Authorities rescued seven mountain climbers who were trapped amid heavy rains at the foot of Mt. Apo in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, Monday afternoon.

Jerome Baranco, assistant director of the Office of Civil Defense-12, identified the seven as Maripaz Llagas, 30, of Trece Martirez, Cavite; Paulyn Mejia, 21, of Binondo, Manila; Jonalyn Vega, 28, of Gen. Trias, Cavite; April Lim, 28, and Mark Robben Garcia, 25, both of Imus, Cavite; Maria Jumilene Roxas, 25, of Makati City; and Arnel Aragon, 30, of Mt. Apo Village, Kidapawan City.

The seven were descending from the Lake Venado camp site through the Kidapawan trail around 12 noon when they were trapped at the Marbel River, Baranco said.

“They could not pass through the river because of its strong current and high water level, which was aggravated by the continuous rain,” he said.

The climbers phoned the Kidapawan City Investment Office because of lack of food supplies, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Members of Kidapawan City’s rescue unit were able to rescue the group around 4:30 p.m., Baranco said.

Mount Apo, a national park with “protected” status, is the Philippines’ highest mountain at 9,692 feet and is also one of the country’s most popular climbing destinations.

The Kidapawan trail, one of the several trails leading to the summit and arguably the easiest route, passes through Lake Venado, one of the country’s highest lakes. (John Roson)

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