Friday, June 23, 2017

Bakun Trio Guide: Registration, Fees, Transportation, Itinerary, Etc.

Bakun Trio is the collective nickname given to three popular mountains in the town of Bakun in Benguet. These are Mt. Tenglawan, Mt. Kabunian, and Mt. Lobo. These mountains are adjacent each other so mountain climbers usually climb all three within three days (one mountain a day). For those who are planning to climb the Bakun Trio, here's a quick guide for you. You will find here information about registration fees, where to register, how to get there, and other important details.

Before You Go To Bakun
It's important that you contact the Municipal Tourism Officer of Bakun at least a week before your trip The Municipal Tourism Officer will then refer you to whoever is in charge of hikers in the villages of Poblacion and Sinacbat.

There are two main persons you should contact prior to going to Bakun. They are as follows:
1. Arthur Tolito [09212113687 or 09053172616]  - Mr. Tolito is the Municipal Tourism Officer of Bakun.
2. Peter Diclas [09296210448 or 09062847896] - Mr. Diclas is the President of the Bakun Trio Tour Guides and Porters Association (BATTOGAPA).

Get in touch with these people before you head over to Bakun. They will inform you about everything you need to know about scaling the Bakun Trio. The mountains in Bakun are considered as major climbs so you need to be prepared especially if you plan on climbing the three mountains. Condition your body prior to your trip. Go to the gym, jog, run, climb smaller mountains, just do what you need to do to prepare yourself physically.

How To Get To Bakun
There are two main drop-off points in Bakun. One is Poblacion which is the drop-off point that most climbers use. Poblacion is where you should go if you plan on climbing the three mountains. The second drop-off point is Sinacbat. This is the drop-off point you use if you plan on climbing only Mt. Tenglawan. Or if you want to hit the Mt. Tenglawan - Mt. Kabunian Traverse. The trip from Baguio City or La Trinidad to the town of Bakun takes between 5 to 7 hours.

There are two irregular buses that go to Bakun every morning. These usually leave between 6:00 am and 7:00 am. One parks at the Petron Gas Station along Km. 5 in La Trinidad, just in front of the Jollibee branch. The other one parks at the Kenwayen Commercial Center along Km. 6 in La Trinidad, just beside the Calajo Restaurant.

Registration Fees And Other Fees To Be Paid
1. Environmental fee - 100 pesos per head
2. Tour guide fee - 1000 (Mt. Tenglawan), 800 (Mt. Kabunian), 600 (Mt. Lobo)

It's worth noting here that the ratio for guide to hikers is one is to six (1:6). If your group has seven or eight people, you will have to pay an additional 100 pesos per head for the guide. If you exceed eight people, you will be required to get a second guide.
Photo from the Benguet Tourism Office Facebook page.
Where To Stay In Bakun
The local government unit of Bakun has designated the old municipal building as base camp for mountain climbers. This building is located in Poblacion. You can stay and sleep their at night. The lodging fee is 60 pesos per head per night. There are also blankets, mats, pillows, and mattresses that you can rent between 20 and 40 pesos each. If your base camp is in Sinacbat, you will be housed at the Sinacbat Barangay Hall.

How Many Days Will It Take To Climb The Bakun Trio
It usually takes three days. One day for each mountain. However, you need to take into account your travel to Bakun. So all in all, the trip can take 4 to 5 days. The first and fifth day will be travel days. You can cut the duration of the trip by one day if you get to Poblacion early in the first day which means you will still have time to climb one of the three mountains.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Missing Korean Hiker In Cordillera Mountains FOUND ALIVE After 8 Days And 7 Nights Of Search Operations

The search is finally over. After eight days and seven nights of search and rescue operations, the Korean hiker who went missing in the mountains of Barlig in Mt. Province has been found. And he's alive. In an update from the Mountain Province Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Choi Sung Kyu was found around noon by Joselito Tukyap (a local resident) in barangay Latang, Barlig. The man was hunting for wild honey when he came across the Korean tourist.

Choi will be transported to the Bontoc General Hospital tomorrow (Wednesday) or as soon as his health condition permits.

