Climb security: overview and bulletin

an overview in the Philippine context

Safety is the number one consideration in mountain climbing, and the security situation poses a great concern in many mountains. It may range from petty theft and holdups in campsites, to crossfire in military operations versus insurgencies. Before I proceed, I would like to preface this article by saying that PinoyMountaineer, being primarily a special-interest website with the advocacy of promoting and preserving Philippine mountains, will not make any judgmental or political statements. We do not wish anybody’s reputation to be damaged.

To promote ecotourism, however, it is necessary to allay fears. An example is Mt. Arayat, whose rumored insurgents have deterred hiking groups from visiting it. In fact, Mt. Arayat is considered safe. So as not to fuel these rumors, PinoyMountaineer will refrain from mentioning reports that have been proven to be false.

More practical, is the concern over the growing “business” of stealing from mountaineers. We have heard of reports on several mountains, and PinoyMountaineer will maintain a regularly-updated list of mountains with reports of concern (i.e. theft, assault, intimidation by any parties, etc.). This is not mutually exclusive with the bulletin on closed mountains; an open mountain may be dangerous whereas a closed mountain may be perfectly safe.

(Mountaineers are encouraged to challenge/add to the list)

Right now, there are no mountains on the list.

(1) Register and give your contact numbers to proper authorities. Get their numbers also. Let them know of your exit point and estimated time of return.
(2) Give your itinerary, names, and contact numbers to a third party.
(3) As civilians, hikers are discouraged from wearing military-looking outfits
(4) In general, do not climb a mountain all by yourself.
(5) If in doubt about safety, research about the situation first before proceeding with your climb
(6) As much as possible, get authorized guides and make clear the terms of your agreement beforehand. In making deals with locals involving money, make sure the transaction is well-understood by both parties.
(7) Do not climb mountains that are closed unless you have a special permit to do so. (See the bulletin on closed mountains)
(8) Do not bring too much cash and flashy items when climbing. Keep your valuables safe. When doing summit assaults, make sure your basecamp is secure.
(9) Be culture sensitive – avoid antagonizing the locals!
(10 Avoid excessive drinking and making loud noises in the mountains.

There are also special instances where special customs have to be respected. For example, in the Kitanglad and Kalatungan mountain ranges in Bukidnon, a ritual sacrifice of chickens is requested by the local tribes. In Bud Bongao in Tawi-Tawi, it is customary to wear a cloth called ‘sawal’ and to bring bananas to feed the monkeys. Respect will win you the trust of the locals, and avoid any mishaps.

National Emergency Hotline: 117
Philippine National Police 24-hr hotline: 027222353 / 027229587
Tourist Assistance Hotlines: 025241728 / 025241660
Philippine General Hospital: 025218450

Trust among mountaineers is a very important concept that must be respected. Unfortunately, we have heard in the past of groups of ‘mountaineers’ who do not adhere to this. Mountaineers may report unbecoming conduct and other feedback at

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6 Comments on "Climb security: overview and bulletin"

13 years 1 day ago

A lot would be bringing knives or bolos with them. Assuming you have the proper licenses and permits, are there any issues with bringing firearms? (Of course, concealed from public view.) Nakatago sa bag or nakatago sa pocket.

15 years 4 months ago

Regarding Mount Talinis and the security issue. We climbed about three weeks ago, about the time when the nurse from Cebu was so sadly shot. We were unaware of this at the time.

First we went to the helpful Dumaguete Tourist office and received information on the 3 possible routes to the summit, they also advised not to climb due to a presence of NPA, how ever could not be pacific…

We decided to proceed to the start area the day before and make inquiries, after talking to many locals at the base of Mt Talinis we decided to proceed the following day with the climb. Not one of locals claimed to of seen any NPA activity.

The area of the shooting incident is quite some distance from Talinis, ( I would estimate at least 2 days hiking from the climbing route) we experienced just good friendly people.

I do not want to minimize the importance of safety, and also of following advice from the authorities, had the tourist office of been more pacific we would of stopped then and there.

Just that we followed the advice of people living in the immediate area, and had a great day.

don of ONE Cebu
15 years 5 months ago

sir Gid, our group was supposed to climb Mt. Talinis on October 4-6, 2008 but when I called Valencia Police, they advised me na mahirap daw ang movement ngayon doon sa talinis kasi nga raw may mga insurgencies na nangyari.. kaya we have to abandon nalang our plans for Talinis. They suggested na it’s better to let the insurgencies settle down first before we climb.. Pero hindi naman siya nagsabi na closed na ang talinis.. ang sabi lang nya na climb at your own risk nalang daw..

This was right after we heard the news of a Nursing stude of cebu who was killed on a crossfire in dauin..

15 years 6 months ago

sir, tnx 4 d info.. thats very helpful 2 us coz we only climb in 2 or 3 person only.. thats why we need those info… we got some info by the locals of borowisan / fami that a lot of incidents happened there as well as pico de loro… and theyre brutal to leave u nothin but the clothes ur wearing.. but the locals there post lots of tanod … so when camping, try to stay close with them (TANODS)… theyre very nice.. KARL of PIKNIKERS MOUNTAINEERS

15 years 8 months ago

sir, thanks for the encouragement.

yes, mam mering is furious ’til now. evryday she updated us with the developments.

we can laugh after the incidents, i just wish we can climb again together [sad to say – some members gave there trekking sandals to locals]. but i’m optimistic, sabi nga ‘time heal all wounds.’

hoping for the best….