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Philippine Wetlands

Lumban Delta at the Laguna de Bay        The Philippines has 6 wetlands which are declared Ramsar sites

The Olango Island in Lapu-lapu, Cebu (5,820 hectares) is used by millions of shorebirds as a resting place enroute from Siberia and northern Japan to Southeast Asia and Australia. These migratory birds come to this waterfowl haven to escape the fierce winters in northern Asia. Each year Olango sees nearly a hundred different species of birds, a number of which are migratory.  Among the frequent guests are Chinese egrets, Asiatic dowitchers, Eastern curlews, plovers, and sandpipers.

Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro (14,568 ha) is the fifth largest lake in the Philippines (14km by 7km); it is volcanic in origin and receives water from local run-off with no major effluents.  There are large areas of shallow water with an abundant growth of aquatic vegetation.  Most of the people in the area depend upon the lake for their livelihood, particularly through fishing. 

The Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (14,836 ha) includes a vast complex of freshwater marshes and water-courses with numerous shallow lakes and ponds in the upper basin of the Agusan River and its tributaries, which rise in the hills of eastern Mindanao.  Some parts of the marsh have been converted into fish ponds and rice paddies.  The site acts as storage for rain water and reduces the immediate downstream flow of flood water into Butuan City and other population centers

Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park (33,200 ha), located in the middle of the Central Sulu Sea about 150 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City, is well-known amongst fishermen in the southern Philippines and scuba divers around the world.  Some 46 coral genera and more than 300 coral species have been recorded, as well as at least 40 families and 379 species of fish.  Sea turtles, sharks, tuna, dolphins, and jackfish are also found in the reefs. The Park was inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1993.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan (22,202 ha) is unique in the biogeographic region because it connects a range of important ecosystems from the mountain-to-the-sea, including a limestone karst landscape with a complex cave system, mangrove forests, lowland evergreen tropical rainforests, and freshwater swamps. It is home to about 800 plant and 233 animal species, including the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) and Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), as well as the endangered Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Nordmann’s greenshank (Tringa guttifer).

The Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) is a  175-hectare coastal urban wetland and bird sanctuary situated within the metropolis of Metro Manila, comprising  two interconnected, mangrove-covered islands, shallow lagoons and coastline.  A Presidential Proclamation in 2007 designated the site as a ‘Critical Habitat’ for the survival of threatened, restricted-range and congregatory species.  At least 5,000 individuals of migratory and resident birds have been recorded at the site, including the vulnerable resident bird species Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica) which breeds at the site. 

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some of the many wetlands in the Philippines -

Location : Province of Agusan del Sur

Agusan Marsh is the largest and the least disturbed freshwater wetland in the Philippines. It holds the largest remaining population of Crocodylus poposus and Crocolylus mindorensis in the country. It has vital importance in its flood control and sediment retention functions.


   UNESCO World Heritage Centre

  BirdLife International

  Department of Environment and Natural Resources
      - Region XIII CARAGA


Location : Municipality of Sablayan,
               Province of Occidental Mindoro

The largest coral atoll in the Philippines, is a 3-meter deep channel with fine white sand bottom, numerous mounds and patches of corals separating the reef also makes it particularly unique.


   UNESCO World Heritage Centre

  Department of Environment and Natural Resources


Location : Municipality of Siaton
               Province of Negros Oriental

Lake Balanan was formed after a strong earthquake on 05 May 1925 that registered 6.8 on the Richter Scale.  That earthquake resulted to a massive landslide on both sides of the Balanan and Nasig-id ridges, closing a portion of the river and eventually created a lake.


Location : Batangas Province

Balayan Bay is a diverse range of coastal ecosystems which includes seagrass beds, fringing reef and extensive mudflats.



Location : Provinces of Rizal and Laguna

Laguna de Bay is the most important freshwater wetland in the Philippines in terms of support to local communities. However, it is now threatened with inappropriate various development projects and over-exploitation of its resources.


Conservation of Laguna de Bay’s Environment and Resources

Laguna Lake Development Authority
GNF Living Lakes Network


Location : Buguey, Cagayan Province

This very diverse coastal ecosystem, consisting of brackish lagoon, freshwater marshes, mangroves and intertidal mudflats, is an important area for migratory waterfowl, especially ducks and shorebirds.


ASEAN Center for Biodiversity
BirdLife International


Location : Buhi, Camarines Sur

Lake Buhi is famous since it is one of the few bodies of water that contains the Sinarapan (Mistichthys luzonensis) which is recorded in the Guiness World Record as the world's smallest commercial fish.


International Lake Environment Committee

Location : Tagbilaran City, Bohol

This very diverse coastal ecosystems, consisting of shallow sea with offshore inlands, mangroves, rivers, estuaries and mudflats, is one of the least disturbed coastal areas in the province of Bohol. The endangered Crocodylus porosus is found in this bay.


