4 5 Rafflesia Aliwagwag 2The Aligwawag Protected Landscape in Cateel, Davao Oriental already offers an enchanting beauty brought by its sky-scraping waterfalls which, by the way, is the highest in the country. But beyond the alluring façade, this Protected Area (PA) situates in a lush rainforest with extra rich biodiversity. In fact, just recently, the largest flower in the world sprouted in it.

The enormous Rafflesia, a species of flowering plant, made its presence known through the conduct of monitoring of the implementation of the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP).

It was July 21, 2022 when Roland O. Aguimlod, a resident of Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental who is also an APL- Laborer under the DENR-CENRO Baganga’s Conservation and Development Section first observed it at Sitio Carampil, Panansalan, Compostela, Davao de Oro, approximately 38 kilometers away from the PAMB Office and is within the Strict Protection Zone (SPZ) of the protected area.

Several days later, the CENRO Baganga personnel and PAMO Staff conducted a site verification of the said species.

In August 19, 2022 the team photographed thirteen (13) buds which are about to bloom and 11 are over mature and about to wilt. To further monitor and assess its population, the team revisited the location two months after.

In October 18, 2022, the team noticed and recorded that there are eighteen (18) buds undergoing Cupule Bract Transition Stage (CBT) to full bloom, three (3) are undeveloped buds, and one (1) fully bloomed capsule-like buds.

The team further observed several species of wildlife such as rodents and insects such as flies, ants, etc. which have been assumed as potential seed dispersers of Rafflesia.

The said eye-catching flower is unfortunately listed as a critically endangered species under the Red List of the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN, 2012). It is for this reason that the DENR continue to educate the public to avoid gathering, collection, possession and trade of wildlife species as these are strictly prohibited under RA 9147 otherwise known as Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act and RA 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS).

Aliwagwag Protected Landscape is one of the 11 PAs in Davao Region and among the 94 legislated PAs in the country that is included in RA 11038 which the government has prioritized for conservation and protection.

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