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INTO... continued

Kapitan Gimo, as he is known in Cuenca, quickly organized and dispatched a search party composed of several barangay tanod and members of the Emergency Rescue Association, Cuenca Chapter (ERA). Unfortunately, when the would-be rescuers reached the place where the two remaining climbers were left behind, the rescuees had already decided to walk off into the forest on their own. The rescue party found only the climbers' abandoned packs containing most of their supplies and other gear. The saga continued for another two days before the missing hikers were finally, albeit fortuitously, rescued from the mountain and brought to a local hospital aboard a helicopter; generously provided by Cuenca town Mayor Enrique Comia. Although both were severely exhausted and dehydrated from their ordeal, the successful rescue of the two climbers provided a much lighter ending than to that of the incident in Madjaas.

Although these incidents are truly unfortunate, and absolutely not intentioned by those involved, there is a certain degree of responsibility that everyone engaged in the outdoors must face as a result of these events. Now, more than ever, it has become a certainty that there must be a collective sense of protectiveness among the outdoor community. That is, if we truly want to become a real community of similar passions, coming together to seek out adventure using the most basic skill of all, our sense of responsibility for each other; with which, we may thrive under any conditions.

At present, the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines (MFPI), headed by Reggie Pablo, its current president, is doing its best to implement existing safety guidelines and training requirements to prevent such incidents from occurring. The MFPI president has already issued a statement to all the federation members to help bring the message across to everyone regarding the necessity to work together in improving the effectiveness of the MFPI. In the meantime, everyone should put some serious thought into the usefulness of being well informed, properly skilled, and amply equipped with enough supply of common sense on our next foray into the wilderness. After all, it is always a good plan to stack the odds in your favor at all times, whenever in the outdoors. And we shouldn't wait to be actually out there before we start thinking about these things. We could start, say, maybe in the next five minutes?
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