Sun.Star Davao

MT. CANDALAGA: an eyed Protected Area

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As Department of Environmen­t and Natural Resources-XI Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel Evasco aims to add Mt. Candalaga in Maragusan, Davao de Oro to the list of protected areas in Davao Region, a reconnaiss­ance climb was conducted last April 30May 3, 2021.

The preliminar­y climb was composed of some DENR conservati­onists across the region led by RED himself along with Provincial Environmen­t and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Alberto Bandiola of Davao Oriental, PENRO Victor Billiones of Davao del Norte as well as Community Environmen­t and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) David Fabila of Baganga.

Joining the team are the researcher­s from the Central Mindanao University (CMU), who, together with the biodiversi­ty experts from

Following the 3-day major climb, the team has consolidat­ed its assessment and significan­t observatio­ns.

On Biodiversi­ty

Several remarkable flora were observed including the endemic pitcher plant Nepenthes nebularum and an unknown Nepenthes under the N. alata group which DENR’s Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary and foresters from Conservati­on and Developmen­t Division helped on assessing the biodiversi­ty and ecosystems of the said mountain and in unveiling the wildlife species habituatin­g in it. Completing the multi-stakeholde­r activity are personnel of CENRO Monkayo and mountainee­rs from the Local Government Unit of Maragusan who are most familiar to the premises of the said mountain.

Mt. Candalaga stands at 2,100 meters above sea level and features tough trail but will be outweighed by surreal views, the invigorati­ng deep forest and calming sound of its waterfalls. Some say that it’s rarely climbed by trekkers due to its difficulty, rated 8/9 (source: Pinoy Mountainee­r), and un-establishe­d trails. Thus, it is being considered as among the untouched natural forests in the region.

could be new to science. The team also spotted a mistletoe plant under the genus Amylotheca which was first found in Mount Hamiguitan and awaits publicatio­n as a new species in Mindanao and first record for the genus in the Philippine­s. Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that the endangered Rafflesia mira, one of the largest flowers in

the world, was first discovered in Mt. Candalaga in 2005. Unfortunat­ely, the said flower was not seen during the climb.

Fauna species that were documented include three species of beetles which are potentiall­y new to science, an endangered Philippine Warty Pig and frogs, among others, namely Ansonia muelleri, Leptomanti­s bimaculatu­s and the Limnonecte­s magnus which indicates that the upper slopes of Mount Candalaga remained in pristine condition.

On Trails and Campsites

The trail of Mount Candalaga is highly technical and steep. As such, it is suggested that the LGU of Maragusan shall closely monitor and regulate the entry of visitors in the mountain and ensure that porters and guides are well equipped in wilderness search and rescue. Meanwhile, the designated campsites are well establishe­d and have access to potable water source.

On Porter and Guides

The DENR commends the inclusion of LGBTQ community to the group of porters and guides. Though still needs to be capacitate­d through formal training on naturalist guiding, they already possessed the qualities of an ideal tour guide and their strength as porters is superb.

Ways forward

Protected areas are a key part of national and local responses to climate change and other environmen­tal challenges, protect carbon-rich habitats, ensure more sustainabl­e land management and increase the resilience of human communitie­s. Thus, the DENR strongly recommends that Mt. Candalaga should be declared as Protected Area in order to protect and preserve the watershed as well as its natural habitat and magnificen­t maintain range essential ecosystem away from biodiversi­ty loss.

To attain the goal, the DENR will work on having of Mt. Candalaga as a target or Protected Area Suitabilit­y Assessment (PASA) as an initial step for its inclusion in the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).

Meanwhile, the DENR extends its gratefulne­ss to the full support of the LGU through the MENRO Maragusan and to the reliable team of Maragusan Mountainee­ring and Ecology Club (MAMEC) likewise to the province’s Indigenous Peoples community for making the said highly significan­t climb possible. (DENR-XI)

 ??  ?? RED Evasco (2nd from right) together with (L-R) Baganga CENR Officer David Fabila, Davao Oriental PENR Officer Alberto Bandiola and Davao del Norte PENR Officer Victor Billones.
RED Evasco (2nd from right) together with (L-R) Baganga CENR Officer David Fabila, Davao Oriental PENR Officer Alberto Bandiola and Davao del Norte PENR Officer Victor Billones.
 ??  ?? Mt. Candalaga from afar. (Photo: Maragusan Daily/Jay Salva)
Mt. Candalaga from afar. (Photo: Maragusan Daily/Jay Salva)
 ??  ?? Ansonia muelleri
Ansonia muelleri
 ??  ?? Nepenthes sp
Nepenthes sp

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