(By Laila Grace Roxan Indico) – The National Geologic Quadrangle Mapping Program of the DENR – Mines and Geosciences Bureau aims to produce geologic maps for the remaining areas of the country and are used as reference in other geological surveys being conducted by the Bureau, such as in geohazards assessments, hydrogeological studies, and geo• resources inventory, which are used by the local government units in the formulation of their land use and development plans.
Last March to May of 2022, MGB R6 geologists and aides conducted geologic mapping in areas bounded by Artuz Quadrangle (based on NAMRIA’s topographic map, Sheet No. 3453-I): Calinog in Iloilo, Tapaz in Capiz, and Libacao in Aklan. The team traverses treacherous streams, and knee-deep muddy roads and trails at any weather conditions, be it foggy, scorchy, or rainy while noting outcrops and taking samples.
These areas are also the locations of the 3 of 9 proclaimed watershed areas in Panay Island, namely: (a) Aklan River Watershed Forest Reserve in Aklan, (b) Pan-ay River Watershed Forest Reserve in Capiz, and (c) Jalaur River Watershed Forest Reserve in Iloilo. These forest reservations with breathtaking views of the highlands, refreshing waters, and great biodiversity are also home to various tribes of the Panay Bukidnon, i.e., Halawudnons
( Calinog, Iloilo), Pan-ayanons or Suludnons (Tapaz, Capiz), and Akeanon Bukidnons (Libacao, Aklan). The traverse the team takes every single day may seem difficult, these are still not comparable to what the IPs have to do in order to afford their basic needs, such as riding habal far more than 6 hours in thick, sticky, and muddy trails or carrying more than 50 kilos of abaca fiber on their backs while hinge to their heads as they trek several mountains the whole day or cruising the rivers rapids on bamboo rafts in order to reach the town centers. Their warm smiles and accommodating gestures, as we meet them along the trail or while crossing rivers or when we arrive in their communities, are always worth of our sweat-stained faces, body aches, and muddy, dripping clothes. The smiles and hellos of them made it all worth it. (L. Indico, MGB VI)