Philippines, Mount Alcon
Mount Alcon, also known as Chalcon, is the highest peak of Mindoro Island and the third highest in the Philippines. The height of the mountain is 2586 meters above sea level. Many lovers of mountain climbing consider Alcon one of the most difficult peaks to conquer, since it is famous for its narrow and knife-sharp ridges. At present, there is a five-year ban on any industrial activity in the territory of the mountain and its surroundings – this is necessary so that the flora and fauna will recover from the recent fires, as well as from the actions of dishonest tourists.
The best time to conquer Alcon is April, August and September. Usually the ascents begin from the town of Bako. The road to the top is quite steep, several halts are made along the way. If desired, the rise to the top can be stretched for several days, stopping overnight in one of the specially designated places. The first camp is at an altitude of 1080 meters. It is located in the depths of a dense forest, and a stream flows nearby, which serves as a source of drinking water.
Mount Alcon is extremely important for the preservation of the biodiversity of the province of East Mindoro. Its slopes are covered with the largest forest area in the vicinity of Puerto Galera. There are rare and vulnerable animal and plant species, as well as endemic bird species, i.e. those that are not found outside of Mindoro. Among them are the Mindor fruit-eating pigeon, the Mindor owl and the purple flower sucker, which lives almost at the very top of Alcon.
Most of the mountain is very difficult for people to do, and that is why the original forests remained. However, illegal logging significantly “thinned” the forest, growing below 850 meters. In addition, residents of the surrounding villages gather on the slopes of Alcon reed, vine and rattan, which significantly upsets the balance of the established ecosystems. And the territory is subject to erosion due to landslides that are frequent in these places.