Choi went missing over a week ago when he tried to hike to Batad, Banaue through Mt. Amuyao. At one point, policemen as well as the Korean Embassy were able to contact him via mobile phone and asked him to divulge his location. He said he was near a big rock which prompted rescuers to head over to Ammiw and Furud where large rock formations can be found. The rescuers failed to locate him

For the next several days, a massive search and rescue operation was conducted involving more than 70 people. These include responders from the Sagada MDRRMC, responders from the PDRRMC, locals and volunteers from the Barlig MDRRMC, and over a dozen Korean nationals. The Philippine Army, the Philippine National Police, and the K-9 unit of the Cordillera DRRMC were also tapped to assist in the search and rescue operations.
© Daniel Feliciano / The Cordilleran Sun
In light of the incident, tourists and travelers are being advised to always get a guide especially for hiking trips in the Cordillera region. It's easy to get lost in Cordillera's mountains. Even locals and experienced climbers often find themselves lost in the region's thickly forested slopes. What more if you're a visitor who is unfamiliar with the region's terrain. Lesson from the incident: get a guide.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

81 Searchers Mobilized To Find Missing Korean Hiker In Cordillera Mountains

The Korean national who went missing several days ago while hiking through the Cordillera mountains is yet to be found. Dozens of searchers and rescuers have been deployed to search for Choi Sungkyu who was last seen on June 9 within the vicinity of barangay Latang in Barlig, Mt. Province. He was headed to the direction of barangay Pula in Banaue, Ifugao. He was traveling alone without a guide.

In their latest update about the search and rescue operations, the Mountain Province Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said that 81 people are currently being mobilized to find the missing Korean. These are composed of 20 responders from the Sagada MDRRMC, 18 responders from the PDRRMC, 27 locals from the Barlig MDRRMC, and 16 Korean nationals. The rescuers were divided into seven teams.

Although Choi was last seen in June 9, he was last contacted via mobile phone in June 14 as relayed to the Barlig Police by the Korean Embassy. Choi arrived in Barlig in June 7.

Here's a quick overview of the circumstances surrounding the Korean national's disappearance:
1. Choi Sungkyu arrived at the town of Barlig in Mt. Province on the evening of June 7.

2. Two days later, on June 9, he checked out of the inn where he stayed. His plan was to climb Mt Amuyao and hike his way to Batad in the nearby province of Ifugao. He was seen on this day within the vicinity of barangay Latang in Barlig. He was heading to the direction of barangay Pula in Banaue, Ifugao.

3. On June 13, policemen from Barlig were able to contact Sungkyu through his mobile phone. They asked for his location. Sungkyu said that he was in a place surrounded by pine trees and that he was feeling very weak. Sungkyu also told the policemen that he has to turn off his phone to conserve the battery.

4. On June 14, the Barlig police was alerted by the Korean Embassy that Sungkyu is still alive and that he was near a big rock in the mountains.

5. Search teams were immediately dispatched to areas along Sungkyu's route that had large rock formations. The teams weren't able to locate him. The teams combed through sitios Ammiw and Furud in Latang but Sungkyu was nowhere to be found.
Photo by the Mountain Province DRRMO

Rakka: A Peek Into The Future Projects Of The Creator Of District 9

Neill Blomkamp has made three feature films. District 9 was great. Elysium was good. Chappie was bad. This seemingly downward spiral in the cinematic quality of his work is very alarming (especially to fans of science fiction). I'm quickly reminded of M. Night Shyamalan and his tragic fall from grace. It's difficult to digest the fact that the guy who made The Sixth Sense went on to make tasteless dishes like The Happening, The Last Airbender, and After Earth. The sci-fi fan in me can only hope that this Shyamalan curse doesn't impose itself on the very talented Neill Blomkamp.

Luckily, there's a good sign that Blomkamp is up to great things. That is if you consider the absolutely fantastic short film he just released free on YouTube and Steam. Called Rakka, the film is set in the year 2020 in a post-apocalyptic world wherein humans have been reduced to cattle and guinea pigs by aliens. It's not exactly a cliche-breaking concept but it has its own feel and atmosphere under the guidance of Blomkamp. Almost everything is unique: the reptilian appearance of the aliens and the way the aliens subjugate and control humans.

