SUMMER is upon us, and in a fortnight, it will be Lent. Very soon, hordes of Filipinos, mountaineers, nature-lovers, and entire families will take the traditional trek to Northern Luzon for cooler weather and better scenery. There they will marvel once more at the beauty of Mount Pulag, “the playground of the Gods” of the Ibaloi, that has been visited yet again by Filipino and foreign mining companies.
Our latest report tells of the irregular exploration ventures in Mount Pulag, that layers of laws have firmly declared off-limits to mining and all other “economic activities.”
In 1987, then President Corazon Aquino declared Mount Pulag as a national park. It is the habitat of 33 bird species and a number of rare flora and fauna in danger of facing extinction.
In 1992, when the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) was implemented, Mount Pulag, as well as the Ambuklao-Binga and Upper Agno areas, were covered.
The water source and watershed of the dams in Ifugao, Benguet and Pangasinan, Mount Pulag — the roof of Luzon and the Philippines’s second highest peak — is also home to the indigenous Ibaloi, Kankanaey and Kalanguya communities.
This report was written by Baguio City-based reporters Arthur L. Allad-iw and Harley Palangchao, who received a writing fellowship from the PCIJ after participating in our seminar-workshop on investigative reporting.
Read on at pcij.org.