BACOLOD CITY: The municipal government of Binalbagan in southern Negros Occidental has implemented new guidelines that include limiting the number of visitors, at the emerging upland tourist spot popularly known as Mount Hermit in Barangay Bi-ao.

Mayor Alejandro Mirasol issued Executive Order 5, series of 2023 on Thursday after uncontrolled crowds had been leaving garbage in the area that went viral on social media.

Mirasol's office has also received reports that unauthorized groups have been collecting fees from visitors.

"Starting [Friday], all tourists, leisure visitors, and all visitors for any purposes of Hermit and Trese in Sitio Bulwang, Barangay Bi-ao shall register at least a day before the travel at the Municipal Tourism Office," the advisory from the local government unit (LGU) said.

The advisory said a maximum of 300 tourists or leisure visitors will be allowed entry to the sites in Hermit and Trese at any given time, and the list will be submitted to the barangay for checking at the entrance.

"This is to regulate the number of visitors and to ensure the safety of the visitors. We encourage everyone to abide by the rules and guidelines ordered by the LGU and the barangay, especially with regard to garbage," Mirasol said.

Data released by the municipal government on Friday afternoon showed at least 911 individuals have already registered to visit Mount Hermit this weekend.

Registration is free, and can be done through a face-to-face transaction, or online either by scanning the QR (Quick Response) code or clicking the website link posted on official Facebook pages, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Monday to Friday.

Crowds at Mount Hermit have reached thousands, particularly on weekends which caused concern when several pictures of trash left by visitors across the area have been uploaded on social media.

After roads have been improved going to the site in the past year, the site which leads to two waterfalls located on the other side of the mountain range has become a popular destination for hikers, motorcycle riders, and families for its scenic views and cool mountain winds.

2023-01-28T16:15:47Z dg43tfdfdgfd