Mt. Kalatungan

With an elevation of 2,287 meters, Mt. Kalatungan is the sixth highest peak in the Philippines. It is an active volcano located in the municipalities of Talakag, Maramag, Pangantucan and Valencia in Bukidnon Province. It forms part of the initial component of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) through Presidential Proclamation No. 305 in 2000. Albeit it has a Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), Mt. Kalatungan has not yet been officially legislated as a Natural Park.


Participatory inventory of plants in Mindanao revealed the presence 429 species in Mt. Kalatungan. Many of these species are endangered, endemic, economically and socially important to the locals. (CMU 2010) There are 109 species of mosses in Kalatungan; seven of these are new records from both Mt. Kalatungan and Mt. Matutum. (Lubos 2007) Bird surveys conducted by CMU revealed that in mountain forests of Bukidnon, bird species diversity is highest in Mt. Kalatungan. It is also home of the endangered Philippine Eagle locally known as the ‚Kalumbata‛. Also common to the area are the Philippine deer and the Philippine wild pig along with several species of mountain rodents. While the presence of these faunal species is confirmed by personal witnesses, no comprehensive resource inventory has been undertaken within the forests as this activity would be considered a taboo by the indigenous peoples in the area. (De Vera and Guina 2008)


The forests of Mt. Kalatungan are sacred to the Talaandig as they represent everything that is pure and strong and their continued existence ensures the community's perpetual existence and survival. For the Talaandig, the sacred forests are home to the tallest and hardest trees, it is where the cleanest waters will always flow, where the waters never runs dry and where the deer and wild boar will always roam and, most importantly, where the ‚Kalumbata‛ will always fly free. (De Vera and Guina 2008)


The Talaandig are among the 11 Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) in Mt. Kalatungan who protect the forests as their sacred grounds and who practice subsistence hunting and gathering of forest products only after a lengthy ritual. (PAFID) Guardianship of the forest and mountain is taken seriously by the tribal leaders who formed the Mt. Kalatungan Range Natural Park Council of Elders (MKNRP) in 2010. All the ICCs in the area have filed their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT), but to date, only the claim of the Indigenous Talaandig of Miarayon has been recognized and approved by the Government. (PAFID)


Mt. Kalatungan is still under threat due to land clearing for agriculture, migration, mining, illegal logging and over collection of plants and animals. Issues such as the relationship of the Talaandig with the LGU as well as the National Government will determine the future of the sacred forest. The LGU has maintained its authority over the whole area. In fact it has already declared via a Municipal Ordinance a substantial portion of Mt. Kalatungan as Mineral Reservation. On the other hand, the national Government through the DENR has declared Mt. Kalatungan a National Park. (De Vera and Guina 2008)


However, opportunities for accelerated and effective management of this mountain range exist through the recognition of Mt. Kalatungan as an Indigenous Community Conservation Area (ICCA). ICCAs are an important complement to official protected area system as they help conserve critical ecosystems and threatened species, and are part of indigenous peoples and local community's resistance to destructive 'development', among others (IUCN).


The NewCAPP is working closely with the Philippine Association For Intercultural Development (PAFID), the Indigenous Peoples, and the DENR Region 10 to support and strengthen the management of Mt. Kalatungan.


References:

Central Mindanao State University, Bukidnon as cited in http://www.nomcarrd.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:natural-resources&catid=47:cy-2003&Itemid=57


Dave de Vera and Datu Johnny Guina, The Portulin Tribal Association. July 2008. The Igmale'ng'en sacred forests of Portulinpart of the Ancestral Domain conserved by the Talaandig Peoples of Mindanao, Philippines.
http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/portulin_philippines_report_icca_grassroots_discussions.pdf


Handout on Mt. Kalatungan from PAFID.


http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/portulin_philippines_report_icca_grassroots_discussions.pdf