Monday, September 24, 2012

The Mt. Capistrano Dayhike

When I was a young lad, I have been wondering of the mountain far east of the Sayre Highway everytime I go to school, (I went to Bangcud Central Elementary School 1998-2000). When my father and I went to Liguangan Spring (previous post), I can also see the majestic mountain in the east.

When I knew that it was Mt. Capistrano,  started to dream on getting up its peak, but because of student life, my dream delayed and I forgot about it until my co-members of the Bukidnon Photographers and Bloggers Society planned to trek the mountain last September 22, 2012. I never had second thoughts despite the threats I've been hearing about it.

Mt. Capistrano (located at Barangays Managok and Simaya).

Mt. Capistrano has an average height of 2,000 feet (609.60 meters), more or less the same height as Musuan Peak (also known as Mt. Kalayo) and Palaopao Hills (located at Brgy. Kisolon, Sumilao, Bukidnon). A notable peak, Capistrano can be seen along the Sayre Highway from Brgy. Aglayan, Malaybalay City up to Brgy. Mailag, Valencia City. Although accessible, it is a bit away from the highway and one has to stop at Brgy. Aglayan and hit a habal-habal ride to get to Sitio Binalbagan, Brgy. Simaya - our jump-off site.

Mt. Capistrano viewed from its base at Sitio Binalbagan, Barangay Simaya.
My co-trekkers are very unusual since it will be my first time hanging out and explore with them, they are Sir Dax Abitona, a veteran hiker (according to my instincts hehehe), Maam Gwen Balahay, an employee from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Maam Krishaleen Tago, and the two "bang-giitans" as I say when it comes to adventures and mountain climbing, Sir Earl Bolivar, the owner of Pulagoy and Bukidnon Photo Journal - the first blogs I read and inspired me to write my own and explore out, and the fearless Sir Christopher "Tupe" Diaz, the owner of Trekero. Having them as my companions eases my nervousness and fear about climbing the mountain.

Our assembly place was at the City Terminal at around 6:30am. We hit a bus and reached Barangay Aglayan. Barangay Aglayan is a crossroad barangay because National Highways from Lantapan and Cabanglasan Towns met at Aglayan. It is one of the urbanizing barangays of the city and part of the South Highway District.

Barangay Aglayan.
We then hit a ride on the habal-habal which would lead us to Sitio Binalbagan, which is still far away. It was a fun ride especially the cool air racing towards me and the spectacular views from both directions. Our travel will pass Barangays Linabo, Violeta and Simaya. These 3 barangays are part of the BASAKAN DISTRICT which is one of the 5 Districts of Malaybalay City. This explains the wide array of rice and corn fields at any direction. We reach Sitio Binalbagan and went to the base of the mountain. We started ascending at approximately 7:30am.

The journey up. The surrounding grass serves as handles.
The trek starts with the stairs. It was a tiring part because you have to raise your feet in order to go higher. The stairs run for a few meters and the land trail begins. Fortunately, there are grass in either side which can be used to hold on to ensure balance. The views were spectacular because you can see wide rice fields and we're not on the top yet.

Sitio Binalbagan and the wide rice fields and the Kitanglad and Kalatungan Mountain Ranges in the background.
The trail was open and tree less for a while and I enjoyed the view and then came the trees. Although blocking the view, it had provided us shade and cool environment which eases my exhaustion but that was far from what the mini-forest has in store.

It has rained hard in Malaybalay in the past few days and the ground is wet. I depend on the grass, trees and roots for support but there is one point in the trail that is probably the hardest point in the trek because there are barely grasses and roots to hold on - good thing I had breakfast which gave me energy to go up. Maam Gwen, my companion, had given up on that part but Sir Tupe helped her because its a loss to stop there and not sseing the wonderful peak of Capistrano.

The hardest point of the trail.
After we have passed the "zero point" as I call it, rocks suddenly peeped out on the trail. We even pass some cool rock formations and cave-like structures. I expect to find a rocky peak but the rocky trail is beyond my expectations. Some rocks were sharp and some are forming mini-caves and deep ravines which a trekker should be careful with.

One of the cool mini caves along the trek.

The mini forest serves as the habitat of some interesting fauna and flora. The ones I can't forget are the big reddish-black ants, the blue fern and a mold colony in the tree.

