Mt. Guiting-Guiting Natural Park

GENERAL INFORMATION

 Area                :     15, 265.48 hectares

Legal Basis      :       Presidential Proclamation No. 746 dated February 20, 1996

 

Boundaries     

The park is bounded on the North by the Municipality of Magdiwang, on the East by the Municipality of Cajidiocan and on the South and West by the Municipality of San Fernando.

Geographical Location

Sibuyan Island is the second largest island of Romblon Province.  It measures 28 km. at its widest point from east to west, and 24 km. from north to south.  The island has a land area of approximately 45,600 has.  It is located at 12°21’ N latitude and 122°39’ E longitude at the center of the Philippine archipelago.  It is surrounded by the islands of Marinduque in the north, Panay in the south, Masbate in the east, and Tablas and Romblon in the west.

Conservation Status –Key Biodiversity Area

Land Uses and Tenure

More than half of the Island is covered with forest.  Preliminary reports include that the forest density in Sibuyan is 1,551 trees per hectare making it the densest forest ever recorded in the Philippines.  Although most of the forested area in Sibuyan consists of lowland forest, the island has a full range of forest gradient in the Philippines consisting of mangrove, lowland, montane, mossy forests, heathland and grassland.

At present, the fingers of the entire mountain range of Mt. Guiting-Guiting Natural Park is observed to be highly degraded, as they are converted into settlement areas, cultivated lands, or remain idle kaingin areas.

The summit of Mt. Guiting-Guiting is primarily a heath land and grassland with exposed rocks on the serrated ridges of the peak.

 

Accessibility

 

The island can be reached by sea and air.  There are ports in each of the three Municipalities and there is a 700 m unsurfaced air strip in San Fernando at Brgy. Azagra running along the shoreline and adjacent to the main road.

 

Two (2) passenger ferry lines link Batangas to Sibuyan on a regular basis.  Montenegro Line departs Batangas City three times a week stopping at Tablas Island and Romblon. Rapal Shipping Lines departs from Batangas to Sibuyan twice a week and stopped over at Romblon, Romblon.  The ferry travel time is approximately 16 hours from Batangas to Sibuyan.  There are regular flights of Cebu Pacific Airlines twice a week at Tugdan Airport, Alcantara, Romblon.  Ambulong Port at Magdiwang is being improved by the Philippine Ports Authority and this development is expected to do much to speed up passenger and freight traffic for the island.

 

 

PHYSICAL FEATURES

 

Topography 

 

Some 16% of the island is nearly level ground (0 – 3% slope) and this is mostly distributed along the coastal plains.  23% of the island occupies slopes up to 18% and these lands are generally distributed outside to park in the foothills and plains.  77% of the island occupies slopes over 18%.  Most of the park area is composed of steeply sloping land.

 

 Physiography

 

The physiography of the Park is dominated by the Mt. Guiting-Guiting and Mt. Nailog mountain range.  This is sharply bisected by a north-south oriented divide, which runs between España and Magdiwang separating the two peaks.  Mt. Guiting-Guiting has the highest peak of 2,058 meters ASL.  The mountain is flanked on the northeast ridge by a series of jagged peaks from which the local name of Guiting-Guiting or saw-toothed is derived.  Mt. Nailog rises to 789 meters ASL.

 

 

 

Elevation

 

The highest point in the park has an elevation of 2,058 meters above sea level.

 

Geology

 

In the Romblon area, basement metamorphic rocks are distributed extensively.  Intrusive ultramafic rocks and quartz diorite displace these basement metamorphic rocks in some places.

 

Much of the Park’s geology is formed by intrusive Sibuyan Ultramafics.  The vegetation associated with untramafic rocks (often called serpentine or ultra basic rocks) has been described as distinctive from many parts of the world.  It is often sparse or stunted and contains species which are rare or endemic or both.  The explanations for this have centered on the chemistry of the soils since they usually contain potentially toxic concentrations of magnesium and nickel and are deficient in phosphorous, potassium and calcium.

 

In the eastern and western extremities of the Park, there are small areas of Romblon metamorphic rocks.  If any natural forest remains on these rocks, it is probably distinct in composition from that of the ultramafics.

 

A small area of metavolcanics surrounds the Poblacion of Magdiwang to the west, south and east.  This rock unit is distributed to the north of the Park and its surface occupies relatively low elevation sites.  Any natural forest remaining on these rocks is likely to be distinct in composition from that of the ultramafics.

 

 

Climate Condition

 

Seasons in Sibuyan are not very pronounced, but a wet season occurs from June to December and a dry season from January to May.  Rainfall patterns are greatly influenced by the southwest monsoon, which dominates from June to August and the weaker northeast monsoon from October to February.  Rainfall is more frequent from July to December.  Local rainfall varies with topography.  The tropical cyclones occur most frequently during November and December.

