Sibuyan Island is one of the centers of plant diversity in Asia and the Pacific, according to the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources. It is believed to have one of the densest forests in the world, with an estimated 1,551 trees per hectare. Sibuyan serves as habitat for a rich array of endangered and endemic species, including a pitcher plant, that live only on the island. Other rare and endangered species include the long-tailed macaque, gold-mantled flying fox, Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat, and Visayan warty pig. Mount Guiting-Guiting rises to around 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) above sea level. The island has only about 10,378 acres (4,200 hectares) of forest cover remaining because of illegal logging.
A community of 80 households of the Mangyan tribe live in one section of the Mount Guiting-Guiting watershed. The community will actively protect 2,471 acres (1,000 hectares) of watershed forest for at least 10 years. Preventing further deforestation will help preserve water that powers a local micro-hydro system. The Romblon Electric Cooperative (ROMELCO) operates the micro-hydro system, which supplies some electricity in the lowlands. Because the community members’ houses are far apart on the steep mountain slope, it is extremely difficult to tap into the grid.
Seacology is helping the Mangyan community and ROMELCO buy 80 solar power units, one for each household in the community. The solar units will provide lighting that will help children to do homework after dark, and adults to do chores.