Members of the diplomatic corps in the Philippines scale Mount Apo through the Sta. Cruz Circuit Trail on February 21-23. — STA. CRUZ TOURISM FACEBOOK PAGE

THE STA. CRUZ trail of Mt. Apo, the Philippines highest peak, will be reopening in September and bookings up to December are already being accepted, according to the towns tourism office.   

Under the new guidelines released on Tuesday, the maximum number of daily slots that will be available Monday to Thursday would be 35, and 50 on Friday-Sunday.  

The guide or any representative from the climbing group should physically visit the Tourism Office to book for dates and pay. Bookings through phone calls, messenger messages and text messages will no longer be entertained,the office said, citing wasted slots in the past due to no-show trekkers.   

Priority will also be given to guides who have undertaken the Retooling Training conducted in June and those who have regularly attended meetings for certified guides.    

Each guide is allowed to book only two weekends per month to give equal opportunities to others to climb on weekends,the tourism office said.    

Total permit fees are P2,000 per person.   

Officers of the Mt. Apo Sta. Cruz Guides Association headed by Jake Caspi recently met with the local Investment Promotions and Tourism Office to align planned activities ahead of the resumption of Mt. Apo trekking on Sept. 1.   

The group will have a preparatory climb on Aug. 24-26 to check the trails and existing facilities as well as meet with the Sibulan Porters Association based at a community within the mountain leading up to the summit.   

An off-season is observed at Mt. Apo, a declared protected area, from June to August to allow for biodiversity preservation, natural rehabilitation, and improvement of public services and facilities. MSJ 

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