Good news to all beginners in the mountaineering community, the Sibulan Porters Association based in sitio Colan, Sibulan, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur now offers mountaineering gears and equipment for rent at very reasonable price. This, after the association received an assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Protected Area and Wildlife Division (DENR-PAWD).
The said assistance package is worth 160,000 pesos comprising the following: camping tents, sleeping bags, cooking sets, camping stoves, headlamps and backpacks. The association also received complete uniforms for its member porters to be used during climbs.
PAWD XI Chief Edward Ragasa said that the said initiative is part of their effort to strengthen the ecotourism enterprise development within the Mt. Apo Natural Park, with expected impact of enhanced upland resources and expected outcomes of sustainable management of upland resources and increased income for upland/tribal communities.
“This will become a livelihood opportunity for our Mt. Apo porters as they will be gaining rental income out of the equipment,” said Ragasa. The Sibulan trail to Mt. Apo located in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur is one of the entry points to the country’s highest peak and local and foreign mountaineers are increasing over the years. Ragasa further stressed that aside from the economic benefit that the porters can get out of the project, they will also be encouraged to further take part in the protection and rehabilitation of Mt. Apo as a major watershed area.
The Municipality of Sta. Cruz through Mayor Joel Ray Lopez was delighted about the project and said to support whatever projects the DENR will be given to the municipality of Sta. Cruz. “This is not the only project that we tied up with DENR. There were others that were already implemented. We welcome this latest development and look forward to always support DENR programs to Sta. Cruz in the future.”