THE Holy Week is fast approaching, and with it, the preparations of mountaineers and trekkers to climb up Mt. Apo anew.
We know too well how scorching hot it has been in the past days and apparently in the days to come. And since Mt. Apo has again been opened to trekkers last year after suffering a major damage from a forest fire just the year before in 2016; all because of a careless trekker who apparently left embers or an unattended fire.
We can only plead to all those who plan to go up to be extra careful, to exercise utmost care, and all other superlatives we can attach to caring.
Mountaineers who have earned their stripes should be very well versed about caring for the environment, although with today's generation, we can never be sure.
Trekkers, however, are a different breed. They’re there for the adventure and the photos. We can only appeal to every barangay through which the Holy Week trekkers will be passing through to give these people a crash course on proper decorum on the trail and some basic mountaineering reminders, the most classic of which being: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.
Mt. Apo is sacred ground to the indigenous peoples, please respect this as well. It being sacred, mind your words, be respectful, always. A mountain older than your ancestors doesn't need any of your F-word. Suck it all in.
In trekking up mountains, the center of it all is mountain, not the human. The human is but intruding into a space that has been there since time immemorial to challenge himself and nothing more. Leave the mountain as you have first seen it.
Leave nothing but footprints means that each trekker brings the garbage home with him or her and not let a single ember, even from a cigarette butt, fall, and cut nothing not even the grass that is trod on.
Since barangays and municipalities earn from the trekkers, then these local government units should make sure that they are accountable for each and every trekker that passes their way and that these trekkers be held accountable as well for how they conduct themselves on the mountain throughout the length of their climb.
Mt. Apo can no longer afford another forest fire and those careless trekkers of March 2016 are lucky the fire they started did not entrap them; that would have been poetic justice, indeed.