The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) presented to officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the plaque recognizing Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park in Bukidnon as an ASEAN Heritage Park.

The award was presented by ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Dato’ Misran Karmain to Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio during the launching of the International Year of Biodiversity in Makati City recently.

DENR Regional Executive Director Maximo O. Dichoso along with Regional Technical Director Belen O. Daba of the Protected Areas, Wildlife, and Coastal Zone Management Services; and Community DENR Officer and Protected Area Superintendent Felix Mirasol were present during the awarding ceremony.

According to Dichoso, the Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park as an ASEAN Heritage Park joins other 27 other heritage parks.

It is also the third declared ASEAN Heritage Park in the Philippines, after Mt. Apo in Davao, and Mt. Iglit-Baco in Oriental Mindoro.

Mt. Kitanglad has an area of 30,642 hectares and covers seven municipalities and one city in the province of Bukidnon – Talakag, Baungon, Libona, Manolo Fortich, Sumilao, Lantapan, Impasug-ong, and Malaybalay City.

It was declared as a protected area in 2000 by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 8978.

Mount Kitanglad is an inactive volcano located in the Kitanglad Mountain Range.

It is officially declared as the fourth highest mountain in the Philippines and has an approximate height of 2,899 meters.

It was gathered that the name “Kitanglad” was derived from a legend that there was once a great flood that submerged the native lands of Bukidnon and only the tip of the mountain, the size of a “tanglad” (lemon grass), remained visible (“kita” in Tagalog).

It is considered as an ancestral domain of several old cultural communities like the Bukidnons, Higaonons, and Talaandigs.

Mt. Kitanglad finally became a full-pledge protected area when Congress approved RA 8978 also known as the Mt. Kitanglad Range Protected Area Act of 2000.

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