MANILA, Philippines—There was zero visibility on Mount Pulag in Benguet on Thursday but the state weather bureau could not confirm if the temperature had indeed dropped to zero degree Celsius on the mountain as reported by some news outlets.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) does not have a monitoring station on Pulag, the country’s second highest peak, where the cold is reputed to reach 2 degrees Celsius during this time of the year.
Pagasa administrator Nathaniel Servando said he heard the reports about the zero degree temperature but he could not confirm it himself.
“What we can confirm is there is zero visibility on Mt. Pulag. Now, as to whether the temperature actually reached zero degree, we cannot say,” he said in a telephone interview.
Servando said the nearest Pagasa monitoring station was in Baguio City, which registered a low temperature of 10 degrees Celsius on Thursday morning, only slightly warmer than the 9.5 degrees recorded in the summer capital last week.
Metro Manila, on the other hand, registered 18.1 degrees at 5:55 a.m. on Thursday, the coldest morning of 2013 in the capital, Pagasa said.
Pagasa forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said the cold permeating the entire Luzon was the result of the northeast monsoon, or the freezing winds blowing in from Siberia.
The cold is expected to persist well until the middle of February, he said.
The Philippines typically experiences cool to cold weather from mid-October to mid-February, coinciding with the northeast monsoon, or what locals call “hanging amihan.”
Aurelio said the tail-end of a cold front remained over Eastern Visayas. The Visayas and Mindanao will also experience nippy weather, but nowhere near as cool as in most parts of Luzon, he added.
Mt. Pulag lies on the north and south spine of the Grand Cordillera Central that stretches from Pasaleng, Ilocos Norte, to the Cordillera provinces, according to Unesco.
Located within the Cordillera mountain range, Pulag is “very rugged, characterized by steep to very steep slopes at the mountainsides and generally rolling areas at the mountain peak,” Unesco said on its website.
The mountain is the highest peak on Luzon and is the second highest in the Philippines with an elevation of 2,922 meter. above sea level.