Mt. Capistrano is just one of the many fascinating mountains surrounding the beautiful province of Bukidnon.
It is located in Malaybalay City and is surrounded with Baranggays of Simaya, Managok and San Martin. Towering 609.6 meters above sea level. And is visible from the National Highway heading off and from Valencia City/Malaybalay City. Basically, more visible from the highway of Aglayan and Brgy. Bangcud.
It is not known to many, even to a lot of locals of Bukidnon Province. Even, I, myself who was born and grew up in Malaybalay haven’t even heard and noticed it. Until around 2015 that photos in social media’s from local mountaineers started popping up showing the spectacular view from the mountain’s top gone viral among locals of Bukidnon and thus made way to the Mt. Capistrano’s popularity.
Mt. Capistrano entry point is accessible via Brgy. Managok and Brgy. Simaya, coming from either Aglayan or Brgy Bangcud. I would advise to take Sitio Binalbagan, Brgy Simaya entry point. This point is said to be the easiest road to its peak and already got a clear trekking road.
Around May 29, 2016, when me and four of my close friends decided to climb Mt. Capistrano for the first time. Being so curious and at the same time jealous with our social media friends who’ve tried climbing Mt. Capistrano already.
The month of May is a rainy season. At first, we are hesitant to pursue the climb, because there were constant raining prior to that day and in fact it rained so heavy that night before. And rain means that it might be muddy and slippery going up and it might not be safe too. But after all, we all agreed to go.
Going to Mt. Capistrano, you can either took the road from Aglayan proper or Brgy. Bangcud. We took the Aglayan road going to Brgy. Simaya. The road is very good from there.
Sunday, at 5am, when our group left Malaybalay City with our motorcycles. Since it was still 5 am, the road is quite not busy yet so the drive took only 15 minutes less reaching Aglayan proper. We stop for a little while to buy crackers, candies and WATER. Then we headed directly to Brgy. Simaya – Sitio Binalbagan, with constant asking from the people along the road for direction. From Aglayan proper, it took us just 10 minutes to reached Sitio Binalbagan.
If you do not have any rides, you can actually drop-off in Aglayan proper. Right in the junction road, there is ‘Habal-Habal’ or Single motorcycles for hire in the corner that will take you to Brgy. Simaya.
By entering Sitio Binalbagan, we are welcomed by a scenic view of Mt. Capistrano. Mt. Capistrano seems saying ‘WELCOME’ to all those who are on their way to the sitio. Seems blocking the road, and just there standing green, sturdy and proud. I suddenly got a jolt of excitement. And added to Mt. Capistrano’s view from the road is the super wide array of rice fields that is breath-taking and overwhelming plus the smell of the refreshing fresh air.
When we finally arrived in Sitio Binalbagan. Entry point to the mountain is very obvious and visible. I assume it is the barangay’s barangay office that they’ve hang the tarpaulin. Across the other side of the road there is a small house who sell souvenir t-shirts, wherein we logged our names including the time and then pay 50.00. Then you can actually asked the lady owner for a free pee or whatever. Also you can leave some of your stuffs and/or asked her to look after your vehicles.
The people are very approachable, friendly and very accommodating.
By the way, DO ask the locals if it is SAFE to climb, especially the lady where you log in (and out) before actually heading up. They are ones who know the condition going up.
I haven’t checked my clock but I assume it was more or less 7 am when we started moving up. From the entry point, a vacant lot will welcome you leading to the foot of the mountain.
From there, you will see a purposely constructed stair. Which at first, will make you believe it would be easy. Eee! Wrong! The stair going up is said to be 300 steps and it will take almost 1/2 of your energy!!!
Below are our faces just maybe after taking 50 steps.
The stair wasn’t easy. It took us maybe half an hour or more to finally reach the end of it. I advise climbing the stair (including going down) using one foot next to other in every step. It may take long but the pain won’t be that much.
After the stair, the view started showing off a little. We get to start trekking up, constantly getting a glimpse of the view. The road doesn’t have much trees to hold. It was so steep and although there are cogon grasses it is still difficult. Good thing the barangay did put there a rope where climbers can hold going up. The rope though hurts on the palm, and it is a must to bring with you woven gloves. It would be a help both going up and back down.
There are no designated resting place, so every time we need to rest we just seat on the dirt, stretch our legs and collect air. About almost on the half, I felt suddenly dizzy. Maybe because I haven’t taken my breakfast. I bet Breakfast is a must before going up. It does require a lot of energy. Must bring crackers too in case energy gets super drained. Chocolates will also help, the sugar will help booze up your energy.
