Mt. Apo is the Philippines’ highest peak and is actually a dormant volcano. A favourite for both local and foreign mountain climbers, Mt. Apo is 2,954 meters high (9,692 ft) and is located in Davao Province in Mindanao, southern Philippines.
Trekkers to the slopes of Mt. Apo are rewarded with forests of varied flora, steaming geysers, rainwater lakes, waterfalls and rivers. Mt. Apo is also known as the largest habitat of the endangered Philippine Eagle, one of the world’s tallest and biggest eagle species at one meter high and with a wing span of about 2.5 meters. Waling-waling, a rare Philippine orchid of exceptional scent and beauty, also thrives in the jungles of Mt. Apo.
Six ethnic tribes live in Mt. Apo and the mountain is a sacred place for the 450,000 Lumad tribal people who considers Mt. Apo as their last remaining home. On the base of Mt. Apo is the Science Foundation, an agricultural foundation where visitors can bird-watch, and the Philippines Eagle Nature Center which provides temporary shelter to eagles in captivity and numerous other bird species, animals and tropical plants.
Environmental pressures on Mt. Apo include a geothermal power plant that some conservationists say could lead to the development of settlements and commercial areas. Whether this assertation has factual basis is under debate (See Reader’s Comment and rejoinder below). There are more than 7,000 families occupying 258 square-kilometres within the park and much of this area is used for shifting cultivation, another major threat. Illegal logging and bounty hunters who pan for gold are also threats to Mt. Apo’s eco-system
Mabuhay ang Mt. Apo!