On June 23, 1647, Abucay was the site of the massacre of 400 Pampangos who fought against Dutch invaders. The town witnessed the heroism of the Filipinos who resisted against foreign colonizers like the Spaniards, the Dutch, the Americans and the Japanese.
Bagac, in 1578, was founded by the Fransiscan Fathers. It was a part of Corrigemento de Mariveles until Bataan was created as a province in 1754. Bagac had played an essential role in defending Bataan during the World War II. It was also the start of the historical Death March, and now stands as the marker and a zero kilometer point post. The municipality was the last stand of the Allied Forces in the Philippines against Japan during WWII. To commemorate the peace and friendship between the two countries, the Japanese Friendship was built by Risho-Koseki of Japan.
Even before the Spaniards reached Bataan and the Fransiscan Friars formally established it as a municipality in 1578, Morong had already been a well-organized community.
In 1714, the town of Orani became an independent missionary center where the Dominican friars built the church and quarters in Bataan. In September 16, 1852, an earthquake hit the town which almost brought it down and its major buildings. In 1891, Orani resumed its growth but on March 16, 1938, there was a great fire that burned down almost ¾ of the whole town. The reconstruction started but before they could even finish, the World War II broke out. The town of Orani, once again, suffered from tremendous destruction. After WWII, it is when the people started to rebuild their town again.
Samal was first established as a “visita” of Abucay on June 15, 1596 by Dominicans. On April 20, 1941, it was recognized as a separate town.
The town of Hermosa was established on May 8, 1756. It was the provincial headquarters of Dominicans in Bataan during the British Invasion.
b. Festivals and Events Morong
One of the most anticipated festivals in the municipality of Morong is the Pawikan Festival. It is celebrated in Barangay Nagbalayong which is the site of the community-based Pawikan Conservation Program which started in 1999. The festival is timely with the nesting season of sea turtles and so many tourists come to witness sea turtles come up to the shore and lay their eggs. Also, they are able to “adopt-a-turtle” in which they personally hold and release a baby turtle into the sea.
Every April 30, Samal celebrates the Feast of Santa Catalina, the patron saint of Samaleño (people of Samal).
c. Indigenous/ ethnic cultures The communities inside and adjacent the BNP are an ethnic mosaic dominated by migrants. However, the Aetas are considered the original inhabitants of the PA. Aetas used to live near the coastal areas. But as the migrants colonized these areas, the Aetas were pushed back to the upland where they are domiciled at present.
In a census conducted in 1994, some 651 Aeta households were recorded in Bataan. There are two major Aeta reservations found adjacent and inside the park, in Barangays Bangkal and Kanawan. The Indigenous People (IPs) are directly dependent on forest resources giving more focus on the utilization of forest products and less on land cultivation. Like most IPs, they have strong affinity with the forest. They believe that the forest not only provide them food and shelter, but these have become their refuge in times of sickness and in times of war.
There is distinction in the gender distribution of activities among the Aetas. Males are involved in fishing; hunting and extraction of forest products while the females do collection of firewood, household works, and gathering of medicinal herbs.
While the Aetas claim their forest is still a big part of their life, their agricultural lands that are mainly cultivated through Gasakor swidden farming, have become their primary source of income. Ownership of land by the Aetas is communal but gradually individual/household land claims are being established.
Aeta culture has adapted to new conditions and assimilated new ones. Their own cultural songs, dances and poetry are almost forgotten that even among the elders, only a few remember due to strong influences of migrants from the lowlands. The traditional forms of healing, use of native costumes, and other indigenous beliefs have been greatly affected by modernization.
The traditional form of governance of the Aetas is the presence of tribal chieftain and the tribal council composed of elders of the village. The chieftain usually represents the whole Aeta tribe in political affairs and decisions are arrived at in the tribal council.
