Rising at 10,000 feet, Mount Apo is considered the highest point in the Philippines. Close to 1,000 mountaineers climbed the still active volcano in 2011 from the Sta. Cruz trail, according to data from the municipality. (Photo courtesy DOT/Rhonson Ng)
THE Department of Tourism is projecting close to 820,000 in tourist arrivals for the Davao region this year, as the area continues to attract the lucrative conventions and exhibitions market, as well as a growing number of eco-adventure travelers.
DOT Region 11 Director Arturo Boncato Jr. made this bold prediction after announcing the region's first major tourism event for the year – the 2nd International Mount Apo Boulder Face Challenge to be held on April 28-29, 2012 – a joint project with the municipality of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.
"The Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge is one of the toughest adventure races in the Philippines," he said in a press briefing on Feb. 1 at the R.O.X., Bonifacio High Street. "It is a 24-hour extreme challenge using various disciplines such as mountain biking, trekking, water tubing and road running. The race starts from the Sta. Cruz beach lines and participants will navigate through the town's tough trails and raging rivers, scale the boulder face of Mt. Apo, and culminate in the skyline of the country's highest mountain." This year's grand prize is P150,000.
The event is one of the highlights of the annual Pista sa Kinaiyahan (Feast of the Environment) of the municipality of Sta. Cruz. The Boulder Face Challenge was first held in 2008. The DOT and the Sta. Cruz municipality decided to encourage international teams to participate starting last year. (Click InterAksyon for the rest. My piece was published on Feb. 3, 2012)