Mt. Hamiguitan San Isidro Davao Oriental

Hamiguitan’s peak shown here partly covered with clouds, jutting out of the bonsai forest

Latitude/Longitude: 6.745 N, 126.174 E
Elevation: 5, 314.96 ft/ 1,620 m
Location: San Isidro, Davao Oriental
Weather: Generally with good, sunny weather on trail, coldest at campsite area near the peak.
Climb Fee:P150.00 is collected as climb fee

Known Jump-off Sites:
Brgy. La Union- Gov. Genoroso (if traversed)

Summary:

Mt. Hamiguitan is part of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) located in the province of Davao Oriental. MHRWS was created (hence declared a conservation and sanctuary site) by virtue of RA 9303 last 2004 by the Philippine congress. In 2009, provincial officials of Davao Oriental submitted MHRWS to UNESCO as world heritage site and is now included on the the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. It is currently closed to climbers by virtue of PAMB Resolution No. 2010-2 dated March 25, 2010 as requested by officials of the province to protect the area from the effect of El Nino.
The 6,834-hectare total surface area of Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by five (5) vegetation types, namely, agro-ecosystem (75-420m asl), dipterocarp (420-920m asl), montane (920-1160m asl), typical mossy (1160-1350m asl) and the mossy-pygmy forest (1160-1200m asl).  Mt. Hamiguitan itself boast of some  225 hectares of centuries old bonsai fields or pygmy forest in magnesium-iron rich soil, a diverse flora and fauna -many of these specie are rare, endemic and endangered. This include the famed Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), Acerodon jubatus (Golden-crown Flying Fox) and Tarsius syrichta (Philippine Tarsier) Sus philippinensis(Philippine Warty Pig), Cervus mariannus (Philippine Brown Deer), and Haplonycteris fischeri (Philippine Mossy-pygmy Fruit Bat)and Paradoxurus hermaphroditus (Asian Palm Civet). Two endemic species of birds, Phapitreron cinereiceps (Dark-eared brown dove) and Pinelopides panini (Tarictic Hornbill) are endangered; one is near-threatened,Aethopyga primigenius (Grey-hooded sunbird) and one vulnerable, Mimizuku gumeyi(Giant-scoop Owl).

Near Mt. Hamiguitan’s peak, two nature wonders awaits the determined climber .Tinagong Dagat (Hidden Sea) with its famed and mystical high and low tides  and the majestic Twin Falls.

The climb to Mt. Hamiguitan’s peak from Bgry. La Union basically consist of three parts, starting with two hours of  river trekking and crossing, then passing through 5 types of vegetations (mentioned earlier), an hour or so of scaling some steep wall and the mossy-pygmy forest trek. There is a campsite just below the peak, where summit ascent and treks to Tinagong Dagat and Twin Falls entails another one to two hours on different trails. Climbers have this option of traversing to Gov. Generoso for their descent or backtrail towards Brgy. La Union

Fitness and Training Considerations:

Days to Peak: 1-2 days
Trek Hours: 9-12 hours passing through 5 vegetation types, river treks and crossing, some steep wall climbing (I recommend ropes for safety)
Backpack weight: 10% of body weight
Training Prep: Jogging, Swimming- Cardio work up; Cross-training: Bike/Walk; some ropemanship
Climate Prep: Cold acclimatization for warm climate dwellers

Transportation:
Point of Origin to Jump Off: Bus/Van from Davao City to San Isidro Davao Oriental.
San Isidro to Brgy La Union jump off: Passenger type Single Motorcycle (Habal-Habal) / Jeep (for groups)

Accommodation: Camping

Food Sources/ Market: Wet and Dry Market is located at the town proper of San Isidro. A host of carenderias are also available within the town proper.

Climb Guides The municipal gov’t requires climbers to have a guide- one guide per 5 climbers. Guide fee is 150 to 200 per day. Local tourism officials will assist in securing guides.

