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.
On January 12, 2010, the a Climb Advisory was issued for Mt. Romelo and Mt. Sembrano. Over a year later, we ask the question: has there been any improvement? This May 2011 advisory provides updates on the situation in these two mountains and replaces the previous advisory.
As recently as May 15-16, 2011, we received a report of theft in the Buruwisan Falls / Mt. Romelo campsite in PM Facebook:
“…i just want to speak out what happened to me and my friends when we went hiking to Mt. Famy in Siniloan, Laguna. Last May 15 to 16, 2011 we where robbed in Buruwisan falls. Almost all of our things where robbed. Im going to warn you fellow mountaineers that there are still thieves lurking somewhere inside that mountain.”
This is just the latest of several reports we’ve been receiving over the past several months regarding the situation in Mt. Romelo, so the current conclusion is, yes, the theft situation in Mt. Romelo is still problematic. Dayhikes are recommended, and overnight climbs must be done in caution.
There were still some reports of theft from September to December 2010, for instance:
“…kakagaling lang po namin ng Mt. Sembrano last Sept 25-27 2010 sad to say but nabiktima din kami ng nakawana kala namin na stop na po 2 hindi papala…One of our group nalaslasan ng tent isang bag na 70 liters and nawala including na din po yung laman like camera cellphones, money mga gamit mga gear..”
“Dec 4-5, 2010…umakyat kami..at nasalisihan kami ng mga mag nanakaw. May sarili silang trail at tsumetsempo sila ng pagkakataon para umatake, take note mga sir at mam, gising kami at kumakain nung nanakawan. Nilaslas nila yung isa naming tent at nanakawan kami ng 2 bag, cellphone, id, susi at pera worth 1800. Lumapit na kami sa Pililia pulis, pero hindi nila nahuli yung suspect..
However, for the last six months we have no received any reports of theft. Based on this absence of any reports, we can offer the cautious observation that Mt. Sembrano is becoming a safer place, and we will completely lift any climb advisory for this mountain if for the next several months no reports of theft are received. However, as with Romelo, caution and alertness is still important. Get contact numbers of the barangay kagawad before proceeeding with your climb, and do not bring unnecessary valuables.
It is very important to be very culturally sensitive about dealing with locals regarding these incidents. Be as diplomatic as possible in bringing up the topic of theft, which may offend, or at the very least distress, some locals (“Are you accusing us of being thieves?”).
INCIDENT REPORT FORM
To facilitate documentation of theft and other problems encountered, a Hiking Incident Report Form has been posted in PinoyMountaineer. Mountaineers who experience such incidents are encouraged to fill out and submit the form so we will have a more substantive database regarding these problems.
DISCLAIMER: PinoyMountaineer has no means of attesting to the veracity of the testimonies / acccounts / comments supplied here. Yet, we believe our fellow hikers and are publicizing their warnings out of concern for other mountaineers.