Sibuyan Island is one of a small group of islands off the north of Panay, which also includes the islands of Tablas and Romblon. The slopes of the highest mountains on the island, Mt Guiting-guiting and Mt Nailog, are generally steep and in some areas virtually inaccessible to humans. The name of the former mountain translates from Ilongo, the principal language spoken on Sibuyan Island, as "saw-tooth," which describes the series of precipitous jagged peaks that are so conspicuous from the lowlands. Primary forests cover c.14,000 ha, which is c.33% of the land area of Sibuyan. However, most of the lower altitude forest has been logged or is secondary. Mt Guiting-guiting Natural Park was established to protect these forests, which are mainly in the centre and north of the island, and covers an area of c.15,700 ha out of Sibuyan’s total area of c.44,500 ha. The Park is remarkable for its outstandingly scenic landscape with twin towering peaks set amidst closed canopy forests. Its forests remain largely intact, and include the entire elevational gradient from lowland dipterocarp forest (at c.200-900 m) and mangroves, through montane forest (above c.700 m) to mossy forest, heathland and montane grassland around the peaks. Sibuyan Island has attractive scenery and considerable potential for tourism.
Several threatened and restricted-range species have been recorded on Sibuyan, which lies within the Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan Secondary Area. It is likely that several of these birds will prove to have important populations in the extensive forests of Mt Guiting-guiting National Park. Three subspecies are endemic to Sibuyan, Colasisi Loriculus philippensis bournsi, Philippine Pygmy-woodpecker Dendrocopos maculatus menagei and Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma sibuyanicum, all of which were recorded there in the early 1990s, and two more to Sibuyan and other nearby islands.
Non-bird biodiversity: Sibuyan Island is remarkable for its endemic flora and fauna, a result of the island's relative isolation since the middle to late Pleistocene. There are estimated to be 700 vascular plant species on the island, including 54 species that are endemic to it. Five species of mammals (all threatened) (one fruit bat and four rodents) are endemic to Sibuyan, and the critically endangered fruit bat Nyctimene rabori occurs there.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mount Guiting-guiting Natural Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/12/2020.