NOT VERY far from the urban center of General Santos City, one can experience adventure and fun with nature and enjoy a breathtaking sight of the cityscape from a lofty vantage point. I joined my mountaineering friends (Team Bundol Mountaineers, UGTAS, and Wasalak) in a trek to Sanchez Peak via Balakayo Trail and then traversed to Amsicong and Kalaja, Falls, and finally, exited to Cassava, Polomolok, South Cotabato.
I prepared a two-day itinerary for this outdoor adventure. We hired a multicab from Lagao Terminal to Conel at Php 20 per head. At Conel, we took a single motorcycle that charged Php 100 per head. The road is very rough, I understand, but the price is still a bit too high. We tried to haggle and we were able to lower it down to Php 80.
The motorcycles took us to Balakayo, where the trek started. It took us roughly two-hours to reach the peak. The first part of the trail was very steep until you reach the cross-road to the 5th Mountain Adventure Park, where you could ride the zip line and cable cars for a fee. It wasn’t part of our itinerary, though, so we continued on.
We stopped by one of the peaks because it was too misty that time, we couldn’t see the trail very well.
Mt. Matutum can be seen from that point on. It’s beautiful shape stands out from the surrounding landscape.
Sanchez Peak is a good site for relaxation. You can see the whole GenSan area and the towns of Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, and Maasim, which surround the Sarngani Bay. It has a wide area for camping. The owner of the land collects Php 15 from trekkers. They also sell potable water at Php 20 per gallon.
Sunset, City Lights, and the Sunrise at Sanchez Peak
The perfect time to start the trek to Sanchez Peak is in the afternoon so that you will be welcomes by the wonderful sunset. In our case, we left Lagao at about 1:00 PM.
We were lucky to still be able to watch the beautiful view of the setting sun, which Sanchez Peak is known for, despite the bad weather in the past weeks.
And of course, everyone was caught in awe when GenSan started to light up as the night crawled. Looking at the whole city and its bright lights is one of the most relaxing things you could do. If you are in need of inspiration and some quiet time, Sanchez Peak is just so perfect for you.
One more thing you would love about Sanchez Peak is to wake up to a beautiful morning. I would run out of adjectives to describe how great it felt to be like standing on top of the world.
From Sanchez to Kalaja
According to some friends who frequent the area, there is a shorter and an easier to route to Sanchez Peak as an alternative to Balakayo. The Balsinang trail would only take trekkers about an hour to reach the peak. I have yet to try it. Yes, one day, I will.
From Sanchez Peak, we trekked to Amsicong and Kalaja Falls. It took us two hours to reach our destination through a challenging river trail. If you have been reading my blog, I had once visited Amsikong and Kalaja Falls. Team Wasalak led us in this part of the trail.
12:30 PM Assembly at Lagao
1:00 PM ETD Motorcycle from Lagao to Balakayo
1:25 PM ETA at Balakayo
1:30PM ETD Trekking from Balakayo to Sanchz Peak
5:00PM ETA at Sanchez Peak
6:00PM Tent Pitching / Preparation for Dinner
8:00PM Happy Hour/Camp Socials
6:00AM Wake Up Call / Preparation for Breakfast
8:00AM Break Camp
8:30AM ETD Trekking to Amsicong and Kalaja
10:30AM ETA at Kalaja
11:00AM Preparation for Lunch / Swimming
12:00NN Lunch / Swimming
1:30PM ETD from Kalaja to 2nd Camp Site
2:00 PM ETA at camp site
2:30PM ETD from camp site to cave
3:00PM Cave exploration
4:30PM Homeward Bound
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