Filipino Mountain Climber Shares the Current Overcrowded State of Mt. Pulag


Don Mariano shared this photo with the Facebook group “Pinoy Mountaineer” showing the current state of the popular mountain over crowded with not just climbers but also tourists.

The page also garnered opinions from fellow mountaineers with regards to this issue. They say that most are concerned about what is currently happening and what the mountain is slowly becoming.

Everyone had their own different opinion on how to control this over crowding but one stood out: tours should be regulated and limits should be imposed.

Direct Quote:

“Hindi lang LRT/MRT ang siksikan. Pati Mt. Pulag siksikan narin.”

This photo at the summit of Mt. Pulag, shared to us by Don Kevin Mariano from his recent hike, captures the state of affairs in Luzon’s highest peak, once the beloved destination of mountaineers, now a popular tourist site.

Yesterday, I asked fellow hikers their opinion about Mt. Pulag and there was an overwhelming sense of sorrow and concern about what’s happening in the mountain.

Some are suggesting that the mountain should be closed. Others say that hikers should be properly oriented and tour groups regulated. There were also those who proposed that the impact should be spread to other trails. These differences notwithstanding, most agree that, at the very least, limits should be imposed.

In the coming weeks I will be posting opinion pieces from hikers about what they think should be done about Mt. Pulag. Contributions are welcome (email me at We need an open dialogue and a constructive debate about what to do with the mountain, and more broadly, how we can be responsible hikers and travelers – not just for Pulag but for other mountains as well. This is very timely considering that the peak season is at hand. We are in touch with the DENR and will forward key recommendations, even as we also challenge the DENR to act on this forcefully.

“The mountain cannot speak, and oftentimes, it suffers in silence. But a mountaineer ought to know how to feel its pain. When the time comes that you have to be its voice, you have to be willing and ready.” – Letter to a Young Mountaineer, V, “Wise words from an old man”

Mount Pulag is the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines. It is Luzon’s highest peak. It is famous for its majestic “sea of clouds” and the view of the Milky Way Galaxy at dawn, which has attracted many tourists who wish to see the “other-worldly” scenery.

Though tourists usually are a good sense of tourism in the local government of the area because it monetizes what the town has to offer thus generating jobs and income for the locals, people are concerned for the welfare of the environment and the mountain itself.

According to sources there are negative effects of overcrowding in the environment, mainly:

  • impacts on geological exposures, minerals and fossils
  • impacts on soils
  • impacts on water resources
  • impacts on vegetation
  • impacts on animal life
  • impacts on sanitation
  • aesthetic impacts on the landscape
  • impacts on the cultural environment.

Do you think that overcrowding is bad for Mount Pulag? If so, how can we control this? 

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