Biak-na-Bato National Park
Biak-na-Bato National Park is a protected area of the Philippines located almost entirely within Barangay Biak-na-Bato in San Miguel, Bulacan from where it derives its name. The park also extends to the nearby municipalities of San Ildefonso and Doña Remedios Trinidad covering a total area of 2,117 hectares. It was declared a national park in 1937 by President Manuel Luis Quezon by virtue of its association with the history and site of the Biak-na-Bato Republic. The park consists of a cave network and a system of rivers and trails of both historical and ecological importance. Situated only 80 kilometers northeast from Manila, it is fast becoming a popular weekend eco-adventure destination for the city dwellers.
Topography and ecology
Biak-na-Bato National Park is centered on a mountain gorge sliced by the Balaong River in the Sierra Madre mountain range. More than a hundred caves of varying sizes and crystalline mineral formations are spread across the park. Among the most explored caves are the Aguinaldo Cave, once the headquarters of President Emilio Aguinaldo, and the Bahay Paniki or Bat Cave, said to be home of at least six species of winged mammals: kabag-kabag, ngusong kabayo, bungisngis, sibsib, bayakan and pakibu. Nido birds or swiftlets also call the park home, as do monkeys, wild boars, eagles, monitor lizards, and other species of birds that nest in towering trees. Orchids, trees, shrubs, ferns, bushes and bokawe (buho) are some of the flora than can be found in the park.
Observation outposts of the former republic as well as ruins of stone fortifications also abound within the park, including a stone cliff with carvings, possibly over a hundred years old.
Mount Susong Dalaga and Tilandong Falls are also popular attractions inside the park.
In September 2014, eight people, seven of which were children and teenagers, drowned in Madlum River in Biak-na-Bato National Park. The official report tells that the victims were swept away by flash floods while picnicking in the area. According to Gov. Josie dela Cruz, illegal logging and mining operations were to blame for such incidents.
On a memorandum dated Dec. 28, 2010, a 6-year struggle by the people of Bulacan to halt the quarrying and mining operations in Biak-na-Bato National Park has come to an end when DENR decided that the permit given to Rosemoor Mining and Development Corp violated the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. The appeal to repeal the mining permit was due to fear of the desecration of the historical site and continued loss of life due to flash floods and land slides.
Congressman Joselito Mendoza filed House Bill 2713 on September 3, 2013 that sought to reinstate the original 2,117 hectare land area of the National Park.
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