Belison is the smallest and the youngest municipality in the province of Antique in the Western Visayas (Region VI) of the Philippines. The municipality is bounded on the east by the municipality of San Remigio and southeast by the municipality of Sibalom, on the south by the municipality of San Jose de Buenavista, on the north by the municipality of Patnongon, and on the west by Cuyo East Pass. Geographically, Belison is located between 10o 3’ 25” and 10o 7’ 55” latitude and 121o 11’ 19” and 122o 3’ 49” longitude or 10°50′N 121°58′E.
The municipality of Belison is politically subdivided into eleven (11) barangays, namely: Borocboroc, Buenavista, Concepcion, Delima, Ipil, Maradiona, Mojon, Poblacion, Rombang, Salvacion, Sinaja and each with a duly constituted government unit known as the barangay council headed by the Punong Barangay. The Poblacion which is the seat of the municipal government can be considered as an urban barangay based on the definition of urban areas defined in NSCB Resolution No. 9, series of 2003 and under the Philippine laws. The other 10 are considered rural.
In terms of elevation, highest part is between 121m to 178m found in Barangay Buenavista. The rest of the barangays are in flat terrain located in the lowlands.
The Municipality of Belison is a mixture of flat and hilly terrain. Based in slope 1,649.3092 hectares or 83.37% is considered as lowland or with relatively flat to undulating slope and 329 has. or 16.63% is considered upland. The hilly and mountainous portion of Belison is located on the east composing two barangays, the barangay Buenavista, located on mountaintop and Mojon located on hilly area. The three (3) lowland barangays are Rombang, Concepcion, and Sinaja while the six (6) coastal barangays are Salvacion, Poblacion, Ipil, Delima, Borocboroc and Maradiona. The dominant slope categories are 0-3 percent which ranks first, second is 30 percent and above and third is 18-30 percent. More than 70 percent of the town’s total area falls within these three slope categories.
Present of rock slide and outcrop of mudstone are in evidence along the barangay road going to barangay Buenavista. Terracets and extremely jointed mudstone can be observed along slope in barangays Buenavista and Mojon.
From rice fields to mountain, Belison has it. The eastern portion is quite hilly but not so mountainous. Mt. Guinobatan is the highest peak present in this site where it deep caves believed to be stretching down through Kotkot (barangay Salvacion today) via underground passages carrying fresh water that wells up in an undersea spring, or sawang, in the open sea. The southern border stretches from east to west, where wide parayan (ricefields), providing ample hunting grounds for white Chinese egrets (tulabong) and a host of ducks.
There are 2 general types of soil in the municipality – loam and clay. The types of loam soil present within the municipality are: Magcalon Sandy Loam and Umingan Sandy Loam. Clay soils have the following types: Alimodian Sandy Clay and Sta. Rita Sandy Clay. Undifferentiated Mountain soil and beach sand are also present in the municipality.
Land Capability Classes
There are three land capability classes in the municipality. They are A, B, and D. Class A are found in 10 barangays with an aggregate area of 1,563.3092 hectares. This land class is a very good land, which can be cultivated to a wide variety of crops and requires good management and simple farming practice. Class B lands is widely scattered and can be found in the northern part of the municipality with an approximate area of330.8 hectares. This land class can be cultivated safely in conjunction with good conservation practices. Class D is fairly good land suited for pasture or forest and must be cultivated with extra caution require careful management and complex conservation methods should be introduced for safe cultivation. This land type is concentrated in barangay Buenavista and portion of barangay Mojon containing an area of 84.2 hectares.
Of the 1,978.3092 hectares of Belison, around 73% percent or 1,438.9800 hectares is considered as agricultural areas. This land classification is divided according to its agricultural products or agricultural activities. Of the total land area intended for agriculture purposes and activities, 59 percent or 1,184.2382 has. is utilized for agricultural crop production such as rice, sugarcane, corn, banana and other crops, 11.8 percent (232.7411 hectares) as grazing land for livestock production, and 1.1 percent (22.0007 hectares) as fishpond areas for inland fishing or aquaculture. Table 2.5.1 and Map below present the data further.
