beauty of the mountain’s natural environment-
with exotic flora and fauna, awesome geologic and
other natural features of great interest, have been
widely noted for their scientific, educational,
and recreational importance, as well as its historical, cultural, artistic and aesthetic values.
For these attributes, Mt. Kanlaon has been found and identified to possess all the necessary pre-requisites required for
its status to be considered and declared as a National Park on August 8, 1934 by virtue of Presidential
Proclamation No. 721 (pursuant
to the provisions of Act No. 3915) enacted and passed during the Commonwealth era in the country. At the time of its Proclamation as a National Park, Mt. Kanlaon conformed to the basic concept as a “relatively
large area not materially altered by human activity where extractive resource use are not allowed, and maintained to protect
outstanding natural and scenic areas of national or international significance for scientific, educational, and recreational
At the time of its Proclamation as a National Park, Mt. Kanlaon conformed to the basic
concept as a “relatively large area not materially altered by human activity where extractive resource use are not allowed,
and maintained to protect outstanding natural and scenic areas of national or international significance for scientific, educational,
and recreational use.”
To be technically exact about it, the original size of the Mt.
Kanlaon National Park covers
a total land area of approximately 24,557.6 hectares (or 245.57 km2) and is officially
located at geographic coordinates 10o 24.7’ North latitude and 123o
7.9’ East longitude. This mountain is centrally
located in the highlands of Negros- the fourth largest island in the Philippine archipelago, and forms part of the natural
political division between the two Provinces of Occidental and Oriental, in the western and eastern portions of the Island, respectively.
Consequently, the area
comprising the whole of Mt. Kanlaon National Park has been apportioned (albeit disproportionately) to be part and parcel of
the political jurisdiction covering four (4) cities and two (2) municipalities, namely: Bago City; La
Carlota City; San Carlos City; the municipalities of
Murcia and La Castellana, all in the Province of Negros Occidental; and the City of Canlaon
in the Province of Negros Oriental.
The respective areas of the Park that have been divided into six (6) portions, each portion of
which is part of the political jurisdiction of the corresponding four (4) cities and two (2) municipalities in the aforementioned.
The political lines of boundary of these six government units all meet at a common point located at the summit-crater
of Kanlaon volcano.
Undoubtedly, the most prominent
feature of the Park is the active cone of Kanlaon volcano and its summit-crater which, rising at an elevation of Two thousand
four hundred thirty-five meters (2,435-m) above sea level, is the highest point in Central Philippines, and the more than
Twenty four thousand (24,000) hectares of the land mass making up the Mt. Kanlaon
National Park area is basically volcanic in nature.
Mt. Kanlaon has been classified as a large strato-volcano type which is part
of a chain of volcanic mountains along the central spine of the island of Negros and along the Negros Trench that includes
Mt. Silay (1,533.67-m) and Mt.
Mandalagan (1,879.30-m), both to the north of Kanlaon, and Mt. Talinis (Cuernos
de Negros) located some 50 miles north-west of Dumaguete City
in southern Negros Oriental
There are more than Two hundred (200) volcanoes and volcanic mountains
in the Philippines that are listed, identified, and catalogued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology & Seismology
(PHIVOLCS), an Agency under the Department of Science & Technology (DOST),
and Mt. Kanlaon is identified as one of about twenty (20) which have been classified as a highly active volcano, and one of
the Six (6) “most active” volcanoes in the country. The volcanic
nature of Mt. Kanlaon
is evidenced by the presence of several major vents, including the present active parasitic cone. The size of the active crater measures roughly more than Three hundred meters (300-m) in diameter, and
descending cylindrically down to a depth of about Eight hundred (800) meters
active cone of Mt. Kanla-on volcano, which is technically a parasitic cone which erupted from the side just south of the older
now extinct crater, is perched atop a rejuvenated highland made up most of intercalated lava flows and meta-sediments of argillic
compositions, with volcanic boulders and other ejected debris all around. The youngest formation is a thick and massive series
of argilaceous limestone” (Anderson, 1971). The remaining
portion of the volcanic peak, from the foot of the active cone to the summit-crater, is barren of vegetation except for the
growth of sparsely strewn species of two (2) types of grass namely, the Isache vulcanica
and the Miscanthus depauperatus which are both endemic only to
Mt. Kanlaon. From the summit-crater, on a clear sunny weather, is where one is
pro-vided with a magnificent and panoramic view of the Park itself, as well as the back-ground scenery of the greeneries in
the lowlands. The volcanic summit of Mt.
