by Tom Udasco
Mr. Raul Ilogon invited me to join the clean-up climb on Mt Kitanglad Summit on June 11 and 12, in time for 118th Philippine Independence Day. And on June 18 and 19 on Mt Dulang-Dulang Summit. This clean-up drive was initiated by DENR under the request of Protected Area Management Board based in Malaybalay City.
A much-need summit clean-up drive by volunteers was called upon, to clear the Kitanglad summit and trail of man-made waste materials such as plastic bottles and other non-biodegradable objects.
The Northern Mindanao Mountaineering Society (NORMMS), which is celebrating 34 years of responsible mountaineering answered the call. NORMMS thru President Chisum Factura, Vice President Cernan Aguiñot and Secretary Raul Ilogon, decided that a climb with an environmental cause was to be carried out.
Mountaineering societies in Cagayan de Oro were gathered: NORMMS CDO, NORMMS Malaybalay, Kagay, Attack CDO, IMS-CDO, Rota Ph and XU-AMS all joined forces to give Mt Kitanglad and Mt Dulang-Dulang
a major make-over.
Recreational Outdoor Exchange (ROX) sponsored the group’s venue for briefing at their outlet at the 2nd floor of Centrio Mall. ROX also provided lanyards for volunteer ID’s, and Habagat for the printing of the IDs. Viajero Outdoor Center took care of the team’s communication equipment.
The Mt Kitanglad Summit Clean-up Climb on June 11, 2016 was a huge success. Various delegates of mountaineers gathered heart-breaking 30 sacks worth of waste materials from Kitanglad summit down to the jump off point in Sitio Intavas.
The Mt Dulang-Dulang Summit Clean-up Climb on June 18th was otherwise a funny story. Few days before the climb, all pertinent government permits were arranged. And it was agreed between the organizers, the concerned government agencies, and the local tribal leader, that the obligatory pre-climb ritual be performed at Barangay Sunco in Lantapan, Bukidnon, a day before the actual climb on Friday – June 17th since a group of climbers from CDO went a day ahead to the said area for their outreach program.
NORMMS-CdO Chapter also arrived to Malaybalay City on that same day. Many thanks to our host, Mr Irwin Bragat of NORMMS-Malaybalay, for our overnight stay at Ranchers Steakhouse and Lodge. The rest of the climbers would arrive the next morning.
Saturday, the 18th of June, at dawn, some members of NORMMS CDO and Attack-CDO headed to Sitio Bul-ogan jump-off in Lantapan, Bukidnon. From there, we met with other delegates of the climb. Temperature going up to Lantapan was about 18 degrees Celsius.
With provisions weighing about 30 lbs or more on our backpack, we commenced trekking from jump-off up to “tiilan sa Mt Dulang-Dulang” at 7:30AM after a group pictorial with some pioneer members from NORMMS CDO and Malaybalay. It was an open trail of mud and rocks. Along the way we were greeted by locals doing their daily routines. Some folks heaving freshly harvested produce on their shoulders
and occassionally, we saw carabao-driven bamboo rickshaw trudging uphill.
About an hour and a half into our trek, serene views of the the Katalungan Mountain Range were visible on the skyline behind us.
From time to time, I stopped and caught up with my breathing. The open-trail climb was every inch a challenge! My tiring training at the gym didn’t match with what exhaustion I was feeling all over my body, early on. And then suddenly at one point, the teams were put on hold, as there was a looming mis-communication. The officers of the host team, NORMMS, broke the bad news to us.
We were told to head back to the jump-off point. Yes, We were demanded to cancel the climb. Final and irrevocable.
The leader of the Talaandig Tribe, Datu Makapukaw, imposed his prerogative to the all climb delegates
That we must cancel the climb since most of the members were not able to participate in the ritual. But in the first place, the organizers wouldn’t have given this climb a go, if there were not a clear agreement between the government (DENR/PAMB), the organizers and the Tribal Leader himself, a few days before the climb.
We believed everything was all set. And then within hours into the climb, somebody just changed his mind.
To note, this climbing concept came to materialize as per request of PAMB and DENR for a great cause: clean-up of the two major summits of the Kitanglad Mountain Range.
Everyone’s energy went totally down the drain as we all trekked downhill. Back to jump-off point. Even our local porters laid wasted on the idea of foregoing a day’s earnings. An alternative destination came to mind: Cinchona Forest Reserves at Barangay Kaatuan, still in Lantapan, Bukidnon.
Many thanks to Mr Ronnie Vidal of NoRMMS-Malaybalay for the forward truck that served as our transportation from Sitio Bul-ogan to Cinchona Forest Reserves in Barangay Kaatuan, Lantapan. It was my first time to climb on a truck huh!
And it would have been my first major climb, hadn’t it been for the abrupt change of course by a local leader. We do respect his decision. However we would have appreciated it much had the concerned government agencies took hold of a more stable stand even during the onset of mis-communication. By and large, we hope for a clearer and more concrete processing of climbing requirements from Sitio Bul-ogan jump-off’s point of view.
Browse over more photos below.