An equally easy and quite challenging day hike accessible from the urbanized Land of Promise, Davao City, and Land of Friendship, Cagayan de Oro City, is Mt. Capistrano located at Sitio Binalbagan, Purok 9, Brgy. Simaya, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
How to get there?
From Davao City, take a bus bound for CDO and alight at Brgy. Aglayan. An intersection just before entering the city proper of Malaybalay should serve as your guide in reaching the Barangay. Bus fare from Davao to Brgy. Aglayan should cost approximately P400.00. It takes at least 5-hours travel time.
From CDO, take a bus bound for Davao or Maramag and alight the same Barangay. Bus fare from CDO to Brgy. Aglayan costs P125.00 via Rural Transit Bus. It takes approximately 2-hours bus ride to get to Brgy. Aglayan.
From Brgy. Aglayan, take a Habal-habal ride to Sitio Binalbagan, Brgy. Simaya. Habal-habal fare varies but it should not cost more than P50.00. The jump-off point to where you should register is well-known in the area. You should alight at Mrs. Imelda Villaruz’ residence. Registration fee costs P20.00. Fronting the Villaruz’ residence is the entry point to hiking up Mt. Capistrano.
Mt. Capistrano is well-known as the evacuation area during the World War II. This mountain is characterized by its distinctive rock formations and stimulating caves. I personally find a good spot at the top, albeit rough and sharp, to see a vista of Bukidnon’s splendor as it offers a free, panoramic view of the nearby mountains and the acres of rice and cornfields.
Hiking up Mt. Capistrano takes 2-hours on an average pace. I bet seasoned trekkers could reach the summit in an hour or less. The mountain is 790+ meters above sea level. Majority of the trail is open. The summit is filled with various rock formations. Thus, excruciating heat of the sun could be expected. I and my diverse group of friends trekked the mountain as early as 7:30AM. We stayed at the summit for 2-hours. We were already back at the Villaruz’ residence for some refreshment at 11:00AM.
There is no drinking water source from and to the summit of Mt. Capistrano. Thus, bringing of enough drinking water is essential. The open trail to the summit is clear and direct. Thus, there is no need to contract-hire for a tour guide.
The trek starts with an ascend through a cemented 300+ step stairs that leads into a rope-assisted sloped trail.
I bet it could get too slippery as it gets muddy during the rainy days. You are nearing the camp site when you’ve reached the spot where the bamboo trees are prominently planted. Afterwards, notice that limestone rocks begin to appear. It’s an indication that you’re a few minutes away from the summit.
- I was disappointed that vandalism is all around the summit through its rock formations. It took me quite some time to grasp the whole thing. I was frustrated to take pictures of the summit.
Good thing, the breathtaking view from the top of the summit still won me over alongside the company of diverse group of friends.
I hope the Local Government Unit could do something about it though. It was good to see some local officials trying to maintain the cleanliness, collecting trashes, in the area. However, shouldn’t this be our responsibility as hikers to leave no trace, but our trail shoes’/sandal’s sole prints alone? I hope seasoned hikers or not take it to the heart to practice the “Leave Nothing” principle. But, if you ever see any trash, please take it with you, as much as you can, to throw to the right place.
- I wished the mountain was a bit higher though (Not a seasoned hiker here!). Perhaps, it’s just my yearning towards reaching the highest peaks with vengeance in me talking. I just personally like winning over hard trails. Thus, if you’re like me or you’re simply someone whose trying to beat their own pace getting faster and stronger every time, Mt. Capistrano could just be an easy piece for you.
However, because summits are a good place to be, a shout-out for “Next mountain please!” should only be normal.