Mount Apo 1st National Climb kicks off Oct. 27

The four-day climb dubbed as the National Climb 2006 will be held on Oct. 27-30 where the Guardians of Lake Venado and the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines would stand as host organizers.

Tourism officer Carl Tanaid said that for the first time after its closure, the Bongolanon trail in Magpet will be open for the climbers during this climb.

The Bongolanon trail will be one of the official trails for the climb aside from the various trails in Kidapawan, Makilala and Davao del Sur areas.

"The opening of the Bongolanon trail would give chance to the climbers passing by this area to experience the beauty of nature. The trail has been preserved for a long time. The mosses and various species of fauna and flora could be easily spotted," Tanaid said.

The municipal government of Magpet has decided to reopen the Bongolanon trail following the approval of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) for the scheduled national climb.

Tanaid said participants of the 2006 national climb will be joining the local governments of Magpet and Kidapawan in doing massive cleanup drive in various trails going to the peak. They will likewise join in the tree planting activities spearheaded by environmentalists and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

He said various activities have been scheduled for the climb, among them a waterfall adventure, water tubing, river backpack adventure, and interactive workshop, including scientific scaling on the carrying capacity of the various trails going to the summit.

"The mountaineers would really gain knowledge in the various activities that we prepared. We designed these activities to also motivate our climbers in the preservation of nature," Tanaid stressed.

In Kidapawan City, some 500 climbers, most are coming from Luzon and the Visayas, have already registered since the first week of October, according to the city investment and promotion division. Ma. Fe Pame, head of the office, expects the number of participants to double or even triple in the remaining days.

"We are still receiving reservations not only here in North Cotabato but even in our neighboring provinces. We receive up to 50 calls a day from interested climbers wanting join the national climb," Pame said.

She said the occasion would help Kidapawan City in the promotion of local tourist spots situated in various barangays along the various trails going to the summit of Mount Apo. "We have plenty of waterfalls and crystal clear rivers in our area that would surely attract the local tourists while on their way to the peak," Pame added.

Pame said foreign tourists passing the Kidapawan trails would be charged P750 while the locals would pay P500 for the registration. Students, on the other hand, will pay a discounted P250.

She explained that the registration fee is intended for the printing of IDs and certificates. The remaining amount would be utilized for the rehabilitation of the Kidapawan trails after the climb.

Meantime, the police force in North Cotabato and Kidapawan City have already dispatched personnel since Monday to check the current peace and order condition along the various trails covering the areas of Kidapawan and Magpet.

Members of the Civilian Volunteers Organization (CVO) have also been deployed in various Army detachments near the trails to help secure the trails.