The blue fern growing inside a rock crevasse.

A mold colony living in a tree's bark.
Finally, after almost 4 hours of ascending, we finally reached the rocky peak of Mt. Capistrano. We reached the peak by 11am. The view was awesome so are the rocks. Everywhere I look the views of ricefields and mountains took my breath away - how amazing God is!

Mt. Capistrano's peak and highest point.

The view of rice fields stretching from Barangay Laguitas, Malaybalay City to  Barangay Bagontaas, Valencia City (North-South) and from the Kitanglad and Kalatungan Mountain Ranges to Barangay Simaya, Malaybalay City (West-East).

View of Barangay Managok and the National Road leading to the Municipality of Cabanglasan and Upper Pulangi District of Malaybalay City.

Some rocks found at the peak.
My mind was blown away with the views. This mountain is a must visit for trekkers and even locals of Bukidnon. The rock formations, rice fields, high alluring mountains, huge rivers - the best view I've seen as of this moment. We had our lunch at the peak. We brought packed lunch and snacks to supply us with energy as we go head down.

As I view the rice fields at Valencia City, I noticed dark clouds and the City Proper could not be seen anymore. We have to trek down to avoid as much as possible the heavy rain. We started heading down at 12:30pm. We decided to take the trail we trekked upward for convenience.

The weather was still okay as of that moment but rain clouds starts to race northward towards us.

Rain clouds heading northwards towards us.
Unfortunately, the rain caught up and raindrops start to fall. Because of this, the trail became slippery, but because we really want to get down, we "slide" downwards at some points in the trail. Funny thing is I enjoyed "mountain sliding" and I slide down more often that standing up.

Descending Mt. Capistrano.
Finally!! After 1 hour of sliding and descending, we reached our starting point at Sitio Binalbagan. It was rainy but worth it, its nice to be wet in the rain after a nerve-racking trek.

We hit a "expanded habal-habal" as I call it back to Barangay Aglayan, but our adventure haven't stop there. Our ride unexpectedly cannot bear our weight. Because of that, me and Maam Gwen rode a habal-habal while Sirs Earl, Tupe and Dax remained in the ride.

We reached Aglayan and we decided to sip and eat especially the yummy and hot Bulalo at Jaslyn. Sir Tupe immediately went home to Pangantucan.

Jaslyn Seafoods & Bulalo - where we had our Bulalo moments.
Mount Capistrano trek was a very hard yet satisfying one. Finally I have realized my dream of reaching its peak and seeing its amazing sights that I have only seen through internet.

For avid mountaineers and adventure lovers, try MT. CAPISTRANO - a mountain worth climbing.

Although bring the following:
  1. Rope
  2. Packed Lunch
  3. Rain Gears
  4. Trail Foods/Snacks
  5. WATER
  6. Insect Repellent (optional)
  7. Sunblock (optional)
The trail at Sitio Binalbagan is a great trail - you will have 10-20% chance of getting lost.

Mount Capistrano Dayhike
September 22, 2012
Sitio Binalbagan, Barangay Simaya


  1. oh wowww! Sorry, I missed this trek. I have an untimely meeting and forgot to inform you guys :( ang ganda man diay uiii >.< Wheres the next destination? :D

  2. nice blog Francis :-) more climbs to explore! until you will finally try the infamous Kitanglad hehehehehehehe :-)

  3. Very true Maam Matet.. my ultimate goal..

  4. Mt. Capistrano is also a good place to go caving. My friends and I conducted a survey of cave fauna for our research study and we found several caves, some were small and others were bigger than classrooms. Pretty cool, actually :)

  5. wish I can go with my classmates tomorrow :-)

  6. Hi,
    Were you required to present a Barangay Clearance when you climbed Mt. Capistrano? We need to confirm this before we start our trek.
    Thanks a lot.

  7. Hi Sir Jerson! Sorry for the late reply. Last 2012, we were not required with a barangay clearance. But during my latest climb last April 9, 2016, an entrance fee was collected at the base of the mountain (along the road) amounting P20/person. But no barangay clearance needed still. Just log in their logbook and you're on the go to Mt. Capistrano's summit. Hope this helped despite my late reply. Thank you!