by Levi Joshua Verora
The Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (MCME) has re-opened the Mt. Makiling Trail in UP Los Baños last March 1, three months after the mountain trail has been closed temporarily for visitors.
Dr. Nathaniel Pantuan, director of MCME, said that the trail has been refurbished with a help from private companies. He also clarified that the Flatrocks case last December was not necessarily a trigger for the trail to be closed as the MCME already had plans to temporarily close the site as early as October for rehabilitation of some areas along the site. However, the incident did have an effect on the Makiling Trail. “The [Flat Rocks] incident has affected the Makiling Trail and it is a must to respond accordingly.” Said Dr. Pantuan. “It is time to be more responsible.”
To have a more responsible management of the Makiling Trail, the MCME coordinated with various stakeholders of Mt. Makiling. Dr. Pantuan said that the MCME has already devised a communication system with the municipality of Sto. Tomas, Batangas. “We have devised accredited entry points so that whenever visitors who entered from Sto. Tomas exits here [in the UPLB entry point], we can still confirm they registered.” Said Dr. Pantuan.
The Makiling Trail now boosts of a 24/7 security, according to the MCME director. MCME personnel shall be assigned during office hours (8 am to 5 pm) while Community Service Brigade (CSB) officials shall monitor the site for the rest of the night. Since the Makiling Trail is under the jurisdiction of UPLB by law, offices like the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA) and University Police Force (UPF) have also pledged help to make the management of the site better.
When asked about expectations, Dr. Pantuan confidently said that people can expect a better natural experience, less untoward incidents, and greater visibility of authorities/personnel along the trail.
MCME re-opens the Makiling Trail, assuring better security and a more responsible management of the site. [Photo: Levi Verora]