Mt. Apo may be declared off limits due to drought
Mount Apo, the country’s highest mountain, may be closed to climbers after the Holy Week if no rain falls in the area, Kidapawan City tourism officer Joey Recimilla said.
“Mt. Apo is likely to be closed after the Holy Week if there will be no rain in sight,” Recimilla told the Philippine Information Agency.
Recimilla said the Mt. Apo Natural Park Protected Area Management Board’s (MANP-PAMB ) Eco-Tourism Committee already restricted entry to Mt. Apo to only 1,000 climbers during the Holy Week because of the El Nino phenomenon.
He said the allocation is divided among Kidapawan, Magpet and Makilala in North Cotabato, and Digos and Sta.Cruz in Davao del Sur.
He said the restrictions are due to drought and fire prevention because grass fires have been reported in Sitio Garok along the Sibulan trail in Sta. Cruz and Barangay Binaton in Digos.
“Water shortage is also a problem in most trails, except those in Kidapawan and Magpet,” he said.
He also said climbers have to be monitored for compliance with mountaineering and forest fire prevention rules.
MANP-PAMB prohibits fireworks, burning of debris, building of campfires, and using wood sticks, logs and charcoal for cooking. Smoking is also restricted to areas free of flammable or combustible material.
At 2,956 meters above sea level, Mt. Apo is the highest peak in the Philippines.
When trekking was still unregulated, climbers during the Holy Week would exceed 5,000.