While Metro Manila and most other places in the Philippines are already getting a hint of the coming summer, I am still waking up to 16-degree Celsius mornings. As I play with my foggy breath and take a sip of strong coffee, I can foresee what sunny days will bring Mount Banahaw.
I am lucky to have been born and living right at the ankle (somewhere higher than the foot) of this mystical mountain. Summers here do not just mean basking under the sun, trekking challenging trails, experiencing the freshest countryside air and drinking from the clearest spring water. There are also side effects from accommodating more than half a million tourists and mountaineers especially during the Holy Week.
Aside from footprints, also being left are truckloads of garbage, soapy rivers and waterfalls, eroded rock formations, dead plants, and traumatized wildlife species. It’s a totally altered ecosystem. What is worse is that these side effects remain long after the tourists and memories are gone.
Let this therefore be a call to everyone planning to visit Mt. Banahaw (or any other tourism hotspot for that matter) from now on. Please do your part in helping to preserve the fragile luxury and biodiversity of the mountain. Remember that we are not just here to enjoy its natural beauty; we also live to make it available to future generations. And there is no better way to do this than by starting with ourselves.
We have always been thinking what our vacations can do for us. But we also ought to think what we can do for our destinations. It can simply be proper waste disposal or just not taking anything from the forests.
The happiness that you can gain from exploiting the environment is a happiness lost by your children. Responsible tourism is the key to ensure environmental sustainability. Have your share of indulgence but do your share of caring for nature.