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of Cagayan up to Rizal and Quezon, Province. Its rainforest, which is covered by dipterocarp trees are home to a wide array of fauna and flora, some to be found only in the Philippines. For thousands of years, the mountain range has also served as a home to many Indigenous People. Because of the ecological importance and the enormous benefits that we can obtain from this mountain range like protection from storms and soil erosion, conservation sites have been established to preserve and protect it. The Southern Sierra Madre Wildlife Center (SSMWC), managed by Miriam P.E.A.C.E is one example. It is a 180-hectare piece of land in Laiban, Tanay Rizal located within the Kaliwa Watershed, a protected area and one of the fourteenbiodiversity hotspots included in Sierra Madre Biodiversity Corridor (SMBC). SSWMC needs to be conserved and protected according to Miriam P.E.A.C.E because it is where many endemic and threatened species reside. Aside from the plants and animals, the area is equally important because it is where indigenous groups like the Dumagats and the Remontados live. The Remontados are the subject of this research. They are chosen because other researchers study this tribe very seldom. Apart from that, there are few documents concerning this tribe and their environmental protection practices and beliefs compared to other groups. The Remontados are also easier to observe and study than other IPs because their place is not too remote and they are the ones living closest to SSMWC. Like any other indigenous groups, the Remontados of Sierra Madre have deep respect towards nature from where they get their basic needs. Due to living so closely with the environment, the researcher assumed that they have developed knowledge and practices that can contribute to the preservation and further protection of the SSMWC. Determining what these beliefs and practices would be one objectives of the study.
The research would require the use of secondary data pertaining to the Remontados of Laiban, Tanay Rizal. In identifying the different environmental practices and beliefs of the Remontados, data would be obtained through a survey and/or interview. SSMWC project key persons shall be interviewed to know how the practices of the Remontados contributed to their project. Components of the project shall also be enumerated and using analysis, determine which environmental practice identified is the most helpful in achieving the objectives of SSMWC and how would it possibly contribute. Statement of Research Problem This study aims to find out the different practices and beliefs of the Remontados tribe regarding their environment. Specifically, this sought to answer the following problems:
1.) What are the environmental knowledge of the Remontados? i.e:
a. Beliefs b. Practices c. Knowledge about local fauna and flora
2.) How did their environmental knowledge contributed/contributing to Miriam
P.E.A.C.E in its preservation of SSMWC? Hypothesis Remontados- their environmental practices and beliefs contributed significantly to the preservation and protection of the SSWMC.
Significance of the study The results obtained from the study can help further researches about the different indigenous environmental practices and beliefs of IPs in the Philippines,
specifically the Remontados. Also, since IP’s practices are always geared towards protecting the nature, the identified practices can be published and be a source of information on how to minimize one’s impact to the environment. If the hypothesis is proven, that the Remontados’ practices and beliefs contributed significantly in protecting SSMWC, the result could be used by researchers who want to prove that indigenous knowledge are important and should be preserved so that it could be used in functions like managing protected areas. Apart from those above, the study is of great importance because it will document a part of the culture of an indigenous tribe. At this time where many of the unique culture and behaviors of many indigenous tribes are being changed and/or completely erased, the need for documentation increases so that they cannot be forgotten. Scholars also argue that ethnic cultures mirror the Filipinos and Philippines of the past before Western influences seeped through our culture. So, studying the Remontados can give people a glimpse of the old Filipinos- their practices and beliefs.
Scope and Limitations The research will be conducted only in Laiban Proper, Brgy. Laiban Tanay Rizal since it is the most accessible of all communities in Brgy. Laiban. Only selected numbers of adult Remontados will be asked to answer the questionnaire and/or be interviewed because they are the ones who have been doing the practices for a long time. Selection of respondents will be made randomly as it is the most applicable in communities that have homogenous population.
Chapter 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Protected areas and the Need for it Environmental degradation have always been a huge talk. Plato, for example used to complain during the fourth century B.C about soil erosion and land degradation in Greece. He said that after trees were cut for building houses and ships, soil was always being washed up to the seas after heavy rains. Other problems observed by classical authors like Plato were drying of lakes and springs making agriculture hard for farmers. These problems still exists until today. Extinction of many species of plants and animals due to human greed and large-scale deforestation are also huge problems that plague the world in different degrees presently. (Cunningham, Cunningham, Saigo, 2003) So, in order to save and preserve the very fragile environment of the earth and the species living within it, protected areas were established throughout the world. Lockwood described protected areas as the “finest representative examples of natural and cultural heritage”. He said that these areas are so important because it will ensure the survival of many species in the world. Lockwood added that protected areas are also very crucial because of the contribution they give in maintaining the “life-support systems” that keeps the world going. On the other hand, Feyerabend described protected areas as the representation of the commitment of the world and its leaders in conserving the environment. World Commission on Protected Areas, a task force of ICUN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) defined protected areas technically as: “an area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means”. (Feyerabend et. al., 2004). There would be 113,707 protected areas in the world as of 2005 that falls on the description provided by ICUN but there will be more if non government designated areas are to be included according to Lockwood. Worboys and Winkler added that protected areas represent the greatest
land and sea use transformation in the 21st century as 12 percent of the terrestrial space of the earth and 0.5 percent of its marine areas are now classified as protected areas. Preservation of nature and biological diversity have values and benefits that are very important not just to the present but for the future generations and other organisms as well. (Cunningham, Cunningham, Saigo, 2003) Lockwood identified some of these values as spiritual, cultural, educational (for field trips and research) and intrinsic value or the value of nature as a resource for other organisms other than humans.
