Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mt. Pulag Is Bursting At The Seams Due To The Influx Of Climbers And Tourists

As the third highest peak in the Philippines, it's no surprise that Mt. Pulag in Benguet is one of the most visited mountains in the country. Thousands of mountaineers and tourists trek to its grassy slopes and summit every year. Without a doubt, the number of people wanting to step on the mountain is growing. The management of the Mt. Pulag National Park has regularly sent out bulletins informing those who wish to climb the mountain to make their reservations weeks or months before their ascent because the mountain is always within (if not beyond) its carrying capacity.

On any given day, there are dozens of people trudging up and down the mountain. It's not that difficult to imagine the effect of this on the environmental health of the famous peak. Even the management of the Mt. Pulag National Park are lamenting the fact that there are a lot of trekkers and organizers who are not staying in line and are not following park regulations and policies. All these problems can take their toll on the national park.

Now, professional mountain climbers are starting to bemoan the number of people being allowed to be at the peak. The Facebook page of the Pinoy Mountaineer (a popular mountaineering blog) posted a photo which was recently taken at the summit of Mt. Pulag. In it you can see a throng of people crowding a portion of the misty peak. Now, you can lodge any type of criticism towards the photo. Could be a camera trick. The photo could have been taken in a way and in the most perfect second to make the impression that there are more people on the peak than necessary. But the point is this: maybe it's time to be more strict in enforcing policies and regulations. Or better yet, revisit such policies and regulations and make amends.

Kat Velayo Greenberg said it best in a follow-up opinion piece she wrote for the Pinoy Mountaineer blog: "The Philippines really needs a National Parks Service. The DENR cannot handle the workload of maintaining our national parks on top of enforcing rules about environmental degradation and policing corporations. Many other countries have a government body that is just about maintaining the parks. It should be separate from the Department of Tourism and the DENR because it needs to focus on its own agenda: regulating the amount of traffic to our natural wonders and maintaining the health and beauty of those natural wonders."

"Hindi lang LRT/MRT ang siksikan. Pati Mt. Pulag siksikan narin."This photo at the summit of Mt. Pulag, shared to us...
Posted by Pinoy Mountaineer on Tuesday, January 26, 2016