Souvenir Sheets of One (12,500)
22p Mt. Guiting-Guiting
Designer: Alfredo delos Santos
Design Coordinator: Jimmy Ang
First Day Covers: Manila
United Nations 2002 International Year
of the Mountains
Featuring Mt. Guiling-Guiling - Sibuyan
In November 1998, the UN General Assembly declared 2002 the
International Year of Mountains (IYM). This decision offers a good
opportunity and exciting challenge in the follow-up to Chapter 13
(Sustainable Mountain Development) of Agenda 21. It provides a
unique platform to reinforce the long-term process started at the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil of raising public awareness and ensuring
adequate political, institutional and financial commitment to
concrete action for sustainable mountain development, hopefully well
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
was invited to act as the lead agency for the IYM, a role approved
by the FAO Council in November 1998. In the UN Resolution,
Governments, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and other
organizations, were requested to collaborate with FAO.
One of the most difficult climbs in the Philippines is a hike to Mt.
Guiting-Guiting, in Sibuyan Island, Romblon.
This is because of the steep,
jagged ridge called “Knife Edge” which one has to cross in order to
reach the summit, not to mention the ensuing rock formations with
colorful names such as “Kiss the Wall”. On top of this precarious
trail, the weather is so volatile that mountaineers would use
absolute cut-off times to reach the summit, otherwise they would
have to turn back.
Mt. Guiting-Guiting, fondly called G2 by enthusiasts, was discovered
as a mountaineering hotspot during the early 1980’s – an exciting
period for Philippine mountaineering, when the novel sport has just
begun unraveling new and exciting destinations.
In May 1982, a combined team of the Philippine Mountaineering
Society (PMS) of Bacolod City and UP Mountaineers did the first
exploration of the mountain, reaching the then-unnamed Mayo’s Peak
but failing to reach the summit. A
few weeks later, some of them returned to make the first ascent to
G2’s summit. They were Mon Ruiz, Kim Valino, Bubot Tan Torre (UP
Mountaineers) and Edwin Gatia of the PMS.
Even without the accomplishment of getting to the summit, however, a
visit to G2 is rewarding enough. To begin with, Sibuyan island is a
jewel of the seas. 187
nautical miles from Manila, the 445-sq.km island has beaches,
waterfalls, and one of the cleanest rivers in the Philippines. Mt.
Guiting-Guiting is the culmination of this sanctuary, possessing
what has been called the most diverse forest in the world, being the
habitat of up to 54 endemic plant varieties.
Moreover, Mt. Guiting-Guiting
is home to fascinating endemic flora and fauna. These include four
species of rodents and a kind of bat discovered only in the
mid-1990s and found nowhere else in the world. On the trek, hikers
can attest to this natural richness with the presence of beautiful