Mt. Matutum, a steep, non-active, volcano is located north of the town of General Santos in the province of South Cotabato. It’s irregular and characteristic shape is formed by volcanic uplift during previous periods of activity. Mt. Matutum has a well-preserved 320-m-wide crater at the volcano's summit, it’s last eruption was recorded in 1911. At a 2,286 meters rising high above sea level, Mt. Matutum is undoubtedly the provinces most imposing land mark that dominates the entire landscape from General Santos to Koronadal City.

The name Matutum is derived from the Blaa’n term “Amyak Maleh”, that means Climb and Plant. The forested slopes of this majestic mountain are covered with huge ferns, trees and plants that abundantly grow in the wild and are host to diverse animal and plant species, including the national bird, the Philippine Eagle. One of the tallest, rarest, largest and most powerful birds in the world. There are many creeks with free, cool and clear flowing water coming from the hillsides. Mt. Matutum is eyed as one of the greenest outdoor destinations in South Cotabato, this place is a perfect hub for promoting ecotourism in a big way. The slopes and steps of Mt. Matutum will lure the imagination of many visitors.

This mountain is nominated as a new UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mt. Matutum’s forest is being protected and managed by the Blaa’n, an indigenous group that inhabits the southern part of South Cotabato.

The prominent Mt. Matutum is one of the favorite climbing destinations in the area and is considered as an outstanding challenge to mountaineers and nature lovers. Climbers are requested to plant a seedling on the mountain, a great initiative in making a positive contribution to the preservation of the local ecosystem. The hillside of Mt. Matutum is a stunning place where nature is abundant and unrestrained, a place where one feels a humble respect for nature and the environment. The top of the volcano is offering a magnificent panoramic view of Polomolok, Koronadal City and General Santos City.

All of this creates one of the most amazing natural experiences that people can enjoy.

(Text by Ronald de Jong of Aliawan Travel Tales and Images.)

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