As part of celebrating the 50th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Tourism (DOT), the DOT Mimaropa led by Regional Director Zeny Pallugna, and the Provincial Government of Romblon led by Governor Jose Riano recently climbed the famous Mount Guiting-Guiting. The awe-inspiring mountain is located on the island of Sibuyan, Romblon. It is a paradise for hikers because of its thrilling and challenging trails.
In an interview with the Philippine Information Agency - Romblon, Pallugna said that the objective of the May 13-15 climb is to promote mountain tourism in the region through sustainable tourism activities and development.
Challenges of the Trail and Panoramic Rewards
Pallugna noted that hiking the mountain, with an elevation of 6,752 ft., requires physical preparedness because of its steep slopes, jagged peaks, and rocky hills that demand agility, stamina, and a sense of adventure. Proper use of equipment is essential for tackling the challenges that lie ahead.
Also, Pallugna said that one of the most thrilling and challenging parts of the hike is the notorious "Knife Edge". This narrow ridge is only a meter wide at some points. With steep drops on either side, hikers must exercise caution, focus, and nerves of steel as they navigate this exhilarating passage.
The reward for conquering the Knife Edge is an unparalleled view of the surrounding landscape.
Pallugna is one of the hikers that reached the summit during the hike. Hikers who reached the top are greeted by a breathtaking panorama from the azure waters of the Sibuyan Sea to the greenery of the island, leaving visitors humbled and in awe of the world's natural wonders.
Preserving the Mountain while promoting it to Tourists
After the hike, the team realized that the reservation of the beauty of the mountain, which has a diverse ecosystem, is still a must while promoting it to tourists as part of the department's plan for promoting mountain tourism.
"Kasi malaki talaga 'yung potential ng Mt. Guiting-Guiting sa ganitong tourism. Actually, we have a lot of mountain guides na, I think nasa 35 na or even more. Isa rin sa purpose namin is to see if what kind of development we have to do to promote the Mountain as a tourist attraction," said Pallugna.
The regional director said that aspiring hikers should prioritize sustainable and responsible practices when hiking the mountain. Leaving no trace behind and adhering to the principles of ecotourism.
"Plastics should be restricted if climbing the mountain. Then the trash, you should also bring it back. We have to protect the environment by also educating the guides, and having responsible tourists. By doing this, we can ensure that the beauty of the mountain, including the flora and fauna, will be preserved," Pallugna further said.
Where to start?
Interested climbers must seek permission first from the San Fernando Municipal Tourism Office via their Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/sanfernandotourismoffice.gov.ph. (PJF/PIA Mimaropa-Romblon)