Profile of Mainit Hot Springs Protected Landscape

Mainit Hot Springs Protected Landscape was originally called Mainit Hot Springs National Park.  It was declared a national park by Presidential Proclamation No. 460 in December 12, 1957 because of its unique natural landmarks including hot springs, caves, waterfalls, lush virgin forests teeming with wildlife.  But its status as a protected area was scaled down from a national park to that of a protected landscape because of the presence of human settlements and use of its natural resources over the years.  This was done in December 31, 2000 through Presidential Proclamation 320, making it part of the National Integrated Protected Area System of the Philippines.

MHSPL is located in Barangays Bukal and Mainit, town of Nabunturan, Province of Compostela Valley, Philippines. It is part of the headwater basin of Manat River which is one of the major tributaries of Agusan River. Agusan River feeds the complex wetland ecosystem of Agusan Marsh, the most important water repository, water replenishment and water purification natural ecosystem of Eastern Mindanao. Thus, the contribution of MHSPL to water security for Region XI cannot be ignored.

Aside from its role in our regional life support system, what else does MHSPL possess that merits inclusion in the country’s protected area system? Nothing singularly big like the Chocolate Hills of Bohol or St. Paul’s Underground River in Palawan . But what makes it unique is that it is a composite of varied natural landmarks and ecosystems concentrated in a relatively small portion, 1700 hectares, of the headwater basin of Manat River which encompasses 6,488 hectares. As part of the headwaters of Manat River with its highest elevation of about 1200 meters, there is constant precipitation in the upper slopes, creating tiny rivulets that join together as creeks and streams. Many of these streams drop precipitously at the valley floor forming picturesque waterfalls, while others cascade down gradually, creating cool natural swimming pools that provide respite for travellers on hot summer days.

Down the valley floor, the creeks join together outside and within the southern boundary of the park forming Manat River.

6 As Manat River enters the southern boundary of the park, it is heated by hot springs, not one hot spring, but a chain of hot springs that stretches for about two kilometers within the water channel and along the river bank, so that when the river leaves the park it becomes a lukewarm water


mainit-hot-spring-9.png 11 On the slopes flanking the river basin, there are over thirty caves, most of which are of small to medium size inhabited by native bats producing guano fertilizers and swift birds called sayaw-sayaw that produce gourmet birds’ nests which are added resources from the park. Some of these caves are reported to be the size of a church or cathedral, with magnificent stalactite/ stalagmite formations.

12 And despite its present state of degradation, there are still patches of surviving primary growth forests and regenerating secondary growth forests where one can find old dipterocarps and giant ferns, as well as Philippine endemics such as Philippine hawks, edible wild plants and fruits, rare endemic flowers, as well as common floral/faunal species.


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