 

 

Hydrological Features

 

Several rivers dissect the steep topography of the Island.  The rivers draining the largest watersheds are Nailog-Dulangan-Cataja-Patoo and the Pawala Rivers in Magdiwang, the Wala-Too-Guinalan- Cambulayan-Lumbang River in Cajidiocan, and Cantingas River in San Fernando.

 

The headwaters of Cantingas River lie in Cajidiocan but drains across San Fernando, where it serves three water intakes that supply to the irrigated farmlands and mini-hydroelectric power of Romblon Electric Cooperative (ROMELCO).  Its major impact areas cover the vicinities of the town proper of San Fernando and Barangay Taclobo.

 

The impact area of Olango and Punong Rivers is Brgy. España also in San Fernando.  In Cajidiocan, the impact areas of three major rivers include the barangays of Danao (Agbalit River), Lumbang Weste & Este (Lumbang River) and Marigondon (Marigondon River). The river system affecting the town proper is Cambajao River.

 

 

 

BIOLOGICVAL FEATURES

 

Flora

 

Sibuyan Island is relatively rich in biodiversity.  There are approximately 700 vascular plant species, including 54 species that are endemic to the island.  These include Nepenthes sibuyanensis J Nerz (Sibuyan Pitcher Plant); Heterospathe sibuyanensis Becc. (Bil-is), Pinanga sibuyanensis Becc. (Tibañgan), and Orania palindan var. sibuyanensis, a wild palm; Alpinia sibuyanensis, Phyllanthus sibuyanensis, Cyathea sibuyanensis Copel. (Tree Fern); Agamyla sibuyanensis Hilliard & BL Burtt (Sibuyan lipstick plant); Myrmephytum beccarii Elmer (Sibuyan ant plant); Begonia gitingensis Elmer (Guiting-guiting begonia).  Of the 700 plant species in the Island, 180 species can only be found in the Philippine archipelago.

 

There are numerous endemic species in Mt. Guiting-Guiting that occupy specific habitats.  These are found mostly in primary forest with elevation of 100 meters or higher (Madulid, Domingo, 1997).  The endemic species found in the protected area are as follows:

  • Sararanga philippinensis grows gregariously and form distinct clumps in Peat swamp forest along riverine/riparian forest at low altitudes.
  • Heterospathe sibuyanensis and Ardisia sibuyanensis located in primary forest at medium altitudes; and
  • Nepenthes merrillii and Alpinia sibuyanensis most of these are found in primary forest between 100 and higher elevations.

 

Fauna

 

 

A total of 130 species of birds have been recorded in Sibuyan, of which 102 are either known or presumed to be breeding residents.  These are: Cinnamon Bittern-Lapay (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus), Celestial Monarch (Hyphothymis coelestis), Striated Grassbird (Megalurus palustris forbesi), Rufous –lored Kingfisher (Halcyon winchelli nesydrionetes), Pygmy Swiftlet (Collocalia troglodytes), and Philippine Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus philippensis).

 

Sibuyan is also home to nine (9) native non-flying terrestrial mammal species,  four (4) of which are endemic rodents (Goodman and Ingle, 1993).  This are: Greater Sibuyan forest mouse (Apomys sp. B), Lesser Sibuyan forest mouse (Apomys sp. C), Sibuyan striped shrew-rat (Chrotomys sp. A), and Sibuyan giant moss mouse (Tarsomys sp. A) .  Out of nine fruit bat species found in the island, only one (1) species, Sibuyan Pygmy fruit bat (Haplonycteris sp. A) is endemic (Goodman & Ingle, 1993).   Dugongs (Dugong dugon) have also been sighted within the municipal waters and dolphins and whales are also expected to be visiting the area.

 

There is only one (1) snake, a wart snake or Philippine Dryophiops (Dryophiops philippina), recorded so far for the island.  This snake is endemic to Luzon, Mindoro, Negros and Sibuyan Island and is classified as rare.

 

There are nine (9) recorded species of lizards and geckoes two (2) which are classified as endemic and rare.  Gekko romblon, the Romblon narrow-disked Gecko, appears to be limited to Tablas and Sibuyan Islands while the Quadras’ Flying Lizard (Draco quadrasi).

 

 

ANTHROPOLOGICAL FEATURES

 

 

 

Cultural Resources

 

In 1996, people in the uplands and forested areas in Sibuyan Island was formally recognized by the Office of Southern Cultural Communities as part of Indigenous Cultural Communities.

