Mt. Makiling is recognized for its beautiful ecological and biological diversity, listed as one of the 240 protected areas established by the Philippine government (Biodiversity Management Bureau, 2015). In 1910, the government issued Proclamation 106, whereas Mount Makiling is established as a forest reserve. Under the management of the University of the Philippines Los Ba?os (UPLB), the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve (MFR) is established as a state-owned forest reserve for the advancement of silvicultural studies by virtue of Republic Act No. 3523 in 1963. In 2013, the Mt.
Makiling was also declared as an ASEAN Heritage Park (Cinco, 2013). The forest reserve is situated on the border of the provinces of Laguna and Batangas that has an elevation of 1,090 meters spanning an area of 4,244 hectares (Yap, 2013). It is home to a high floral and faunal diversity and a significant number of which is endemic to the Philippines (Macandog et al., 2011). In terms of the locality of the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve, small communities located at the foothills of MFR are primarily composed of 44 barangays with a total documented population of 406,935 in 2000, distributed across urban (58.
3%) and rural (41.7%) areas (Laguna de Bay Environmental Action Planning, 2005). The residents in MFR generally engage in crop farming, although in the upstream site, lack of livelihood resources was the main issue brought forth by land-use. In spite of the income derived from farming, it is not enough to cover daily expenses (Macandog et al., 2011).
Endemic Flora of Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve
Figure 2. Artocarpus rubrovenia. (2016). Retrieved from
Artocarpus rubrovenia, commonly known as the Kalulot, is a species of plant in the family Moraceae endemic to Mt.
Makiling (Warburg, n.d.).
A dioecious evergreen tree that reaches up to 8 meters high with leaves that are sub-coriaceous and conduplicate measuring 18-22 cm long, and 7-10 centimeters wide; abaxial side is smoother and paler. The abrupt apex of the leaves is curved and is obtusely rounded at the base (Jocano, 2003). Its bark is mottled with grey and brown that exudes white latex when wounded (Brink, 2013). It contains a male flower head that is yellowish in color and is soft whilst the female flower heads are dark green and rounded. The tree has a dense crown and glabrous leaves and its trunk measuring 80-300 cm in diameter (Orwa et al., 2009).
Artocarpus rubrovenia has a typical life expectancy of 60-70 years, being able to bear 100-500 seeds per fruit (Morton, 1987).
Kalulot contains both male and female reproductive organs. The male flower-head can be found on new wood just above the female flower-head; mature male flower-heads contain pollens. Female flower-heads are found stout twigs that grow on trunks. When pollination occurs, the female flower-head swells and anthesis occur where it develops into a fruit. The fruit, when eaten, disperses the seeds it contains where germination will occur (Morton, 1987).
Kalulot is used in the clothing industry as well as in medicine. The bark is utilized to manufacture cloth while the decoction of both bark and leaves is given to treat fevers (Agustin, n.d.).
Figure 3. Medinilla magnifica (2015). Retrieved from
Medinilla magnifica, simply known as the Pink Lantern or Chandelier Tree, is a tropical evergreen shrub that prefers the warm and humid climate of that of Mt. Makiling (Fischer, 2012).
Medinilla magnifica is an epiphytic tropical evergreen shrub that grows to a maximum of 2.5 meters tall. Its foliage contains dark-green leaves that are leathery in texture growing at about 30 cm long and 20-25 cm wide. It has succulent stems that droop due to the weight of its inflorescence. The shrub contains its distinct pink to coral-red flowers clustered together and is attached to showy pink bracts in a drooping panicle that mimics the growth of grapes (Maria et al., 2012).
The pink lantern has a life expectancy of 7-10 years (Slakindt, 2013).
Medinilla magnifica undergo propagation to reproduce. Cutting from the shoots stem are potted to fibrous peat with perlite at optimum temperatures of 24-25 degrees Celsius. Sexual production contains the pollination of the carpel from the stamen that would then produce seeds and grow if suitable conditions are met (Maria et al., 2012).
Medinilla magnifica contains a multiplicity of compounds such as saponin and tannin which have possible health benefits. Saponins inhibit the development of cancer as well as promote immunity. Tannins cause an action known as astringent that is applied to treat diseases such as pharyngitis, hemorrhoids, and skin eruptions (Vasallo, 2008).
