This morning I spoke with Ms. Sally Pangan, Park Superintendent (DENR PASU) upon whose jurisdiction Mt. Banahaw and Mt. Cristobal falls under. We discussed the status of the mountains, the prospects for reopening. Here is the gist of our conversation:
The five-year closure order of Mt. Banahaw was enacted in 2004. Doesn’t that mean that we can expect a Banahaw reopening this year?
No. The reckoning is different…this year would just be the fifth year of the order. We will reopen after the five years, that means we can only do so in 2010. Prior to that, feasibility studies will be done and the carrying capacity of the mountain will have to be determined.
But between then and now, your office issued permits to climb. In fact, the current knowledge of many mountaineers is by going to Pagbilao, they can get a permit.
Yes, we issued permits for clean-up climbs up Banahaw. You see, some areas along the Cristalino trail still had a lot of garbage, covered very thinly by soil. We have determined these to antedate the closure order. Of course, the climbers went to the summit na rin; from Kapatagan it is quite close anyway.
So, no permits will be issued for now?
Yes. My superiors told me na wag na muna, especially with the studies under way.
What is the extent of the closure order?
Cristalino and Tatlong Tangke trails are closed; so is the trail from Sariaya, what is known as “Ilalim”. Moreover, last year, a moratorium was passed that includes the Tayabas trail. For this naman, the reason is different: it is due to treasure hunting activity in the area.
What about Mt. Cristobal?
Cristobal is wide open. But we would like climbers to coordinate with us pa rin sana. Look at what happened last year, there were those who got lost and we had no idea how to help them, not knowing their background and itinerary.
Thank you very much. Please let us know if there are updates.
Yes, I will coordinate with you through email or text if there are changes in the status. Thank you!
The updates we got from this conversation will be reflected in the “Closed mountains” bulletin and the Mt. Banahaw page in PinoyMountaineer.com