General Santos City: No Strangers In Sanchez Peak
In the Philippines, tuna has been synonymous with the highly urbanized General Santos City, wherein the flourishing tuna fishing industry and the abundance of tuna is celebrated annually through the Tuna Festival. This post however is not about GenSan’s world-class enterprise. This is the story of my quick journey into General Santos City’s highest peak. This is about Sanchez Peak.
Climbing Sanchez Peak requires no extreme mountaineering skill, but threading Balakayo‘s open trail during midday is a constant battle with scorching heat. The two-hour ascent also seem like a lifetime when the only company you have are worn-out leg muscles and a pair of sandals literally hanging by a thread. Turning around every 50 meters, or so, looking at the immense landscape below reminds me why I’m on this sun-drenched path to General Santos City’s highest point.
On the other hand (or other face of the mountain), hikers more familiar with Sanchez Peak uses Olympog Trail which passes through partly covered, partly open trail, though narrower compared to Balakayo’s. This was my descent route – thanks to the advice of the good people I met on Sanchez Peak.
I was a one-man team equipped with a tent, 3 saucer-sized breads called torta, and a liter of water, embarking on a solo 2-hour climb, relying only on a handful of information, stock knowledge, and sheer instinct – probably not a wise decision but the promising view is just so hard to resist. So I went on – alone. Going down from the mountain, though still on my own, wasn’t as lonely as the way up for the memories I made on this climb were more than enough to keep me company.
“Goodbye’s” follow shortly after the “hi’s” and “hello’s” from random people I encounter and spent a few hours with on my journey. But in those few hours, I saw and felt the overwhelming hospitality and the exceptional kindness of our brothers and sisters from the south side to visitors – a few hours that carved a lasting impression as beautiful as the cityscape that glitters on the backdrop. I will remember GenSan, not because of tuna alone, but a place where bonds are forged and friendships are formed, through hardships and accomplishments, the laughter shared and songs that are sung.
My sincerest and utmost gratitude to the good people I met in Sanchez Peak. I hope our paths would cross again someday.
This is how I will remember Sanchez Peak. This is how I will remember General Santos City.
1. Sanchez Peak has three routes – Balakayo, Olympog, & Polomolok
A. Balakayo – I took a habal-habal from Lagao Terminal to Balakayo in Conel which cost me a P150.00. From there it’s a 2-hour walk on open trail. Best to climb early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is not up.
B. Olympog – I went down on Olympog trail. I took a tricycle from there, back to Gen San which cost me P25.00. I’m not sure if the terminal to Olympog is also in Lagao.
C. Polomolok – of course, if you’re coming from Polomolok. Haven’t tried this.
2. There is an entrance fee of P20.00
3.More about Lake Sebu series.
5. More destinations in South Cotabato
6. Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook..
7. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
8. Be safe and happy travels.
9. I also met some friends while I was in a park in GenSan and they have fantastic parkour skills.
Very nice to meet you also. Thank you for allowing me to hang out with you guys.