Protected Areas in the Philippines Philippines’ ecosystems- its forests, coral reefs and mountains are one of the richest in the world. With a total of 52,177 identified species, it is considered a country with a “megadiversity” of species and it is for this reason that the Philippines probably ranks the highest in the world if we are talking of specie per hectare. However, because of many threats to this gift like commercial logging and mining, the country is also a considered a “hotspot” of biodiversity loss (Galang, 2009). In a report about protected areas in Asia, Rafael Senga citing Russell Mittermeier of Conservation International wrote that the Philippines belongs to the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world’s seventeen most important country in terms of biodiversity. In addition to the above paragraph, Galang also identified the forests of the Philippines as one which falls under the Tropical Rainforest category among the eight classifications of forests. Tropical rainforests are considered the most fragile of all types because of the thinness of the top soil. When the vegetation is removed, the nutrient rich top soil could easily erode or dry out because of too much exposure to the sun. Apart from the fragility, this type of forest has the most bio diversity. Worldwide, 10-15 million species is estimated to live in tropical rain forests. It is because of these reasons that many protected areas in the Philippines were established. All over the country, 200 areas are classified as protected based on the NIPAS or National Integrated Protected Areas System. These areas ranges from small
parks to large watersheds, seascapes, landscapes and wildlife sanctuaries.(Senga, 2001)Priority protected areas are enumerated below.
Philippines. -Birds from northern asia stops in this area to rest from their long flights. -largest and most important protected area in the country. -Home to the Dumagats
Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park Subic-Bataan Natural Park Apo Reef Natural Park
-Biggest atoll type reef in the Philippines can be found here. -Home to many different species of fish. -Tallest peak in Visayas region and home to many species of animals. -Migratory area of 200 species of birds coming from Japan, China and Russia -One of the habitats of the Philippine Eagle- an endangered specie
Mount Kanlaon Natural Park Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary Mount Apo National Park Park
Table 1.Protected Areas in the Philippines
At present, 30,000 hectares or 7.8% of the total land area of the Philippines is dominated by protected areas. (Earth trends, 2003) The Role of Indigenous People in Protected Areas Management Indigenous People (I.P) have always been very close to the environment and this closeness is reflected through their culture and customary laws. They know that the environment has limitations and respect this limit (Galang, 2009). Feyerabend’s report
agreed with Galang. She said that because of the I.Ps long association with nature, they have “made significant contributions to the maintenance of many of the earth’s most fragile ecosystems”. For example: the Tagbanuas prohibit the use of their lakes(except one) for tourism because they consider it sacred. The Ifugao practices the muyong system where they weed, prune and maintain the muyong or forest because they know it’s their responsibility. It is embarrassing to give a deforested, unmaintained muyong to the next in lines (Galang, 2009). IPs also have great knowledge about their surroundings according to Jocano. She cited the Pisan group of I.P called collectively as Negritos (those who moves from campsite to campsite) which includes the Dumagats, Ati and Aeta to prove her point. According to her, an average Negrito man can identify and describe “ 450 plants , 75 birds, fishes, insects and animals and even 20 species of ants.” This kind of data is very crucial to protected area management according to Chapman, Lacy and Whitmore. According to them, to effectively manage protective areas, you have to first identify the species living there. Feyerabend, Johnston and Pansky said that IPs are the latest recognized protected area managers. That is because, as Feyerabend, Kothari and Oviedo explained, in old protected areas strategies, the people of the place are excluded from the projects. They do not have any say to the conservation plans that are affecting their areas. However, that is changing now because IPs are now part of protected areas management. Their knowledge are considered very valuable and are adapted to make management of the area more effective. Also in present approaches to protected areas management, the interconnection between the “people, natural resource and culture” is recognized and valued. Establishment of protected areas shifted from protecting only the environment and biodiversity to protecting the environment, biodiversity, the Indigenous people and their culture.
One excellent example of a conservation project that involves the people and their indigenous knowledge is the Parque de la Papa or Potato Park in Peru.
