@Vinci Berris, who climbed Pico last weekend, summarized the situation: “DENR and 1st basecamp conflict. Basecamp claiming that they should be the one collecting because they are the ones maintaining and giving services like lending a horse when there’s an emergency.”
The “double collection” situation in Pico de Loro has gone on for several years and many hikers have questioned the validity or legality of the fees. Thus this recent turn of events will likely be welcomed by many. On the other hand, some hikers are supportive of Kuya Rey, comparing him to Nanay Cording of Tarak Ridge. @Tahimik na Jim said on the PM Facebook page: “Wala pa hong buwaya sa jump off, kay Mang Rey na talaga nagbabayad. Same problem lang din to katulad kay “nanay” ng tarak ridge.”
To put things to perspective, a P20 collection per individual can translate to 2000 per weekend, assuming there are 100 hikers. Thus monthly collections per registration point – whether in Pico de Loro or Batulao – can reach several thousands a month, and much more in the summer months. Understandably, registration fees are a source of conflict in many areas. We have also seen this happen in Mt. Talamitam several years ago.
PinoyMountaineer believes that mountaineers should be willing to pay registration fees as long as they are reasonable, legal, and are truly being used for the protection of the mountain and the maintenance of the trail. However we also understand that there are many informal institutions that ought to be respected especially those with a longstanding relationship with mountaineers. In cases of conflict, it is up to the local government to resolve it. Mountaineers should not have to get caught in predicaments like this.
Meanwhile, with the bus ban in Manila proper, public transportation to Pico de Loro (Ternate, Maragondon) is now via the southwest terminal in Coastal Mall, costing around 80-85 pesos one-way. These updates will be incorporated in the Pico de Loro page in PinoyMountaineer.com.
What do you think about the changes in Pico de Loro? Share your thoughts by commenting in this page.
Follow Gideon Lasco on Twitter (@gideonlasco) and Instagram (@gideonlasco)!