Climb Safety is assured for as long as you coordinate your climb with the local tourism office. It’s not advisable to bring expensive gadgets/valuables during climbs here. Lately unconfirmed reports of armed conflicts in some areas of the MHRWS  hit the mountaineering circles. As of March 29, 2010 and up to now, July 1 2012, Mt. Hamiguitan is closed to climbers (except for validated scientific research purposes only). No news yet of when will climbs be allowed again.

Photography Tips:
Subjects/Backgrounds: Landscapes, Mossy-pygmy forest, Bonsai fields, Pitcher plants, Tinagong Dagat, Twin Falls, some unique bird species
Gear Safety: Rain protection; Waterproofing a must!
Lenses: Wide and Telephoto Zooms. Macro lenses will also be nice

ITINERARY

Day 1
0300 From Davao’s Ecoland terminal, take a Bus/ van to Tibanban, San Isidro
0700 ETA San Isidro; hire jeep going to Brgy. La union
0800 ETA Brgy. La Union, arrange for porters and guides. Register.
0900 Start trek
0930 River Trekking/Crossing
1130 ETA Abandoned hut, foot of the mountain/entrance to the forest
1200 Lunch
1230 Resume trek
1400 ETA Uwang-Uwang Wall Climb
1600 ETA Lantawan Uno
1700 ETA Lantawan Dos
1800 ETA campsite (Near summit/ Bonsai Field). Set up camp
1900 Dinner/Socials

Day 2
0400 Wake up Call/ETD to summit
0500 ETA /Explore the summit (sunrise), bonsai field,
0700 ETA / Explore Tinagong Dagat’
0900 ETA campsite
1030 Explore Twin Waterfalls
1130 Break camp/ Start descent/Back Trail
1200 Lunch on Trail
1500 ETA abandoned hut
1700 Arrive at Brgy. La Union
1730 Return to Poblacion (Tibanban, San Isidro)
1800 ETD for Davao City

COST CONSIDERATIONS:

Particulars / Details
Number of Climbers: 4 – 6 pax

Environmental/Registration Fees: Php100.00/pax

Guide Fee: Php 250.00 guide/ day -one guide per group of 5 people
Porters: Php 250.00/porter/day

Transportation/ Fares
Airfare : Manila/Ilo-Ilo/Cebu to Davao ~ Php 2,500.00 – 4,000.00/Pax CP/AP/PAL (subject to change)
BusFare : Davao City to San Isidro Davao Oriental: ~ Php 180.00/Pax
San Isidro Town proper to Brgy La Union~ Php 50.00/pax (Jeep)/ Php 100.00/pax (habal-habal)

Meals Expenses: 2 Carenderia meal & 4 Camping style = 6 meals x ~ php 50.00/ meal

SUGGESTIONS for PERSONAL CLOTHINGS & EQUIPMENT: 

  • Lightly shaded sun glasses
  • Bush hat.
  • Dry (long/short sleeves) fit shirts and Trek Shorts/Pants.
  • Trek Warmers/leggings for those who wear trek shorts; arm Bands
  • External Jacket w/ hood or Lightweight raincoat
  • Protective gloves for that wall climb and holding on to root parts
  • Thermal underwears.
  • Sun cream above 30 SPF.
  • Thermal socks (2 pairs)
  • Lightweight hiking boots/or quick drying climbing shoes
  • Head Light for climbing/ Night trek at peak
  • T- shirts, full sleeve shirts and casual pair of clothes.
  • Tent*
  • Cooking utensils/Plate/S&F*

*Optional, but maybe shared if your trekking with a group.

Sources:

The author previously climbed this mountain and has written his personal accounts during this climb in this blog post.  Here’s another graphic recall on his Mt. Hamiguitan climb by Weng Gales of Pedroiho . Here’s the UNESCO tentative list which includes MHWRS .

About the Author

I am Bundok. When I'm not mending bones for living, I go hike, travel and then rant about my outdoor adventures. I consider my life outdoors as a fitness essential. For more updates, consider subscribing to this blog and to my twitter and Facebook fan page

3 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. sakatAPOlan mountaineer December 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    hi, i am sakatAPOlan. just also love hiking and travelling alone with some new and old companions. for more news and updates of my adventure. like us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/sakatapolan/info

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