A team of researchers from the UPLB Museum of Natural History visited the municipality of Mulanay in Quezon last November 20-23, 2014 in a bid to firm up plans for the conduct of a research-cum-technical assistance project entitled "Biodiversity Studies of Selected Areas of Mulanay’s Protected Land and Seascapes."

Mulanay is one the twelve municipalities of Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon at the southern tip of Southern Tagalog. With rugged terrains, few plains, valleys and swamps and undulating lowlands, Mulanay has several protected areas surrounding Mt. Kamhantik, the town's highest peak. It has a coral reef approximately more than a half of coastline of the municipality where fish sanctuaries have been proposed by the local government unit (LGU).

According to project coordinator Florante A. Cruz, University Extension Specialist II, the project aims to determine and assess the biodiversity of fauna, flora and microorganisms of selected Mulanay areas. "We will mainly generate baseline data important for management of the areas by the local government unit," he said.

Some of the activities slated in the next few months, Cruz said, include tree and macrofungal surveys, cave biodiversity study, and baseline assesment of Mulanay's coastal habitat.

During the group's visit in Mulanay, the project team presented its proposals during a convergence meeting with Mulanay's LGU, non-government organizations and members of the civil society. The team was also able to network with the National Museum and the volunteer group UP IKOT which is based in Lucena, Quezon.

The MNH team also conducted preliminary assessments of Mulanay's Cave 3, 4, 5 and 7, all situated in Brgy. Amugis's karst areas. The team included professors at the Institute of Biological Sciences Phillip A. Alviola and Mark Encinares, MNH staff Michelle D. Alejado, Julius A. Parcon, Florante A. Cruz; and Glenn Lubuiguin of UPLB Ugnayan ng Pahinungod.

The LGU of Mulanay has keen interest in developing several areas as key ecotourism sites which may help generate additional income and livelihood for the people.

The project coordinator relayed that results of assessment will be of importance in the management of Mt. Kahmantik and the Buenavista Protected Landscape for local conservation and ecotourism purposes; while the assessment of the coastal areas will provide information vital to the management of the fishery resources.

"Gathering and consolidating the baseline data and the subsequent monitoring of these resources are therefore very significant," Cruz added.

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