BAGUIO CITY – After seven days and eight nights of intensive search, the Korean trekker Choi Songkyu, who was declared missing in the mountains of Barlig, Mountain Province on June 10, 2017, was found at around 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, June 20.
Barlig Municipal Disaster Risk, Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) responder Joselito Tukyap found Choi sheltered in a rice granary in the mossy and thickly forested area of Barangay Latang, Barlig.
He was carried by Tukyap and the other responders across rugged terrain and then carried by other members of the Barlig MDRRMO to the road on a stretcher.
Songkyu was reported missing on June 10 by the Barlig municipal police, after arriving in the evening of June 7 and checking into an inn.
The Mountain Province police said he checked out around 9 a.m. on June 9, informing the owner he was headed to Mount Battad in Banaue, Ifugao.
On June 10, Songkyu was reported missing by the Barlig Municipal Police Station.
A resident of Sitio Chator, Barangay Latang later told the police he saw Songkyu hiking toward Mt. Pula, which is the usual route going to Banaue.
Songkyu was brought to Barlig District Hospital and immediately received medical treatment.
According to the Mountain Province DRRMO, he will be transferred to Bontoc, Mountain Province, the capital of the province as soon as his state of health improves.
He has been joined by his family, friends and relatives, together with some Korean volunteers and a consular officer.
According to Barlig District Hospital Chief Gina Buyocan, the Korean is in stable condition, even as efforts continue to improve his hydration status and stabilize his blood pressure.
During the search and rescue operations, responders from Barlig MDRRMO, Barlig Tour Guides and Hunters, provincial MDRRMO and the Sagada MDRRMO and some members of the Sagada Environmental Guides Association (SEGA) were dispatched to the forests of Barlig, and they also resorted to the use of surveillance drones to scan the area.
They were joined later by soldiers of the Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion, Cordillera Regional Police Safety Battalion (RPSB), Ifugao PDRRMC and its MDRRMOs from Banaue, Aguinaldo and Mayoyao, with assistance from K-9 units from the Cordillera DRRMC.