Mt. Banahaw’s closure stays as forest ‘healing’ continues

Mt. Banahaw’s closure stays as forest ‘healing’ continues

By: - Correspondent / @dtmallarijrINQ
/ 04:30 AM February 13, 2024


MT. BANAHAW, viewed from Tayabas City in Quezon province, becomes a mecca during Holy Week for pilgrims, mountaineers and nature-trippers who consider the mountain mystical. DELFIN T. MALLARI JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

LUCENA CITY—With the approaching Lenten season, government authorities reminded religious pilgrims and nature trippers that the mystical Mt. Banahaw is still off-limits to the public.

“It (Mt. Banahaw) is still closed. There is no new regulation from PAMB (Protected Area Management Board),” Magtanggol Barrion, a Department of Environment and Natural Resources forest ranger, told the Inquirer in an online interview on Monday.


PAMB is a multisectoral body tasked by the government to monitor Mt. Banahaw, which is closed to the public since 2004.


Barrion, who patrols Banahaw and adjacent Mt. San Cristobal, warned intruders that they would face punishment for violations of Republic Act No. 9847, which names the two mountains as protected areas.

Jay Lim, project officer of public interest law firm Tanggol Kalikasan, said the continued closure of Banahaw is necessary, given that a large part of the closed area is a strict protection zone.

Sacred sites

Lim reported that, based on their monitoring, the public continues to pose a threat to the biodiversity and other natural resources of Banahaw, such as its green forests and clean water.

READ: Respect ‘sacred mountain,’ DENR reminds Mt. Banahaw trekkers

“Lastly, we know that after more than 50 years, the Rafflesia has returned to Banahaw. We don’t want irresponsible mountain visitors to cause her disappearance again,” he said.

A rare and endangered Rafflesia (Rafflesia banahawensis) is one of the largest flowers in the world, measuring up to 30 centimeters in diameter.


Many people believe that Mt. Banahaw is inhabited by spirits, elementals and otherworldly beings. They go up its slopes and offer prayers at Banahaw’s “sacred sites” in the hope of finding miracles, particularly during Lent. INQ

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TAGS: LENTEN, Mt. Banahaw, Nature, Tourism

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