MT. KITANGLAD RANGE NATURAL PARKk
MT. KITANGLAD RANGE NATURAL PARK
The 47,270-hectare Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park (MKRNP) in Bukidnon was declared as an ASEAN Heritage Park in October 2009, recognizing its status as one of the last sanctuaries of the country’s natural heritage, providing an educational and inspirational site of high conservation importance.
The name “kitanglad” is a combination of Visayan words “kita” (to see) and “tanglad” (lemon grass), taken from a legend, which says that lemon grass was the only thing visible on top of the mountain as a great flood once submerged Bukidnon.
MKRNP was declared a protected area through Republic Act 8978, known as the Mt. Kitanglad Range Protected Area Act of 2000. It is also acknowledged not only as one of the country’s Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) but also an Important Bird Area (IBA) as it is a known nesting place of the majestic and threatened Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi).
The MKRNP has about a dozen peaks, with the main ones being Mt. Imbayao, Mt. Kaatoan, Mt. Nangkabulos, Mt. Dulang-Dulang and Mt. Kitanglad. Five of its highest peaks (Mts. Kitanglad, Lumuluyaw, Maagnaw, Tuminungan, and Dulang-Dulang) have an average elevation of 2,718.2 meters.
The park also serves as a natural habitat for several endemic mammals such as the endangered golden crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) and Mindanao moon rat (Podogymnura truei); the vulnerable Philippine brown deer (Cervus mariannus), Philippine tailless roundleaf bat (Coelops hirsutus), Philippine flying lemur (Cynocephalus volans), Philippine pygmy fruit bat (Haplonycteris fischeri), Phil. warty pig (Sus philippinensis) and Mindanao tree shrew (Urogale everetti); and the conservation-dependent Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta).
Aside from the Philippine Eagle, other endemic birds that find shelter in the MKRNP are the threatened Blue-capped kingfisher (Actenoides hombroni), Mindanao bleeding heart pigeon (Gallicolumba criniger), and Red-eared parrot finch (Erythrura coloria). Others are the Philippine hanging parakeet (Loriculus philippinensis); Philippine pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocops maculates); Grey-hooded sunbird (Aethopygia primigenius); mountain shrike (Lanius validostris).
The range straddles parts of Malaybalay City and the municipalities of Baungon, Talakag, Lantapan, Impasugong, Sumilao, Libona, and Manolo Fortich. It is the ancestral domain of the Talaandig, Higaonon and Bukidnon ethnolinguistic groups. It also provides irrigation, power generation and domestic water for Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, as well as a catchment area for Cagayan, Tagoloan and Pulangui.
Tourism sites within the MKRNP include the Cinchona Forest Reserve, which allows the observation of the Philippine Eagle; the Lalawan, Lungobon and Lusok Falls; and Mt. Kitanglad itself, the country’s fourth highest peak that is also an inactive volcano which accounts for several hot springs in the area.
Human activities such as high value crop plantations; kaingin (slash-and-burn farming); small-scale logging; establishment of buildings and roads for telecommunications; gathering of non-timber forest products; tourism; hunting; fishing; and grazing threaten the conservation of MKRNP.
To read RA 8978, click here: (http://pawb.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&Itemid=156&gid=187)
To read on ASEAN Heritage Parks, click: (http://bim.aseanbiodiversity.org/biss/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75&Itemid=32)
For other related links, click the PAWB site at www.pawb.gov.ph.