15-day journey across Cordillera beckons
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - March 28, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Ultra runners, mountaineers, explorers, environmentalists, and fitness enthusiasts, among others, will embark on the first and longest expedition on the country’s second largest mountain range on April 1 via the Cordillera Great Traverse (CGT).

The expedition, inspired by the famous trails and traverses abroad, will be a 350-kilometer trek/hike on trails passing through the provinces of Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Benguet and culminating in Baguio.

It will feature several thousands meters of elevation gain and loss through mountain passes, forests, rivers, waterfalls, rice terraces, villages and ancient trails while highlighting areas of historical and cultural value, areas of high ecological significance and scenic route which are major tourist attractions.

The trek on the “cool highlands of the Philippines” will take more or less 15 days, according to CGT officials who formally launched the monumental undertaking Thursday.

“The CGT aims to establish the Philippine Cordillera Trail as the longest, most scenic and sustainable trekking/hiking destination in the Philippines,” CGT founder and overall head Jonnifer Lacanlale said.

He added that they envision it to be at par with the best trekking destinations in the world like the Appalachian Trail (3,500km, USA), the Great North Walk (250km, Australia), Drakensberg (220km, South Africa) and GR20 (180km Europe).

“The Cordilleras have the most scenic, sustainable trail and the weather condition is most favorable so we’re hopeful we’ll get there, eventually,” Lacanlale said.

According to reconnaissance head Thumbie Remigio, their group has been doing sustained mapping of routes since November 2014.

“We’ve dedicated the past five months to plotting reconnaissance routes, trail mapping, community immersion, GPS plotting and course mapping,” Remigio said.

The CGT also aims to create an environmental conscience within each participant and establish programs focusing on conservation and making sustainable livelihood to people living in the areas.

“The CGT will be a conservation corridor that will protect large landscapes in the entire Cordillera range,” said JP Alipio, team head for Environmental Protection and founder of the Cordillera Conservation Trust.

APPALACHIAN TRAIL CORDILLERA CONSERVATION TRUST CORDILLERA GREAT TRAVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION GREAT NORTH WALK JONNIFER LACANLALE MOUNTAIN PROVINCE PHILIPPINE CORDILLERA TRAIL SOUTH AFRICA THUMBIE REMIGIO
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