A "Kafe Balos" Trek to Mt. Matutum

Last Saturday was my second time in Prk. 8, Kinilis, Polomolok, South Cotabato. The first time I went there was on an assignment, I was tasked to document on the kafe balos or kapeng alamid story because the boss wanted me to have it featured in the magazine I was handling. That first experience made me swear i will be going back, and sure enough, even brought friends with me.

At first I was hesitant to bring them there because as techies and internet savvy people, they might not like it there and might want some wifi-ing instead. But the plan was pushed through, thanks to the host, Sir Fred Fredeluces, formerly from Mahintana Foundation who has been a good friend to me, and mentor during my "proposal drafting" time in Mahintana.

Everyone seemed excited since there were messages on my FB on what to bring, and told them they could bring some candy stuff for the kids. At first, only 3 confirmed their joining, but we still planned to go with it anyway. I was just surprised that those who did not confirm was there too early for the assembly.

So armed with our cameras, 13 of us, off we went to Kinilis, with a mission to document the making of kafe balos, one the most expensive coffee in the whole world, and can be found in Polomolok, South Cotabato. In this post though, I will only share the fun the group had while trekking, and the kafe balos story will follow. I will share to you pictures of how fun it has been, and wish that you will experience this yourself.

This was seen on the way to heaven on earth. Beautiful Mt. Matutum, a dormant volcano in South Cotabato, amidst the pineapple plantation of Dole Philippines.

And this is what welcomes you there in Prk. 8, Kinilis. Cold crisp fresh air similar to that of Baguio and Tagaytay's, though, less the pollution. On a clear day, one can already see General Santos City wharf and the International airport.

We went there at 5am, so we had no time to have breakfast, we brought pan de sal and sandwiches, and was downed with brewed kafe balos. it was really satisfying, we had good laughter while munching pan de sal and getting ready for the trek, realized that kafe balos gave us more energy.

This is just one of our stops, since we had to trek with a slower, enjoying pace, after some 20 minutes or so, we had to stop and get some air, the way up is not that steep, but it will surely make you catch your breath. And every stop we had, we were ready with our smiles, as every stop is cam-whoring time.

On top of the high hills going up the coffee plantation, we saw a great view, and perfect for another batch of camera-clicking.

This is inside the forest already, we had to stop for a few minutes as the guides and Sir Fred was telling us not to touch a certain plant as it gives an itchy sensation to one who touches it, That plant, as it was also my first time to see it was the poison ivy. See the largest leaves on the pictures, that's it.

See, we never got tired, there was laughter along the way.

And when we were inside the thick forest of Mt. Matutum, and inside the coffee plantation, we were amazed at the trees, the largest and the tallest I have seen in my entire life. Ranging from 20-35 meters tall, the trees were protected as Mt. Matutum is a protected landscape. They die natural deaths with their roots upright when they are already feeble.

The group stayed inside the forest for more than an hour to document the civet poop which makes the yummy kafe balos. We weren't expecting any alamid or Paradoxorus Philippinensis because these cats are nocturnal and they only pick the ripest cherry beans on the plant. Going back, we were filled with knowledge and amazement at how the community in Kinilis were able to help preserve nature while also experiencing sustainability in their livelihood.

Resting after the trek, waiting for the yummy lunch. And while at it, some of us still had fun clicking the shutters.

And when in a tribe, do as the tribes do. We truly had so much fun!

While waiting for lunch, we were entertained by beautiful music coming from this paglong, the tribe's native guitar. With only two strings on it, you will be amazed at what beautiful music this can create.

And here's what we had for lunch. A reward for our stomach for surviving a trek halfway to Mt. Matutum.

pakling, grilled native chicken
native tinolang manok

grilled tuna

Sa pagod namin, ubos ang pagkain sa hapag-kainan.

But we can never forget the fun we had, even if we were stopping from time to time to gasp for air, we had fun with our guides, our sherpah...

Obviously, we had FUN, and the adventure touched my friend's hearts, we plan of going back this December to do community service for the B'laan children. The Rotary Club of Polomolok, knowing we went there for this event, wanted to come with us on our next hike and they will be bringing doctors and dentists with them, for a Christmas Medical Mission together with the SOCCSKSARGEN Bloggers.

To Doc Remo, Donna Mae, Ariel, Joy, Kyawster; thanks for the pictures!


Ayel said…
Makalingaw kaau basahon. Na-refresh jud sa akong isip ang trekking experience. I felt like I went there again. Nakaka-excite tuloy bumalik dun. Whoah!
Interesting post! Each time I drink Alamid Coffee, I savor every sip. Thank you for sharing the fun you had there in Kinilis. I hope to join you next time. Blog on!
Envy Me Salon said…
excited to go back there na ate sheng!!! :) reading your blog reminded me on how much we had fun there :)
princess_dyanie said…
Kafe balos pala ang tawag dun. bakit dito sa manila, cafe alamid ang tawag. *naguluhan bigla* haha :))
upto6only said…
i love the alamid coffee, mahal nga lang. sarap naman ng kinain nyo dyan.
mordsith said…
Not related to your post. But looking through your pictures, I realize you have resemblance with Liz Uy! Pang-first lady ka, sheng! =)
bariles said…
Finally, I was able to go up there 3 years after I first read about it an earlier post of yours.

Thanks so much Sheng for this mind-altering experience. It made me realize how much I needed to do my share in protecting the environment and every creature that lives on it.

The Blaans found out about this just in time and look at how empowered they have become, thanks to Kuya Fred Fredeluces and his groups' efforts.

My hats off to them!
Lantaw said…
Can't wait to go there :)
dong ho said…
enjoy sa ganda ng view at sa mga kasamang makulit.
witsandnuts said…
The photos are fun to look at, especially that one you're on the stairs pretending to be checking on each other's hair strands. ;)
Anonymous said…
Hi!! When are you coming back to trek? Would love to join.
sheng said…
@Anonymous: Hi there, thanks for visiting my blog and reading posts on my adventures. I am not so sure anymore when we will be coming back but we definitely will. Let me know if you're somewhere near, so I can hook you up if schedule permits. Thankies.
Joshua said…
For more info about our Kafe Balos coffee please visit our website here:

OR add us on Facebook here:

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