I’ve been climbing all over the Philippines for the last ten years. I’ve seen the outdoor scene grow and progress. Just when I thought I’d seen it all, here was another area with a whole new experience. I visited Cagayan de Oro last August 19 to 24 to check-out the new bouldering spots and meet some old friends.
Right from the first day, I was amazed with the texture, movement and features of the CDO rock. I couldn’t name the type but it’s not limestone. It wasn’t quite like the boulders of Montalban and Manalmon, which were almost frictionless and smooth. Also compared it to bouldering in Baguio, whose weather is as cold as it can get, and friction as best you can get, in the Philippines.
All the areas are also just around 30-45 minutes drive from the city with very easy treks. In the six days I was there, I was bouldering three hours into the trip, down to the last hour I possibly could. It seemed that CDO brings in the friction, variety, and overall complete bouldering experience.
There is much to look forward to even when climbing indoors. The very homey local gym, Alwana, offers a variety of angles in all its walls. Though set up with a top-rope for most clients, the walls are also good for bouldering. It also has a weights room and spa, where you can conveniently get your dose of a full body work-out. If that’s not enough reason to drop by Alwana, then you must know that it is the jump-off point to all the crags.
There was one area with camping grounds, a 250-foot waterfall, and boulders as high as 30-40 feet, with hard and quality problems beautifully located close to one another. If only we could get a bouldering rock trip going I’m sure we’d find more really good lines.
But for me, the trip was centered on this one route that really caught my attention. I could relate it to climbing Magic Dragon in Manalmon or Narda in Baguio, but this one had a kick to it. The line was superb, coming from a roof, to exit on an overhanging face with really “NICE” crimps and a slab exit. I returned to this boulder more than once and worked the route. It’s been a while for me climbing with some really psyched guys, and their energy helped me inch my way up the wall. I left it as a project, but it’s sure to be a prime line once it’s done.
I can’t wait to get back.