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Aiming to promote and foster inclusive development across Davao Region, the Department of Science and Technology XI (DOST XI) organized the conduct of SalikLakbay Solutions Mapping Adventure in a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ASEAN Heritage Park, Mount Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental on March 2-4, 2021.

SalikLakbay, a research journey, aims to identify and capture grassroots innovations that emanate from grassroots communities. Hence, the SalikLakbay in Mt. Hamiguitan aimed to acquire new knowledge on flora and fauna that thrive in the mountain with their practical uses through the traditional knowledge acquired from the local scientists or grassroots innovators called as Bantay-Gubat. The activity was conducted under the DOST’s Grassroots Innovation for Inclusive Development (GRIND) Program.

Prior to the climb proper, a pre-climb orientation and meeting was spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary Protected Area Management Office (MHRWS-PAMO). The 23 participants, composed of researchers from DOST XI, Philippine Women’s College (PWC) Davao, Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST), DENR, and local partners from the community were briefed about Mt. Hamiguitan. The orientation was conducted by the Ecosystems Management Specialist, Clint Michael B. Cleofe and the Protected Area Conservation Officer, Cylle Marie S. Nadonza.

The research climb was spearheaded by DOST XI Regional Director Anthony C. Sales, CESO III together with DOST XI Assistant Regional Director for R&D for Development and Innovation, Dr. Kenneth D. Barroga, and Research Consultant Dr. Aristotle P. Carandang.

The three-day activity was an arduous undertaking as participants slogged up narrow paths and steep slopes to explore the mountain’s diverse ecosystems. Participants were able to discover astonishing endemic plant species through the assistance of the Bantay-Gubats and the foresters from the DENR MHRWS-PAMO who explored the forests countless times.

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Cinnamon plants thrive in Mt. Hamiguitan

Some of the unique plants found during the SalikLakbay were pitcher plants, wild petchay, and cinnamon tree, among others. There were also ethnobotanicals which have potential for the production of liniments such as those discovered by Tatay Pidoy, one of the Bantay-Gubats. These liniments can be further developed and commercialized through the assistance of DOST XI under the GRIND Program.

The event was conducted in partnership with the DENR MHRWS-PAMO and Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST).

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