Eco-tourism: Key to Mt. Purgatory’s protection

A spectacular and breathtaking landscape can be viewed while on the way to Mt. Purgatory. //Fog photo
A spectacular and breathtaking landscape can be viewed while on the way to Mt. Purgatory. //Fog photo

The promotion of Mount Purgatory as an eco-tourism site is a strategy sought to preserve and protect its biodiversity. This is in response to some identified issues that may endanger its beauty and grandeur.

Mount Purgatory is one of the doorways to the ever-famous playground of the gods- Mount Pulag, the second highest mountain in the Philippines. Mount Purgatory is vastly covered by a centuries-old mossy forest and, serves as a home to unique flora and fauna, mostly are at the brink of extinction.

Long-term effects of slash and burn farming (kaingin), illegal logging and even alleged reports regarding biopiracy (a situation where indigenous knowledge of nature, originating with indigenous peoples, is used by others for profit, without permission from and with little or no compensation or recognition to the indigenous people themselves), can seriously impose threat.

In an effort to save the forest with the participation of the communities, among the interventions being conducted by JVOFI is the Information, Education and Information (IEC) Campaign. Making people aware of the possibilities of saving the mountain that sustains their life is part of the initial steps in the project interventions.

Initially, 1000 copies of leaflets, and 300 copies of coffee table book was turned over to the Bokod local government through its Municipal Tourism Office and ABADEG (Association of Bokod Adventure Eco-Guides), the only official and deputized mountain guides and porters for the Mt. Purgatory.

The installation of a 9x 7 ft. billboard with the same content is also currently being proposed.

It is anticipated that the materials will incite promotion of Mount Purgatory as an emerging eco-tourism site. These contain information such as the direction of the traverse (presented through a map) and the enticing sites that will be passed by during the Mt. Purgatory climb.

Further, another main step of the project is the preparation and drafting of an ecotourism development and forest management plan for Mt. Purgatory. The plan was already presented to the Bokod- Sanguniang Bayan for their review. Once finalized, the plan will serve as the overall basis for all actions towards Mt. Purgatory’s protection.// IVAN P. LAYAG