WHS: Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, Philippines

From Puerto Princesa in the southwest Philippines, our next stop was over by Davao in the southeast; not the most touristy of regions of the Philippines, but a necessary stopover on your way to visit today’s World Heritage Site:

Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary

Mount Hamiguitan, Philippines

 

The Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary represents a complete, substantially intact and highly diverse mountain ecosystem, in a significant biogeographic region of the Philippines. Its diversity of plants and animals include globally threatened species as well as a large number of endemic species including those species that exist only in the Philippines, only in Mindanao and only in the nominated property. The fragile tropical “bonsai” forest that crowns the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary epitomizes nature’s bid to survive in adverse conditions. As a result of its semi-isolation and its varied habitat types growing in dissimilar soil and climate conditions, its biodiversity has shown a significantly high level of endemicity that has led scientists to believe that there may be more globally unique species waiting to be discovered in the area. 

The combination of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems within the boundaries of the property and the large number of species inhabiting each makes the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary home to a total of 1,380 species with 341 Philippine endemics that include critically endangered species such as the iconic Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) and the Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), as well as the trees Shorea polysperma, Shorea astylosa, and the orchid Paphiopedilum adductum. Its high level of endemicity is well exemplified by the proportion of its amphibian (75% endemic) and reptile (84% endemic) species…

Unfortunately, the mountain is closed to hiking these days, so you have a small visitors’ center displaying some of the endemic flora —

— and the bored staff are very grateful to have any visitors, they will insist on giving you a guided tour! —

— and some trails wandering around the grounds. There are some bridges and lookouts to get some jungle views from,

Mount Hamiguitan, Philippines

not that the jungle around the foot of the mountain looks particularly different from jungle anywhere else in the Philippines.

As for the eponymous mountain, well we appeared to be developing a theme to this Philippines jaunt: just like the famous Mayon Volcano on our visit day, the famous Mount Hamiguitan…

Mount Hamiguitan, Philippines

… was totally covered in clouds.

Pretty much the highlight of the visit, in fact, was visiting the local species of pitcher plant:

Mount Hamiguitan, Philippines

Yep, Nepenthes hamiguitanensis grows only on this particular mountain. So if you’re excited to bursting by unique species of pitcher plants, why yes, this is the place for you to visit!

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p dir=”ltr”>All the rest of us though … well, unless/until it’s opened up for hiking again, there really isn’t much of a compelling reason to come out here unless you happen to have a day in Davao after seeing all the rest of the local sites. But the lonely caretakers will surely appreciate your visit, given how sparse the visitor register was when we dropped by!

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Alex Curylo

Alex

I go places.

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