Nature-ral High

Nature-ral High
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail

March 18, 2014

Incident in Mt. Mantalingajan

   I received a very reliable but sad news from our contact in Palawan, who was the one who helped us made our climb in Mt. Mantalingajan successful. There was an incident on the most recent climb on Mantalingajan via the traverse trail, according to our contact as told by the guide. While the group was passing by Magringgit (a community of a local tribe in palawan, around 6 hours before Brookspoint) they were shot by one of the tribesman in the area. The tribesman was aiming for the head of the last man in the group (the porter) as the bullets were found on the backpacks top compartment. Luckily, the cookset was placed on the compartment therefore stopping the trajectory of the bullet. Base on their investigation what was used were a improvised gun that shot four bullets at a time. According to the guide they were able to  see the suspect hopping on rocks then observing for his kill, maybe checking if he can find his loot. The suspect only left when the guide made a bluff that they also have a gun. 

A Taut Daram Tribesman. Not the actual suspect.
(Photo by Jacob Maentz)
     So as for now, our contact is not recommending to do a traverse unless this issue is settled. They have tried to raise the issue to the PASU of palawan but as of now, they are still waiting for a response. 

Update 03/19/2014.

I have talked today to a female friend who was a common friend to one of the hikers in the group, which was attacked by the local tribesman. Below is some of the additional detail of the incident as was relayed to her. 
  - The attacked porter was not originaly planned to be hired by the group. After the porters insistance and since the group wants to help the locals earn extra income, they allowed him to join them. When the porter learned that they are doing the traverse (the group was already hiking), he kept on insisting to do the traditional trail. Btw, Mangriggit is on the traverse side of the mountain. This made the group conclude the the real target of the shooter was the porter. According to the group, the shooter also had a good chance of shooting any of them but only took a shot at the porter. The motive of the shooter was still not clear, as the porter did not give any detail. 

The gun that was used was an improvised shotgun or locally known as "sumpak". The bullet went through the three layers of cookset and the porters nape was bruised.

Revenge or whatever. The danger to Hikers is that we might get caught in the crossfire. So if you are planning to do traverse, practice extra precaution. 

I will give an update on any development if I get any new information. No word yet from the PASU as of posting time.