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South Sierra Madre to become an ecotourism destination

A portion of the southern part of Sierra Madre known as the Laguna-Quezon Land Grant (LQLG) is pushing itself to become a tourist destination that boasts a rich biodiversity following its 94th Foundation Anniversary last February 15, 2024. 

Covering a total of 5,729 hectares, the administration of the LQLG was entrusted to the University of the Philippines (UP) by virtue of Commonwealth Act 3608 which was signed in 1930. 

LQLG covers open and denuded forestland straddling between Real, Quezon and the towns of Pangil and Siniloan in Laguna. 

Location map of the Laguna-Quezon Land Grant (LQLG) (PB/

LQLG manager, Reynaldo Lorida, said it not only provides income to UPLB, it also serves as a center for research for different universities.

“The main purpose of the Laguna-Quezon Land Grant is to generate income to support the needs of the University. We use this as living laboratories for students, not only in UP, but also in other universities that conduct their research here.”

In an interview with the Philippine Information Agency Calabarzon's Sulong Calabarzon program, LQLG manager Reynaldo Lorida said that aside from being a source of income for the UPLB, it also serves as a center for research for different universities as a ‘living laboratory’. (PB/PIA4A)

UPLB Chancellor Jose Camacho said the LQLG is proof of their role as the national university that helps generate new knowledge and data through research.
“I still believe that as UP being the national university, we are seeing the role of UP through this land grant. We see here our role in generating knowledge, to generate new information and data.” 

UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho said that being the national univeristy, the Univeristy of the Philippines plays a crucial role in generating new information and data through the Laguna-Quezon Land Grant . (PB/PIA4A)

In 2019, the UPLB launched a plant diversity study which found that the numerous waterfalls and rich biodiversity of the LQLG has been the home to hundreds of plant species, including those that are considered ‘threatened’.

As a way of opening the area to eco-tourism, the LQLG inaugurated the UP-Sierra Madre Nature Reserve, while construction continues for other amenities in partnership with the private sector. It also includes a Conservation Garden which propagates a variety of plants, including rare and endangered varieties.

“We conceptualized the Conservation Garden because during the pandemic, many wild plants were collected to cater to the plantitos and plantitas.” Lorida said, referring to the period at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when many became involved in gardening and agriculture.

Unfortunately for the LQLG, these rare plants were sold by poachers with price tags that can reach up to thousands of pesos. Lorida added that the collected plants died after being unable to adapt to their new habitat.

Over the years, the government and private sectors worked together to support the Laguna-Quezon Land Grant and its rich biodiversity. (PB/MBLito/PIA4A)

To replenish the wild plants in the nature reserve, the LQLG management developed a two-hectare arboretum where 97 threatened tree species were being propagated to prevent extinction.

To ensure that the Land Grant will continue to be a home for vast natural resources, the LQLG has partnered with various sectors for its reforestation project.

Partners including the One Meralco Foundation and its P9-M reforestation project and the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) National Greening Program which funded the reforestation efforts on 1,000 hectares of land.

The LQLG also maintains its active membership with the Laguna Provincial Anti-Illegal Task Force, the province’s inter-agency policymaking body to protect the forests against timber poaching and illegal logging. 

Over the years, the Land Grant faces another challenge: the influx of informal settlers who hope to use the country’s land use laws to gain ownership of the area.

“Although this can be a big challenge, the university is willing to work with local government units. The LQLG funds the operations of the university where many can study for free.”

The Laguna-Quezon Land Grant believes that the country’s environment is the pride of our people. With the UPLB as its steward, it is seen as a premiere center for conservation research aimed at promoting and advocating for the region’s rich biodiversity. (PB/PIA4A) 

Among the must-visit facilties of the Laguna-Quezon Land Grant is the Binhi Arboretum which propagates a variety of plants, including rare and endangered varieties. (PB/PIA4A)

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Patricia Bermudez


Region 4A

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