Tourist Arrivals both foreign and local tourist gained an increasefor the province of Bataan. A tourism segment includes families, students, balikbayans, both company and government employees and package tours and other nature activities. The Balanga City with the establishment of New Landmark Project, it is expected to have tourist arrivals of about 100,000 beginning year 2011.
Hikers/mountaineers who want to spend overnight in the area can avail the existing board and lodging facility Le Petit de Baguio, a highland resort operated by a French-Filipino couple.
The park visitors can also arrange home-stay if they want to interact with the community residents. Hikers and mountaineers can peg tents in designated camping areas only. One area is in SitioBakyas (Site A) which is halfway to Mount Natib and Pasukulan Falls. The other (Site B) right at the foot of Mount Natib.
Facilities and General Tourist Information
The provincial government of Bataan established the Bataan Tourism Center as primary office of the Department of Tourism in the province. It provides assistance to municipal tourism office and implements programs on skills trainings, promotes the tourism business, conduct planning and monitoring for tourist arrivals. The province of Bataan have different private, government owned and NGO tourist destinations and development such as Pawikan Conservation Center, BCDA Management Holdings Inc. formerly UN Refugee Center, Mt. SamatZipline, Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific, Bataan Nuclear Plant, Pilgrimage Churches, Bataan World War II Museum and Souvenir shops.
The municipalities within the BNP have complete utilities: power supply, water supply and telecommunications. Some even have cable services brought by the Clear Vision Cable TV Company.
Telephone lines are present in the province of Bataan. Digitel and Bataan Telephone Exchange (Battlex) are the major telephone companies that operate in the area.
Telegraph companies are likewise in service. The Bureau of Telecommunications and Philippine Postal Corporation are open for telegraph and postal needs.
Bataan National Park host several natural attractions and ecotourism sites, due to its proximity several mountaineering clubs/hikers and ecotourist visits and trek the Protected Area especially during summer season. No reported or recorded incidence of threat or insurgency activities nor encountered unidentified armed men within the Protected Area. Due to the presence of PNP and Military detachment adjacent to the Protected Area, the overall situation is relatively peaceful in terms of peace and order.
The Personnel Component of the Office of the PASu is composed of the following: one (1) PASu which acts as the Chief Operating DENR Officer, three (3) Forest Rangers, and one (1) Administrative Assistant II.
Protected Area Management Board (PAMB)
The Protected Area Management Board Executive Committee has fifteen (15) members and is composed of representatives from the following offices/departments: Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), Municipal Planning and Development Council (MPDC), Provincial Tourism Office, Department of Agriculture, Land Bank of the Philippines, Academe – Bataan Peninsula State University, Peoples Organization of BAKATA, and the Indigenous People.
The following are the existing major factors that cause habitat degradation in BNP:
Industrial and infrastructure development projects. These projects are related to the development of nearby areas such as Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Morong Special Economic Zone, and Hermosa Economic Zone. Industrialization of these nearby areas affects the surrounding component of the ecosystem: air, water and soil.
Large coffee, mango and other fruit plantations make the soil less fertile and diversity is lost due to monoculture. Pesticides and other chemicals that farmers use also affect the environment.
Land speculation refers to purchase of land or acquisition of claims to land inside the PA. Human activities become disturbances to the wildlife habitat and usually cause its destruction.
Illegal cutting of trees that serve as birds’ and other species’ habitat involves cutting of timber for household consumption and selling logs to outside buyers. It also includes cutting of trees for charcoal production.
Fishing may cause destruction of aquatic resources and chemical pollution of rivers due to fishing practices such as electro-fishing and fish poison by both locals and outsiders
Kaingin has also expanded into the interior forest areas as a response to land pressure. Trees are burned down and severely cause destruction of the habitat for many species.
Tenure-related activitiesrefers to the activities of small-scale migrants to secure tenure of their developed land, attempts to claim rights to use and own PA land by small-scale farmers residing inside the BNP are widespread.
