Mt. Everest’s Bukidnon climber joins 1st Int’l Rugged Mountain Race in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 February) — Seven Kenyans, an Australian national and Bukidnon’s Mt. Everest climber Carina Dayondon will be joining 191 other participants in the 1st Kitanglad International Rugged Mountain Race on February 27.
“And we continue counting,” Rachito Abellanosa, a member of the organizing team said.

Abellanosa said Erwin “Pastor” Emata, the second Filipino to scale Everest on May 18, 2006, (Dayondon was one of two females in the First

Philippine Mount Everest Expedition with Emata) will also fly in to help organizers in the technical side of the race. Abellanosa told MindaNews earlier that they are looking at a maximum of 300 participants for the race.

In response to the declaration of the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park as an ASEAN Heritage Site, local trail run enthusiasts will hold the 1st Kitanglad International Rugged Mountain Race, an event they hope would launch Bukidnon as an international sports tourism destination.

The 17-kilometer race will take place from the foot of Mt. Kitanglad in Base Camp, Intavas, Impasug-ong town to its summit (2,899 meters above sea level) and back.

The race, he said, intends to promote Mt. Kitanglad Range and help raise funds for the Kitanglad Guard Volunteers and the indigenous peoples around the park.

In 2009, the ASEAN Biodiversity Center declared Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park as an ASEAN Heritage Park, integrating it into the regional grouping’s priorities for biodiversity conservation.

The race aims to improve the skills of local trail and mountain runners and make them at par with international standards.

Abellanosa said Bukidnon has all the ingredients to be a tourist destination for emerging sports favorites like paragliding, trail running, biking, horseback riding and vertical running.

He said they got the inspiration from Sabah’s Kota Kinabalu sports tourism attractions, which has drawn enthusiasts to Malaysia’s famous mountain.

He said Bukidnon could learn from the experience of Sabah in sports tourism.

“We are somehow looking at building Big Brother relations with the stakeholders there, learn from them, and see what we can bring in,” he added.

As an ASEAN Heritage Park, he said, Mt. Kitanglad is the perfect local counterpart, which is expected to help boost the province’s tourism industry and economy.

“Our mountains play a great role as Mindanao’s watershed and headwater of four major river systems,” he added.

According to its website, the race is a combined effort of sports enthusiast Benjamin Maputi, Abellanosa’s Ohana Adventures Destination Management Group, the Protected Area Management Board, the province of Bukidnon, and the municipalities of Impagug-ong, Manolo Fortich, Sumilao, Lantapan, Libona and Malaybalay City. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)