Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society initial consultation with DENR officers

The Las Pi√Īas-Para√Īaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) is the first and only critical habitat in the country.

members of PNPCSI and DENR

The Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated members were initially tapped to be a partner organization NGOs with technical capacity , proven ecological biodiversity management capability and track record in the area together with on- the job trainees ( biology students ) of  the Polytechnic University of the Philippines made an initial survey on how to increase the plant biodiversity , eco-tourism potential and a showcase of estuarine flora diversity in this part of Metro Manila.


There are also concern of the impending reclamation of this area , pollution , trash built-up , introduction of non-native species,  invasive species like Ipil-ipil , lantana and other exotic trees species .

Dracunculus vulgaris  

Other common names it goes by are: Dragon Arum, Black Lily, Dragon Flower, Dragon Arum, Snake Lily , Stink Lily, Vodoo Lily among others.

These plants had a stink like rotting flesh, it is true–they smell something awful. The smell attracts flies that pollinate them and beetles.

Diospyros pilosanthera

Commonly called Рbolongeta , the uses of wood from this tress  includes guitar  and high grade lumber, The fruit is also edible.

Geodorum densifolium

While our group is making our initial survey within the area, I quickly spotted  new leaves sporting on the ground. Alas , It was a terrestrial orchid ! Mr. Fernando Aurigue Jr. also spotted the orchid and told the group that it was economically useful and the bulbs can be used as a paste and for medicinal purposes.

another clump  of Geodorum nearby

We also told the DENR officers to have the plant properly marked thru GPS and proper identification . It was one of the amazing discoveries within the area, since it was growing just a few meters away from the sea coast . A huge southwest monsoon rains can easily inundate the area with sea water .

This orchid species is found in many parts of Asia and has medicinal properties:

Hymenocallis latifolia

White Spider lily  are found growing  near the sea front . This fast growing plant creates a wonderful, tall ground cover that readily reseeds itself. A solid ground cover can form within 2 years after planting on 3 to 5-feet centers. It is also nicely suited for planting as a specimen in a small garden. Flowers and foliage both attract attention. This makes a nice addition to any landscape. According to Dir. Rey Aguinaldo- they initially saw some clumps of this white spider lilies growing near the entrance of the reserve , They decided to divide the clump and plant them within the vicinity . Now they are growing very well and fully established.

Spider lily can grow  in full sun or partial shade on well-drained, basic, sandy loam soils. The plant  is very tolerant of drought and salt spray but will not endure cold temperatures. The plant do well in coastal landscapes. The Spider Lily is generally propagated by bulb divisions. However , the spider lily are not native to the country but was introduced probably during the Manila -Acapulco Galleon trade or during the early part of the American regime, These plants are so widespread that people thought  that they are native or indigenous to the country.

Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea

This is another amazing discovery within the Las Pi√Īas-Para√Īaque Critical Habitat. The mangrove trees is called ” Nilad ” in Tagalog, Nila in Malay; Chengam in Singapore¬† is a shrub that is about 3 m (10 ft) tall. It is often found in mangrove forests or sandy beaches.

Distribution : This mangrove tree is found in Southern India ,  Brunei Darussalam , Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia , Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia

leaves of Nilad tree

Economic Uses: the bark can be used for dye, tannin , glue content  and its wood is good for charcoal and wood .  Because of the urbanization  and land reclamation of Manila bay and nearby towns , most of the ( Nilad ) mangrove trees are now found in  isolated pockets and a few sapling are also found within Manila zoo.  The widespread cutting of the mangroves trees in the past had contributed to the significant decline of the once common mangrove tree where Maynila  ( Tagalog ) or Manila name was derived .


By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1412 dated April 22, 2007, the Las Pi√Īas¬† ‚Äď Para√Īaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) was established.¬† On January 31, 2008, it was amended by Presidential Proclamation 1412-A which directs all relevant departments and instrumentalities under the executive branch to ensure the preservation of existing mangrove, mudflats and ecosystems in the area that supports natural ecological functions.¬† It also directs the DENR to convene and chair a Manila Bay Critical Habitat Management Council

It is located on the western side of the Aguinaldo Highway (Coastal Road) and is bounded on the north by the Para√Īaque River and on the South by the Las Pi√Īas River.¬† It covers an area of 175 hectares consisting of mangroves, mudflats and diverse avifauna.¬† It is the first Critical Habitat established in the country.


Our group is happy of what we saw during the initial consultation meeting with the people behind the (LPPCHEA) . We were also told that¬† large multinational companies¬† are conducting tree planting activities and coastal clean -ups within the vicinity . We hope that the large multinational companies should try to plant native or indigenous trees within the protected areas . The ongoing clamor by some big time real estate developers and businessmen which want to reclaim these part of the wilderness area must be avoided.¬† Our group will always remain vigilant and ready to stand in what we believe as Metro Manila’s last remaining mangrove areas.¬†¬† In a quest of¬† rapid industrialization and urbanization, one must never forget the need for more GREEN areas and protected areas just like in Las Pi√Īas-Para√Īaque area .

Note: All pictures are from the author, those who wish to use the pictures for any purpose – Please cite this link .

ASEAN Biodiversity :



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