The Talomo-Apo FKT Challenge

“All set. In 30 minutes, larga na.” It was near midnight last Saturday when Pat sent us this message. He was about to run the length of the Talomo-Apo trail and set the fastest known time (FKT) or what he also likes to call FaRT or Fastest Recorded Time. A little over 13 hours later, he sent us another message. It said only one word: “Success!” He did it.

Patrick Aquino aka Pat Payat
Patrick Aquino aka Pat Payat

Patrick Aquino, known as “Pat Payat” to most of his friends, was the team leader in our Talomo-Apo hike last October. He has also led countless other hikes, most notably those that were organized by outdoor specialty store, BaseKamp. He is a playful yet responsible fellow and his love and respect for the outdoors is undeniable.

When I first learned that Pat would try to set a record time hiking Mts. Talomo and Apo, I was genuinely excited. I know him as a force to be reckoned with on the trails and he is also a dedicated trail runner. There was no doubt in my mind that he was capable of such feat. The only question I had was “how long would it take him to finish?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that what he did was easy and neither am I suggesting that others cannot follow suit (or that others haven’t tried and succeeded/failed – I honestly do not know).  I have climbed these two mountains. Frankly, it was the toughest hike I’ve had to date. We climbed it in a span of four days carrying everything and anything we needed on our backs. It was brutal. And yet, Pat still set out not only to hike it a third time, but also to do so in the fastest time he could.

Call him crazy or whatever you like to call him but that’s Pat as I know him. Always craving for more thrill, always stretching the boundaries, and always proving and conquering himself. All for the pursuit of adventure and the love for the outdoors. He also loves running on nature’s trails and aims to set a personal record, hence, the FKT (or FaRT) attempt.

He was not alone in this venture, though. He was joined by friends we met in Davao during our October hike. They were Johnny Dacao, Isiah James Tan, and Jerrald Balani or “Pogs,” “Paopao,” and “Kimwong.” (Two of them succeeded while the other two, Isaiah and Jerrald, had to go back after summiting Talomo due to an untoward incident.)

The company: Johnny, Patrick, Jerrald, and Isiah (top) aka Kimwong, Pat, Pao, and Pogs (bottom)
The company: Johnny, Patrick, Jerrald, and Isiah (top) aka Kimwong, Pat, Pao, and Pogs (bottom)

Equipped with only a hydration vest containing 1.5 litres of water and another litre of sports drink, some energy gels, power bars, and some snacks, Pat took on the challenge of two of the highest mountains in the country.


Here’s a quick rundown of what happened during Pat’s successful FKT attempt:

At 4 PM, Saturday (Dec. 13, 2014), the group was already in Sicao Village – the jump-off point of the traverse. There they rested and prepared and at 12:30 AM on Sunday, Isaiah and Jerrald headed off. Pat and Pogs started at 1 AM.

The group got lost in the trail. Realizing this after 200 meters, they had to back track to find the right trail.

They reached Talomo’s summit at 4:10 AM. Isaiah and Jerrald had to go back to Sicao due to some unfortunate circumstance. Pat and Pogs continued with the attempt.

At around 4:45 AM, Pogs asked to take a quick nap because he was still too sleepy. They both resumed running at 5:15 AM.

They reached Kabakan Falls at 6:30 AM.

A part of the trail from Talomo to Apo; a fallen tree served as nature's makeshift bridge
A part of the trail from Talomo to Apo; a fallen tree served as nature’s makeshift bridge

They reached Basinan Camp at 8 AM where they had a quick breakfast. The run-fast walk-power hike combo was resumed at 8:30 AM.

At 10 AM, they were already at Lake Venado. According to Pat, the lake has dried out so they were able to run across rather than around it. Unfortunately, by this time, Pat had run out of water and only had half a litre of Gatorade left.

Pat running across the dried out Lake Venado
Pat running across the dried out Lake Venado

They had to run to the summit while conserving what little water they had left.

Pat running to the summit of Apo
Pat running to the summit of Apo

They reached Apo’s summit camp at 11:40 AM. They had lunch, refilled some water, and made for the descent.

12:10 PM, they descended via the boulders. Pat noted how the extreme heat and the challenges of the boulders made it quite difficult to run.They took the Colland-Barureng trail going down.

Descent; Pogs with one of Apo's sulfur vents in the background
Descent; Pogs with one of Apo’s sulfur vents in the background

At 2 PM, they were already at the exit point (Colland-Barureng Jump-off). Pat’s FaRT was a success!

Total time (based on Pat’s watch): 13 hours, 10 minutes, and 20 seconds.


Trail running is a sport which consists of running and hiking over trails. It differs from road running in that it generally takes place on hiking trails, often in mountainous terrain, where there can be significantly larger ascents and descents (Wikipedia). It also has lesser impact in the environment compared to hiking.

Fastest Known Times (or FKTs) are nothing new but they have been getting more and more popular in recent years. The increase in popularity comes thanks the likes of Kilian Jornet’s Summits of my Life project, and recent publicity over FKTs like the Grand Canyon’s Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim and the Pacific Crest Trail… The concept is simple and pure; An athlete chooses a route, and tries to be the fastest person who has ever gone from point A to point B. A route can be bagging a peak, an out-and-back, a loop, run self-supported or with a crew, solo or as a team. There are really no hard and fast rules. (Outdoor Vancouver).

In the Philippines, trail runner, race director, and Frontrunner magazine Editor-in-Chief, Jonel Mendoza coined the term Fastest Recorded Time or what one would call “FaRT.”

Talomo-Apo FaRT Itinerary:

0030 – Pao and Kimwong made forTalomo

0100 – Pat and Pogs start made for Talomo

0410 – The group reached Talomo Summit; Pat and Pogs continued with the attempt

0445 – Pogs decided to have a power nap

0515 – The two made for Kabakan Falls

0630 – Kabakan Falls

0800 – Basinan Camp; breakfast

0830 – They made for Lake Venado

1000 – Lake Venado; assault to Apo’s summit

1140 –  Mt. Apo’s summit; lunch

1210 – They started descent via boulders

1400 – FaRT success!


Some more photos:

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Pat asked me to mention and on his behalf, thank some of his friends that supported him. He would like to extend his gratitude to Nica Tanjutco, Ro Jervoso, Mark Valencia, Charly Dator, Nick Imbong, Kate Aragon, Jemar Sing, and Angelo Cruz (That’s me! You’re welcome, Pat!). He also thanks his hike/run buddy, Pogs; the support crew, Pao and Kimwong; and John Salinde for accommodating him while he was in Davao.

Congratulations Pat Payat! Power!

Now, where would the next #PatPayatFKTChallenge be?



9 thoughts on “The Talomo-Apo FKT Challenge

  1. Matinde talaga yan c Sir Pat!!! hardest climb q nun xa ung TL namin eh… Grabeh rumatrat… Idol!!! ^_^


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