Orani mountain runners call for BNP preservation

ORANI, Bataan – Concerned groups and individuals, all of them 72 runners, gathered together last Sunday for the 30 kilometer mountain run traversing the trail that leads to the hidden wonders and spectacular views of the Bataan National Park (BNP).

Dr. Rimbert Del Rosario, race director and BPSU Dinalupihan dentist, said the race not only promotes the health benefits of running but for their advocacy in the preservation of this natural environment by traversing mountains and streams plus the mesmerizing grandeur of the Pasukulan Falls inside Mount Natib’s mysterious forests.

“We are afraid that the same thing will happen like what happened in other local forests, if a proposed access road project here pushes through, hence this advocacy is being done,” Dr. Del Rosario said.

The DENR personnel assigned in the area, Darwin Ganado, said that the biodiversity here is very rich with 46 species of birds that can be found only in this area. Recently, a rare frog species, the platymantis montanus (just about the size of a Philippine 5 centavo coin) was discovered by a biologist inside the park.

“We showed our runners the biodiversity of the place, the Bataan National Park is the only closed canopy dipterocarp forest here in Central Luzon. That’s why we need to preserve it,” former Bataan First District Congressman Felicito Payumo told i-Orbit News

Bataan National Park is a protected area located in the mountainous interior of the province. The park straddles the northern half of Bataan Peninsula near its border with Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales. The park was first established in 1945 under Proclamation No. 24 with an initial area of 31,000 hectares and included portions in Subic, Zambales. The park was reduced in 1987 to its present size of 23,688 hectares (58,530 acres) and is now wholly located in Bataan province. The park encompasses the Bataan towns and cities of Orani, Hermosa, Samal, Abucay, Balanga, Bagac and Morong.

Mount Natib with its 6 by 7 kilometers wide forested acorn-shaped caldera is located in the middle of the park. Activities in the park include nature viewing, bird watching, and trekking to its several peaks and waterfalls.

BNP is covered by tropical jungle and mountain terrains with significant geological features such as rivers, springs and waterfalls. Pasukulan and Dunsulan falls are found within the park, as are important species of flowers and ground orchids. It is also home to several wild monkeys and other varieties of insects and birds. –Mhike Cigaral

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