A growing news network on Southern Tagalog has taken a huge stride to bring Leave No Trace (LNT) to Mt. Malindig as part of its objective to create environmental awareness towards protecting the 1157-meter mountain.
Marinduque News Network (MNN) has forged a collaboration with MisterLNT.ph to conduct an LNT Awareness Workshop (LNTAW) for the stakeholders of Mt. Malindig, a dormant volcano standing proudly on the southern tip of the island province of Marinduque in the Philippines. The heart-shape island province is part of Mimaropa administrative region, formerly Region IV-B.
Held at the jump off point of Mt. Malindig at barangay Sihi in Buenavista, Marinduque, the half-day workshop saw the participation of mountain guides, barangay officials, as well as other outdoor enthusiasts in the area.
According to Romeo ‘Myong’ Mataac, Jr., MNN chief correspondent, “This collaboration with MisterLNT.ph marks our network’s commitment to help Mt. Malindig in preserving its beauty and protect it from abuse.”
A mountain less climbed, Mt. Malindig features a serene atmosphere punctuated by single-file trails that meander across expansive grassy slopes. Tree canopies cover the wet, foggy assault trail leading to the cloud-shrouded summit, which is completely surrounded by dense foliage. But, as Myong pointed out, “If left unprotected, the mountain can drastically deteriorate overtime.”
“The project is our way of providing education that would create awareness, allowing the participants to be cognizant of the impacts created when climbing Mt. Malindig,” stressed Myong.
Lito De Veterbo, founder of MisterLNT.ph, agreed with Myong, saying, “Protecting Mt. Malindig can start with proper education backed by solid outdoor ethics.”
The LNT workshop was a pivotal step towards that objective. During the half-day learning session, the participants were introduced to the seven principles of Leave No Trace, a set of guidelines developed to minimize impacts to the environment while enjoying the outdoors.
The 7 principles are:
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors
Highlights of the learning session included experiential activities demonstrating each of the seven principles. The interactive format provided the participants a venue to share their actual outdoor experiences, setting the mood for a fun and intensely engaging discussion.
Amidst the backdrop of Sihi’s outdoor setting, each participant had a greater appreciation of the lessons as manifested by their genuine enthusiasm to actively participate in the activities. According to Joey Virtudazo, a Manila-based participant visiting Marinduque for the first time, “Learning LNT was fun and the real-world activities enhanced the engagement of each participant.”
When asked if it is possible to successfully complete a Mt. Malindig climb without picking wild fruits and flower, chief guide Roger Manoy affirmatively said, “Yes, it is totally possible.” As learned by the group, LNT principle No. 4 – Leave what you find, discourages this unnecessary and avoidable habit because it negatively impacts wildlife.
“In the ecological world, wild fruits and flowers help sustain a healthy biodiversity, serving as food and nutrients for wild animals, such as bees, birds, insects”, Lito stressed. He added that, “picking wild flowers would cut off the plants’ reproductive structure and deprive wild animals of the food necessary to survive and sustain life, resulting in a disruption and imbalance in the ecological cycle.”
“We must not bring home anything from Mt. Malindig”, Roger concluded.
However, after the learning comes the challenge to practice LNT. According to Lito, “the value of learning LNT can only manifest in the manner by which participants engage themselves in the practice of LNT.”
“I would now be mindful of my every move in the outdoors,” enthused Janelyn Mataac, a participant who is into hiking and mountain climbing. She mused, “I need to make sure I reduce the impacts I create when I go outdoors.”
On hand and present during the activity was Barangay Chairman Dante Marinduque, who expressed his gratitude for bringing LNT to Mt. Malindig.
“We are thankful to MNN and MisterLNT.ph for this learning opportunity,” he said, adding that, “We hope the learning and awareness translate into actions.”
Conceptualized as a personal advocacy, MisterLNT.ph endeavors to promote responsible mountaineering in the Philippines through Leave No Trace (LNT), a set of guidelines developed by US-based Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics aimed at minimizing impacts to the environment. Fundamental to this worthy environment-centric endeavor is the dissemination and promotion of LNT principles across the Philippines to create awareness and consciousness amongst Filipino outdoor enthusiasts. The driving force behind MisterLNT.ph is Lito De Veterbo, a Manila-based mountaineer and a US-trained Leave No Trace Master Educator. MisterLNT.ph is supported by Deuter, Lighthouse Marina Resort Subic. To learn more about this advocacy, visit www.misterlnt.ph.
About Marinduque News Network
Marinduque News Network (MNN) is a one-stop online portal serving the island province of Marinduque. Aside from providing the latest news, information and as-it-happens updates in and around the province, the site likewise lends its hands in promoting the island to boost local tourism. Serving as the eyes, ears and voice of every Marinduqueno, MNN is headed by its chief correspondent Romeo Mataac, Jr., a true Marinduqueno by heart who loves travelling and exploring places.
This story was written by Lito De Veterbo and first published on Misterlnt.ph.