This is WHITE PEAK, also known as Mount Pandadagsaan, in Barangay Andap, New Bataan, in the province of Compostela Valley. It has been called as such by local mountaineers because of the limestone embedded on its rocky west face which, when hit by sunlight, gives an almost sparkling, crystal-like towering appearance as contrasted to the thick green moss that surround it. With an elevation of 8, 878 feet above sea level, its cold temperature could range from 3 to 1 degrees centigrade and at times can drop to below zero. The mountain is the 3rd highest peak in Davao Region and ranked 13th in the Philippines. It is considered by Philippine mountaineers as a much difficult climb than Mount Apo, the country's highest mountain peak, hence, first time would-be climbers are not allowed for safety reasons.
|The peak is covered with thick moss with occasional view of limestone that appears white at the foot|
Mount Pandadagsaan in Mandaya means "to gather together." The Mandaya, an indigenous tribe in Mindanao, holds this mountain as sacred as this is where the tribe performs their rituals for blessings of a bountiful harvest and to celebrate thanksgiving.
The mountain is classified as "Cloud," or "Fog" Forest as it is generally moist due to low-level clouds that hover it, usually at the canopy level. The forest ground and vegetation are densely covered with moss where wild berries and bonsai plants abound.
|The mountain is classified Cloud Forest or Fog Forest|
As in most cloud forest, trees are generally shorter but with longer and thicker stem and the leaves smaller, but thicker, and harder compared to lower tropical moist forests in the same region. In view of its high altitude and moisture, several number of different plants in the forest can be found.
|Trees are shorter but with longer and thicker stem|
The forest is also home to "Pitcher" plants scientifically known as "Nephentes rafflesiana." These are carnivorous plants with deep liquid-filled cavities called "pitfall traps" that attract small insects and drown them. The plant then feeds from the insect that has dissolved in the liquid that contains enzymes secreted by the plant itself. A variety of other strange plants (some poisonous) and medicinal herbs can also be found here.
|Tsuga Mertensiana commonly called Mountain Hemlock|
Mosses are small, soft plants that are typically 1 to 10 centimeters or 0.4 to 4 inches in height, though some species are much larger. These commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in moist and shady areas. Mosses do not have flowers or seeds and the leaves cover their thin wiry stems.
How to get to White Peak
Nabunturan, the capital town of Compostela Valley is approximately 90 kilometers away or about a two-hour ride from the Ecoland Bus Terminal in Davao City. Transfers to any public utility vehicles in Nabunturan for another ride to any destination in the province is readily available. There are single motorcycles for hire locally known as " habal-habal" or "skylab" which will take you to Barangay Andap in New Bataan where White Peak is located. New Bataan is about 40 kilometers from Nabunturan.
Trekking time to reach the summit can be as short as 8 to 10 hours, but in a more relaxed pace (recommended), the climb would usually take two to three days. The trails are a rich mixture of thick mossy forest and steep grassy slopes which in some parts may require built-in ropes for easy navigation. Peak 1 is densely forested, while Peak 2 provides a commanding view of Compostela Valley and the adjacent Davao Oriental, the Samal Island, as well as a full view of Mount Apo. Also within view is Mount Candalaga, another high mountain in Compostela Valley.
For further climbing information as well securing guides and porters, please contact the Provincial Tourism Office in Compostela Valley at Telephone Numbers (84) 376 0140.