 

But while the local people commonly refer them to as “Mangyan”, the Indigenous people however, prefer to call them “Sibuyanon”, the way the other inhabitants in the island are called.  This is because they area aware that the term “Mangyan” carries with negative connotations among lowlanders, i.e. that of “being ignorant, a liar or one who is dirty”, as interviews with their perceptions revealed.

 

The people in the ICCs are clustered in groups of two to four houses, scattered throughout the rolling and hilly areas of Sibuyan Island.  They are essentially farmers but they also extract resources from the forests and rivers.

 

 

SOCIO-ECONOMIC FEATURES

 

The people are based in three Municipalities and 36 barangays.  The population increases regularly at an annual growth rate of 0.96%.

 

About 90% of the residents in Sibuyan were born on the Island.  Immigrants to Sibuyan have come mainly from Romblon, Tablas & Masbate.  The heaviest concentrations of the population of the Island are located within Poblacion proper of the three Municipalities and in some Barangays were the population is concentrated near the shoreline.

 

 

Means of Livelihood

  1. Rattan harvesting for handicraft production;
  2. Nito, a vine found in disturbed areas is woven into plates for local and export markets;
  3. Resin from Almaciga tree (Agathis philippinensis), is collected and used by local people to start cookingIt is also traded as a raw material in the manufacture of varnish;
  4. Charcoal making;
  5. Mining of gold;
  6. Farming;
  7. Fishing

 

USES

 

Tourism and Recreation

 

Sibuyan Island is relatively inaccessible to the general public and has not yet caught the attention of tourists, foreign and locals alike.  But the mountains of Mt. Guiting-Guiting have challenged a number of mountaineers who have dared reach its place.

 

Several waterfalls abound within the buffer zone and could add to the attraction of the Park as a possible tourist destination.

 

 

Facilities and Amenities

 

The eight-hectare building plot is situated in secondary forest and is bounded to the east and west by streams, making the higher central ground suited for camping site for mountaineers and visitors.  There are eight (8) buildings constructed during DENR –NIPAP program including three (3) Guard Posts situated in Cantagda (northern Sector), Canjalon (eastern sector) and España (sourthern sector) but only two (2) buildings were being maintained by the staff (Staff House and Protected Area Office Buildings) in Sitio Logdeck, Brgy. Tampayan, Magdiwang, Romblon.  The Protected Area Office Building serves as the DENR -CENR Sibuyan Sub-Station Office/Protected Area Office of the DENR in Sibuyan.  The Staff House building provides accommodation for DENR Sibuyan Sub-Station personnel/staff and visitors. 

 

 

 

THREATS

 

For Sibuyan, the main threats to the marine turtles appear to be:

  • Disturbance of nesting beaches;
  • Poaching of turtle eggs from nests; and
  • Hunting for meat, carapace and skin.
Habitat Type Threat and Causes
Lowland evergreen rainforest and montane forest
  • Timber poaching
  • Unregulated harvesting of forest resources for fuel wood, charcoal poles/post and other uses.
  • Unregulated opportunistic logging.
  • Forest clearing for agriculture and mining.
  • Mining
  • Unsustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products.
  • Export for lumber and charcoal
  • Fire
  • Trade in Wildlife
  • Unregulated hunting/harvesting of wildlife (Flora and Fauna)
Mangrove Forest
  • Clearing of mangroves for fishponds and habitations;
  • Unregulated harvesting of mangrove trees.
  • Not protected by the park.
  • Unregulated charcoal making.
Caves
  • Hunting
  • Guano collecting
  • Birds nest collecting
  • Disturbance to bat roost and destruction of neighboring forest canopy
Peat swamp forest
  • Draining
  • Clearance for agriculture
Beach forest
  • Unregulated logging
  • Clearing for agriculture
  • Fire
Fresh water rivers and lake
  • Indirect pollution from agro-chemicals;
  • Direct pollution form chemicals used to stun fish.
  • Indirect pollution from mining sites.
  • Unregulated harvesting of freshwater shrimp using agro-chemicals.
Marine environment
  • Over harvesting;
  • Destructive fishing methods
  • Water pollution

News

 

 

 

apprehension

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has vowed to do everything in his power to protect workers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from “fearless, cunning and greedy” individuals who destroy the environment for their own selfish interests.

Cimatu made the promise as he condemned “in the strongest sense of the word” the brutal killing of DENR forest ranger BienvenidoVeguilla Jr. by suspected illegal loggers in El Nido, Palawan recently.

“I will never allow another crime such as the killing of Mr. Veguilla to happen to any of my people,” the former Armed Forces chief said during a budget hearing held at the House of Representatives last Friday.

“This incident shows how greed and disregard for our laws can have appalling consequences on people and our society,” Cimatu added.