Rakka is produced by Oats Studios, a Canada-based film studio that was also started by Blomkamp. It's one of a series of short films that the studio plans to release in the coming months. These short pieces may serve as the foundation for full feature films in the future. If there's a filmmaker who can transform a short film into a full-blown one, it would be Blomkamp. After all, his most well-known work (District 9) was an expanded version of a short piece (Alive in Joburg).


Here's a transcript of the voice-over used in the film:
We were once mankind. We were humanity. And now, we're no more than pests. Vermin. They came here to exterminate us. They took our history and culture. They covered our landmarks in dying humanity. The wail of the dying carried for miles. They're building some kind of breeding facility for those that survive. People that have defected says it's worse than hell, humans becoming some kind of surrogate incubators for the alien young. They killed us in waves when they first arrived. They built these mega-structures that spew methane, manufacturing their atmosphere. They've sown their crops, snuffing out our plant life, raising the global temperature, causing our cities to flood. They waged war on Earth. They set fire to our forests. 

It's already hard to breathe...impossible to breathe if you are close to the stacks. Rats, insects, humans, they hack into our psyche, into our minds, paralyzing us, taking control of the cerebrum  and the limbic system, rendering us as slaves. We've been able to design a brain barrier that protects us from their influence. They know we can't produce enough of these for everyone, that it's just a matter of time before the entire planet is theirs...but we're survivors. Scrounging enough to eat, gathering enough morale to fight. I wonder if deep down, each person knows we're already dead. I wonder if only one, sick, primordial instinct keeps marching us forward aimlessly. Every rational thought tells us it's over. Every vile, deceptive, chemical emotion tells us it isn't. We are sold a different story by our politicians.

Every once in a while, something goes our way. Just one in a thousand. Just enough to keep fighting. A glimmer of hope. People will pay for this. They always do. Even for small victories, it would seem that everything was lost. Humanity would soon cease to exist. Until they arrived, like angels carried on the rays of the Aurora Borealis. Like a biblical salvation.

The new world altered everyone. Adapt or die, it was as simple as that. In the old world, Nosh would have been locked up. A pyromaniac, a bomb-maker but here, he not only survived, he thrived. Nosh could make just about anything out of scavenged junk. Bombs, brain locks...anything. We needed him, and he knew it.

Some sick people in exchange for Nosh's item. In peacetime, such an offer would be insane. Immoral. But now...anything's possible. We picked up Amir in Sector 7. At first, they thought he was dead, some refuse from one of their experiments.

This world had changed all of us...but Amir had been reborn...with something entirely new.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Search Ongoing For Korean Who Went Missing While Hiking In Cordillera Mountains

Members of the Philippine National Police, personnel of the Mountain Province Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), volunteers, and concerned citizens are still trying to locate the whereabouts of a South Korean traveler who went missing in the mountains of the Cordillera region several days ago.

Here's a quick overview of the circumstances surrounding the Korean national's disappearance:
1. Choi Sungkyu arrived at the town of Barlig in Mt. Province on the evening of June 7.

2. Two days later, on June 9, he checked out of the inn where he stayed. His plan was to climb Mt Amuyao and hike his way to Batad in the nearby province of Ifugao. He was seen on this day within the vicinity of barangay Latang in Barlig. He was heading to the direction of barangay Pula in Banaue, Ifugao.

3. On June 13, policemen from Barlig were able to contact Sungkyu through his mobile phone. They asked for his location. Sungkyu said that he was in a place surrounded by pine trees and that he was feeling very weak. Sungkyu also told the policemen that he has to turn off his phone to conserve the battery.

4. On June 14, the Barlig police was alerted by the Korean Embassy that Sungkyu is still alive and that he was near a big rock in the mountains.

