PinoyMountaineer.com periodically issues “Hiking advisories” as a form of warning to fellow climbers as regards conditions in various mountains. However, they are a matter of personal opinion and must be read in that light.
In response to reports of theft in Mt. Sembrano and Mt. Romelo, and the apparent lack of action on the part of the concerned authorities, we are issuing this climb advisory to warn hikers to avoid camping in these mountains and to be vigilant about their belongings at all times.
The history of theft in Mt. Sembrano is very long. On March 9, 2009, a Hiking Advisory was also issued, after several reports of theft. As for Mt. Romelo, there have also been countless reports of theft since 2004; our alarm has been more heigtened with reports of recent theft (Dec. 23, Dec. 27, Jan 3, etc.) Several complaints have been filed last year but there has not been any improvement in the situation.
The occurences of the theft were usually during the evening, and they almost always take place at the campsites. There have been no reports of open assaults or holdups. Nonetheless, this thievery is an affront to the healthy relationship that must exist between mountaineers and locals. We appeal to the local governments in Pililla, Rizal and Siniloan, Laguna, to intensify efforts to make these hiking destinations a safe place to be enjoyed by mountaineers and locals alike.
Moreover, for the time being we STRONGLY DISCOURAGE climbers to camp in Mt. Sembrano and Mt. Romelo; if you must really climb these mountains then do it as a dayhike. We are not afraid of petty thieves but we must show the locals in all mountaineering destinations that they have a responsibility to maintain peace and order if they wish to have visitors in their place. Climbers are encouraged to pressure the local officials to act by reiterating our collective desire for security and our indignation against thievery.