A day before our trek to Ugis Peak was actually a busy day because the town of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat was celebrating their 2nd Halo-Halo Festival. Truly, during the Festival, it had fed me 3 bowls of luscious Halo-Halo. And on the following day, I decided to climb the knife edge peak of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat to probably burn the calories I took in during the Halo-Halo festival.
It was September of 2016 when I supposed to climb this peak, but because I didn’t have a leisure time during my visit, it didn’t happen. And recognizing that I’ll be climbing the Ugis Peak on my second visit in Esperanza, I was then very excited.
Ugis Peak is located in Sitio Ugis, Brgy. Marguez, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat and proudly standing at the height of 930 feet Above Sea Level, which demands to be verified since I personally felt that it seems higher than that. Mount Ugis or mostly recognized as Ugis Peak is actually really different from many other Mountain Peaks that I have already been to. It is actually considered as a minor climb by many mountaineers. Only after the tiring trek, I personally consider climbing Ugis Peak as a major climb because of its innate trail that owns a natural obstacle, which has caused me to another level of breathing laboriously. It is also well recognized in the Province of Sultan Kudarat and its neighboring Provinces as the Skyscraper of the South. Most mountaineers have not been to this Peak, and only few trekkers who have heard about Ugis Peak. And because it’s not known to many, it is still left in its innate state and has a natural trail obstacles and fascinating flora and fauna, which has become the quick escape and a favourite destination for mountaineers.
I met Michael again, who’s working in LGU Esperanza and was under the Esperanza Tourism Office. I got a chance to talk to him before the Halo-Halo Festival ended, and we agreed that we will be exploring the hidden gem of Ugis, which is located in the upper portion of Brgy. Marguez. He told me that we will have a river trekking in Ugis before going to the knife edge peak of Ugis on the succeeding day, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
On that morning, Michael’s mind changed and instead of doing river trekking, he told me that we will just climb the knife edge of Ugis Peak. He further explained that, because of the lack of equipment for river trekking adventure, he determined to cancel the river trekking. Truly, we commenced our trek in the Teduray community in Ugis, and while on our way to the Peak, he suddenly told me that we will be seeing first the Manirub Falls before going to Peak, which have really surprised me. Michael always never fails to surprise me whenever I travel to their town. I was grinning from ear to ear throughout our journey to Manirub Falls.
The Manirub Falls was really part of Manirub River and probably the last tier. A river trekking from the Teduray community in Sitio Ugis will render you almost 10 stunning waterfalls along the way and the last level is the Manirub Falls. Michael has seen these stunning waterfalls and if we actually had enough equipment and a good preparation, perhaps we would explore them that time. Hopefully soon on my next sojourn.
We keep on our trek, and after almost 2 hours of trekking from the Jump off area, we arrived at the unassuming innate beauty of Manirub Falls. I couldn’t simply leave the Manirub Falls without taking off my shirt and flirt with its refreshing water. Hence, I immediately get near the Manirub Falls and enjoy its natural beauty. It was actually a perfect side trip before going to the knife edge peak of Ugis. We also had our lunch near the Manirub Falls. Michael brought a few pieces of Pastil, which is a famous wrapped meal in their town. It is made of cooked rice, crowned with sauteed shredded meat of chicken, beef, or fish and beautifully wrapped with a heated banana leaf. Truly, nothing compares having a meal while gazing to the natural beauty of the Manirub Falls.
We continue on our trek to the knife edge of Ugis Peak after our luscious lunch. I was truly refreshed and have mollified by the fresh water of Manirub Falls, which have renewed my strength to reach the knife edge of Ugis Peak. I asked Michael again on how long would it take to reach the Peak, he was grinning and told me, we are almost there. Truly, in less than an hour after the steep track from the Manirub Falls, we were able to get to the higher mountain, which seemed to be the twin Peak of Ugis Peak. And we were welcomed by the astonishing innate beauty of Ugis Peak, and its scary knife edge where we traipsed our feet. I suddenly felt the strong wind above, and the fresh air is kissing my surface while trying to fight with the clinging heat of the sun.
Shortly after, we decided to go down from the neighboring Peak, which has no name as of my writing, and we continue on our trek to the Knife edge of Ugis Peak. The longitudinal knife edge position and form of Ugis Peak is what makes it really scary when you try to walk along its sharp edge from east to west. Truly, my knees were shaking as I traipsed my feet on its knife edge, and I feel like I’m going to fall anytime, especially If I mistakenly step my feet on its knife edge. I’ve climbed several mountains before, but standing on a knife edge of Ugis Peak has made me truly scared and would love to walk from east to west, but I was consumed by my fear, and I only walk a few meters on its edge. Michael was trying to encourage me to get to the west side, but still, I wasn’t able to make it. The three other guides, who are also from Sitio Ugis, were so fearless. They seemed to have been working in a Circus because they walked on the knife edge Peak of Ugis without any mark of fear on their faces. Effortlessly, they were able to get to the other side, and I heard them calling me to get there. I was just smiling, but deep within me, I wanted to, but I’m daunted.
We only stayed in less than an hour at the Peak of Ugis because it was so hot when we got there. Hence, we decided to descend after we truly have enjoyed the astonishing view and have taken a lot of photos. On our way down, we took a different trail where I struggled a great deal. Our guide actually brought a rope, which have been a great help for us when we get down because the trail is really downhill. My hands have bruises, and my muscles had repressively in sorrow. There were instants where I got to slip on the wet rocks and fell down. But, since there were trees to hold on to plus the rope, I was able to hoist myself up, and continue to descend. I had never imagined that on our way down, the trail was really that backbreaking, which have drained my strength. But, despite the challenging trail on our way down, I was mollified by seeing wild berries and different kind of birds while they were chirping in the trees. I even granted a chance to see a bird’s nest, which appears to be really stunning and interesting.
