May 22, 2024

Kabayan, Benguet plans to put up a ranger station at barangay Lusod to monitor tourists coming from Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao.
Mayor Florante Bantales, Jr. said there are reports that tourists from these provinces are not properly coordinating with the Mt. Pulag National Park Protected Area Office before entering the forest reserve.
Prior to climbing the reservation, all visitors are required to secure a permit and undergo briefing at the Mt. Pulag National Park Protected Area Office at Sitio Ambangeg, Daclan, Bokod. 
Bantales said the volume of tourists climbing the country’s third highest mountain is limited to 60 percent only or 400 persons to prevent overcrowding in the area.
The volume of tourists was set at 700 per day, but the local government unit and Department of Environment and Natural Resources have limited visitors to 60 percent because of the pandemic. 
“There are unmo-nitored tourists who visit the mountain without coordination and they all flock at the site with the registered tourists, going beyond its capacity, which also leads to the destruction of the trails,” Bantales said.
Kabayan and other agencies aim to prevent overcrowding at the protected area to pave the way for its rejuvenation after being closed off during the past two years from hiking activities.
This can be achieved with the planned set up of a ranger station at Sitio Awing in Lusod in coordination with the DENR-Protected Area Management Board, which is in charge of the management of the Mt. Pulag reserve.
Bantales said they have minor problems with visitors coming from Baguio, Benguet, and Mountain Province since the tourists can be monitored at the Ambangeg ranger station.
The Akiki trail, which is the most challenging route, has been closed since the ranger station in Barangay Doacan was damaged during the July 27 earthquake.   
Mt. Pulag is under the National Integrated Protected Areas System. – Ofelia C. Empian