Mountain climbing is not my favorite activity, however, this event is bigger than my fear.
I got a last minute invite to take part in Tripkada’s First Hundred Mountain clean up last weekend and went for it. On Sunday, I was ought to climb Mt. Romelo with trip organizers who call themselves Team Stanger Danger together with other travelers who booked through Tripkada. Our group was a mix of newbies and adventurous young travelers who wanted to make a difference while enjoying nature.
Mt. Romelo is in Siniloan, Laguna, part of the Sierra Madre mountain range. The mountain is three hundred meters above sea level and considered a minor climb, around two to three hours to reach the summit. And it has two out of nine difficulty rating. With first class trail which, features rain forest and waterfalls. Mt. Romelo is popular to travelers and alike, which has its pros and cons.
Like most destinations, once it started to get traction, it boosts local tourism and livelihood which are good. But then the cons. First, locals would only depend on tourism related income instead of other industry not to mention the possibility of extortion. Plus overcrowding with both tourists and vendors which leads to trash, trash and more trash. Let’s admit that not all visitors are responsible enough to clean their own space while climbing or camping.
Now, through the simultaneous mountain clean-up event by Tripkada, we helped in keeping Mt. Romelo clean. Though from the jump off all the way to the summit the trail was clean. Hooray! There were occasional piles of garbage yet the owners of the sari-sari stores clean them up. But the campsite was a different story. Also, the trek to and from the different waterfalls we went to, namely, Buruwisan, Lanzones and Batya-batya Falls.
Since these are the places where travelers can chill and camp, sadly, littering was highly practiced there. So inline with our purpose in this event, we collected a total of eight kilos of garbage. They were empty plastic bottles, tissues, cigarette butts and empty brandy bottles. Other travelers, noticed what we were doing so they started cleaning their spots too! Which was good it meant we influenced them to the path of sustainable and responsible traveling. The garbage we collected were disposed properly with the help of our guide, Kuya Rey.
As I conquer my fear of heights one climb at a time, I was really grateful to be part of this event more so with the group that I was with during the said event. What made it more sustainable was the camera I got to try, which was made out of paper! Yes, you read it right, a camera made out of paper. I am a self confessed shutterbug and testing out Paper Shoot during the climb was very interesting! And just so you know, these photos were taken using a paper cam! ‘Til the next climb!