After that super steep point. It feels so dreaded and tiring so we need to rest from time to time, plus the sun is already up and started getting hot. Every time we stop to rest, we do start noticing anyway that the view is slowly unveiling its beauty. The beautiful green rice fields, cotton candy clouds and view of neighboring mountains is now visible.
Around half of the climb, the view turn very spectacular too.
There are already trees also, that put shade on out way. The ground is muddy and slippery. And rocks are already showing up along the way also, gradually replacing the soil as we continue transcending upward. It need extra caution and presence of mind.
Mt. Capistrano is a little mountain compared to many other mountains, but the road in reaching its peak is all very steep. You need to push yourself up, with your feet and with your hands. There are certain point where you literally have to crawl up, hold any vines and any roots showing on the ground just to drag yourself up. When it is slippery, you need to find a sturdy part where you can position your feet properly or else you’ll slip off down. And you would not wish that to happen.
Finally after few hours we reached on a certain area with lots of bamboo, which obviously a camping site since there is a clearing area. The whole area was covered with huge trees and bushes but on a certain side we found a huge rock where you can take a rest and enjoy the view. There we decided to rest and eat our snack (loaf bread and jam).
From that area I believe we are around 3/4 of our journey to reach the top.
I think we spend almost 45 minutes in the area, and we are starting to get hesitant to pursue our climb. We feel like we do not have enough more energy to continue. Our energy is too drained already. In fact, one group who also climbed that day decided to go down already…
But after a lot of rest, we decided to continue anyway… Self Belief and Never Give Up.
Then as we continue accending, more huge stones with pointy edges become a lot more visible. We have to climb over this huge stones with extra careful again.
Along the way I’ve seen a lot of different beautiful caves. A local story said, that these caves are used by people around World War II as their evacuation area. The commanding officer by that time was Gen. Capistrano. Which whom the mountain took its name, in honor of the his noble contribution to the community and people of Malaybalay.
After 15 minutes, we are welcomed by a cave-like stone formation. Off no idea, it was an opening to our final destination – The TOP.
Then the view from the other side of the mountain surprised us. The view of entire rice fields. Super huge stone hedges.
Just few steps from that area, the REAL VIEW of the TOP finally showed up. We suddenly forgot how tired we are. All exhausted feeling was replaced with overwhelming feeling and great joy of fulfillment.
We didn’t expect the view that beautiful. It was beyond words to describe. Beyond beautiful. Beyond awesome. I can’t help but think how great is our Lord to made all things that beautiful. How great and awesome is HIS creations.
The challenge though is climbing the huge rocks to get a great view. View of Mt. Kitanglad on the right and view of Mt. Musuan on the left, and an overall view of areas covered by City’s of Malaybalay and Valencia. But nonetheless fear is nothing to be compared on the feeling of happiness as we conquered Mt. Capistrano.
Overall experience is beyond all the photos. It was one of the best memories I will always cherish. The view, experience, the challenge and friendship.
I have no single regrets.
We did stayed on the top for an hour, but since we have not brought with us our lunch. We decided to go down already. Around 11:45 am.
The challenge do not end from their, it is not easy going down too. It takes a lot of control and sturdy leg muscles to go down safely. But going down is a lot faster compared with the time we spend going up. It might have taken us just an hour more or less. I was literally facing backwards, because my legs already hurt. And then on the steep areas, I alternate it with sliding on my butt.
At the end of the stair. A house owner sells cold bottled water, frozen salads and crackers which is a relief since we have emptied our waters already… and then there we rested.
We headed immediately after enough rest to where we have parked our motorcycles. Log out in the logbook. Thank the lady with our beautiful smiles. And drive fast to Aglayan proper where we finally took our lunch.
It was a great experience indeed. I can’t help but appreciate MORE of GOD’S GREATNESS. Indeed He made all things beautiful.
I can’t help but thank Mt. Capistrano for the experience.
Thank GOD too ofcourse.
May its beauty remain.
For those who would like to climb Mount Capistrano. Please observe the CLEAN AS YOU GO RULE.
During our climb, I observe the barangay have already provided used sacks that should serve as a garbage bag for climbers. But it has no used still, since I’ve seen a lot of empty bottles and empty food wrappers that was just thrown everywhere.
I also observe vandals on the stones. Which I think doesn’t preserve the stone hedges natural beauty anymore.
I hope and wish that all those who planned to climb would be responsible enough to keep Mt. Capistrano clean.
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