With great concern for the environment, the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation and Philippines Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation joined efforts to implement a project entitled Saving Mt. Purgatory in Bokod, Benguet.
The project intended to strengthen local capacities on Ecotourism for a sustained protection, management and conservation of the Mount Purgatory-Mangisi Ecotourism Area.
Mount Purgatory is popularly known as the gateway to Mount Pulag, the 2nd highest peak in the Philippines and is promoted as alternative mountaineering site in the North. Classified as a mossy forest, it also has its own pristine beauty. Low levels of clouds cover the forest with constant mist and moisture, creating an ideal biotope for moss, ferns, lichen and orchids and a haven for mountain creatures such as insects, snakes, frogs and deer & other mammals which still thrive in its chilly atmosphere.
Mt. Purgatory is the common name for Mountain Mangisi. In the 1960’s, according to Mr. Dibsan Suaya, Mr. Nicanor Lydio, and Mr. Atamio Padsungay, still “living legend” employees of the Benguet Consolidated Inc., their logging superintendent, Mr, Durham Hale Bennet, guided by Mr. Roberto Amdos, then the Barangay Captain of Poblacion, conducted a timber cruising activity in the virgin forest of Mangisi. Mr. Bennet’s team encountered difficulties due to the relatively low temperature ranging from minus zero degrees Celsius to 18 degrees Celsius, high elevation, darkness due to thick vegetation, forests and clouds and absence of water except in the lower elevation.
These difficulties they encountered prompted Mr. Bennet to baptize Mount Mangisi to Mount Purgatory. Mr. Bennet compared such difficulties to the sufferings of sinners cited in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible which brought about the idea of renaming Mount Mangisi.
The Mount Purgatory trail is comprised of seven Mountain peaks with elevations ranging from 1700 MASL to 2300 MASL. The mountain trail features mossy and pine forests and breathtaking views of the sunrise and sunset including seasonal views of orchids. The ecotourism trail also traverses villages of different Ethno Linguistic Tribes of Bokod (Ibaloi, Karao, Kalanguya)
Ecotourism is believed to be the best strategy to sustain the protection and management of Mount Mangisi-Purgatory’s natural beauty and resources. The Bokod Local Government Unit has been marketing the area as an alternative mountaineering site in the North to decongest Mount Pulag especially during the peak season while sustaining the protection and management of the area.