Association ANDES (Quechua-Aymara Association for Sustainable Livelihoods – ANDES) established the Potato Park to preserve the diversity of potato species. In a case written by Alejandro Argumedo in The Values of Protected Landscapes and Seascapes, he mentioned that the park is a “conservation model focussed on the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources through traditional Andean approaches to agrobiodiversity and landscape conservation.”(Amend,et. Al., 2008) The Quechua, the I.P group involved with the park uses knowledge accumulated from 7000 years of growing potatoes. For example , they use traditional tools instead of the modern ones because they know it has lesser impacts. Techniques from sustainable farming strategies of the Inca like farming only plants which are suited to certain elevation and not forcing the soils and plants to produce too much are used to ensure that the biodiversity will not be lost and the landscape conserved. Quechuas do this because according to Argumedo, there is “trade-off between productivity, risk management, external subsidies and degradation”. Management is based on the principles of “ecological, productive and social sustainability.” (Amend,et. Al., 2008) With little interference from scientists or agronomists regarding their practice, the park is still successful in preserving the potato biodiversity. 1,200 different varieties of potatoes can be found on the park, which the residents can name (Colchester, 2003). The park has caught the eyes of many scientists around the world that they even travel up to the highest levels of the park( 3,500 and 4,050 meters above sea level) to see, observe and record the park, the people and their practices (Peru farmers and international potato scientists meet in Cusco, 2008).
Conceptual and Analytical Framework
Indigenous Environmental Knowledge
Local knowledge about places, fauna and flora
Succes s of SSMWC
Environment of the Philippines is degrading at a very fast rate. Forest covers are diminishing and water bodies are being polluted, to control these, especially in the mountains where we get a lot of benefits, protected areas and conservation sites were established. Indigenous people have been living “one” with nature for so many years. Because of this, it is assumed that they have developed environmental practices that will protect and conserve the place where much of their basic needs come from. People involved with the protected areas and conservation sites cannot solely rely on books on how to preserve the area, they must consult with the people in the place where they are working to get to know the place more.
Chapter 3 METHODS AND PROCEDURES This chapter shows how the researcher did the research- how did she collected data, what methodology was used, who are the respondents and how data would be analyzed.
Research Design The research is of descriptive type. Its focus is on identifying the different environmental practices and beliefs of the Remontados in Brgy. Laiban and how it contributed and/or contributing to the present project of Miriam P.E.A.C.E in the same location.
Data gathering and Respondents A day was spent in interviewing and collecting data from the residents of Laiban Proper, Brgy. Laiban, Tanay Rizal. A questionnaire regarding their practices beliefs and knowledge about local places, fauna and flora was used. Interviews were conducted if the researcher’s questions were not answered fully. The study was conducted in this area only because of the limited time for research and accessibility of the place. Observation method will also be used to further describe what the researcher is looking for. Thirty randomly selected adults were asked to answer the questionnaire that is composed of closed and open-ended questions about their beliefs, practices and knowledge about local fauna and flora. Selection of respondents was made randomly as it is the most applicable in communities that have homogenous population. People involved with the Miriam P.E.A.C.E Southern Sierra Madre Wildlife Center were also interviewed for more information. Secondary data about the socio-economic profile of the people of Brgy. Laiban together with the SSMW Center’s area profile was borrowed from the Southern Sierra Madre Wildlife Center Project Comprehensive Plan made by Miriam P.E.A.C.E.
Research Instruments The study will need a questionnaire for the people of Laiban Proper, Laiban, Tanay, Rizal. Data Analysis This study will describe and enumerate the indigenous environmental knowledge of the Remontados, i.e their beliefs, practices and knowledge about local places, flora and fauna and how did these contributed to Miriam P.E.A.C.E in managing SSMWC. To determine how much did the knowledge of the Remontados contributed or are contributing to the wildlife center, answers in the questionnaire from the Remontados will be compared to the components of the project. It will then be analyzed to determine which environmental practice identified is the most helpful in achieving the objectives and how would it possibly contribute or contributed.
Chapter IV PROFILES OF SSMWC AND BRGY. LAIBAN,TANAY RIZAL This chapter will present the profiles of the research subjects. Profiles of Southern Sierra Madre Wildlife Center and Bgry. Laiban is presented here.
