Bukidnon is a landlocked province; acclaimed as the highland paradise in the heart of Mindanao. It occupies the extensive plateaus in North-Central Mindanao that is bounded on the north and northeast by Misamis Oriental; on the East by Agusan Province; on the south and southeast by Davao Province; and on the west and southwest by Lanao and Davao Provinces.
Bukidnon lies between the parallels 7o 21’ to 8o 35’ north latitude and the meridians 124o 03’ to 125o 16’ east longitude. The capital of the Province, the City of Malaybalay, is about 850 kilometers by air from Manila and 91 kilometers by road from Cagayan de Oro City.
B. Watershed, Rivers and Lakes
Being relatively elevated and centrally located, the Province is itself a “watershed” for much of North-Central Mindanao comprising the headwaters and substantial portions of seven major river catchments originating in the Province. These are the Pulangi Watershed (361,678 ha); Tagoloan Watershed (177,043 ha); Cagayan Watershed (110,077 ha); Muleta Watershed (68,294 ha); Maridugao Watershed (52,166 ha); Salug Watershed (38,830ha); and the Cugman-Agusan Watershed (21,290 ha).
Two of these watersheds have direct inter-regional implications. The Pulangi River is the Rio Grande of Mindanao and shared with Region 11 and ARMM. It currently provides water to the Pulangi Hydro Power IV and soon the Pulangi Hydro Project V. The other river, the Salug River, has its watershed in Bukidnon. The river catchments area is currently used as aquifer for Davao City.
Aside from the relatively important river systems, various lakes also dot the landscape of the province. The three most notable are the Pinamaloy Lake in Don Carlos, the Napalit Lake in Pangantucan, and Lake Apo in Valencia City. Maramag basin is a man-made lake, a result of the construction of a huge dam for the National Power Corporation Hydro-Electric Power Plant in Maramag.
C. Plateaus and Mountain Ranges
The province is also blessed with beautiful and important mountain ranges: Mt. Kimangkil Range, Pantaron Range, Mt. Tankulan Range, Mt. Tago Range, Mt. Kalatungan Range Natural Park and Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park.
Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park has been declared as protected area pursuant to Republic Act 8978 also known as the Mt. Kitanglad Range Protected Area Act of 2000; while Mt. Kalatungan Range Natural Park, tagged as the sister of Mt. Kitanglad Range, is proclaimed as such per Presidential Proclamation No. 305 also in the year 2000.
Well known is the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park which boasts the second highest peak in the country, Mount Dulang-dulang and its more popular peak, Mount Kitanglad. The range has a sloping gradient that peaks at 2,938 meters above sea level and occupies the central portion of Bukidnon. The whole eastern and southern borders adjoining the Provinces of Agusan, Davao and Cotabato, are lofty and densely forested mountains.
Although, the province has lofty mountains, the greater part is a gently rolling grassland plateau cut by deep and wide canyons of the Cagayan, Pulangi and Tagoloan Rivers and their tributaries. At Mailag, 23 kilometers south of Malaybalay, the plateau begins to descend and gradually merges into the lowlands of Cotabato province.
Due to its elevation and mountainous physiography, the climate of Bukidnon is relatively cool and moist throughout the year.
Bukidnon is outside the typhoon belt and has two distinct climate types. The central and southern portions are more influenced by the southwest monsoon and most fourth type or intermediate B, that is, no very pronounced maximum rain period and no dry seasons. Rains are very frequent, almost daily for the rest of the year. The climate in the northern portion is also influenced by the northeast monsoon and reflects the third type or intermediate A characteristics wherein, no very pronounced maximum rain period with short dry season lasting only for one to three months is experienced.
E. Land Area and Classification
i. Land Area
Bukidnon has an area of 1,049,859 hectares or 10,498.59 sq. km. as certified by the DENR-Land Management Bureau. It is the largest province in Region 10 and the eighth largest in the country in terms of land area.
ii. Land Classification
Thirty eight percent (38%) of the total land area of Bukidnon is alienable and disposable; while the remaining sixty-two percent (62%) are classified forestland.
An estimate of 92% of the total alienable and disposable land is devoted to agricultural crops.
Forestland consist the majority of the land area of the province, allocated at 507,802 hectares. The forestland is broken down into protection forest and production areas.
The protection forest of 195,517.25 hectares consists of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) area, the military reserved area, river/creek allowance and the virgin forest. A total hectarage of 53,535 is considered virgin forests.
The production forest of 312,284.75 hectares comprises the tenured (300,011.94 hectares) and untenured forest areas (12,272.81 hectares).
iii. Vegetative Cover
The province vegetative cover which is at the same time covered by the forestall areas are distinctively classified into forested and non-forested areas. Forested area estimated at 227,062 hectares comprises the old growth forest, residual forest, mossy forest, and forest plantation. Non-forested area is estimated at 280,740 hectares which includes the brushland and open cultivated/grassland.
F. Mineral Resources
The Province has several natural deposits, such as gold, chromites, copper, manganese, quartz, white clay and limestone.
Among the minerals available and authorized for exploration includes limestone, chromite, feldspar, copper, silica quartz and gold. Mining operations are also regulated.
G. Ancestral Land
As per report submitted by the Office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, there were three (3) certificates of ancestral domain titles already issued within the municipalities of Kitaotao, Talakag and Quezon covering an area of 102,234.82 hectares, 11,105.57 hectares and 8,571.20 hectares respectively.
Aside from the three (3) ancestral domain titles issued, two (2) certificates of ancestral domain titles are still on process. These are located in Siloo, Malitbog and Tigbawan, Malaybalay City, and both areas contain 257.20 hectares each. Other eight (8) applications for ancestral domain titles in the areas of Impasugong, Cabanglasan, Malitbog and Malaybalay City are still on process, totalling the area applied for title to 60,215 hectares.
In the identification of physical boundaries, the community elders were made to participate and take part in giving oral historical accounts. Such participation from these esteemed tribal leaders manifests Government efforts at keeping astride their welfare in the matter of identifying ancestral domains and showing respect upon the people of the indigenous community.