On September 2-6, 2014; I attended a Pilot Biodiversity and Threats Monitoring using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) workshop at Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon Province. It was facilitated by the B+WISER Program in close coordination with the Flora and Fauna International to basically capacitate personnel involved in patrolling Protected Area both from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Local Government Units (LGU). The organizers had identified three Protected Areas in the Philippines as pilot recipients for the workshop namely: Mt. Kitanglad Natural Park, North Sierra Madre National Park and Mt. Apo Natural Park.
My experience with implementing programs in the Mt. Apo Natural Park (MANP) for almost ten years now was the main reason why I was handpicked by B+WISER officials to join the said workshop. It involved lectures and hands on exercises on designing biodiversity monitoring, managing patrolling system, data analysis using SMART software and designing monitoring plan.
The main component that I like most about the training was the principle on Biodiversity Monitoring System (BMS) that has always been crucial to the overall conservation effort of the MANP as a biodiversity area. For as long as I can remember, BMS is solely handled by DENR and at this point, they would like the LGU to be part of this very complex assignment.
As a long-time mountaineer, it was only during the workshop that I realized I have already been conducting BMS without me knowing it every time I climb mountains. The simple step in reporting to proper authorities cases of illegal logging, kaingin, landslides in protected areas is already a BMS effort. The reports generated out of the BMS activity will then serve as basis for authorities like the DENR and LGU for decision-making and integrating protected area programs to agency plans. I will be very much eager to be part of doing BMS in the future. I hope this will also be through to my other fellow mountaineers.
Meanwhile, the other good thing about the workshop was the venue. The Mangima Canyon Spring and Country Resort is situated in the municipality of Manolo Fortich, approximately 4 kilometers from the town proper. It is an LGU-owned and managed enterprise, comprising of a huge forestry where we also conducted our BMS simulation. Of all the tourism-related LGU enterprises I already visited, I can safely say that the Mangima resort is one better experience.
The resort also features beautiful swimming pools and variety of amenities for day tour and overnight stay. The pool is one of the few pools I saw in Mindanao that is laid into the forest, the other one in Binaton’s Ang Tribung Bagobo Woodlands Resort.