A. Southern Sierra Madre Wildlife Center
The Southern Sierra Madre Wildlife Center is a 180 hectare land covered with forests. It is located within the Kaliwa Watershed in the Sierra Madre mountain range. b. Topography and Slope According to the SSMWC comprehensive project plan, the Kaliwa watershed where the project site is located is a very mountainous area. Seventy percent of the area have slopes of 50% and above. Its slopes are classified to rolling to almost precipitous. The highest elevation is 1,530 meters above sea level (masl) while 220 masl is the lowest in the watershed. c. Soil Soil type within the watershed depends on the existing vegetation in a particular area. Soil type, depth and its corresponding vegetative cover is summarized on the table below. Vegetation Residual forest Residual forest Soil type Humus Top soil- loam to clay loam with colors from Old growth brown to black Loam Humus from decayed Grassland plants/animals No humus Top soil is very shallow Sandy clay loam type 18cm(ave.) ? 15-25 More fertile than the soil in residual forest Prone to soil erosion but is fertile enough to support plant growth Table 2. Soil type and Vegetation d. Vegetation and Land Use
Depth(cm) 5-15 cm 18-100cm
The watershed’s major vegetation or forest cover is classified into three kinds. First is the residual forest which is the dominant type of cover. 12, 147 hectares of the watershed is covered by this type. White Lauan, Red Lauan, Apitong, Bagtikan, Guijo, Kalantas, Narra and other dipterocarp trees are the trees that are present in the said spot. Next is the reproduction bush where much of the kaingin and animal grazing are being done. Its area is measured 8,883 hectares where 4,814 hectares, 4,034 and 34 hectares are timberland, alienable and disposable and communal forest respectively. Malapapaya, tibig, and alibang-bang are the species that can be found in the bushland.
Following the bushland in terms of occupied area size is the old growth forest which measures 2,429 hecatres. The area where this kind of cover can be found have not been reached by timber poachers because of the steep slope. Dipterocarp trees mixed with Meliacacae, Rubiaceae and Moraceae are the kinds of vegetation that can be found within the area. There are also agricultural lands farmed and maintained by the IPs and migrants in the community. It measures up to 192 hectares and are irrigated and planted with cereals and sugarcane. Mossy forest which is a protected area is 103 hectares, bare or rocky forest about 490 hectares, built-up area-717 hectares and water hyacinth 20 hectares are other minor types of vegetation and land use. e. Faunal Population There is a total of 121 identified species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians at the watershed.
Birds Among the different family of animals identified within the site, birds have the highest concentration of species in the watershed. 87 species or 70% of the animal population belongs to the bird family. Philippine Eagle( Pithecopaga Jefferyi), Rufous hornbill (Buceros Hydrocorax) and Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides Paninimanilloe), three globally threatened species can also be found flying around the watershed. Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians Thirteen kinds of mammals were identified within the watershed. These include the Philippine Brown deer ( Cervus marianus) and the Luzon Bearded Wild Pig (Sus Philippensis) two globally threatened species included in CITES. Because of their present condition, the Philippine Brown deer’s trade is “strictly prohibited” while catching the Wild Pig is “strictly regulated”. There have been reports however about people not following these rules in the area. There are 15 species of reptiles and 9 species of amphibians presently identified at the watershed. Two of the 15 species of reptiles are venomous- they are the Philippine Cobra( Naja Philippensis) and Pit Viper (Trimesaurus sp.). Amphibians present at the watershed include monitor lizards, frogs and iguana which are being traded and sold.
B. Demographic and Socio-Economic Profile of Brgy. Laiban a. Cultural Composition Brgy.Laiban’s residents are composed of indigenous peoples and natives from other regions like Tagalog, Ilocos, Bikol and Bisaya,etc. Fourty percent of the people in Laiban are either Dumagats or Remontados.
b. Population There is a total of 1076 individuals in Brgy. Laiban based on a year 2000 Census of NSO. Average family size is 4.48 and 240 households makes up the whole barangay.
Official religion of the people in Laiban is Catholic. Mass is performed by a “lay minister” every Sunday and every Thursday, they gather at the chieftain’s house to pray. The only time a priest comes down and perform mass is when there is a fiesta. d. Health The leading causes of death in Laiban are pneumonia, diarrheia, anemia, skin problems, gastrointestinal disorders, scurvies and Vitamin A deficiency. Other causes include malnutrition, TB, cancer and kidney and liver diseases. Cases of goiter have been reported. e. Education There are two elementary schools in Brgy. Laiban. First is Laiban Elementary School located in barangay proper with 117 students enrolled. The second one is the Magata- Manggahan Elementary School in sitio Manggahan which serves 110 students. There is also a day care center with 50 students. Since there is no High School and College in the Barangay, students who wish to continue their studies sought education in other places. f. Livelihood and Employment The primary livelihood in Laiban is agriculture. Residents plant upland rice, corn, banana, cassava, papaya, pineapple, taro and other root crops. They also raise animals like pigs and chickens on their backyard.
Other sources of livelihood is trading of animals such as deer and wild pig. They trade these to nearby barangays. Laiban is a potential tourist destination, so if the place will be developed a bit more, tourism can be another source of employment. g. Social Organization A Barangay Council governs the barangay. It is composed of the Barangay Captain, Sangguniang Kabataan, Barangay Tanod, BHW, DCW, Barangay Justice and a Staff Utility Worker. Tribal Chieftains of the Dumagats and Remontados still represents the two groups. h. Services and Development Efforts These are the infrastructure, utilities and other services that are present in the barangay: 1. Road There is a 6.8 km rough road that connects Laiban to Mayagay, another barangay that is near the highway. Because of the present condition of the road, Laiban cannot be accessed during rainy seasons.The people in turn cannot also go up to the town as the rivers overflow and the road becomes very muddy. People can go to the barangay in dry months via a huge jeep, motorcycle, horse or by foot. 2. Barangay Health Center Only one health center is located at the barangay making health services very limited as there are no sufficient staffs to attend to the patients. Services offered (annually) are medical and dental.
