DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Executive Director Clarence Baguilat advised climbers not to trek to the peak of Mount Pulag.

"It is the rainy season, it is dangerous [to ascend]," he explained.

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Baguilat said the recent decision of the Protected Area Management Board (Pamb) is to keep the area open despite the decision of the municipal council to close the park to climbers and allow the ecosystem to heal itself.

"We have never closed the area and it is still open, but we advise trekkers to be extra careful."

The Pamb overpowered the local council's resolution temporarily closing the national park during the height of the El Niño phenomenon saying the municipality of Kabayan does not have full jurisdiction over the national park.

Months ago local officials reasoned the temporary closure of the areas is to protect hikers as well as prevent forest fires.

Baguilat said "Now that the dry season is over, there is no danger of forest fires anymore."

The DENR said forest fires have been caused by irresponsible locals and visitors with fires proven to start with beekeepers who smoke beehives, which trigger forest fires.

Another cause of Pulag fires have been found to be hunters who smoke out animals from underground holes.

However, Baguilat said caution is needed if climbers are to trek up the mountain in the rainy season because slope conditions will vary.