Hunting is undertaken by both locals and outsiders and is undertaken in all parts of BNP. Hunting activities have caused a decrease in availability of some species used for local food such as Philippine warty pig, Philippine brown deer and fruit bats.
Gathering of non-timber forest products. These issues have contributed to the decrease in forest cover, continued spread of grassland, and increasing pressure on the remaining patches of forests. These are further compounded by management-related difficulties that have faced the park in the past years like the inadequate human resources to perform protection activities, minimal budget allocations, and limited support from the other stakeholders contributed to the worsening condition of the park.
No existing waste management for the disposal of garbage by the hikers.
Impacts already being felt by stakeholders and resource users include forest denudation, habitat destruction of the various wildlife species, decrease in availability of minor forest products, sharp decrease in availability of some species used for local food, and deteriorating quality of water available to downstream communities.
It is envisioned that through the ecotourism project, the protection, conservation and enhancement of the environment will be promoted since the natural ecosystem is considered as the base capital of the ecotourism business. In the end, the natural resources will be released from pressure brought by unauthorized extraction due to economic necessities.
The main social concern is the community resistance to Ecotourism. Due to the existing lifestyle by the Indigenous People and local residents in the area, it is feared that certain activities will affect day-to-day movement in the area. The indigenous people, Aetas, are fond of hunting and gathering within the mountains of BNP. These traditions are currently addressed as an environmental issue but need to be also viewed as the culture within the BNP community.
These culture and traditions will be carefully considered on how they can be integrated to the tourism package for the visitors to appreciate, learn and understand.
With regards to the non-IP community residents, appropriate interventions will be initiated to address their concerns and encourage them to support ecotourism enterprise. This will be done by making them part in the income-generating streams of ecotourism activities.
The BNP is rich in biodiversity and ecotourism potential. However, the concept is not fully understood nor appreciated thus only few people are aware in what the BNP can offer. In effect, employment creation and income generation are both low because majority of the people resort to farming, unauthorized gathering of forest products and occasional employment to construction works and related activities.
The ecotourism project will provide suplemental livelihood where it can generate additional income through service fees from on-site tour, guiding, catering, camping and other activities required by the business. In addition, PO members will be given appropriate trainings for the services that they will provide. They will be entrusted with the operation of the business thus their involvement starts from business plan preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Since the PO will manage and operate the Ecotourism business, the community will be encouraged to cooperate and support the operation. This will be done through dialogues and meetings with them. They will be prioritized when the PO will have a need for labor, supply of raw materials locally available, home stay facility and other ecotourism needs.
The economic impact that the ecotourism business will be realized through increased in household income.
Since they are part of community, the presence of influential personalities and moneyed individuals in some portions of the BNP will be carefully consider and determine how the ecotourism enterprises and the implementing POs will benefit from them.
It will be the objective of this plan that the welfare of small farmers and local residents will be enhanced and protected.
The Local Government Units of Bataan and the municipalities around BNP support the protection of the area. In spite of this, unauthorized extractions of minor forest products are noted including the intrusion of influential people who occupy large areas which could be detrimental to the ecotourism business.
The impact of ecotourism project to the recipient organizations could be measured through the generated income of different livelihood projects. Part of the said net income will be given to the organization that will be allocated as reserve fund. Such funds will assure the sustainability and continuity of alternative business enterprises under the Ecotourism Projects of Bataan Natural Park. It can also be utilized to finance other profitable enterprises.
The Bataan National Park is a sustainably managed protected area by empowered communities with full government support protecting its bountiful resources, conserving its biodiversity, preserving the moral, social and cultural integrity of the people who are operating community-based ecotourism business who offer tourism package that are safe, enjoyable and educational for the visitors and profitable for the community.
To formulate rules and regulations that will be applicable for delinquent MOA /SAPA holders;
Goal 5: To develop ecotourism activities that will ensure conservation of natural resources and provide benefits to local communities and visitor satisfaction.