Kanlaon has long been regarded as the primary objective of most would-be
climbers who make annual treks to the Park during the Holy Week season to this “sacred” volcano of sugar island.
WILDLIFE IN THE PARK
Considered to be one of
the few remaining wilderness areas in the country to-day, Mt. Kanlaon still harbors
a good number of endemic wildlife species- both flora and fauna, some of which- unfortunately, have been declared as either
Threatened, or Endangered, species. The only Natural Park to be represented in
the Greater Negros – Panay faunal region, Mt. Kanlaon forms part of the Western Visayas Bio-geographic Zone (WVBZ)-
an area representing Nine percent (9%) of the total area of the Fifteen (15) such Bio-geographic Zones of the Philippines.
twenty-two (22) families of bird species have been identified to exist in the Park, notably those that have been studied by
Prof. Dioscoro Rabor. Of interest
among these bird species are: the Blue-crowned
racquet-tailed parrot (Prioriturus discursus); Visayan tarictic hornbill (Penelopides panini); Flame-templed babbler (Stachyris speciosa); White-winged cuckoo-shrike (Coracina ostenta); White-throated jungle flycatcher (Phinomylae aligularis); the Negros Bleeding Heart Pig-eon (Gallicolumba keayi) and the Negros Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus arcanus), both of which are- unfortunately,
have been listed as critically endangered, if not feared to have already gone
to extinction. The existence of this tiny bird is only known only from “a
single female specimen” obtained (presumably) by Prof. D. Rabor in Mt. Kanlaon in 1953,
“with no subsequent sightings..” (Kennedy, et al) For a more detailed
listing of the various other bird species found at the Mt. Kanlaon National Park, reference is made and
included at the Appendices.
The Mt. Kanlaon National Park Office reports that “the fauna found in the Park shows a pattern of ‘high
diversity’- or there exists high species richness as elevation decreases, while low species richness increases with
altitude”. Further, “the presence of high species of fauna in the
lower elevation areas of the Park can be attributed to its various types of habitats.
A greater number of habitat types results in a greater species richness of fauna.
Lowland areas also have several plant species that serve as food re-source for a variety of existing wildlife. Six (6) species of fruit bats and 4 species of large mammals are mostly found in lowland
and montane forests of the Park. The MKNP survey recorded low species endemism
in lowland habitats (40%) compared to both the montane and mossy forest habitats (66%).
Mammals found in the lowland areas are not included in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Red List. However, the said list indicates that the Visayan Warty Pig found in the montane forest is critically endangered
similar to the Philippine Spotted Deer found in the mossy forest habitat
The Mammals of MKNP have high endemism in higher elevation, with species,
specially the endangered ones very restricted in distribution, preferring habitats with less disturbances and dense vegetation. Most of the listed mammalian species such as wild cat / civets, pigs, deer and fruit
bats are food source for local hunters. Per available data from the MKNP Office - Department
of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mt. Kanlaon National Park has been described as,
about One hundred ninety-seven (197) species of flora, with One hundred forty five (145) of them found at the lowland areas,
One hundred fourteen (114) species in the Montane forest, and Twenty-nine (29) species at higher elevation of mossy forests. Although more species are listed in the lowland areas, the Montane forest has the
highest plant diversity at Sixteen point twenty-eight percent (16.28%) species per plot compared to Thirteen point eighteen
percent (13.18%) and Nine point six percent (9.6%) species per plot at the lowland and Mossy forest, respectively. In terms of tree species, however, the lowland area has the highest number of species at Six point twenty-seven
percent (6.27%) per plot….The high elevation forest is dominated by gymnosperms, ‘pandans’, small to medium trees and shrubs, herbaceous species, orchids, vines and other epiphytes, ferns,
and mosses….Floral endemism or level of restricted species present is relatively high in Mt. Kanlaon. These species are found in the Three (3) habitats of the Park with Eighty (80) endemic species found in
the lowland areas, Fifty-five (55) endemic species found in the Montane forest and Fifteen (15) endemic species located in
the Mossy forest….”
among the orchid family is the Calanthe elmeri species of ground
orchid which we found thriving in the eastern slopes of the Park at an elevation of about One thousand seven hundred (1,700)
meters above sea level. It may be of interest to note that the Dipteris conjugate (fern) plant species, which is thriving in Mt.
Kinabalu also thrives at the volcanic slope of Mt. Kanlaon.