Garbage in the Mountains: The Sad Reality of Our Philippine Mountains

Don’t you just love the Philippines? We’re blessed with 7,107 beautiful islands! We’ve got several beaches to swim in and several mountains to climb. However, as Spiderman best put it, “With great power comes great responsibility.” In this case, with all our country’s beauty and greatness, comes our responsibility as Filipinos, as inhabitants of this land and even as tourists to maintain its beauty and do as little damage as possible.

Unfortunately, not everyone is responsible for his/her actions. The sad reality is that some people just don’t care, or are perhaps unaware of the consequences of their actions.

A concerned citizen, Gela Petines posted these photos on her Facebook page with the title, “I’m sorry Batulao.” The photos show how one of our country’s beautiful mountains is slowly being destroyed by tourists and fellow Filipinos who treat it like nothing more than a rotten piece of land and a giant wasteland. This may not seem like much yet, but if we continue doing things like these, we’ll soon have no more white sands and green mountains to show off to the world.


Garbage-in-the-Mountains-07This is the sight we’re all used to seeing. A picturesque view from atop the mountain.

….but going up is a different story. Here’s what Gela has to say.

I’m sorry, Batulao. Sorry dumagdag ako sa rami ng tao nung Sunday. Excited sana ako makita ka kasi mga dalawang taon na kita hindi nabisita. Hindi ko alam nasa libo na pala ang dumadalaw sa iyo kada linggo! Sobrang sikat mo na, ‘no?

Pero ang laki na ng mga pagbabago. And I’m so sorry. I’m sorry sa dami ng kalat. I’m sorry sa mga vandalisms sa mga magaganda mong bato. I’m sorry nabugbog na ng husto ang mga daanan mo at lumapad na ang ilang parte. Mukhang bugbog sarado ka na at napakadumi… Sa ganda mong ‘yan, hindi ko akalaing madali lang sa tao na babuyin ka ng ganito.

Sa ganda mong ‘yan, hindi ko akalaing maririnig ko ang “I’M KING OF THE WORLD” o “I CONQUERED BATULAO” sa itaas habang napakaraming nagpapapicture sa ‘yo. Parang nakapatay sila ng leon, inapakan, at ipinagmalaki sa mundo na masmalaki sila kaysa sa iyo. Alam nating hindi yun totoo at hindi yun mangyayari dahil ang matatalo lang talaga naming mga tao sa pag-akyat ng bundok ay ang sarili naming mga kahinaan. At isa kang biyaya dahil binibigyan mo kami ng pagkakataon magawa ‘yon. Maraming salamat, Batulao.

Alam ko may pagkukulang kaming lahat. Maliit lang akong tao, pero sana sa post na ito may magagawa ako kahit papaano. Sa hiyaw kong ito, sana marami akong mahagilap para sa iyo.

Sumpa kong aayusin namin ito sa abot ng aming makakaya. Sa ngayon, pagaling ka muna, Batulao.

Garbage-in-the-Mountains-05Vandalized rocks in Mt. Batulao

Rough English Translation:

I’m sorry, Batulao. Sorry we added to the number of people who visited you last Sunday. I was excited to see you for it has been 2 years since I last visited you. I had no idea there were already thousands of people visiting you every week! Aren’t you so famous already?

But there were several huge changes. And I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for all the garbage. I’m sorry for the vandalism on your beautiful rocks. I’m sorry your path has been abused, while several parts unintentionally widened. You now look very dirty and severely beaten… With all your beauty, I never thought it would be this easy for people to trash you.

With all your beauty, I never thought I would hear “I’M THE KING OF THE WORD” or “I CONQUERED BATULAO” above while several are taking photos of you. It’s as if they killed a lion, stepped on it and showed it off to the world, proudly screaing I’m bigger than you. We all know that isn’t true and that will never happen because the only thing we can defeat whilst climbing up is our own weaknesses. And it is a blessing that you gave us a chance to do that. Thank you, Batulao.

I know we are all lacking. I am but a small person, but I hope through this post, I will somehow be able to help.  Through this plea, I hope I am able to find and call out others to help you.

I swear we will fix this as much as we can. For now, please get better, Batulao. 


Garbage-in-the-Mountains-03Garbage atop the mountain

Garbage-in-the-Mountains-02Garbage atop the mountain

Garbage-in-the-Mountains-06Garbage atop the mountain

Garbage-in-the-Mountains-04Several people visiting the mountains

Hiking/ mountain climbing is slowly growing more popular. More and more people want to try it out and see the beauty from above. In fact, we even shared the TOP 10 MOUNTAINS FOR BEGINNERS a few days ago. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s good that more Filipinos are appreciating our country’s beauty! But PLEASE maintain it. Please do not leave your garbage atop the mountains. Please do not pick the flowers/ plants. Please do not vandalize or destroy anything you see.

The beauty of our country and the places we visit will depend on no one else but ourselves. Learn to respect nature and leave it the way it was meant to be.

Have you guys been to the mountains lately? We do hope you had a better view going up.

Do share your experiences!