Monday, July 15, 2024

Batangas’ Mt. Maculot Still Off Limits To Lenten Pilgrims, Tourists


Batangas’ Mt. Maculot Still Off Limits To Lenten Pilgrims, Tourists

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Mt. Maculot is still off limits to pilgrims and other tourists as municipal environmental authorities have yet to wrap up its comprehensive rehabilitation and reforestation of the town’s top tourist destination.

The mountain is still very dense and there are wild monkeys, Mayor Alex Magpantay said in an interview Saturday.

“We are already coordinating with certain individuals to make it accessible to the public in due time. Our tourism office has already started, and we are hoping to inaugurate it in June,” Magpantay said.

Mt. Maculot, whose summit towers 957 meters above sea level (MASL), has been a popular destination for hikers, mountain climbers and Marian devotees for decades.

A grotto located midway the steep slope attracts scores of religious pilgrims during the Lenten season.

In 2020, a local executive order was issued prohibiting leisure activities in the mountain due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Magpantay said the closure paved the way for a natural rehabilitation of the mountain and have proven beneficial to the ecological balance.

Apart from the natural rehabilitation, the municipal government has partnered with the provincial government, national government agencies, and the private sector to conduct tree planting.

Magpantay said the municipal government is establishing a tourism office up the slopes to monitor and regulate the activities of future visitors.

In a separate interview, Councilor Ervin Remo said pilgrims, tourists, and townsfolk can visit other attractions of the town.

“There are at least 30 new resorts built over the past few years in the town to cater to tourists, especially those coming from Metro Manila,” he said.

Remo said the local tourism sector continues to flourish with this year’s opening of other establishments, like Imelda’s Garden that offers a unique view of Taal Lake, as well as the Luis Bakery that serves freshly baked products.

He said preparations are also underway for the town fiesta in May and the “Tinapay (Bread) Festival” in November.

Cuenca is dubbed as “Home of the Bakers” with several community bakeries, some also operating in Metro Manila. (PNA)