21 Mar Mt. Timpoong-Hibok-hibok Natural Monument (MTHNM) of Camiguin is The Newest Asean Heritage Park
Recently, Camiguin’s Timpoong and Hibok-hibok mountains declared as the latest heritage site in the Southeast Asian region. It will be the Philippines’ eighth protected area conferred by the Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) as an Asean Heritage Park. And now officially known as the Mt. Timpoong-Hibok-hibok Natural Monument (MTHNM).
This new declared heritage site is Camiguin’s watershed for the whole island and the source of water for agricultural and domestic uses.
According to ACB executive director lawyer Roberto Oliva, MTHNM adds up to the long list of Asean Heritage Parks or AHPs in the country. Other AHP sites includes the Philippines’ Mt. Apo Natural Park, Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park, Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park, Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.
Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo said during the formal launch on Wednesday, last March 16, that Camiguin’s size is not fitting for expansion of establishments. Instead, it can offer enhancement of its eco-tourism sector. His pronouncement was echoed by Oliva quoting, “the majestic MTHNM has a high ecotourism potential. One can go trekking or simply enjoy the relaxing view of the mountains. It is also an ideal site for scientific studies and research.”
To mention attractions in Camiguin are its beach resorts, natural springs, and other landmarks, its own Lanzones Festival every October of the year, and the “Panaad” during the Holy Week.
MTHNM was considered a heritage site since it has a high level of endemism and species variety housing species such as hawk owl, the Philippine hanging parakeet, Camiguin forest rat, Camiguin forest mouse and among others. And with a total land area of 3,739 hectares, it comprises five major habitats, grassland, upland wetland, dipterocarp forest, crater lake and mossy forest. And with the declaration of it as a heritage site gives them the opportunity to ask for more funding from the national government for the improvement of the heritage sites. With the goal of offering unique experiences for visitors as said by Provincial environment and natural resources office (Penro) chief Merlyn Dumalahay in an interview.
Now, Camiguin won’t only be known as the land of Lanzones and a holy destination during Lenten season, but also a heritage site.