To promote eco-friendly tourism project; and
To develop linkages with various stakeholders for possible funding and partnership.
The involvement of local government units concerned, indigenous communities and other stakeholders in the co-management of BNP will be the major strategy to be adopted. Specific strategies are also identified leading to the attainment of the goals and objectives of the plan. These specific strategies are organized around these themes to ensure: 1) biological diversity conservation, protection and restoration of degraded environment, preservation of unique habitats and species and cultural characteristics; 2) Socio-economic development; and 3) institutionalization of a stable park management structures and systems.
Management zoning, resource protection and monitoring, research and rehabilitation of degraded habitats are strategies directed at biodiversity conservation and protection. Community-based resource management, tenurial security and establishment of alternative livelihood are strategies focused on the socio-economic development of local communities while IEC, capability-building and PA management institutionalization and networking strategies are geared towards institutional development.
Programs and Projects
The proposed programs and projects in line with the implementation of BNP Ecotourism Development Project are as follows:
Allocation of open areas for tree planting and camping site.
Preservation and rehabilitation of watershed.
Development and enhancement of recreational activities.
Construction and development of Infrastructure blend and harmonize with the environment.
Development of Nature and Information Center and One Stop Shop.
Site Plan and Zoning
One of the most significant strategies in protected area (PA) and buffer zone management as provided for in the NIPAS law is the categorization of these areas into management zones which include: (1) Strict Protection Zone; and (2) Multiple-use Zone. These management zones are envisioned to provide flexibility in PA management and allow sustainable resource use by PA residents.
In consonance with this strategy, the PASu Office and the PAMB adopted pre-determined criteria in identification of management zones anchored on technically, politically, and socially acceptable parameters.
The initial management zones were derived using overlays of thematic maps that include, among others, the following sets of valid information:
Wildlife habitat based on elevation gradient as defined in the book of Whitmore;
Settlement and tenure claims;
Existing and proposed projects within and around the PA; and
Management issues and other concerns.
Prior to manual overlaying, the following were the initial criteria used:
Strict Protection Zone (SPZ)– old growth, mossy, forest lands above 50% slope and with 1,000 masl elevation, highly erodible and hazardous areas with high endemism and biodiversity, and existing natural forests below 500 masl, sub-watersheds with drainage system supporting key infrastructure (irrigation system, power) or a major coral reef or fishing ground. The SPZ shall include areas previously categorized as Restoration Zone (RZ). Therestoration zone covers areas that are deforested or highly marginal areas above 50% slope and near major waterways or near or inside critical habitats, areas in highly hazardous areas that are degraded.
Multiple Use Zone (MUZ)/ Buffer Zone – areas that are occupied or cultivated by upland farmers in areas below 50% slope, below 1,000 masl and generally accessible, those areas that are highly suitable for high value agricultural production and for small scale type of orchard or plantation. The MUZ includes Sustainable Use Zone areas that are below 50% slope and 1,000 masl, existing adequately stocked residual forest or plantation forest, area highly suitable for plantations, generally accessible or not threatened by road rehabilitation activities, minimal or few upland clearing and kaingins.
To develop ownership among the different sectors that may be affected by the zoning regime, the derived management zoning map shall be subjected to validation and consultation at various levels. Iteration based on these consultations shall be plotted and re-validated until concerned sectors issued a resolution endorsing the zoning regime.
A “final” zoning map formed part of the General Management Plan for the protected area. But these zones will be eventually re-zoned after successful implementation of the specific management prescriptions for each zone.
The entire area of BNP will be delineated into different management zones to identify appropriate management units and prescriptions in each zone. The management prescriptions will specify what types of activities can be undertaken in specific areas to ensure the attainment of the goals and objectives of the plan.
Marking of the delineated BNP boundaries and management zone boundaries utilizing indigenous tree species will be undertaken. Concrete post will be installed in key corners of these boundaries. Flowering tree species will be planted to mark the park boundaries permanently.