Water Source The water that the residents use is mainly from the springs or “bukal”. Some, however have piped waters. Piped waters and communal faucets are common only to the residents of Laiban proper. Few agricultural lands are irrigated as rain water is the source being used. The ones that are irrigated depends on the springs also. Electricity No electric supply is present in Laiban, however, there are few households that can afford generators.
Communication No telephone/cellular signal is available in Laiban. Their only means of communication is mainly radio. In very few households that have generators, television is sometimes available. i. Land Resource Use and Management Practice Access to Land Tax declaration is the most common form of land tenure system for both A&D and timberland in the watershed. 98% of the area or about 6117 hectares is under tax declaration while the remaining 2% have land titles.
Crop Production and Product Marketing The range that the residents of laiban till is from 1 to 10 hectares. The average is 4. 1 hectares. Four farming practices are being done by the communities in the watershed, namely: 1. Irrigated lowland-based cropping systems
2. Rainfed lowland-based cropping systems 3. Rainfed upland-based cropping system 4. Slash and burn or kaingin system The residents can only plant twice a year in irrigated farms and once a year only on rainfed farms. In kaingin farms, farmers can plant all year round. Here is a table showing the crops planted in different farming areas: Irrigated Rice Rainfed lowlands Vegetables Kaingin Banana, Upland rice, corn Tubers, garlic, yam, squash Mango, citrus, guava, caimito (fruit bearing trees) Table 3. Crops
Vegetables(planted Peanut, Corn, every after harvest of rice) Sweet Potatoes, Cassava, ginger,
CHAPTER V ENVIRONMENTAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE REMONTADOS This chapter will discuss and enumerate the beliefs, practices and knowledge of the local fauna and flora of the Remontados. I. Practices A. Agriculture
Figure 1.Kaingin The graph above shows how many of the residents are practicing, practiced before and do not practice kaingin anymore. At present, many are still practicing kaingin. This is because agriculture is the main source of living in the place. They are also surrounded by mountains having slopes of 50% and above, therefore, there is only a small area of levelled land to farm. Because of this, people resort to kaingin or slash and burn to have lands that they can cultivate. Owners in Laiban have as little as 1 hectare of land to a huge 10 hectares. The average size, however is 4.1 has. Remontados in Laiban plant crops such as upland rice, corn, pineapple, taro and other root crops. The 7% who practiced kaingin before are the elderly people/couples whose children already left and cannot go up the mountains and till land anymore. They prefer to stay at home and plant in their backyards.
Majority of the residents also are the first one who cleared the land where they farm. As indicated in Figure 2, seventy two percent (72%) of them are the original kaingiñeros. Figure 2 has a significant relationship with Figure 1. Notice that the number of people who do not practice kaingin is almost the same as the number of people who are either borrowing the land and/or inherited it (18% and 17%).Reason is that they do not do kaingin because the land they are farming were already cleared by the ones who provided them the property. The excess one percent are those people who have “palayan” or rice fields in the scarce plains near Laiban Proper or the ones who just recently settled into the place.
An example of farmland in Laiban, Tanay Rizal (photo by Francis Matthew De Guzman)
As much as eighty-nine (89%) percent of the residents practice multi-cropping on the lands that they have cleared. They plant varieties of root crops like kamote; vegetables and grains such as rice and corn. Aside from these, peanut and banana are also planted to maximize the use of land. They also plant trees if space is still available. The most common tree planted in excess kaingin spaces is coffee.
The use of commercial and artificial fertilizer to nourish crop and plant growth is prevalent among Remontados farmers. They said it is for better and more abundant harvest. Plants also grow faster when artificial fertilizer is used according to them. However, there are still more who grow plants the natural way. They opted not to use artificial fertilizers and instead use chicken manure and other organic composts. The most common reasons on why they do not use artificial fertilizer is that it damages the plants more and it is not sustainable in the long the run as it will make the soil acidic. Some others think that the soil they farm is already fertile so there is no need to buy fertilizer anymore, as it will just add to the cost of planting according to them.
Figure 5 After harvesting, more than half of the farmers use the land right away as seen on figure 5. They said it is where they get much of their food; therefore, they have to plant immediately, so that before the first harvest is gone, they already have another
one coming. They also do not want the land to remain vacant for a long time because stray grasses and weeds grow fast. There are also people who let the land fallow. The Remontados said that they do this so that the land can rest and gain the lost nutrients during the last season of planting. Others do not plant immediately because they have to clean and clear it of weeds and grasses first. Some also said they are not the owner of the land so they have to wait for the property owner’s instruction before planting again. Fallowing period ranges from two weeks to almost three months.