A few minutes before we were able to reach back to the jump off area, we passed on a lone house, which was owned by an old gentlewoman. She was so kind that she even asked us to take a few minutes to rest before we proceed on our trek. She even offered us a fresh Coconut Juice. Hence, one of the guides climbed the coconut tree to get some coconut. I was so touched with her kindness, and just before we left, and have enjoyed our fresh coconut Juice, I handed her a small amount of money for I know in some way, it will help. She refused to accept it, but I insisted that she will get it. Truly, her kindness is beyond compare, I hugged her tight and showed her how grateful I am to meet her. And I told her that I would love to see her again If I get the opportunity to go back.
While we keep on our trek, I was really mesmerized with the kindness I have encountered. Truly, kindness will always find its direction back. I supposed, my climb to Ugis Peak was beautifully ended with so much kindness.
Shortly enough, I saw a few houses in Sitio Ugis from afar, which means that we are almost getting back to the jump off area.
I couldn’t elucidate my happiness at that moment, recognizing that I was able to climb Ugis Peak after my first plan 2 years ago during my first visit. I know that Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat still has so much to offer, and I can’t wait to explore more of what their town has to proffer.
- The unassuming comeliness of the MARAWIR PEAK as it’s selfishly standing in a valley.
- Panigan Underground River and Waterfalls: The unexplored GEM with a jaw-dropping beauty and MAGICAL story to offer.
- ESPERANZA: The rising JEWEL of SULTAN KUDARAT.
- TEDURAY TRIBE OF UGIS: They CONFORM to NATURE’S WONDER.
- Marguez Hot and Cold Spring blend into the FOREST
- Halo-Halo Festival: A Giant Halo-Halo That Can Feed 1,000 People In Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat
HOW TO GET THERE
From General Santos City:
Major Airlines are flying to General Santos City almost every day. From General Santos City International Airport, ride a van going to SM for only Php 150 fare. As you reach SM, ride a tricycle going to Bulaong Terminal and fare is Php 10.00. From General Santos City’s Bulaong Terminal, ride a nonstop bus (Yellow Bus Line), bound for Marbel (Koronadal City). The travel time is around 1 hour and Php 75.00 fare. At Koronadal City Yellow Bus Terminal, there is a direct trip going to Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat. The travel time is around 1 hour and Php 70-80 fare. Ask the Bus conductor to drop you off at the Esperanza, Municipal Hall and look for Sir Renato Sambrano at the Tourism Office to help you facilitate your trips. He’ll be giving you a list of tourist destinations you wish to explore depending on how long that you’ll be staying in Esperanza. You can contact Sir Renato through these numbers. Landline No. (064) 202- 6375 or Mobile Number: +63 916-324-5520
From COTABATO CITY
Cotabato City is closer in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, comparing the distance from General Santos City. From Cotabato City Airport ride a cab going to Husky Terminal. From there, look for a husky bus bound for Tacurong City and ask the Bus conductor to drop you off at the Esperanza, Municipal Hall and look for Sir Renato Sambrano at the Tourism Office to help you facilitate your trips. He’ll be giving you a list of tourist destinations you wish to explore depending on how long that you’ll be staying in Esperanza. You can contact Sir Renato through these numbers. Landline No. (064) 202- 6375 or Mobile Number: +63 916-324-5520
UGIS PEAK AND MANIRUB FALLS TRAVEL TIPS
- There is an ATM machine in Esperanza, Town Proper if you wish to withdraw some funds.
- Major mobile networks have signal in the town proper, but not in the mountainous area where Manirub Falls and Ugis Peak is located.
- Manirub Falls is a side trip when you get to climb to the knife edge peak of Ugis and like around 2-3 hours of trek from the drop off area in Sitio Ugis.
- Please buy food and drinking water from the town proper for your lunch and snacks.
- Always be kind with local people there and you can constantly ask them for anything if you wish to know them.
- Wear your comfortable trekking outfit, so you’ll feel comfortable along the way.
- Always be responsible with your garbage and never leave any garbage anywhere.
- Please, just enjoy what nature has to offer and always take good care of them. Always remember to practice LEAVE NO TRACE Principle (LNT).
SAMPLE ITINERARY (Manirub Falls and Ugis Peak)
- 07:00 AM Depart for Sitio Ugis
- 07:30 AM ETA Sitio Ugis
- 08:00 AM Depart for Manirub Falls (Trekking start)
- 10:30 AM ETA Manirub Falls (Lunch and Enjoy the Falls)
- 11:30 AM Depart for Ugis Peak (Trekking start)
- 12:30 PM ETA Ugis Peak (Enjoy the knife edge peak of Ugis)
- 01:30 PM Descend and take the shortcut trail
- 04:00 PM ETA Drop off area (Sitio Ugis)
- 05:00 PM ETA Esperanza, Sultan kudarat Proper
ESTIMATED AMOUNT OF MONEY TO PREPARE AND POSSIBLE EXPENSES.
- FOOD (Lunch and Snacks) – Php 200.00
- TRANSPO (Motorcycle good for 2 People back & forth) – Php 300.00
- TRAVEL GUIDE FEE (Good for 5 people)– Php 500
TOTAL – PHP 1,000.00
NOTE: PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE.
I am so grateful to have met the Head of Esperanza Tourism Office for the second time, Mr. Renato Sambrano and for inviting me during the 2nd Halo-Halo Festival in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat. I as well would love to thank Michael John Genilla for bringing me to another unknown waterfalls and the knife edge peak of Ugis. To our local guides, thank you so much for letting me experience the hidden Gem of your place and for giving me chance to share another travel story.