A city government official has threatened to close Mt. Magarwak following reports of rampant littering on the popular hiking destination.
City Information Office (CIO) chief Richard Ligad, in a press statement on Monday, said that the “lack of discipline” among hikers will contribute to the destruction of the mountain, considering that the hiking site is not yet an official city tourism destination.
“Magiging problema kapag ‘yong mga taong walang disiplina ay patuloy na aakyat, walang mangyayari sa atin. Sayang ‘yong ganda ng kalikasan. Talagang pinaka-solusyon ay bawalan na ang publikong umakyat para mapanatili ang ganda nito hanggang walang napaplano para dito,” he said.
Mount Magarwak, standing at 301 meters above sea level (MASL), rose to unofficial tourism stardom after staging a national downhill mountain bike competition in 2017.
However, Herard Hugo, City Tourism Office (CTO) operations assistant, clarified that the site is technically not a tourism destination citing that its proposal to become one was stalled in 2019 because of land disputes.
“We assessed the site last year at nalaman naming may mga nagcla-claim ng mga lupa doon. Hanggang ngayon may kanya-kanyang bakod doon kaya hindi pa namin ‘yon naaayos,” Hugo said.
Mount Magarwak towers at 9°51′29.9′′ North and 118°43′44.36′′ East, 16 kilometers north of the city proper, with a jump-off point in Barangay Santa Lourdes and its highest peak in Barangay Bacungan.
In 2019, Brgy. Bacungan officials took the initiative of maintaining the cleanliness of the site with the help of some volunteers.
A certain local hiker reacted on the warning and said that the city should install garbage cans and hire manpower for its maintenance.
“Kumalat lang, ipasasara na agad. Lagyan ng basurahan or maglagay ng tao para maglinis at magbantay. Wag naman magtipid [ang city kasi] ang dami po natin festival, baka pwede naman bawasan para may pa-sweldo sa magbabantay,” he said.
Recent reports confirmed that “no littering” signs and garbage cans have been installed and placed along the trail to persuade the public to practice proper waste disposal as they ascend and descend Mt. Magarwak.