Climbers, energy foundation launch light systems for families, communities

MALAYBALAY CITY- Eighty-three families belonging to off-grid communities along Mt. Dulang-dulang of Kitanglad Range will be given light in the form of solar lamps (otherwise called  Portable Solar Home Systems) on November 26-27 as a start of ‘Hike for Light 2011’ campaigned by Solar Energy Foundation (SEF) in partnership with Kaya ng Pinoy Foundation (KPF) and mountaineering societies in the country.


About 200 individuals will be visiting the six highest mountains in the country from November 2011 to February 2012, including Mt. Apo and Mt. Dulang-dulang in Mindanao, according to Chinie Canivel, SEF Program Manger and Officer-in-charge.


“The thrust of our campaigns is to distribute solar lamps to off-grid and un-electrified communities [along the six peaks], far-flung areas that are difficult to reach,” said Canivel.


The campaign aims to provide 500 lights for 500 families; build a network of advocates in the mountaineering community; and raise awareness about the transformative power of light—taken from SEF literature.


For Mt. Dulang-dulang there are 35 climbers: ten from Malaybalay City (seven from Bukidnon Outdoor Adventure and three from Red Cross), three from SEF, three from 1st Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition (KPF), 10 from Cagayan de Oro City (NATURE Inc.), four from Davao, four from Kitanglad Integrated NGOs (KIN)Youth, and one journalist from Manila ( Philippine lifestyle website ) with Erwin “Pastor” Emata of KPF Davao as climb leader, added Canivel.


The Bukidnon Outdoor Adventure, based in Malaybalay City, helped in the logistical arrangements; said Bambi Reyes of SEF based in General Santos.


Most of the climbers and organizers were gathered on Friday noon, November 25, during courtesy call to Mayor of Malaybalay City. It was graced by Bae Inatlawan Adelina Tarino (Tribal Chieftain of Dalwangan), Ma. Easterluna S. Canoy (Executive Director of KIN), Forester Daniel Somera (Deputy, Protected Area Superintendent of DENR), and representative of Agri-Aqua Development Coalition/AADC- Mindanao.


Canoy and AADC representative briefed the group of area (Lantapan-Impasug-ong) as ancestral domain, significant symbols, and what to expect.


After the courtesy call the group was set to travel to Sitio Bol-ogan of Songco, Lantapan where lamp use and management orientation, turn-over ceremony, preparations, and a Ritual Sacrifice by the Talaandig Tribe will be held. Start of trek is scheduled at 5:30am  of Saturday and descent will be on Sunday afternoon to Daraghoyan Tribal Community where lamp use and management orientation will also be held.


Janet Belarmino, one of the first Filipino women to climb and one of firsts to traverse Mt. Everest, said that though she has been to Bukidnon before, Mt. Dulang-dulang will be her first climb in the province. It’s more exciting because you have a cause, not just climbing for the adventure of it but you also get to help other people, she added.


This is the second campaign done by the SEF, the first one was ‘Ride for Light,’ said Ferdinand H. Enriquez of the Hybrid Social Solutions, the distribution/marketing arm of SEF.


Reyes added, during the ‘Ride for Light’ there were three riders who rode from Manila to Pagudpud to Zamboanga and back over 19 days around April and May this year  distributing 582 solar lamps to 40 remote areas, mostly Indigenous People communities.


The five peaks, protected areas, to be visited after Mt. Dulang-dulang (2nd highest in country) are Mt. Canlaon (highest peak in Visayas, 9 climbers) on December 2-4, Mt. Majaas (highest peak in Panay, 30 climbers) December 16-18, Mt. Pulag (highest peak in Luzon, 60 climbers) on January 13-15, Mt. Guiting-guiting (most difficult climb, 20 climbers) on January 27-29, and finishing with Mt. Apo (highest peak in Philippines, 30climbers) on February 3-6. (Hazel A. Generalao)


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