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Banao Watershed, Kalinga

Banao Watershed, Kalinga

Address: Abra and Kalinga

Description: The Balbalasang-Balbalan National Park and Banao watershed area in the Northern Cordillera is proof positive of the inherent capacity of indigenous communities in natural resource protection and management. Through the Banao tribe’s “lapat” tradition, the area continues to maintain one of the most extensive tracts of old growth forest in the country.

Status: On-going

Site Profile Summary

Ecosystem Types

Lowland to Mossy Forests

Protection Status

National Park (RA No. 6463, s. 1972)


1,338 hectares

Geographical Profile

  • The Balbalan-Malibcong area is generally characterized by rugged to mountainous topography, with elevation that ranges from 167 masl to 2,439 masl (1,303 masl on average).

  • These municipalities are also endowed with rich mineral resources, which include iron, sulfur magnetite, nickel, gold, copper, and silver.

  • The area’s natural physical features offer great prospects for eco-tourism.

  • BBNP is considered as one of the Important Bird Areas (IBAs), one of the Conservation Priority Areas (CPAS), and recently as one of the 128 Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) of the Philippines. Still, it remains one of the least biologically explored portions of the Central Cordillera.


  • This site falls within the northern Central Cordillera region, which features one of the most extensive tracts of old-growth forest remaining in the country.

  • BBNP has a very high floral biodiversity value, featuring a number of endemics and threatened species. (A significant number of threatened species of flora are exclusive to Northern Luzon, specifically Cordillera Administrative Region.)

    • At least 105 Philippine endemics (including 37 island endemics) are found in BBNP.

    • Eighteen (18) species that were recorded during the field survey are listed under either on the Philippine Red List (DAO 2007-01) or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2010).

  • The most interesting species is one that was discovered during the Rapid Site Assessment (RSA) conducted in the Kalinga project site – the Rafflesia banaoana, the sixth species of Rafflesia recorded in Luzon.


  • 65 vertebrate species were recorded during an RSA at Mt. Panogaan in Brgy. Balbalasang, Balbalan, Kalinga. Of this total, 14 are mammals, 50 birds, and one amphibian. Also out of this number, 34 (52.31%) are endemic species.

  • Nine species found in the site – four mammals and five birds – can be considered of importance to conservation (i.e. listed as threatened in varying degrees).

    • The mammals are the Golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus), the Philippine warty pig (Sus philippensis), the Luzon Water Redstart (Rhyacornis bicolor), and the Philippine brown deer (Cervus mariannus).

    • The birds are the Ashy Ground-thrush (Zoothera cinerea), Luzon Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica), the Montane Racquet-tail (Prioniturus montanus) and the Rufous Hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax).

Indigenous Peoples

  • Banao Watershed is being claimed as the ancestral domain of the Banao tribe in consonance with the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) or RA 8371. Territorial boundaries are shared with the Gubang, Mabaka, Binongan, and Masadiit tribes, a co-existence reinforced by the traditional system of Bodong (peace pact). Another indigenous system that is helping maintain the integrity of the site’s natural resources is lapat, by subjecting the gathering of any type of forest resource (not only pertaining to flora and fauna, but also the minerals, springs, and rivers) to the approval of the entire tribal community.

Livelihood Sources

Agroforestry, mining (mercury amalgamation), wildlife hunting (for food, medicinal, and decorative uses), animal raising


FPE-funded Projects and Initiatives


Grant Type, Strategy


Implementing Partners

Indigenous Community Conserved Areas (ICCA) of Banaos in Malibcong, Abra Large, Sites 2016
  • Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG) &  Malibcong Banao Bodong Federation, Inc. 

Support to Banao Ancestral Watershed

Large, Sites


  • Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG)

A Shift Towards Area-specific Intervention Through Strategic Planning for the FPE Priority Site in Banao

Medium, Proactive


  • FPE 

Balbalasang-Balbalan National Park and Banao Watershed Rapid Site Assessment (RSA)

Large, Research


  • Resources, Environment, and Economics Center for Studies, Inc. (REECS)

Banao Watershed Community-Based Resource Management Project

Large, Site-focused


  • Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG)

Malanas-Balbalasang Watershed Development Plan and CBRM Formulation

Large, Sites


  • Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT)

Mt. Balbalasang Northern Sierra Madre Cordillera Region - Rapid Site Assessment

Medium, Research


  • Haribon Foundation

Preliminary Site Assessment of FPE Priority Sites for 1995

Large, Sites


  • Ateneo Center for Social Policy

  • Environmental Education Network

Key Outcomes




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