Mt. Megatong Hike - Sto. Tomas Davao Del Norte
May 23, 2019
If you love adventure as we do, you should not miss Mt. Megatong in your list of mountains to hike in the Philippines. It is situated at the Municipality of Sto. Tomas Davao Del Norte which is just around 2-3 hours travel from Davao City.
Today, more and more are getting into various fitness activities which include hiking. It is just revitalizing to explore and be with nature once in a while. For us, we do our best to go somewhere at least once every two months. And our decision to go to Mt. Megatong did not disappoint. It’s actually my 2nd time going here, but all my friends with me are first-timers.
How to Plan and How to Get There
The best way to experience this hiking activity is to hire a guide and one of the best that offers this service is Mt. Megatong AdvenTours. You can contact them through their Facebook page. These guys are one of those who organize a climb to this area. And they offer various packages for you to choose from. It is best to contact them a month prior to your planned hike since this area is already becoming popular and more and more people are planning to go here.
To get there, ride a bus bound to Sto. Tomas at Ecoland Transport Terminal – Davao City. As mentioned above travel time could be 2-3 hours depending on traffic. Fare is approximately 150 Php.
Things to Prepare
Since you are going for a hike, it is very important to prepare. Make sure that you bring the following:
- Headlamp/flashlight with extra batteries
- 2 liters of water (for ascending only, since there will be locals selling soft drinks and mineral water before the summit. But be sure to clarify this first to the organizers)
- Jacket (it is cold and windy at the campsite)
- Food (I highly suggest you go for the package that includes food so you don’t have to worry about this.)
- But, if you have your own cook set and portable burner, it’s also a great experience to cook for yourself in the wilderness.
Arrival at Sto. Tomas going to Jump-off Area – Sitio Talos
Our meeting area is at 7/11 in Sto. Tomas near the bus terminal. It’s easy to locate since the bus will stop at its terminal. Upon our arrival, there are already a lot of hikers. After several minutes of waiting, slowly each group were aided in riding the transportation to the jump-off site which is what they call Habal-habal. It’s a motorcycle ride but not the usual one since the capacity per motorcycle is around 5-6 people. This is made possible with the wing-like structure placed on each side of the vehicle. If you have not tried this mode of transportation yet, it will surely be a great experience.
Start of the Climb
Our hike started at around 3:00 in the afternoon. The hike would take around 3-4 hours depending on your level of fitness. For those who are used to this type of activity, 3 hours will do. We passed through a lot of breathtaking sceneries where all you could see around you is a vast landscape of ridges. And yes, there are a lot of instagrammable places on the trail. I highly suggest you take as many pictures as you can while resting as well. However, make sure that you do not stop for too long or too often since you might end up being caught in the dark.
One thing I would like to point out is that you will not find any kind of shade in almost 3 / 4 of the trail. It’s mostly grassland. See to it that you are well prepared especially when you go there during the hot season. It is very important to stay hydrated. Having with you some trail foods is also a big help.
Mt Megatong Difficulty
The hike going to the peak of Mt. Megatong is not that hard but it could be challenging for those who are not used to this kind of activity. Remember, it’s a hike on grassland where you could get hit by direct sunlight for about 1-2 hours. I would give it a 6/10 rating in terms of difficulty.
Mt Megatong Height and Distance
When you look into its height, the summit is 1,876 ft. above sea level. And to go there, you have to through lots of ridges.
Don’t get fooled by the stats, when you search for its distance from the Jumpoff area to the summit, its only approximately 5 kilometers. But, it’s a trail which means that a 1-kilometer distance could take up to an hour of hiking. The trail is compose of rolling hills, which means you go up and down most of the time so don’t be surprised when you see on your device that you only accumulated 1-kilometer distance and your almost an hour on the trail.
Camping at Mt. Megatong Peak
Our goal was to reach the pick before it gets dark since we still have to set up our tent and for us to choose a better area to camp out. When we reached the top, the view is just breathtaking. We could see the scenic view of the Kapaliku river and the near cities.
An overnight stay in the wilderness is always a wonderful experience. It gives a different kind of peaceful vibe and all you do is appreciate how wonderful nature is. In the evening, you could see the city lights. The night stars are also something that you would appreciate more compared to when you are staying within the city. Before we call it a day, we had a nice group bonding.
Going back to the Jumpoff area – Kapaliku River Crossing
One thing that makes an overnight stay a great experience is you also get the chance to see a different sunrise view plus the sea of clouds. Sadly, we were not lucky enough to experience the see of clouds but being wrapped by morning fog is enough. I would say that all mountains offer a unique sunrise view but all of them provide the same feeling of awe when you slowly start to see it. And of course, it’s also the best time to take lots of pictures.
After we were geared up to go home, we slowly started our descent on a different trail. On this trail, there is a lot of riving crossing which was actually fun. But we still have to be careful since there are river parts where the current is strong. It is best to cross by groups. After about an hour of descent and crossing rivers, we reached the area where we will have our breakfast.
Aside from getting full after our meal, we also had a great time soaking at the hidden waterfalls near the area.
We continued with the river crossing until we reached the jump-off area. We arrived at around 11:00 AM. From here we ride again the Habal-Habal going to the terminal and headed back home.
Some Useful Tips
Here are some of the things that I wish I knew before going for this activity.
- Since there will be a river crossing, it is best to use hiking sandals instead of shoes. It’s more convenient and comfortable since wearing wet shoes while hiking is not that much of a fun experience. The trail is not that technical so wearing a hiking sandal will be enough.
- In line with the river crossing, make sure that you bring a ziplock where you could keep your electronics safe and dry. You do not want to end up getting your cellphone soaked in the river.
- It’s cold and windy at the peak so make sure that you bring a nice jacket to keep you warm. Bringing a sock and a bonnet for the night is definitely a good idea.
- Bring 1 energy drink for the hike going to the summit. This will keep you well hydrated and could give you that energy boost you need for the hike. This is necessary especially when you are not used to this kind of activity.
- Right before you reach the peak, there will be locals selling soft drinks and mineral water. Buy enough water which you will use during the night and on your hike back the following day. Aside from getting your needed water supply, you are also helping the locals earn. Again, be sure to ask the organizers if the locals are still selling there.
- Always be extra careful since you will most often be on the edge of a ridge and one false move could be dangerous.
- One of the most important. Respect the local. Don’t make fun of them by mimicking how they speak or their actions.
Mt. Megatong Itinerary
12:00-1:00 pm – meet up sa 7/11 Sto. Tomas
1:00-1:30 pm – Habal-habal ride to Sitio Talos
1:30 – 3:00 pm – Orientation / Preparation for Hike
3:00-6:00 pm – hike to Mt. Megatong Summit
7:00- 8:00 pm – dinner time
8:00-10:00 pm – socials
4:30-6:00 am – waiting for sunrise / sea of clouds while picture taking
6:00-6:30 am – fix tent and prepare for descent
6:30-8:00 am – trek to falls / river crossing
8:00-9:30 am – breakfast / river swimming
9:30-11:00 am – hike back to Talos – Jump off area
12:00 noon – Bus Terminal