   ASEAN Center for Biodiversity

Location : Provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga

The Candaba Swamp has been recommended to be protected (under the Ramsar Convention evaluation) due to its importance in the flood control for the downstream Pampanga River. It also serves as a staging and wintering area for ducks and egrets.


 BirdLife International

  ASEAN Center for Biodiversity  


Location : Mount Malindang, Misamis Occidental

Lake Duminagat is a crater lake located in Mt. Malindang Natural Park, which is one of the Protected Areas in the Philippines.  The Park represents the flora and fauna of the Zamboanga biogeographic zone.


SEARCA Biodiversity Study

Location : Inabanga, Bohol

One of the largest areas of mangrove in Bohol is found in Inabanga Coast. It is the wintering area for the rare Asiatic Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus).

  ASEAN Center for Biodiversity


Location : Lanao del Sur Province

Lake Lanao is said to have around 18 species of cyprinid fish endemic to the lake.


World Lakes - LakeNet
ASEAN Center for Biodiversity
BirdLife International


Location : Mount Malindang, Misamis Occidental

Langaran River is located in the northeastern part of Mt. Malindang, a mountain range that became a National Park in 1971 by virtue of Republic Act No. 6266.  The river plays a vital role in the economy of the surrounding municipalities.  Aside from being the domestic abode of many communities, vast farmers are dependent on the irrigation waters from the three dams built along it.


Location : Province of Leyte

The basin is a 90,000-hectare of herbaceous swamp, with small lakes and ponds. It is known to be a staging and wintering area for egrets and ducks.


ASEAN Center for Biodiversity


Location : South Cotabato Province

The largest marsh in the Philippines is the home of a considerable population of Crocodylus poposus and Crocolylus mindorensis.


ASEAN Center for Biodiversity
BirdLife International

Location : Taytay, Palawan

One of the largest remaining areas of relatively undisturbed mangrove forest in the Philippines is found in the inner Sound. This is also one of the most important fishing grounds in the country.



Location : Cavite City and Balanga, Bataan

The bay has of vital importance to subsistence fishing for communities around Metro Manila, undoubtedly the most important wetland in socio-economic terms. It has been threatened by massive pollution by domestic and industrial wastes, and over-exploitation of its resources.


   The Manila Bay

   The Philippine-American War at Manila Bay


Location : Taytay, Palawan

The only lake in the province of Palawan which has at least three species of fish endemic to the lake. Lake Manguao is probably the least disturbed lake in the country with catchment area of high quality monsoonal forest.



Location : Oriental Mindoro

The lake has very diversity of fish species, and an important staging and wintering area for large number of ducks.



Location : Mactan Island, Cebu City

The island is one of the most important staging areas identified for the migratory shorebirds in the Philippines. Recorded as the most important site for the rare Asiatic Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus). The island has mangrove, offshore coral reefs, and extensive coralline sandflats and seagrass beds.



Location : Provinces of Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Sur

The bay, which has an extensive mangroves, is a very important area for support of local communities. Migratory shorebirds, Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus) and little egret (Egretta garzetta) are found in this area.



Location : Ilocos Norte

The lake covers 387.5 ha. with five barangays sharing its coastline.  It is a natural body of fresh water without tributaries.  It's deepest part is 7.5 m and the most shallow is 3 - 5 meters.


Location: Province of Palawan

A World Heritage site, and one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world which features cathedral-like caverns and domes.  This underground river is home to other cove dwelling fauna.



Location : Provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat

The watershed of Lake Sebu is recognized as one of the most important watershed areas in the country.  The 92,450-ha landscape was proclaimed as a Protected Landscape on 24 September 1985.



Location : Surigao City (Surigao del Norte)

The most extensive mangrove forest in the country, which support to a large number of human population, is found in this island.



Location : Taal, Batangas

Taal Lake has one of the highest levels of diversity of migratory fishes of any lake in the country. It also has high scenic values and is important in tourism.



Location : Dumaguete City (Negros Oriental)

A mangrove island in a bay, making the area so different to other bays, and with extensive mudflats which support many species invertebrates and fishes. Large number of ducks, herons and egrets use the island as a feeding area.


Location : General Luna, Quezon Province

The bay includes a vast areas of mangrove and extensive intertidal mudflats. It is known to be the staging and wintering area for migratory herons, egrets and shorebirds.



Location : Province of Palawan

Located at 150 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City, this national marine park is well-known amongst fishermen in the southern Philippines and scuba divers around the world.



Location : southwestern tip of the Philippines, between Philippines and Malaysia

Turtle Islands, aprotected area since 1996, is a major nesting site of the endangered green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas).   The different islands exhibit varied vegetative cover; its vast water area supports diverse species of fish and other marine invertebrates of very high commercial value.



Location : Province of Palawan

A large area of high quality mangroves is found in the inner part of the bay. It represents one of the very few remaining areas of old-growth mangrove in the country.



Unit 208, Grand Emerald Tower
F. Ortigas Jr. cor Garnet Sts.
Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines
Tel/fax (63)(2) 637-2409

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