Perhaps the most popular hiking spot in Zamboanga del Norte is Linabo Peak in Dipolog City. Although largely accessible to tourists thanks to a concrete staircase that was constructed in the 1990s, it is still a worthy trek, a nice viewpoint at 486 MASL, and is a favorite exercise spot of the residents of Dipolog. For my early morning hike on August 30, 2010, I was accompanied by Basil Gonzales, a member of the Dipolog Outdoor Society and owner of the Earth Adventure Sports Shop in #371 Quezon Avenue, Dipolog City near the town market.
The jump-off point is located at the outskirts of Dipolog city proper. At the start of the trail, a marker reads, “3,003 steps to Linabo Peak”. According to Basil, the exact number of steps is less than 3,003; but the numerals have a nice ring to them; a multiple of the proverbial 1,001. We started the trek at exactly 0700H.
Fourteen stations of the cross marked the initial half of the trail- this feature plays prominently in a yearly event called “Katkat Sakripisyo”, held during Holy Week. The metal railings of the staircase was amazing for one reason: the kids who lived in the barangay up the hill would wrap a fragment of mosquito net around their waists and they would actually slide down the narrow metal railings, unmindful of the dangers involved. Indeed, kids actually look forward to this fun aspect of their living up a hill. What an adaptation!
Another epiphany greeted me as we climbed past the elevated barangay: the sight of Mt. Talinis, hovering over the seas. I wasn’t sure if it was Mt. Kanlaon beside it; or it was simply Mt. Talinis eclipsing Mt. Kanlaon. Regardless, it was a very rewarding sight!
Beyond the barangay, the concrete steps would eventually end, giving way to some rock formations that would have to be negotiated before getting to step at the summit. Its slippery slopes aside (thankfully the weather was great), it was quite easy and it took just over an hour for us to reach the summit.
At the summit where some communications facilities are in place, the view of mt. Malindang (east) was very rewarding; so is the sight of Mt. Tapi, which according to Basil is one of their favorite climbs. Mt. Tapi, near Dapitan City, is a dayhike, whereas the famous Mt. Malindang, a mountain ranges whose peaks reach over 2300 MASL, requires a longer trekking time. The North Peak, according to Basil, requires three days, with the second day counting as the assault. An even more adventurous trail is a traverse to Misamis Occidental, involving 14 river crossings. This is best done during the summer months.
During breakfast at Big Joe’s in Dipolog, Basil, who is also a Habagat dealer/distributor in Zamboanga del Norte, mentioned of caves and other attractions in the province. Clearly this side of Mindanao offers a lot of adventure possibilities, and for me Malindang is a compelling reason to go back!
PinoyMountaineer thanks Basil Gonzales and the Dipolog Outdoor Society for accommodating us in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte.