It has been reported recently that guides are being made compulsory in Mt. Batulao, but several hikers who have recently been up the mountain, as well as guides themselves are saying this is not the case.
This comment by reader dagreyt in October 13 is a comprehensive update:
Sa lahat po ng nag babalak na umakyat sa Mt. Batulao, May bago po doong Tourism Outpost na nanghaharang ng Mountaineer and Claiming na “Compulsory” na daw po ang mag “Hire” ng “Guide” bago umakyat. H’wag po kayong maniwala na compulsory ang pag hire ng guide. Naka usap po namin ang sinasabi nilang taga Tourism na si Ms. Perla Rupo, according to her, nakabinbin pa ang hiling ng mga local guides na maging compulsory ang pag hire ng guide sa pag akyat sa Mt. Batulao and it’s up to the baranggay captain to sign the ordinance. Naka usap po namin ang mismong Brgy. Captain ng Brgy. Kanlaway na si Brgy. Captain Ruel Fenol, and according to him. hindi pa inaaprobahan ang ordinance na iyon at very hesitant sya to sign dahil ang hinihiling na guide fee ay Php500 na ayon sa Kapitan ay may kamahalan.
Tandaan, ang guide fee po sa Batulao ay around Php300 lamang po at huwag maniniwala sa kahit anumang Papel na ipapakita ng mga nanghaharang sa jump off na nanghihikayat mag hire ng guide bago umakyat. Suriing mabuti ang mga kasulatan na ipinapakita nila, tingnan kung ito ba ay issue ng Baranggay Hall ng Brgy. Kanlaway at kung pirmado ito ni Brgy. Capt. Ruel Jaro Fenol. Kung kayo ay pinipilit mag hire at di pinapayagang umakyat, kunin ang pangalan ng inyong nakausap at magsumbong agad sa baranggay.
Moreover, Mt. Batulao guide Simeon Casanova said of the rumoured guide requirement:
dpo yon tutuo.wag po kyo papayag kong ayaw nyo.tawagan nyo ako kng d kayo palampacin. 09300495758
However, Migo Lloyd commented in October 4:
I was there last weekend. The Mt. Batulao Tourism Information Center has been recently formed and guides will now be required (1 guide per group of ten) at P500/day. I spoke with a local guy who had the logbook and he said to spread the info. (no registration fee was required at the Info Center but fees are still in place at the respective trails). Managed to get a contact number. For inquiries, you can text 09391854216. Also, there’s this new “Ligaya Basecamp” before reaching Camp 1 at the old trail, they require P10 registration then another P20 at Camp 1 so if you plan to traverse over to the New Trail, its a total of P60 for registration fees. Hope this helps.
Given this conflicting information, my reading is that the tourism office is trying to require guides but they don’t really have the legal mandate to do so at the moment so you can still insist on not getting guides. Be nice to the tourism office – show them your pictures of Mt. Batulao, and maybe you won’t need to argue with them. In any case those who are not confident, first-timers and beginners are advised to get guides.
We will wait for more updates. Personally, I hope that they won’t require guides for such an easy mountain to all hikers. The Pinoy Mountaineer position on requiring guides on easy mountains can be found in this link.