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Learning from each other about the nexus of indigenous peoples’ rights and biodiversity conservation

DAF was thrilled to bring several Mindoro Taobuid members for an inspirational journey in Mindanao, Bukidnon where they could meet other indigenous people facing similar challenges.

From Cagayan de Oro, the team proceeded to the city of Malaybalay, at our place of stay at the Umanika eco-farm. The following day we reached the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park (MKRNP) to meet with Bae Inatlawan, a tribal leader of the Bukidnon tribe residing in the village of Daraghuyan in Lanpatan at the park’s buffer zone. An acceptance ritual was performed followed by a discussion with key members of the community on history and challenges.

On the third day, we headed to the Cinchona Forest station inside the park where they were given a tour of the nearby forest by a Talaandig park ranger and where a Talaandig tribal leader Datu Adolino Makapukaw Adolina Saway and several staff of the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park (MKRNP) Protected Area Management Office shared the “story” of Kitanglad and their reflections on how it is being managed, and their relationship with local government units and the IP communities;

On our way back, we stopped to two additional eco-farms and learning centers for alternative agriculture and cultural heritage.

Both MIBNP and MKRNP are ASEAN Heritage parks; both also have areas that share boundaries with IP ancestral lands; and, both are the habitat of critically-endangered species (tamaraw in MIBNP and Philippine eagle in MKRNP). However, their land use histories are different. The IPs in Kitanglad have already moved from swidden agriculture to a cash-oriented, sedentary, plowing agricultural system just after the Second World War when settlers from Luzon and Visayas starting clearing virgin-forest and applied their knowledge of plowing with carabaos and the planting of corn. This agricultural practice eventually spread to the “lumads” (IPs). Many IPs residing in MIBNP are still in the shifting agriculture, hunting, and gathering pattern of subsistence. The IP population in MKRNP is also the majority, while the IPs in MIBNP are the minority. Nevertheless, despite the difference in context, the sharing of the hosts revolved around three key lessons: the importance of building trust among different stakeholders, maintaining relationships, and ensuring that institutional and community memories are properly passed on to future managers and generations.

Thanks to our hosts:

- Staff of Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park Protected Area Management Office for their time and presentation

- Kitanglad Integrated NGOs (KIN) to help us organize this visit

- Our dear friend and board member Neric Acosta for his warm welcome at his heritage house of Kampo Juan Eco-Adventure Farm

and those who gave as tours of their farms at short notice:

- Umanika Eco-Cultural Farm


Candiisan Diversified Farm

This activity was supported by Re:wild


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