Take pictures but don’t trash our mountains

THE view from the top of Mt. Napulak in Igbaras, Iloilo. Amateur mountaineers are advised to avoid throwing their trash whenever they trek to popular peaks of the province. (Photo courtesy of https://adrenalineromance.com)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

A group of mountaineers from Iloilo is calling on the public, especially “Facebook mountaineers,” to be responsible tourists by ending the practice of leaving their trash in the mountains when they hike.

Higher Grounds Mountaineers in Iloilo, a group of advocates for responsible and sustainable eco-tourism, made the call after conducting its sixth clean-up drive at the popular hiking destination of Mt. Napulak in Igbaras, Iloilo on June 15, 2019.

According to Jay Plantinos, founder of Higher Grounds Mountaineers Iloilo, 25 volunteers picked up five bags of trash during the clean-up drive.

“With the support of the local government unit (LGU) of Igbaras and the efforts of Bert Esposado, a total of 5 garbage bags were collected by the 25 volunteers,” he said in a phone interview on Friday.

Plantinos emphasized the need to clean up the mountains before the start of the rainy season to propagate the mating season of the organisms in the mountains.

“Before mag-start ang rainy season we see to it nga ang garbage dira nga left unattended or accidentally nawigit lang man, nahimos namon kay kon rainy season, ang mga organisms da sa babaw mating season man na nila daw wala man gawa may ga-climb so we see to it nga tinlo ang bukid,” he stressed.

Usually, Platinos said plastic trash that are left in the mountains are from “Facebook mountaineers” who are amateur hikers who climb mountains just to take pictures.

“Sadly may ara daan nga ‘Facebook mountaineers’ lang, they just climb mountains and take pictures. There is training on ethical standards kon mag-climb but most ordinary tourists or beginners don’t know how to manage their garbage,” he lamented.

Platinos emphasized that tourist spots like mountains should not only serve as a venues for recreation but also as important ecological sites, hence they should be free from vandalism and garbage.

“It is not because it is only Ilonggos gasaka dira but also foreigners and it’s a disappointment if makita nila nga amo to ang situation sang aton mountains,” he said.

He appealed to the public to respect nature every time they visit tourist spots.

“If you respect nature, you should avoid doing vandals on the trees and rock formations and please let us leave with our garbage, indi gid kita manghaboy haboy bisan upos sang sigarilyo,” Platinos said.