Last week, several of my hiking friends and I joined the “Born to be Wild” crew of GMA-7 on a climb up Pico de Loro. The outcome is an episode of their show which, aside from showcasing the natural wonders of the place — including a green snake we fortunately saw near the Parrot’s Beak – also exposed the ongoing environmental destruction (see embedded video).
After the climb, they also interviewed DENR officials and environmental advocates. As my father said, it is too simplistic to blame the DENR in what is a complex problem. The local government, including the barangays, were in a better position to police their own areas; and a forest destruction of such a scale could not have just occured under their noses.
The simplest and best way for us mountaineers to contribute to the protection of our forest is by taking a proactive stand i.e. protecting them by ourselves through clean-up climbs; reminding rowdy youngsters to take down their trash, and other things. However, when there are larger issues such as illegal logging, mining, and others, we need a larger role too, that of an environmental advocate. As a whole, our voice is strong and as stakeholders in the future of our mountains, we should act as one entity and speak in behalf of our forests. They cry out.
In the coming months we will be forming MountainWatch, an informal support group of volunteers devoted to publicizing issues involving our mountains and coordinating efforts to protect them. Everyone is invited to join! I thank GMA-7 for taking up our cause, I hope we can count on more media coverage of our mountains in the future. I am also counting on everyone’s support so we can make this the beginning of something great. We will not leave any trace on the mountains, but we should make a mark on their future.
Special mention to Sai Sicad, freelance climber and good friend, for being of invaluable assistance to me during the hike. This is the second time you helped me in Pico. Till the next climb! Congratulations also to Miss Analyn of GMA-7 for making Pico her first climb. I hope there will be more!