Police and civilian search-and-rescue groups rescued six trekkers who got lost while on their way home from Mt. Talinis in Valencia, Negros Oriental.
Charles Salon, 22 years old; Antonieto Opelario, 21; Franz Emmanuel “Karl” Consing, 32; Mark Anthony Omega, 21; Jimmy Lumawag, 30; and Michael Whelan, 18, were rescued by Friday afternoon at Sitio Caipuhan in Barangay Apolong of that town.
The Philippine National Police was alerted around 1 a.m. Friday regarding the failure of the group to return to Dumaguete on Thursday afternoon.
Members of the Valencia PNP station, the Negros Oriental PNP Office, and the Valencia Emergency Rescue Team (VERT) were the first to reach the mountain trekkers around 2:30 p.m. Friday. The hikers were stuck at the Caipuhan river, where they were trapped due to rising waters and thick fog and thus, could not cross it.
The rescuers and the lost hikers walked and rode for about two hours from Caipuhan to the Valencia police station where they arrived around 5 p.m. Friday. The mountain climbers were brought to the police station for debriefing and were seemingly in good shape despite their harrowing experience, said provincial police director Sr. Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas.
Search-and-rescue teams were mobilized early Friday to look for the hikers who left on Wednesday morning and had targeted to return to Dumaguete the following afternoon.
Mt. Talinis, also known as Cuernos de Negros, is a strato-volcano about 5,900 feet above sea level and is a favorite destination for mountaineering enthusiasts and adventure-seekers.
Angelo Tiongson of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council has thanked everyone, on behalf of the governor, for extending their time and services in searching for the stranded mountaineers.
Aside from the PNP and the VERT, the Negros Oriental Search &Rescue group, the Energy Development Corp.-Southern Negros Geothermal Production Field, and private individuals, mobilized their respective teams to help in the search-&-rescue operations. (PNA/Judy F. Partlow)