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Gigantes Islands

Gigantes Islands

Address: Carles, Iloilo

Description: The Gigantes group of islands in Carles, Iloilo are endowed with limestone forests, caves, and white-sand beaches. It is classified as a high urgent conservation priority under the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Priority-Setting Program (PBCPP) It is home to a wide variety of species, 2 of them endemic: the Gekkonid Lizard (Gekko gigante) and the Island Forest Frog (Platymantis insulatus). The 44,249-hectare site is marred with political, economic, and cultural issues, which result in resource degradation, insecurity, and vulnerability of the island and its communities.
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Status: Newly Opened

Site Profile Summary

 

Site Profile

Ecosystem Types Forest, Coastal, Marine

Protection Status

Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act 7160)

Area

44,249.76 hectares

Biogeographic Features

  • Two main islands: Gigante Norte (with smaller islets Bulubadiang, Gigantillo and Gigantuna); and Gigante Sur (Antonia, Bantigui, Cabugao, Tanguingui)

  • The islands are located within the Visayan Sea, one of the most productive fishing grounds in the country.

  • As part of the Coral Triangle, these islands contain some of the most biologically diverse and richest coastal and marine resources.

Flora

  • Gigantes Sur is known for its karst forests, spattered with groves of Ipil-ipil (Leucaena leucocephala), which provide a distinct ecological assembly of microorganisms, insects, mammals and fishes. Highly sensitive, the fragile limestone of karst forests make them prone to surface changes caused by road construction or agricultural activities. The once thick mangrove forests of Gigantes’ northern coasts have dwindled to thin patches (Alcala, et. al, 2011)

Fauna

  • Gigantes Islands are known for their bivalve (scallop/clam) and squid fisheries.
  • South and North Gigante Islands have also been recognized as a key site by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) because the area, specifically South Gigante, is the only known habitat of the Critically Endangered Island Forest Frog (Platymantis insulates) and the Gekkonid Lizard (Gekko gigante). These species dwell in limestone karst forest and caves in forested lowlands. (An Island Way of Life. Kalikasan BCSD Series 15.)
  • Gigantes is also home to seven endemic bird species: Philippine Coucal (Centropus viridis), Philippine Hawk Owl (Ninox philippinensis), Philippine Nightjar (Caprimulgus manillensis), Pygmy Swiftlet (Collocalia troglodytes), Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos maculatus), Philippine Bulbul (Ixos philippinus), and the Pygmy Flowerpecker (Dicaeum pygmaeum (Alcala, et. al, 2011)

Livelihood Resources

  • Majority of the households depend on fishing

Other Matters of Significance

  • Gigantes Islands is one of the 6 conservation priority sites of FPE.
  • At the height of Typhoon Yolanda (2013), in addition to devastation of infrastructure and livelihood, it was reported that caves, where endemic species of geckos and frogs thrive, were used as refuges / evacuation sites. Several caves have high levels of disturbance from human activity (treasure hunting, collection of speleothems, high human foot traffic, graffiti / vandalism, litter, and mining for guano). Despite this, the status of Platymantis insulatus and Gekko gigante are secured, according to a cave assessment completed in 2014. A long term ecological program to monitor the population of the two species (both those inside the caves and those that inhabit forests over limestone karst) is highly recommended. 

 

 

Sociocultural Situation

Economic Situation

Geopolitical Situation

Threats

FPE-funded Projects and Initiatives

Year Project Amount Funded Proponent
2016

Building Resilient and Sustainable Small Island Communities

The project builds on the gains of the ongoing engagements in Gigantes, and focuses on addressing the gaps in the 5-year Strategic Plan (2012-2016), facilitate formulation of the 10-year conservation management plan, enhance community organizations to develop functional protection mechanisms, and develop informed communities as active partners towards island resilience and sustainable use of the island ecosystem.

 

PhP2,000,000 University of the Philippines Visayas Foundation, Inc. (UPVFI)
2015 Strengthening Multi-Stakeholder Convergence for Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo
The project facilitated the consolidation of post-disaster and development initiatives of various organizations to enhance coordination, convergence, and mitigate duplication and overlaps. With SCI, PLS and ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, the project sought to unify programs, support build back better objectives, and promote small island resilience.
PhP150,700 University of the Philippines Visayas Foundation, Inc. (UPVFI)
2015 Workshop on Gigantes Islands Caves Conservation PhP73,150 FPE Visayas Regional Unit
2012

Framework Development and Strategic Planning for Sicogon/Gigantes

PhP799,300 Iloilo Caucus Of Development NGOs (ICODE)
2009

Natural Resource Inventory and Resource Management Assessment for The Islands Of Sicogon and Gigantes, Municipality Of Carles, Iloilo

PhP1,004,000 Panay Rural Organizaing for Reform and Social Order, Inc. (PROGRESO)

 

 

 

 

Key Outcomes

As of February 2017, the project, Building Resilient and Sustainable Small Island Communities is ongoing. Project updates include:

Convergence

Organizing

Education and Knowledge Management

Reference

An Island Way of Life: Resource Assessment and Strategic Plan Development for Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo, 2013. Kalikasan BCSD Knowledge Series 15. Foundation for the Philippine Environment and Iloilo Caucus of Development NGOs (ICODE).

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