Trekking and camping activities are temporarily prohibited in the Philippines' highest summit Mount Apo as it officially begins its off-season Wednesday.
The Mount Apo Natural Park - Protected Area Management Board started implementing annual off-season since last year or every 1st of June up to the 31st of August every year. The closure is pursuant to MANP-PAMB En Banc Resolution No. 08, series of 2021.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resource in Davao region said in a statement that the entire season gives time for the "sacred mountain" to recuperate.
"It is to likewise allow the wild life species to enjoy their habitat without disturbance," DENR Davao said.
For Sta. Cruz Tourism Office, it will also give way for trails and campsites to rest and rehabilitate and for wildlife to breed and reproduce.
"Further, it is to ensure the protection and conservation of Mt. Apo considering its aesthetic, economic, cultural and ecological importance and its unique biodiversity," DENR Davao added.
Trekking activities will resume on Sept. 1.
The Mount Apo Natural Park, with a total land area of about 64,000 hectares, is located in south-central Mindanao spanning the provinces of North Cotabato in Region 12, and Davao del Sur and Davao City in Region 11.
With an altitude of 2,954 meters above sea level, it is the highest mountain and one of the most popular nature-based tourism sites in the country.
MANP was declared a protected area and a component of the National Protected Areas System under Republic Act 9237 in 2003.
— report from Hernel Tocmo