Figure 6 A lot of residents as seen on figure 6. practice horticulture or planting in the backyard or around the house in small plots. Backyard is considered an extension of the field as they also plant the same vegetables and root crops on their yard.
Aside from edible crops, the Remontados also plant trees such as narra, guava and jackfruit. Flowering plants and orchids can also be seen gracing their “kubo”. Crops harvested in the backyard supplements their needs for food. Market is very far from Laiban Proper and it is hard to travel up to the town as the road is rough and becomes muddy when it rains so what they plant and eventually harvest is also what they eat. It is seldom that the produce from the backyard is sold together with the harvested crops from the field in the market.
Horticulture. Residents often plant trees and vegetables inside their garden/yard.
(photo by: Francis Matthew De Guzman)
B. Fishing and gathering of talangka
Laiban Proper is near a river and waterfalls which has fishes, and talangka swimming under its waters. Fishes that can be caught in the river are carp, tilapia and eel or Palos. Aside from vegetables, fruits and meat, people also catch fish and talangka for food. This part will describe how the Remontados catch the animals mentioned above.
Fishing with hook and line is still the most popular way to catch fishes. Next is by trapping the fish followed by using net or pasalap as the locals call it. A few who know how to use bow and arrow use their skills to catch fishes. Most of the time, people use more than one method of catching fish, for example sometimes they use hook and line and then in other times they use pasalap. In catching talangka, the Remontados use their hands only because it is too small to be caught by net and shot by bow and arrow. It also the easiest way to get them. When they want to eat talangka, they just go to the river and look for it. They bring a small container with them and put the catch inside. Talangka are usually found nestled under rocks in shallow waters. If ever they saw that the fish or talangka is pregnant, it is often that they let the catch go for it to propagate. But when fishing using hook and line, if the fish is pregnant, they still catch it because if they’ll put it back, it will just die. When the catch is still small, especially the talangka, they also let it go for it grow.
Talangka caught in Laiban, Tanay Rizal
River in Laiban Proper, Tanay Rizal
(photos by: Francis Matthew De Guzman)
C. Hunting Hunting of wild animals is also done in the area. When caught, they either eat the catch or trade it in other towns. However not many do it anymore as the wild animals that they often catch before such as baboy damo(wild pig) and deer have decreased in number. Apart from that, the Philippine Brown deer’s trade is prohibited now while the wild pig’s is “strictly regulated”, so catching these or too many of them is presently illegal. The instrument used in hunting by the Remontados will be discussed in this part.
The most common instrument used in hunting is gun and spear. Followed by trap, itak and then bow and arrow. They also use the help of dogs to catch small wild animals. Other than wild pig and deer, Remontados also hunt for monkeys, musang, monitor lizards and birds such as pugong labuyo or partridge. One type of trap that the Remontados use is a string with food. They use it to catch monitor lizard. The trap looks like a dog’s leash, so when the lizard walk inside the knot with food, it will be stuck.
Remontados do not usually catch wild animals when they are still very young. They catch them when they have grown already or have matured enough. They have different views on why should it be caught at that time. Some said because it is tastes better, other wants the small ones to grow first. But on times they don’t have enough food, they are left with no choice but to catch whatever is available.
A young deer in Laiban, it is prohibited to catch this now
(photo by: Francis Matthew De Guzman)
D. Usage of Trees Trees is one of the main resources found in Laiban. This part will discuss how the people utilize such an abundant resource.
Figure 9 shows that all the people use the trees to build their houses. The most common tree used is coconut since it grows faster than most trees and it can be found all over the place. Coconut wood is strong enough to support the weaved bamboo strips wall or sawali nailed into it that’s why it is favoured by the residents. People who have concrete houses use coconut wood as framework before building their houses. Most Remontados cannot afford to buy LPG from the town. Instead they use “uling” or charcoal for cooking purposes. Hence, trees as charcoal is the second use of trees to them. The trees they use to make charcoal are those ones that grow fast, it is prohibited to cut old growth trees in the forest. Fallen braches are also included in the selection for charcoal making. Buying furniture from the town is much more expensive so the residents make their own furniture from the trees. They make tables, beds and chairs from the tree called lauwan or “kahoy gubat”. The few who sells trees have stopped presently because it is prohibited by the DENR and is now illegal. However, commercial loggers from big logging companies still cut trees in other nearby forests according to the residents.
People use wood as “panggatong”
(photo by: Francis Matthew De Guzman)
II. Beliefs Many people, especially the old ones believe in the healing power of “esperitistas” and “albularyos”. When people for example, get bitten by a poisonous snake or got sick because of unknown reasons (namatanda, nagagalaw), they are frequently brought to the “albularyo” who belongs to the Dumagat clan or the natives as the residents call the other group. The “albularyo” performs rituals like burning tawas (alum) to relieve pains and cure the sick.
