Freezing cold greets Pulag climbers-A A +A
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
MOUNTAIN climbers planning to hike the highest peak in Luzon are advised to follow the carrying capacity and safety guidelines set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
DENR-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Executive Director Clarence Baguilat said a police official at the Mt. Pulag National Park reported an increase in hikers in the past weeks because of the cold weather reaching two degrees Celsius to freezing near the peak.
Several groups, including a Police Regional Office-Cordillera team, are scheduled to trek the peak of the 2,922-meter mountain known for its mossy forest and unique terrain inhabited by several endangered species.
During the holiday season, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and his family also climbed the mountain and pledged for the immediate repair of roads leading to the peak in Bokod.
Studies conducted by the DENR shows only 120 hikers per day are allowed to reach the summit to be able to protect the mountain's rich flora, Baguilat said.
However, various entry points to Mt. Pulag prevent the park superintendent's office from strictly monitoring the number of climbers.
Entry points in Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, Kabayan and Bokod in Benguet and Tinoc, Ifugao will be a hard task for the agency to monitor but Baguilat said they are now coordinating with local governments to man these entry points to the national park.
He said they have to make these precautionary measures of limiting climbers to prevent destruction of indigenous flora and fauna endemic only to the area.
The agency also sent advisories to mountain climbers to brace for the extreme temperatures near the peak as they might be in danger of hypothermia and other cold weather diseases.
The park superintendent gives standard briefing procedures to mountain climbers like handling their trash and taking care of the environment in the protected area before their ascent.
He also said that indigenous peoples in the area value the Mt. Pulag National Park as sacred ground and an important component of the ecosystem that visitors should respect. (JM Agreda)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 13, 2011.