Figure 4. Rafflesia manillana. (2013, October 10). Retrieved from
The Rafflesia manillana or simply known as rafflesia is an elusive parasitic plant endemic to Mt. Makiling that can be found in Tetrastigma vines (Barcelona, 2009).
The Rafflesia manillana is an open flower spanning a diameter of 11-16 cm with a distinct five perigone lobes dotted with warts. Its stems, leaves, and roots are reduced or absent, indicating a parasitic nature due to its nutrient-absorbing threads as its medium for feeding. The stamens and pistil are incorporated together to form a ring-shaped corona or crown. It emits sulfur-containing compounds that mimic the smell of rotting flesh caused by the reddish tentacle-like, branched ramenta. Their colors are usually red or purplish brown, or in mottled patterns (Main, 2013).
Rafflesia manillana has a small lifespan of only 5-7 days, making it elusive (Beaman et al., 1988; Nais, 2000).
Flowers are unisexual, and specific sites only produce either male and female flowers. Close proximity and simultaneous blooming with the female flower is necessary to efficiently transfer the pollen (Beaman et al., 1988). Flower bud mortality is 80-90% per site, thus reducing the chances of pollination to occur (Nais, 2000). Furthermore, current populations are disrupted due to habitat destruction (Beaman et al., 1988; Nais, 2000).
Rafflesia buds are used to stop internal bleeding in women as well as to shrink the womb after childbirth. It is also used as an energy drink and an aphrodisiac for men. A study was conducted for the healing properties of Rafflesia, and the results showed an increased rate of wound closure and contraction (Abdulla, Ahmed, Ali, Noor, & Ismail, 2009).
Figure 5. Securinega flexuosa. (n.d.). Retrieved from iNaturalist:
The Securinega flexuosa is a plant species in the family Phyllanthaceae, unique in the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve (Orwa et al., 2009).
It is a deciduous shrub, with an average size of 30 centimeters tall. Its bole is irregularly shaped, with no branches present. During its embryonic development, its bark appears to be smooth but eventually becomes fissured, which results in a scaly surface when aged. It primarily has a leaf phyllotaxy of spiral but differs on the twigs, which have a distichous arrangement. The leaves are simple, with an entire margin and short petioles. As for the flowers, they are whitish or greenish to yellowish in color with no petals present. It has clustered fruits, red in color during the embryonic stage but eventually turns black as it ripens (Orwa et al., 2009).
The life expectancy of small trees or shrubs, in general, are 7-10 years (Slakindt, 2013).
Deciduous shrubs have a cycle of growing season and dormant season. They begin with warm temperatures, they start to grow new leaf buds during this season, and begin to shed their leaves before the cold season starts. This serves as their preparation for their rest during the cold season (Patterson, n.d.).
It still does not have a known use or study about its benefits (Patterson, n.d.).
Figure 6. Strongylodon macrobotrys. (2013, March). Retrieved from
The Strongylodon macrobotrys, commonly known as the jade vine or the emerald creeper, is a vigorous evergreen climber that resides on the lower strata of Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve (Lapitan et al., 2011).
The jade vine is a perennial woody vine of the Fabac family twining up to 18 meters high (Ragasa et al., 2014). Their tough, twisted stem contains alternate trifoliate leaves. Elliptic oblong leaflets up to 12 cm are pink-bronze in its early stage, becoming pale-green and eventually mature to deep green. Flowers are pendulous, axillary, cylindrical racemes that reach up to 90 cm; each flower is clawed, waxy and shows a brilliant color of aquamarine to a jade green that attracts bats at twilight. They thrive in a hot climate, not exceeding below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (Pancho et al., 2006).
Strongylodon macrobotrys has no definite lifespan but is an aggressive vine that blooms during early spring to early summer (Kumar, 2004).
The vine consists of both male and female reproductive organs. The male structure of the flower houses the stamen where it holds the pollen grains while the female structure houses the ovary that contains the ovule. Pollination is achieved by bats that are attracted by its luminescent flower and nectar. Successful pollination produces a fruit that grows up to the size of a melon. The fruits are then scattered to new locations where they start their own cycle if environmental conditions are met (Troxell, 2013).
Jade vine contains no known medicinal properties but is used as an ornamental plant due to its captivating features (Jacquiline, 2017).