PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, PHILIPPINES – Another jewel in Palawan’s capital is slowly getting noticed as we speak, especially to those whose description of adventure includes standing at the zenith of a mountain, and breathing the freshest of airs.
Standing 1,148 meters above sea level, Mt. Beaufort offers unparalleled views of the beautiful city below, the feelings of awesomeness of a trek, and the taste of what fulfillment is all about.
It was not so long ago when trails were made and this mountain was opened to the public. There have been exploratory climbs (or climb at your own risk) in the past but in 2014, a community-based people’s organization, thru the efforts of Palawan Conservation Corps (PCC) started managing the trails. The PCC aims to conserve the flora and fauna in the remaining forests in this city as they try to help the local communities have an alternative livelihood at least.
The day hike tour to the top of Mt. Beaufort takes around four to five hours. In between catching breaths to the next steps, expect to pass along an old mining site and roads from previous logging operations. A few decades ago, in earlier 70’s till the late 90’s, Puerto Princesa was opened to mining and logging operations. It was only in the later 2000’s that the city closed its doors to environmentally-destructive activities like logging and mining, and focused its efforts on sustainable tourism, and conservation of its natural resources.
The forest seems to have recuperated from the dangerous activities in the past. Various insect species, several kinds of snakes, birds enjoying the trees, and even unique plant species register our peripherals while we walk down the leaves-carpeted forest floor with the overhead forest covering us on the way up. I am particularly in awe seeing Pitcher plants of different sizes along the way. Then there, near the peak of the mountain, are Pine trees standing tall.
We expected the beautiful views of the city upon reaching the top like what’s written about the mountain by the people who came before us: the views of Honda Bay and Puerto Princesa Bay and the peaks of the other neighboring mountains: Mt. Thumbpeak, Mt. Pinamunuan, Mt. Tapyas, Mt. Bahile, and the mountains of Sabang – the gigantic Mt. Saint Paul and Cleopatra’s Needle. But no. It was only the famous crocodile ridge we found up here.
The skies are having a bad day, it was certain. So dark clouds blocked the whole view of the city and the surrounding areas – definitely zero visibility. The clouds gathered in unison, blocking our sight from seeing the beauties we expected to see.
Whether it’s because of the old rivers that have gone dry down below or an appeal for us to do our best to return the beauty of the environment to its former state, we don’t know.
One thing is sure however, human’s abusive behaviors always put nature at risk; and our greed kill them instantly.
While conservation remain a word too big for many, and ‘climate change’ remains vague for some, everyone’s practical efforts to conserve resources, if not totally save nature are of greater important. Avoid using plastic. Proper waste disposal. Start with the basic, we often hear environmentalists say.
Standing atop Mt. Beaufort might have failed giving our eyes a feast on natural wonders, it never failed giving us the feeling of fulfillment we all longer for. At the zenith of this mountain, I kissed the heavens, and the sweetness of the angels touched the deepest parts of our hearts. I am going down a better person, and I promise to be back again here soon.
TOUR TO THE PEAK OF MT. BEAUFORT
Palawan Conservation Corps.
3rd Floor Puerto Princesa City Coliseum
Barangay San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City, 5300 Palawan
Phone: (048) 434 9854