Figure 10 The chart in figure 10 shows how many residents believe or do not believe in spirits guarding nature. As seen in the chart, more than half of the population in Laiban Proper still believes that there exist supernatural beings like lamang lupa, nuno sa punso (dwarfs), maligno, tikbalang (centaur), engkanto and white lady that will get angry if ever their home is disturbed. Because of this belief, people treat nature more carefully. They do not want to get hurt by the said beings. The people who do not believe said they have to see the beings first for them to believe.
Sacred Places Falls are sacred places for some of the residents. Though unlike other indigenous groups, they do not prohibit other people or tourists to the place. Instead, they bring tourists to the site for them to enjoy it as much as they do and for them to see the beauty of nature that will inspire them to take care of it like they do. It is sacred for them, as it is believed that the waters can cure illnesses.
Falls in Laiban.
(photo by: Francis Matthew De Guzman)
III. Knowledge of local fauna, flora and place
Birds There are about 85 species of birds residing in the mountains around Laiban (see annex for the list), of the 85, fifty (50) are resident species while the remaining are endemic and migratory. Birds make up about 70% of the total faunal population. When asked to identify species of birds that they know, residents can quickly identify five to nine different species right away. Most popular specie is bato-bato and kalaw. After collecting data from the residents, the researcher tallied the answers and the result is a list of fifteen avifaunal species or 30% of the 50 resident species. Reptiles Fifteen (15) species of reptiles (see annex for the list) are found on the area according to the report of SSMWC. The residents identified 10 different species of snakes, four lizards and one specie of turtle. Some examples of snakes are ula, cobra, sawa, bituwinan, dahong palay, kamatsala and ahas bahay. “Pawikang tabang ” is the
the specie of turtle that can be seen on Laiban. It snaps its mouth and bite people, the locals said. On the other hand, the residents are able to identify four species of lizards. They are alamid, tuko (gecko), iguana and bayawak (monitor lizard). Trees There is no approximate number of species identified for trees from the SSMWC but from the data gathered from the residents, we can make one. All in all, Proper Laiban residents identified thirty-seven (37) different species of trees that they know- fruit bearing and not. They are written in the table below.
Accacia Apitong Avocado Balayung Buho Cacao Caimito
Coffee Depo Duhat tree Gejo Gemilina Guava Tree Guyabano
Kamatchili Karay Langka Lauwan
Mulawin Narra Rambutan Saliksik
Tiaong Tibig Tigre Walingwaling
Mahogany Sampaloc Manga Mangium Tree Santol tree Suha
Tree Coconut Kamagong Mariposa Tangisang Bayawak Table 4. List of trees identified by the Remontados Residents show high knowledge of the local fauna and flora. It can be seen on the number of species they can recognize, especially trees and reptiles. Of the fifteen identified reptiles, they were able to identify all. Apart from knowing the different varieties of fauna and flora, they also know where to locate them when someone ask their assistance in finding a certain specie, especially trees. It is not only trees and animals that the residents can locate, they can also find the eco-tourism spots identified by Miriam P.E.A.C.E like May-sawa falls, Makaingaran
falls, Ton-ton Falls, Magata Cave and Puting Bato cave. The residents can also wander inside the vast forests and mountains without getting lost. Thus, showing their familiarity of the place.
Chapter VI CONTRIBUTION OF REMONTADOS AND THEIR KNOWLEDGE TO SSMWC This chapter will discuss how the identified environmental knowledge of the Remontados contributed or are contributing to the components of SSMWC which are Protection of Natural Habitat, Rehabilitation of Degraded Ecosystems, Eco-historical Tourism. A. Protection of Natural Habitat Protection of Natural Habitat’s first objective is to protect natural forest, caves, rivers, springs and other ecosystems found in the area. To fulfil this objective, Miriam P.E.A.C.E has to identify first where they are located. Based on the result from the previous chapter, residents are very familiar with the place. They can trek through the mountains and forests without getting lost. Miriam P.E.A.C.E can use the knowledge of the Remontados about the place to get an idea of where the areas that need to be protected are located. Under this category are building of guardhouses at the main entrances and patrolling of the sanctuary. Since many Remontados do their own furniture and “kubo” houses, their building skills can be utilized to set up guardhouses in SSMWC’s entrances. They can also be good patrollers as they know the place well.
Resource use regulation is also essential for the objective to be attained so, gathering of endangered species and timber are prohibited. Remontados know the present condition of the animals especially the wild pig and the deer, due to the significant decrease in number of these species, they hardly hunt them now. They also do not cut down old growth trees, they opt for trees like coconut for their needs. B. Rehabilitation of Degraded Ecosystems Identification of rehabilitation areas The huge familiarity of the people with the place will again be useful here because the degraded ecosystems have to be identified first. The people know where the illegal loggers cut trees and those other areas that needs reforestation.
