel Trail, and Bongolanon Trail can be reached via North Cotabato.

Via Sibulan Trail

Sibulan Trail is the shortest and said to be the most scenic. The entry point is Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur

Step 1
Book a flight to Davao City from your current location via Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia. These commercial airlines have multiple direct flights to Davao City from Manila and Cebu everyday. Cebu Pacific also flies to Davao from Puerto Princesa and Iloilo at least once a day.

Step 2
Depending on your flight schedule and your itinerary, you can either stay for a night in Davao City or proceed to Santa Cruz upon arrival in Davao.

From the airport, you can reach Santa Cruz by riding a metered taxi found outside the terminal as they are cheaper than the taxis found at the exit. One way ride costs not less than P700 and travel time is around two hours.

Alternatively, you can also take a taxi to Ecoland Terminal where you can ride a bus or shuttle to Santa Cruz.

Step 3
Upon arriving in Santa Cruz Terminal, ride a motorcycle or tricycle to get to the municipal tourism office where you will register, get a permit, pay the required fees, and meet up with your guide. It is best to find a guide at least two days before your arrival in Davao so you have someone to help you arrange your itinerary and other things needed for the hike.

Via Kapatagan Trail

Kapatagan Trail is considered the longest trail to Mount Apo. The entry point is Digos City.

Step 1
Book a flight to Davao City from your current location via Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia. These commercial airlines have multiple direct flights to Davao City from Manila and Cebu everyday. Cebu Pacific also flies to Davao from Puerto Princesa and Iloilo at least once a day.

Step 2
Depending on your flight schedule or itinerary, you can either stay a night in Davao CIty or proceed to Digos City upon arrival in Davao.

From the airport, the fastest and most convenient way to get to Digos City is through a taxi ride. However, it costs higher so if you are on a tight budget, consider taking a bus from Ecoland Terminal. Travel time from Davao City to Digos City is around one hour and 30 minutes.

Step 3
Get off at Digos Terminal and take a van to Kapatagan where you will register, pay required fees, and arrange guides and other things needed for the hike.

Via Kidapawan Trail

Step 1
Book a flight to Davao City from your current location via Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia. These commercial airlines have multiple direct flights to Davao City from Manila and Cebu everyday. Cebu Pacific also flies to Davao from Puerto Princesa and Iloilo at least once a day.

It is best to be in Kidapawan at least a day before your scheduled hike.

Step 2
From Francisco Bangoy International Airport, ride a taxi to take you to Ecoland Terminal which is approximately 12 kilometers away. Fare should be around P400 ($8 USD).

At the terminal, take a bus via Mindanao Star or Davao Metro Shuttle. The first trip of Mindanao Star is at 3:00 AM and the last trip is at 8:00 PM with 30 minutes trip interval. Meanwhile with Davao Metro Shuttle, the first trip is at 6:00 AM and the last trip is at 9:00 PM with 15 minutes interval. Fare is between P150 to P263 and travel time is about three hours.

Step 3
Proceed to Kidapawan tourism office and pay the climbing fee, guide fee, porter fee, and others. It is best to contact the tourism office prior to your schedule so they can arrange your guide, transportation, and others.

The Airport Closest to Mount Apo

Francisco Bangoy International Airport (IATA: DVO), the airport closest to Mount Apo, is located less than 150 kilometers away from Mount Apo Natural Park.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit this attraction to avoid crowds is early in the morning, usually before 10:00 AM.

Closures

This attraction is closed from June to August.

Fees

Fees require payment in cash.  Credit cards are not accepted at this attraction.

Food & Drink

Food and drinks from outside the attraction are allowed at this attraction.

Alcohol

Consuming alcohol is not allowed at this attraction.

Pets

Pets are not allowed at this attraction.

Smoking

Smoking is not allowed at this attraction.

Trash

Please dispose of your trash properly or take it with you.  Don’t Trash the Philippines!  

The Philippines are beautiful islands … let’s all ensure they remain this way. 

TIPS & HACKS

The following are recommended items for this experience: 

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

CamelPack

I always carry a Camelbak Hydration Pack with me when traveling. Not only does it allow me to pack all my daily gear and snacks, but it also has a 3-liter water bladder which holds enough water to get me through the entire day.

Bluetooth Speaker

Compact yet mighty, a bluetooth speaker setup is a breeze, and the sound quality it delivers for its size is nothing short of impressive. Beyond its audio prowess, it boasts exceptional durability, making it an ideal companion for outdoor adventures.

UV Shirt

UV Shirt is an essential when travelling in a tropical country. Providing reliable protection during long hours in the water, not only comfortable but also ensures a secure shield against the elements.

Snorkel Gear

For my island-hopping escapades, a snorkel gear set has become indispensable. Designed to enhance the joy of snorkeling and free diving, each piece ensures comfort and functionality. Together, they create an immersive and enjoyable underwater experience.

Adventure Camera

As a long-time enthusiast of GoPro cameras, I can attest to their user-friendly nature, excellent image stabilization, and impressive footage quality. Waterproof and rugged, the GoPro is my reliable companion for capturing adventures in any environment.

Aqua Shoes

When it comes to beach footwear, aqua shoes offer exceptional support, breathability, and overall comfort. Well-crafted and sturdy, it provides effective protection against rocky terrain, quick drying for added convenience, and easy maintenance. A must-have for any outdoor enthusiast.

CLICK FOR MORE TRAVEL GEAR

Photos

The following are some photos of this attraction.

Videos

The following is a video of this attraction.

NEARBY

The following are other points of interest nearby:

  • Eden Nature Park & Resort
  • Teril Highlands Adventure
  • Jardin de Señorita Mountain Resort
  • MonteFrio Garden Resort 
  • Virgin Falls

READ MORE: Davao City Visitors Guide

Don’t Forget …

Have you ever visited this attraction?

About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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