Location: Mt. Capistrano, Sitio Binalbagan, Barangay Simaya, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon
Access Point: Sayre Highway, Bangcud, Malaybalay, City, Bukidnon
Mode of Transportation: Private ride (until Mt. Capistrano,Simaya); Bus (until Bangcud Sayre Highway only); then Hired Multicab for big groups/Habal-habal (motorcycle) for smaller number of people– Bangcud to Simaya.
Arrangement: No entrance fee yet. You can ask around for guides or you can go without guide. Ideally, it is best to go to the Barangay Hall and log in the names of the people going. You can also log out upon going down.
Home to four of the ten highest peaks in the country, Bukidnon has always a lot to offer in terms of nature. If you are not yet a certified mountaineer, but planning to tread this path, you might want to consider day hikes in Bukidnon. The infamous Mt. Palaopao, Mt. Capistrano and Mt. Musuan should be on your list. Or should you be preparing for a major climb like Mt. Apo, then these day hikes are among the best mountains for you to practice.
Mt. Capistrano, located at Sitio Simaya, is part of Malaybalay City. This mountain is famous in social media. People get curious of the photogenic rocky mountain which is a trending destination for most people around Bukidnon. To complete my day hike list and to experience the so-called Capistrano Rocky experience, I enlisted myself for the hike.
We arrived at 5 am and planned it this early in order to catch the sunrise and to avoid the summer heat on the later part of the morning. Sam, our friend who used to go here, is our guide and we just followed him.
It was still dark and we started with the concrete stairs going up. Sam told us that this consisted of 300+ steps. One technique I learned is not to hurry so you will not get tired easily. Sam taught us to climb with one foot, then put the feet together then repeat and alternate; rather than climb with one foot then another foot in ascending. This may be a slow pace but this really didn’t tire me easily. I just felt it was really a good start. I wasn’t so tired but I’m starting to sweat.
True enough, the trail going up is really steep. We were blessed because the soil is not so dry which will not make us slip easily. We also stopped at certain points to hydrate ourselves. This is really important.
The darkness was starting to fade away and upon looking around, the view of the rice fields welcomed us.
Another steep trail awaited us. We were gripping to anything we can hold on to. This has been one of the challenging trails I’ve been to so far. I can really see that the trees here are lying down. We managed to climb up (thank God!) without slipping. You really need to use your arms also upon going up.
We arrived at the Bamboo area and rested for a while. It was a relief after that sloping area experience.
As we proceeded, the rocky area starts to reveal itself. Our trail was mostly composed of rocks. We climbed and went down. This went on like a cycle. We usually ask Sam if we are near in order to manage our expectations.
We arrived at the camping site. Some people tend to camp here during the night in order to experience sleeping here and the breaking of the dawn and sunrise.
When we saw the rocky formations, then we were sure we are already at the summit. Sadly, there were garbage around left by some climbers. I hope this shouldn’t be the case next time.
When we arrived there, there were campers who stayed overnight at the site. We ate at an area between two boulders and enjoyed my vegetarian (always) breakfast. We arrived at 7:05 am. That’s about 2 hours of hiking and resting as well.
After that, we explored the summit area and there are just rocks everywhere. Most of the area are covered with rocks. There’s not much flat ground I should say. Meanwhile, we enjoyed climbing up on them and we effectively used some of our rock climbing skills.
Visible on the rocks are vandalism. This is not a good thing though. :(. This is the view around the summit.
We spent about 2 hours at the top. We joked around that we spent 30 minutes for eating, 30 minutes for rock climbing and picture taking then another hour for negotiation. It was really hard to climb to the rocks since you might really fall down as there are gaps in between them. We spend a lot of time thinking whether to go or not. But it’s good that Sam, our climber friend, is willing to assist us because the rest of us are girls.
The heat of the day didn’t hinder us from exploring more. There are 2 major rocks here where people usually take a pose. It’s a bit dangerous without precautions. So always think of safety first rather than thinking of a feat you can post on social media. Thankfully, we were able to make it to the 2 big rocks (with much prayers).
The famous rock here and my favorite shot.
The mountain is strategically located where most of the famous mountains around can be seen. It has a really good view I should say.
After spending two hours on the summit, we decided to go back. There were other groups also who went climbing. This has really been a famous mountain in Bukidnon.
Bidding my farewell to this mountain.
It was actually a great accomplishment for us to reach the summit. But we were actually worried a bit upon our descent. It will sure be a steep one.
True enough, I had to go down backwards just so my feet won’t hurt. Another thing we discovered is that we can go mountain sliding in order to go down. It was really challenging not to mention the heat of the scorching sun.
Upon seeing this, we were sure we are nearing the base.
Finally arrived at past 11 am. Most likely our climb here in Mt. Capistrano is a half-day activity.
Every mountain conquered is not only a physical feat for me. This activity is always a time to learn lessons.
- It was still dark when we went up and we couldn’t see the peak. At the back of my mind are what ifs. What if there will be a snake or harmful animals? What if we fall down on the cliff? What if there are bad guys around? These were the thoughts going on in my mind but I just kept climbing up. Life could just be sometimes like that. It could be that we are in our darkest times right now, we don’t know what lies ahead. We are afraid– afraid of the unknown because we couldn’t see anything, we couldn’t have a glimpse of our future. But what keeps us going? It is our faith in God. When we take God at His word, we just keep going even though we can’t understand why. It is trusting Him that He has the best interest for us and believe that the breaking of the dawn will come and things will be clear to us at the right time.
- When we were on the steepest part of the trail, Sam told us that we are near. This made a mark on my mind. I was thinking that when we experience severe trials in our life, it could mean that we are nearing home. Indeed, when we are on the closing part of the Earth’s history, each one of us will be severely tested. Just like on that steep part of the trail.
- In connection with the trials along the trail, I saw vine ropes along the way which I used in gripping for the steep trail. When there are trials and challenges along the way, God will not leave us but He will send help along the way. We are not left to battle our own challenges. And with this, we are sure not to fall because the help is from Him.
- I also realized that when we are rooted in God’s love and in His word, just like the vine ropes, we will not be uprooted. We just have to abide in Him always.
With my Capistrano experience, I can always say “Mt. Capistrano, you rock!” It was worth climbing up and I still would want to go here in the future.
Photo Credit: Mr. Sam Mabolo (photos with asterisk)
Special thanks to the Mr. Sam Mabolo for inviting us. 🙂