Mt Pulag hikers now required to show health clearance – DENR
BENGUET, Philippines – The management of the Mount Pulag National Park in the Cordillera is now requiring hikers to submit health clearance certificates before they can explore the geologic feature that stands 2,922 meters above sea level.
Mount Pulag is in a forest park in Kabayan town, and is under the supervision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
On November 10, the park’s management issued an advisory for all hiking organizers, tour agencies, and even small groups trekkers to require their clients to get medical certificates before a scheduled climb to Mount Pulag.
Roy Tello, park reservation officer of Mount Pulag, said the health certificate should indicate if the hiker is fit for an arduous climb.
The advisory was issued after Edna Ocampo Villanueva, a 51-year-old tourist from Forest Hills Drive Subdivision in Novaliches, Quezon City, died of heart attack inside her tent on November 6.
Ocampo was found unconscious by her trekking buddy Paul Alexis Bernardino inside their tent at Camp 2, Barangay Eddet, Mount Pulag, at around 10 pm, Cordillera police reported.
Policemen at the community police action center in Balakbak in Kabayan said Jhony Salman of the Dennis Molintas Memorial Hospital in Bokod town said Villanueva died of cardiac arrest.
Last year, 58-year old Rogelio Canceran, a resident of Quezon City, also died of a heart attack while hiking Mount Pulag with his family and friends.
The cold temperature in the area, which is coldest at night (when it dips to as low as 3 degrees Celsius), has been cited as a factor in the sudden deaths of the hikers, aside from the elevation of the mountain.
Tello said that before any climb is conducted, the trekkers shall undergo briefing about the National Park and will be asked about their medical conditions.
Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan instructed tourism officials in Kabayan town to require all tourists to undergo medical check-up before they trek to Mount Pulag to avoid similar situations.
Around 400 to 500 trekkers climb the national park during holidays and weekends, while there are at least 20 to 150 hikers during weekdays.
Mount Pulag, also known as Mount Pulog, takes its name from the Ibaloi word “pulag,” which means “to roll” or “moving down,” according to one of the local historians in Kabayan, Kenneth Kelcho. – Rappler.com
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