1st Mount Apo International Boulder Face Challenge
Published in SunStar Davao and Manila Bulletin (see pages below)
Photos by Rhonson Ng & Jojie Alcantara
Mount Apo, the tallest and most majestic stratovolcano in the Philippines, stands proudly at an elevation of 2,954m above sea level. It is called the Grandfather of Philippine Mountains (apo means grandfather). The view at the peak overlooking Davao is simply breathtaking.
Recognized as the banner site of ecotourism, this mountain is within the Mount Apo National Park range (It is one of only two ASEAN Natural Heritage Parks in the country) which covers 64,053 hectares of five different lush forest formations protecting a diverse species of animal life and plants, mostly endemic and rare (lauan and almaciga, threatened species of flora, and the endangered Philippine monkey eating eagle, to name a few).
It is home to stunning waterfalls, hot springs, rivers and lakes, the famous of which is the cold Lake Venado; geothermal plants situated halfway up; giant trees and wild garden parks; lumad tribal settlers still dwelling in the area; and the distinct white boulders at the peak caused by sulfuric emissions. Since 1880 when it was first conquered, Mt. Apo has been a favorite climbing destination of many adventurers.
On April 29-30, 2011, one of the toughest adventure races in the Philippines is about to unfold. The Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge is a 24-hour extreme relay starting from the coastal areas of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur to the skyline of Mt. Apo’s boulder face. Participants will undergo exciting tasks of mountain biking, trekking, water tubing and road running. This event has been a highlight of Pista sa Kinaiyahan, an annual event celebrated by the municipality of Sta. Cruz.
The Boulder Face Challenge has made Davao Region a leading destination for eco-adventure for the past three consecutive years. Participating teams from Southeast Asia and as far as Canada were known to have joined the event. This year, however, it goes international to promote Davao region as a prime and global eco-adventure tourism destination. It also aims to develop responsible ethics among outdoor enthusiasts, and cultivate a spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship. More importantly, the objective is to create awareness on the significance of conserving Mother Nature; and foster a lasting peace and order situation in Mindanao through sports.
Officially launched early this year at the Tibolo Cultural Village in Barangay Tibolo, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, it is now open to teams with three members
(1 male, 1 female, 1 logistic crew) — all male — from different countries. Mount Apo Boulder Face Challenge is a 24-hour adrenalin race to the peak that entails mountain biking, trekking, white water tubing and road running. Competition is limited to only thirty teams (carrying capacity of trails in Mt. Apo Park). The winning team will receive US$3,500 (around PhP154,000).
The Mount Apo Boulder Face Challenge 2011 is spearheaded by the Department of Tourism Xl, the Municipality of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources with support from various agencies and organizations including San Miguel Corporation and Hedcor.
To know more about this tough competition, interested parties may check out the official website at www.boulderface.com. An orientation for participants is on April 27, 2011, 3pm at Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, while the race proper will start on April 29, 2011, 10 AM. Contact the Department of Tourism Xl (+6382 221.6955); Sta. Cruz Tourism Office (Mr. Julius Paner, mobile(63) 0920.856.7991), or email email@example.com.
Jojie Alcantara is a travel photographer and lifestyle columnist of 15 years for SunStar Davao. She also writes for Mabuhay Magazine, and other publications. View her works at www.dabawenya.net and www.pbase.com/jojie_alcantara . Rhonson Ng is an award winning photographer who contributes to international magazines and tourism. He is a mountaineer, spelunker and diver. He climbs Mount Apo at least thrice a year and will be documenting the competition (www.rhonsonphotos.com).