By Philippine News Agency
The city government of Kidapawan has opened the northern trails to Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak at 9,692 ft. above sea level, for treks to its summit this summer season.
This came about as the city’s Protective Area Management Board (PAMB) announced on Saturday (March 25) the reopening of Mt. Apo for trekkers starting next month.
“The PAMB, through Resolution 2017-01 officially opens Mt. Apo for trekkers, which was closed after the wide-range bush fire occurred in the peak during the ‘Holy Week trek’ in March last year,” an official PAMB statement said.
Mayor Joseph Evangelista said the development is seen to accelerate the influx of both foreign and domestic climbers, boosting the locality’s tourism and generating big profits for local micro-entrepreneurs.
The mayor batted though for the strict implementation of trekking regulations set by the Mt. Apo-PAMB to ensure safety and prevent the natural degradation of the highlands.
Last year, unregulated intrusion by climbers on the southern slopes of Mt. Apo resulted in a vast bush fire that took several weeks to contain.
“We will never commercialize Mt. Apo, thus we are bound to maintain strict imposition of rules,” Evangelista said.
The mayor has tasked the city tourism office to strictly monitor and regulate the number of trekkers to the summit.During summer, Mt. Apo attracts an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 climbers.
Joey Recimilla, city tourism officer, said they are set to conduct training workshops to all mountain guides and travel agencies starting next week to enhance their capability in offering services and welcoming tourists.
Mt. Apo boasts of its vast rain forests teeming with flora and fauna, among them the rare Philippine Eagle, said to be the biggest of its kind in the world.