03 May 2014

Public Warned About Climbing Mt. Maculot

Please note the date of this article's publication.  The warning may not be relevant anymore.

I am relaying information from the National Bureau of Investigation as a public service for the benefit of those who might have missed the evening news last Friday. This is with regards persons who may be planning hikes up Mt. Maculot in the Municipality of Cuenca here in Batangas.

The NBI is becoming more convinced that Victor Joel Ayson, the lone climber who was later found dead last year at the foot of the mountain was murdered instead of killed by a climbing accident.

In view of this, a spokesman for the bureau has warned prospective climbers not to go alone or to pitch camp and stay on the mountain overnight. A group of between four to six persons believed to be responsible for Ayson’s death is still loose and may be responsible for harming mountaineers to steal from them.

The same group, the news report ironically said last Friday evening, was among the earliest responders in search efforts to locate Ayson.


Just to reiterate, the public is warned against climbing the mountain alone or staying overnight atop the mountain, I suppose until the rogue elements responsible for Ayson’s death are placed behind bars.
It is now believed that the group actually led the search parties away from the area where Ayson’s body was hidden.

Ayson’s camera was recently found, but several hundred metres from where his body was discovered. The NBI spokesman correctly theorised that had Ayson fallen as it was made to look, the camera would have fallen with him.

Instead, the camera was initially missing but later disposed of because, the spokesman likewise theorised, the person in possession of it was probably wary that the bureau was getting close to identifying him.

After months of having been silent on the case, the bureau last April announced that it had dropped a pig carcass from the same craggy part of the mountain where Ayson was made to seem like he had fallen just to see what the effect on the body would be like.

The carcass was severely mutilated, in contrast to Ayson’s body which was intact when it was found. It is now believed that Ayson’s body was initially hidden in a rocky part of the mountain while search efforts were ongoing.

It was in this part of the mountain where some ropes, Ayson’s underwear and what was believed to be the murder weapon were also recovered.

I have a vague recollection of a news report last year when some locals went on camera to tell the media that engkantos or elemental spirits were probably responsible for Ayson’s death.

Readers who live in Batangas will have heard a few stories about these elementals purportedly guarding the mountain. However, the NBI now believes that a group which was among those alluding to the elementals might have actually been the one responsible for Ayson’s murder.

Just to reiterate, the public is warned against climbing the mountain alone or staying overnight atop the mountain, I suppose until the rogue elements responsible for Ayson’s death are placed behind bars.

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