Mt. Banahaw remains closed to pilgrims on Holy Week – DENR

Mount Banahaw, which spans the provinces of Laguna and Quezon in southern Luzon, will remain closed to pilgrims and trekkers this Holy Week, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Wednesday.

DENR Region IV-A Executive Director Nilo Tamoria said the ban on visitors to the mountain will not be lifted this week to give the protected area more time "to heal and to recover."

Mt. Banahaw, considered as a sacred mountain by locals, has been a popular trekking and pilgrimage site until it was ordered closed in 2004 to protect its flora and fauna from human destruction.

In 2009, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also signed Republic Act 9847 declaring the mountain, as well as nearby Mt. San Cristobal, as protected areas under the category of protected landscapes.

Tamoria said Mt. Banahaw cannot be opened to the public for the rest of the year because it has "not fully recovered yet."

"The famous mountain has been the subject of long years of abuse and desecration… Let’s give [it] more time to heal," he said.

He added that DENR park rangers and over a hundred volunteers from various environmental groups have already been deployed in the area to ensure that the ban on visitors on the mountain will be enforced. — Andreo Calonzo/RSJ, GMA News