Reports reaching the DENR central office in Quezon City showed that Veguilla—together with fellow forest ranger JenuelCasel, forest extension officer HersonCaliao, and park rangers Marvin Flamiano, Godensio Caber and NorlitoJongay—were conducting a forest patrol in the afternoon of Sept. 4 in an area covered by the National Greening Program when they heard the sound of a chainsaw as they passed through Barangay Pasadena.

Veguilla’s group followed the sound until they saw some men slicing a felled tree with a chainsaw. These men suddenly ran away upon seeing the DENR team, leaving behind the chainsaw which Veguilla’s group was able to secure.

On their way home and about a hundred meters away from the site, the DENR forest officers were chased by a group of six men armed with a bolo. Veguilla was able to fire his service weapon as he and his companions were running for safety.

However, Veguilla was cornered and hacked to death, while the others were able to seek help from the nearby barangay and police offices.

Veguilla sustained deep, multiple stab wounds on the head, arms and other parts of the body.

One of the suspects identified as Filman Flores was wounded by Veguilla’s shots and was brought to the hospital.

Flores and another suspect, Gerardo “Carding” Fulgencio, are now under police custody. A manhunt operation is ongoing for the remaining four suspects.

Cimatu said the incident calls for the enactment of a law creating an Enforcement Bureau within the DENR.

“We believe that the creation of an Enforcement Bureau under the DENR can effectively stop illegal logging, smuggling of wildlife species and other environmental crimes,” Cimatu pointed out.

The DENR chief appealed to House members present during the budget hearing to help the DENR have this Enforcement Bureau in the soonest time possible.

Last Friday, DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado, on behalf of Cimatu, visited Veguilla’s wake to extend the DENR’s condolences and financial assistance to the family.

Two units of chainsaw, Veguilla’s service firearm and the bolo allegedly used to kill him have been recovered from the crime scene and are now in police custody.

Charges for murder have been filed at the Puerto Princesa City Prosecutor’s Office under Docket NPS No. 1V0s INQ 19I0224. Other charges in violation of Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines and Republic Act 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002 that regulates the use of chainsaw are being prepared.

Veguilla’s remains lie in state at his home in Barangay Bagong Bayan in El Nido. He is survived by his wife Eloisa, an elementary school teacher, and their six children.

The 52-year-old Veguilla served as reserved warden at the DENR MIMAROPA from 1980 to 1997. He then worked as contractual protected area ranger and forest ranger from 1998 to September 2015.

In October 2015, he was appointed as forest ranger in the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area.

Veguilla was described by his family and colleagues as hardworking and dedicated. He diligently reported for work and helped out even during weekends and holidays. ###

 

Photo Releases

January 27, 2019. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – MIMAROPA Region supports the “Battle for Manila Bay,” the 192-kilometer harbour that has become part of its home for decades now.

 

DENR Palawan and CENRO PPC personnel joined the 1st SUBARAW Biodiversity Festival Parade and Float Competition last November 11, 2018 at Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

"Di po namin kaya kung kami lang sa DENR ang kikilos kaya nagpapasalamat po kami sa ating lokal na pamahalaan at mga partner agencies na kasama namin sa nakaraan at sa susunod pang 20 taon ng pangangalaga sa El Nido."

-Regional Executive Director Henry A. Adornado

Themed "Nurturing shared responsibility for biodiversity conservation, the event celebrates two decades of concerted efforts of various stakeholders in protecting, saving and conserving El Nido

Taytay CENRO Pablo Cruz welcomes guests at the 20th anniversary celebration of ENTMRPA. "We thank you and reconize your roles in making our activities in 2018 successful and meaningful."

Turn-over Ceremony of EMB-MIMAROPA Regional Director

"Today, we celebrate not only the 19th anniversary of Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape. We also celebrate the hard work and dedication of countless men and women, partner agencies and groups who have been one with DENR in protecting our beloved MSPLS, "ARD Vince Tuddao, Jr., expresses his thanks to PENRO Palawam, CENRO Taytay, MSPSLS Protected Area Management Office Management and various stakeholders who have been the agency's partners in upholding the welfare of Malampaya Sound above all else.

ARD Vince Tuddao, Jr., CENRO Allan Valle and PASu Alexander Mancio handed over to partner agencies, NGOs Pos and LGUs plaques and certificate of appreciation for their exemplary dedication and untiring support to the programs and projects of the Department within the Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape.

Malampaya Foundation, represented by its Exxecutive Director Karen Ag (second form left) extends to CENRO law enforcers, whom she described as environmental heroes, conservation incentive in the form of one year accident and two sacks of rice each from July-December 2019.

Tank you Malamapaya Foundation!

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