Mountain News: Mt. Pulag is ‘fully booked’; 30 is new maximum number of participants

Park Superintendent Emerita Albas
Park Superintendent Emerita Albas of the Mt. Pulag National Park told that all March weekends are fully booked due to the sheer volume of people who have informed the park of their intention to climb on those dates. However, Mondays to Fridays are wide open.
The news of Mt. Pulag National Park discouraging hikers to climb on weekends gave rise to rumors that Mt. Pulag is ‘closed’. However, this was belied by Ms. Albas. “I am encouraging all hikers to consider hiking during weekdays, when there are only a few people,” she said, adding that she also already appealed to organizers to modify their schedules accordingly. 
The PASU also said that she is setting 30 as the new upper limit of the number of participants per group, particularly on weekends. On weekdays, however, the park can accommodate up to 40 but a smaller size is still recommended. It is important to note, though, that the ’30 as upper limit’ rule is at the moment a recommendation and an appeal to would-be hikers rather than an imposition. “30 sana ang maximum,” Ms. Albas reiterates. 
In a related development, parts of the Akiki trail have suffered from brushfires in the past weeks, a phenomenon that has also happened in previous years. Due to the additional sun exposure brought about by this incident, she recommends the Akiki trail be tried only by experienced hikers, and also suggests 15 as the maximum number of participants per group in this trail.
These new developments that set limits to participants will surely be welcomed by many hikers in light of the recent buzz regarding what is perceived as an overcrowding in Mt. Pulag that goes beyond its carrying capacity. However, considering how divisive this environmental issue has been, reactions will likely be mixed, with others batting for stricter measures. Moreover, how well these new policies, being non-binding, will be implemented remains to be seen.

(For its part, amended its main Mt. Pulag article last week to include an environmental concerns section, which includes this advice: “To reduce impact on Mt. Pulag, PinoyMountaineer suggests avoiding camping in the weekends or peak seasons such as the Holy Week, or minimizing group number to 15 or fewer (with 30 as upper limit).”)

Others have called for self-regulation, as well as the need to orient hikers before climbing. Notably, though, Mt. Pulag is actually one of the few mountains in the country where an environmental briefing is done prior to the climb so the problem may really lie in the volume of hikers. Moreover, of carrying capacity, Ms. Albas says, “We are waiting for the results of a research study. I have already informed some organizers about this several times.”

For clarifications regarding Mt. Pulag’s new policies, you may contact the Park Superintendent, Ms. Emerita Albas, at +639196315402.

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15 Comments on "Mountain News: Mt. Pulag is ‘fully booked’; 30 is new maximum number of participants"

10 years 2 months ago

As of April 13 2014
Entrance and other fees 280/pax
Guide fee 1800 (to go up to 2100 very soon, sabi ng guide namin, Ambangeg guide fee will be 700 (from 500))
Fare to Kabayan Jump-off 150

11 years 2 months ago

@everyone, ask ko lang. strictly implemented ba tlga ang pag limit sa climb kapag nareach na ang maximum no. of participant? because we are planning sana to push our luck pag dating namin don sa Ranger Station kahit hindi pa kmi registered. assuming na meron at meron pa rin mga magcacancel on the day itself? what do u think guys?

@ayo, we are planning to take that route as alternative kung hindi pa din makakuha ng permit.

11 years 2 months ago

Good day po sa lahat,…sino po ang may sched ng climb this march 28-30, 2013,…akiki- ambangeg po…thanks po…-ayo of Bridgestone Mountaineers Cavite…salamat po

11 years 3 months ago

madali lang lumusot jan… kung may oversized na group, pwede nila hatiin yung group sa registration at magpangap na magkaibang grupo. dapat i-limit nalang yung mismong number of hikers at i-set na beforehand kung san sila magsettle ng camp. pwedeng may ibibigay ang denr na parang pass tapos icounter check nalang ng guide/porter na dun talaga dapat magcamp. para lang hindi masyadong crowded lalo na sa saddle. pre-booking ng hike at campsite.

J. Daly
11 years 3 months ago

Sounds like good, common sense protected area management that will help to protect the diverse ecosystems along the trail on the way to the top. Ideally, all groups of 30 receive a briefing before they depart that includes information on Leave No Trace ethics and the fines they will pay for violations like: campfires (instead of backpacking stoves)
setting up tents in non-designated areas
not properly burying human waste or making use of a latrine
not carrying water purification tablets or a water filter (to avoid multiple plastic water bottles)
SMART CHOICES every mountaineer should make whether on Mt. Pulag or anywhere else.
FINES for violations are necessary for those who think they can ignore rules and regulations aimed at protecting Philippine Protected areas for their future generations.