Monday, September 24, 2018
  • share this

Mt. Halcon hike moratorium: Who really benefited?

03:27 PM September 07, 2011

CALAPAN CITY, Philippines—One rainy morning on the 27th of August this year, a group of outdoor enthusiasts from Calapan City went to Paitan, a barangay in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro. They biked their way to the village before embarking on a trek in the hills of Sitio Bugnay.

Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, they could not wait to see the pristine sceneries this side of Mount Halcon is famous for. It was supposed to be a relaxing journey despite the ruggedness and steepness of the terrain.


A brief rest—a pause perhaps.. “taking nothing but pictures, leaving nothing but footprints” while regaining  lost energy amid a refreshing beauty of the surroundings.

But something caught their attention—felled trees, big and small. A few meters away, a group of indigenous Mangyans could be seen approaching. They were carrying huge sacks of charcoal on their back, crossing a makeshift bridge.

The scene looked surreal.

A brief chat with the natives revealed that the charcoal were to be sold to lowland markets. One of the hikers asked how much money they make from a sack of charcoal. The Mangyan smiled and answered, “One hundred 10 pesos.” The natives also warned them not to go further, saying they were not allowed to explore the area. They just ignored the warning.

It was a disquieting realization about the threats to Mount Halcon. Amidst global environmental changes, and the many laws, programs, protocols, moratoriums, etc. made to protect the environment, activities like this still occur.

In 2005, a five-year ban on climbing Mt. Halcon was imposed. The moratorium was supposedly meant to allow this already ecologically fragile mountain a time to regenerate.

But was it able to do so? Or the years that the mountaineers were barred from exploring Mt. Halcon could have been the time that destructive activities went unchecked?

Mt. Halcon is a precious wealth of Oriental Mindoro. It is an important natural resource and watershed for the province. It needs special protection.

(The author is the president of Halcon Mountaineers)


Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: environmental issues, forest, illegal logging, Mindoro, Mt. Halcon, Oriental Mindoro
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

MILF member killed for drug peddling

September 24, 2018 09:57 AM


‘Ompong’ damage hits P18.8 billion — NDRRMC

September 24, 2018 09:18 AM


Two men shot dead in Isabela drug busts

September 24, 2018 09:07 AM

© Copyright 1997-2018 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.