MYSTIC MT. BANAHAW
MYSTIC MT. BANAHAW
Mts. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape (MBSCPL) is site of the famed mystic mountain Mt. Banahaw. The MBSCPL straddles the provinces of Laguna and Quezon in the Southern Tagalog Region.
The MBSCPL has a total area of 10,900.59 hectares. It covers eight municipalities and two cities, namely: Dolores, Candelaria, Sariaya, Lucban and Tayabas City, all in Quezon province; and Majayjay, Nagcarlan, Liliw, Rizal and San Pablo City in Laguna. It was declared as a protected landscape under Republic Act 9847 signed on December 11, 2009 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Mt. Banahaw is a dormant volcano and is the highest mountain in the Southwestern Luzon volcanic region. Its three peaks are the Mt. Banahaw de Tayabas, Mt. Banahaw de Dolores, and the Mt. Banahaw de Lucban, a high conical peak flanking the mountain’s northeastern side and is separated by a deep valley gorge and a crater lake called Dagat-dagatan.
Mt. San Cristobal, on the other hand, lies on the northwestern side. It is connected to Mt. Banahaw through a narrow saddle passing through a portion of Dolores town in Quezon.
Extremities in elevation within MBSCPL have allowed the formation of a wide range of habitats, from the steep ridges down to the flat plains of the lowlands. This explains why its mountain ranges support a high diversity and endemicity of floral and faunal species. Among such are the Rafflesia philippensis or Rafflesia banahawensis, the largest flower in the world; palms that are sources of handicraft materials, palm wine and furniture making; newly-discovered species of forest mice; several species of reptiles such as skinks, lizards and snakes; amphibians, particularly frogs; and butterflies.
MBSCPL serves as a watershed for the plains of Laguna and Quezon, supplying water for domestic, agricultural and industrial uses. It has been a setting for Philippine historical events and is a favorite site for campers, trekkers and bathers, as well as for spiritual worshipers. Mt. Banahaw itself is said to have “healing powers”, a source for “herbularios” who get plant parts said to have medicinal properties.
Because of the stresses caused by human visitors, the MBSCPL Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), which is composed of representatives from various stakeholders, issued on March 9, 2004 Resolution No. 001-2004. This was a closure order on selected sites or areas within the MBSCPL due to degraded vegetation caused by trekkers and pilgrims, the presence of coliform bacteria in its waters, and tons of garbage and trash.
Later, the moratorium was extended, initially for three years, from 2005 to 2008; then again from 2009-2012. Although vegetation has regenerated and the garbage has lessened, the PAMB has decided to extend further the moratorium for another three years, from 2012 to 2015, to allow the natural environment to heal itself.
To know more about:The protected areas of the country, click: http://pawb.gov.ph/
Establishing and managing the country’s protected areas, click: http://bit.ly/pawb_areas