Monday, November 16, 2015

Mt. Maculot | Changes and Updates 2015

It's been a while since I last hiked this "infamous" mountain, it was December of 2013. Back then, guides weren't mandatory, and yeah, the summit was not bald as it is right now. So much has changed in past 1 year and 11 months.

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Sunday - November 15, 2015

I've managed to hike Mt. Maculot several times before, from doing the easy day hike to Rockies to doing a traverse from Grotto. Check out my blogs in the following links:
Mt. Maculot Traverse: Grotto to Summit to Rockies 1.
Mt. Maculot Traverse: Grotto to Summit to Rockies 2.
Mt. Maculot Rockies via Old Trail
Mt. Maculot Rockies via New Trail.

But now that I'm back after almost 2 years not hiking Mt. Maculot, I've noticed changes in the mountain.

Mandatory guides and registration fee

As soon as we arrived at the registration site, I noticed the published rates for the mandatory guides. See photo below:

the published guide rates as of November 2015
This mandatory guides in Maculot has been an issue circulating the mountaineering community ever since its implementation. Many, specially the veteran hikers who know Mt. Maculot by heart, were dismayed.

Because of this major change in the systems, the number of old timers hiking the mountain decreased drastically, while the number of newbies and tourists alike just keep coming and growing, says the guy in the Mountaineer Store. Indeed, there's commercialization going on.

And by the way, the 10 pesos registration fee of before has doubled to P20 per head now.

A summit clearing

Aside from the mandatory guides and registration fee, another big change in Mt. Maculot is the recently cleared summit area. Yes, the summit of Mt. Maculot was cleared by the locals, meaning they chopped down trees and slashed and cut vegetation just to make way for a better view of Taal Lake.

As per our guide, they this did this for the visitors' enjoyment.

the summit of Mt. Maculot that I used to know. Photo was taken in December 2012
the summit of Mt. Maculot as of November 2015. Photo courtesy of Pinoy Mountaineer.
It is very disappointing! Yes, the view there is great, but in the expense of what? This is so against the principle "don't change the mountain, let the mountain change you".  

Old Trail again

A new trail was opened in February 2013 for the reason that the locals wanted the old trail to recuperate from the years and years of over usage. But yesterday, during our hike, it seems that the locals closed down the new trail and opened once again the still recovering old trail.

back to the old trail

So what is my stand in all this transformations?

I am dismayed by this mandatory guide system but I'm not entirely against it. If it's the only way to prevent another Victor Ayson from happening again, I wouldn't be against it. And besides, I saw how the guides and newbie hikers mutually help each other. So yeah, I am not totally against it.

But the desecration they did to Mt. Maculot's summit is just unacceptable and insulting. As a nature lover, blogger and advocate for the environment, I condemn this act.




9 comments:

  1. hi can you give me sample itinerary pls. we're planning to go there on dec 19 thanks

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  2. I hiked Mt. Maculot for the first time last May. I didn't mind having a guide because Mr. Ayson was a friend of a friend and I knew that it was for everyone's safety. I didn't know about the clearing of the summit, though. I hope that they find a way to maintain the natural beauty of the mountain. I loved hiking at Mt. Maculot! It was a perfect climb for a newbie hiker like me. :)

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  3. Hi! Do you have contacts of their local guides?

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    Replies
    1. guide po ako sa maculot 09363001503 ito po contact number ko

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kuya free ka po bang guide sa may 22?

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  5. Kung magta-traverse i suggest na gawin nyo ung Grotto-Summit-Rockies. Walang mandatory guide sa entry point ng grotto at sa pagkakatanda ko 10 pesos pa rin ung registration fee.

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  6. Contact number given is not answering. do you have any other contact person?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mt. Maculot local tour guide pls contact us 09163722649 or 09164895665

    ReplyDelete

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