A database of indigenous tree species are also needed by Miriam so that they will know what species should be planted at the reforestation sites. The Remontados showed great expertise in identifying different species of trees that can be found in the place. They can help Miriam complete a database using this knowledge. Selection of tree species Identifying the best species of trees to be planted in a specific area is a very crucial step for a reforestation project. How many trees survived will determine if the project is a success or not. Mortality rate of the specie should be low and the tree should be compatible with the soil type where it is planted. Miriam P.E.A.C.E can utilize the collective knowledge of the residents about plant species. After living for as long as fifty seven years in the same place, the people are already familiar with how saplings react to the soil type of an area and know what type of tree should be best planted.
According to the SSMWC comprehensive plan, “ wild saplings will be gathered from surrounding areas and will be maintained in the nursery and backyards of communities.” It can be noted from the previous chapter that the Remontados practice horticulture or planting in the backyard. Because of this, P.E.A.C.E will have no trouble executing the plan because the residents are doing it already. Some even extends their efforts to other areas like near the river where they plant trees such as narra. Monitoring of reforestation site Monitoring of the site will be done regularly according to P.E.A.C.E to determine the survival rate of planted trees. It will be done by a team from Miriam and from partners. Locals can help Miriam in monitoring the areas of reforestation and the observation plots. People from Miriam cannot always be in the site, so when they are not present, the locals can take over.
Research P.E.A.C.E aims for different researches about biodiversity in SSMWC, community composition and structure of Remontados and Dumagats, environmental accounting and economics, etc. Researchers can go to Laiban and do their researches with the aid of the residents- by touring them around the place, explaining different issues concerning the environment and showing them how their community functions. With the help of the community, researchers can accomplish their researches that will help further understand the current state of Southern Sierra Madre and the different species of animals living within it. Once indentified, problems can be reviewed and solutions given, thus making the management of the area more efficient.
As stated earlier, there are many natural wonders around Laiban and SSMWC. These includes caves like Bahay Leon and Manabac, water bodies such as May sawa falls and Lanatin River and springs. Miriam P.E.A.C.E would like to promote these natural wonders as it nourishes knowledge of other people about the environment, promotes local culture and is beneficial to the community. Remontados can help Miriam meet this objective by helping in touring the guests around their place- showing them the falls, caves and rivers, introducing them to the different species of plants and animals around the area. They can be the best tourists guides since they are the most familiar with the place. Residents can also teach the tourists about their environmental practices and conservation strategies so that they can lessen their impact to the environment. As of now, eco-historical tourism project of Miriam in Laiban is not yet implemented. They still have to gather more data about the place and do site researches. Again, the Remontados can contribute much of their knowledge about the place for the needed research to be accomplished.
Chapter VII SUMMARY The study’s objective is to identify the environmental knowledge of the Remontados i.e their beliefs, practices and knowledge about local fauna, flora and place and then interpret how these knowledge contributed or are contributing to Southern Sierra Madre Wildlife Center. During the course of the research, the researcher was able to identify practices of the Remontados in Agriculture/ Farming, Fishing and Hunting. She also found out some of their beliefs. In agriculture, the researcher found out that Remontados still practice Kaingin or slash and burn farming. Some farmers are the original ones who cleared the land, others are just borrowing the land that they till. In their lands, they plant upland rice, corn, vegetables and trees especially coffee. More farmers do not use artificial fertilizers, instead they use chicken manure to nourish their crops. Farmers who let land rest after harvesting is fewer than the ones who use it immediately after. Residents practice horticulture in their backyards. corn however. Fishing practices includes catching fish using hook and line and pasalap or net. Some use trap and bow, and arrow. In gathering of talangka, Remontados use hands.
They plant the same
vegetables and trees that they plant in their kaingin areas. They do no plant rice and
Hunting is not done often presently as the numbers of animals to be hunted have decreased. It is also prohibited by the DENR to catch the top game animals in the place which are Philippine Deer and Wild Pig. In hunting and fishing, Remontados, most of the times let small animals go so they can still grow. They also do the same for the pregnant ones. Residents of Laiban are knowledgeable about their place. They know many species of trees and animals that are living in the mountains. If ever someone ask them to locate the species they have identified, they can show where that certain specie can be found, especially trees.
Chapter VIII CONCLUSIONS
From the results in Chapter VI, the researcher can say that the Remontadostheir knowledge and practices has contributed and is still contributing significantly towards the protection of SSMWC. They do not perform anything that will destroy their environment and they follow rules given by Miriam and the DENR. The locals even help Miriam in conducting their projects in the place. Ms. Donna Reyes of ESI called the Remontados “key” to the conservation of Laiban and SSMWC since they are the one who reside in the place. They help in the maintenance and conservation of the whole forest according to her because people from Miriam cannot always stay and monitor the area.
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