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.
We are issuing a climb advisory on some Mindanao mountains, which of late have been surrounded with reports of security problems.
Mt. Kalatungan: Bandits on the loose
Just today we have received this report from @Manolo in the PM Facebook site: “Just came from a Mt. Kalatungan climb. I’d like everyone to know that security is an issue there. Apparently there are bands of roving bandits (tulisanes) who kill indiscriminately using bolos. From what we’ve gathered from the locals, these are “tadtad” groups. The townsfolk in Mendis were pretty tense and fearful. They say we were extremely lucky we didn’t “bump” into these groups while on the mountain. I think it is not a safe climb destination as of the moment given these circumstances”
His experience reminded me of a similar experience last February when I climbed Kalatungan, during which we actually came upon the village alleged to be the hideout of the bandits — and at some point my guides even hid me. We didn’t feel safe even in Brgy. Mendis, although I must say that the tourism officials of Pangantucan are very friendly and to those who wish to climb it, these local officials are very willing to assist and give advice on the safest trails to take.
Mts. Lumot, Sumagaya, and Balatucan
My climbs on these mountains were aborted at the last minute in June 2011, due to insurgency-related problems. I was with Peter John Muring of Bukidnon in CDO when we were informed about this unfortunate, intractable obstacle to our plan. A power plant (or power station) was allegedly torched, among others, and the locals themselves have said that it is not safe at the moment to climb these mountains at the moment.
Our friend Mijan Pizarro has reaffirmed that there are security threats in Mt. Maagnaw as well, and until now, it is not to climb this mountain – the third highest in the Kitanglad range and one of the 10 highest peaks in the Philippines.
If there are updates about the situation for these mountains, please inform us at email@example.com or by commenting in this post.