5. Search teams were immediately dispatched to areas along Sungkyu's route that had large rock formations. The teams weren't able to locate him. The teams combed through sitios Ammiw and Furud in Latang but Sungkyu was nowhere to be found.
© Daniel Feliciano / The Cordilleran Sun
The search for the missing Korean is ongoing. Some Korean nationals also coordinated with the PDRRMC to help with the search and rescue operations. Officials in Banaue have also been informed and are doing their own search for the missing hiker.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June 16 (Friday) Declared As A Non-Working Holiday In La Trinidad, Benguet

It's going to be a long weekend in the town of La Trinidad in Benguet. June 16 (Friday) has been declared by Malacanang as a special non-working holiday in the municipality. This is in observance of the town's 67th Foundation Day. This year's celebration has the theme "La Trinidad: Where Unity and Friendship Find Home". The anniversary rites will be held at the La Trinidad Municipal Gym. The guest speaker will be Congressman Harry Roque (representative of the Kabayan party list).

Below is a copy of the proclamation:

Malacanan Palace
Manila

By The President Of The Philippines
Proclamation  No. 234

Declaring Friday, 16 June 2017, as a Special (Non-Working) Day in the Municipality of La Trinidad, Province of Benguet

Whereas, the Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet was organized under Republic Act No. 531 dated 16 June 1950;

Whereas, Friday, 16 June 2017, marks the celebration of the 67th Foundation Day of the Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet; and

Whereas, it is but fitting and proper that the people of the Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet, be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

Now, therefore, I, Menardo I. Guevarra, Acting Executive Secretary, by authority of the President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, do hereby declare Friday, 16 June 2017, as a special (non-working) day in the Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Repulic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 14th day of June, in the year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Seventeen.

By Authority of the President
Menardo I. Guevarra
Acting Executive Secretary
© Daniel Feliciano / The Cordilleran Sun

OWWA Cordillera Is Now Accepting Applicants For Its College Scholarship Programs

Here's a piece of good news for dependents of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). The regional office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) here in the Cordillera has announced that it's accepting applications for its college scholarship programs. Qualified applicants will get financial assistance amounting to 60,000 pesos per school year from the agency.

There are two scholarship programs that you can choose from. These are the Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) and the Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP). You should start processing your documents right now since all applications must be submitted before July 31, 2017.

Below are the details about the programs [Source: OWWA CAR]:

A N N O U N C E M E N T
Be part Of OWWA CAR Scholars

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration - CAR is now accepting applicants under the OWWA College Scholarships on the following programs for the qualified dependents of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) with active OWWA membership for financial assistance of Php 60, 000. per School Year.

A. Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) for courses leading to any 4 to 5-year Baccalaureate course.

Who may apply under EDSP
1. For incoming Freshmen
a. Child /sibling of active OFW for EDSP
b. Single
c. Grade 12 graduating student this coming 2018
d. Not more than 21 years old.

2. For those already enrolled in 2nd to 5th year college
a. Single
b. Not more than 30 yrs old
c. With a general Weighted average not lower than B letter grade or 85% equivalence in all academic and non-academic subjects during the last school year attended in full load.

B. Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP) for baccalaureate courses from the priority fields in Science and Technology as identified by Department of Science & Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).

Basic qualifications under CMWSP
1. Be a child of an OFW whose annual gross income is not more than US $6,780.00
2. Not more than 21 year-old and graduating high school student or who has graduated but never enrolled to college or associate courses; 3. A Filipino citizen with good health and of good moral character;
4. Not a recipient of any scholarship award from any government or private institution;
5. Has passed the qualifying examination for OWWA CMWSP scholarship conducted nationwide by DOST on 15 October 2017.

Where to file:
a. OWWA BAGUIO Office-17 Manongdo Bldg.,Private Rd, Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City
b. You may also file your application at DOLE provincial office, Municipal Office (look for PESO or Migrant Desk officer)

When: All applications must be submitted before July 31, 2017.

What are the basic requirements?
a. Application forms (available at OWWA office of at OWWA website)
b. 2x2 picture of applicant
c. Birth certificate of applicant(proof of relationship to OFW)
d. Proof of OWWA membership

Pls submit applications at
Owwa Baguio 17 Manongdo Bldg
Private Road Magsaysay Avenue
Baguio City

Mobile number is 0999-994-9296,
0917-500-1294 or
Landline 300-3658
Tele fax 445-2260