Municipalities of El Nido and Taytay, Palawan
The El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area is located on the north-western tip of the mainland of Palawan. In 1991, the Government of the Philippines proclaimed Bacuit Bay as a marine reserve. In 1998, the protected area was expanded to include terrestrial ecosystems and portions of the municipality of Taytay. It is now known as El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, which covers over 36,000 hectares of land and 54,000 hectares of marine waters. It contains towering limestone cliffs, beaches, mangroves, clear waters, unique forests over limestone and neat farmlands. It is home to five (5) species of mammals, including the Malayan Pangolin and 16 bird species endemic to Palawan including the threatened Palawan Peacock Pheasant, the Palawan Hornbill and Palawan Scops Owl. Bacuit bay is also home to the dugong, dolphins and marine turtles, many of which are threatened species. Colorful coral reef fishes are found here. Some of these are the: butterflyfishes, parrotfishes, wrasses, triggerfishes, angelfishes, surgeonfishes, damsel fishes, emperors,snappers, groupers and rabbit fishes.
In 1984, the then Ministry of Natural Resources issued a MNR Administrative Order No 518 establishing a 36, 000 hectare area in North-western Palawan as a Marine Turtle Sanctuary The El Nido Marine Reserve was expanded by virtue of DENR Administrative Order No. 14 Series of 1992, upon recommendations of the El Nido and Taytay Municipal Mayors to address livelihood opportunities for fishers. Proclamation No. 32 dated October 8, 1998 was passed to Congress for deliberation. Since 1989, several different government and non-government programs and projects have been introduced in the area.
In 1996, the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area was selected as one of the eight Protected Areas within the Philippines, to be included in the National Integrated Protected Areas Programme (NIPAP). The NIPAP was financed through a grant from the European Union (EU) with a progressively increasing contribution from the Philippines Government through the DENR. The overall objective of the program to help protect, conserve and manage natural habitats and biodiversity.
In 1989, because of a "Debt for Nature Swap" with the WWF, our El Nido, Bacuit Bay area became officially called a Turtle Sanctuary. Over the years, with shifting Government bodies & various lobbies for international grants, the UN came to Mother Natures rescue again. With the annual financial support of $US300,000 by the European Commission, the Department of Natural Resources established the "El Nido Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area Management Board " & a small (40 US cents) daily conservation fee is required to enjoy our reserve. Cash donations are also encouraged for those who can afford a little more.
The uniqueness of El Nido Reserve as compared with similar sites in the Philippines is that it partakes of the fact that the flora and fauna of the island of Palawan has affinities that are closer with that of the island of Borneo than those of the rest of the Philippines. This is due to the fact the geologically, the island of Palawan is connected to the island of Borneo and hence to mainland Southeast Asia as late as the Pleistocene Epoch. Due also to the relative isolation of the island from the rest of the country, its waters are pristine.