Credit to @nellal : A few years ago, I heard about the country's largest pygmy forest that can be found in Mt. Hamiguitan, a protected site closed to the public due to the endemic and endangered flora, fauna, and wildlife that inhabited the area. Deemed a @unesco #worldheritage, I dreamt of exploring the mountain.
Last weekend, we were invited for a climb before its opening. It was an honor to be given the opportunity to see firsthand its wonders & to take part in advocating for its conservation. As much as we want to keep these places secret, I guess we cannot keep it from everyone & at the end of the day, it will be about the local community & community at large working together to rally for its preservation.
Key points of our collective feedback: 1) Education must start from the porters & guides. During this trip, we were accompanied by local scientists & researchers who educated us about the treasures of Mt. Hamiguitan. We suggest that this setup be maintained, since education is crucial to give hikers a deeper sense of accountability. Porters & guides must model the basic practices of sustainability as well. 2) Before climbing, hikers must have a proper orientation on the endemic & endangered species that can be found in the area & the practices to follow when you see them. 3) Impose monetary sanctions to hikers for damages made to the natural habitat, so that they will be more cautious (ie intentionally causing damage to an endemic pitcher plant, and the like)
Mt. Hamiguitan will be open to the public this March under stricter conditions where limits of only 50 hikers per month will be allowed. For the mountaineering community, may we help them preserve Mt. Hamiguitan for years to come by being responsible hikers who do not cause degradation to the mountains through negative human impact. It really is such a wonderful place deserving of all our protection. Thank you to the provincial govt of Davao Oriental, Visit Davao Summer Festival, & @airasiafilipino for inviting us to experience its magic.
For those who are also concerned about this topic, what are your own thoughts?
*last 2 photos from @nachidelange & @javycang