BAGUIO CITY—Ultra-running enthusiasts, environmentalists and trekkers get the chance to explore the region’s richness within a span of 18 days passing through Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Kalinga, Abra and Apayao through the “Cordillera Great Traverse.”
The elite trekking route covers approximately 351 kilometers, through mountain passes, forests, rivers, waterfalls, rice terraces, villages, and ancient and historical trails. It also passes through a highlighted scenic route and major tourist attractions, presenting to foreign and local hikers and trekkers the natural beauty of the Cordillera mountains.
Leonard Soriano, CGT project leader, says the route reveals some of the best trekking destinations in the world, like the Appalachian Trail, the Great North Walk, Drakensberg and GR20.
He explained the CGT is driven by a three-part action plan that will eventually involve public participation; establish the longest and most scenic trekking or hiking trail destination in the Philippines through research, mapping, immersion with the locals; and actual reconciliation of the trails of each province.
The CGT trails were mapped in 2014 to 2015 and was completed by the expedition team when it embarked on a single-push travel from April 1 to 18 two years ago to cover its entire expanse.
One of the objectives of the traverse is learn and share the culture of each of the ethnic groups who have occupied the mountains as their home for centuries, with the locals as guides to establish the trails and lead the organizers to discover the richness of the region.
Soriano added the expedition allowed them to mutually exchange knowledge with the locals on how to protect the mountains, and together with the natives, be the advocates of protection of the Cordillera.
CGT operates under Philippine Trail Conservation Events Inc. The Traverse 2015 expedition team consisted of National Geographic explorers, adventurers, nature lovers, ultra runners, environmentalists, mountaineers, and fitness enthusiasts.
To date, CGT consists of strong team members contributing not just their solid athletic background but also their talent and skills as professionals in order to move the project forward after the expedition two years ago.
Soriano said CGT is looking for volunteers to join the team, and applications can be sent via email to email@example.com.
Among the targets of CGT for 2017 and beyond are establishing a trail system that will promote eco-tourism across the Cordillera; become a leading source of information for natural and trails in the region; conduct biological survey of plant and animal species; discover and promote cultural and historic significance of the trails.
Create a trail economy for the locals by supporting and developing products and services; revive the love for the mountains for the locals and the future generations; and promote and implement conservation efforts with partner organizations and the government.