Existing General Land use
The Municipality of Belison has a total land area of 1,978.3092 hectares, which constitutes 0.72% of the total land area of the province. Most of the total land area of the municipality visibly shows that agriculture continues to be the heartbeat of the community’s rural existence. The existing 1,184.2382 hectares or 59.86% of the total land area of the municipality is agricultural. The table below present the existing land uses of the municipality and its corresponding area and presented in a map.
Urban Land Use Pattern
The existing urban land use area of the municipality is 346.1809 has. and unevenly distributed in all barangays. This land areas is for residential, commercial, agri-industrial, parks and playgrounds and cemeteries. The table below present the data on its location, area and existing specific use and also shown in a map.
The coastal zone of Belison is comparatively small, despite the fact that the entire length of municipal lands stretches north to south along the sea. It contributes only 5.98kms, to the total coastline of Antique Province which is 296.80 kms long. The shoreline is covered with 90% fine to medium grained sandy beaches characterized as black heavy high density sand and 10% gravel of different sizes. Belison has no islands, off shore sand bars, or other distinguishing seaward landmarks. It has no bays or complicated geography. The shoreline is relatively straight and sandy from northern to southern boundary, with a few streams which traverse the coastal zone.
There were small portion of rocky area underwater where corals are observed within the shore of the municipality as per coastal survey conducted by ScubaTech. A total of 8 spot of corals were also observed in the shore of Maradiona. At an area of 10-20 feet of water, small patches of coral formation were observed in Borocboroc and Salvacion.
An estimated total length of 5 has. of sea grasses were observed along the shore of Maradiona, Borocboroc, Poblacion and Ipil. These seagrass communities serve as the growing place of the fishes.
Reef Fish Communities
The following fish species had been observed as present within the municipal waters.
There were two (2) main rivers and two (2) significant Creeks in Belison. The major rivers based on their width were Belison River and the portion of the Sibalom River. The two significant creeks present in the municipality are the Sinaja Creek and Maradiona creek. These Rivers and creeks provide the essential link between the upland and the lowland of which they facilitate the flow of nutrients and water and they provide the habitat to diverse flora and fauna. These rivers are also the main sources of water for domestic, industrial and irrigation purposes. However, at the same manner, these rivers are also the main source today of the siltation that covers and destroy the very limited corals that grows in some shallow rock formation in the area.
Based on the four type of climate in the Philippines, Belison has a tropical monsoon or Type I climate with two main seasons – the dry and the wet or rainy seasons. The dry season begins from November and ends in May. The dry season is subdivided further into (a) the cool dry season, from November to February; and (b) the hot dry season, from March to May. The months of April and May, the hot and dry months when schools are on their long break between academic years, is referred to as summer.
The average year-round temperature measured is 27.5 °C (81.6 °F). Cooler days are usually felt in the month of January with temperature averaging at 26.6 °C (79.9 °F) and the warmest days, in the month of May with a mean of 28.4 °C (83.1°F).
Although intermittent rains may come any month of the year, the rainy season is from June to November with August as the rainiest month. It has an average of 23 rainy days. The average annual rainfall is 95.38 inches or 2,422.6 mm with the greatest precipitation occurring from June to September.
Light to moderate winds from the northwest and southeast with a minimum frequency of 5-10km/h prevail during most parts of the year. It is assumed that some mountain ranges east of Belison, serve as wind breaks from that direction. Destructive winds from the north and south blow during typhoons only.
Natural Hazards/ Constraints
Because of its geographical setting, Belison has a high risk of natural disasters causing damage to the area’s population, property, and economy. A changing climate will result in these natural disasters becoming stronger, more frequent and having greater widespread effects. The effects of climate change will be felt in rising temperatures, rising sea levels, stronger more frequent extreme weather events and wetter wet seasons and dryer dry seasons.
The municipality is highly susceptible to flooding as per MGB Survey conducted. The Sibalom River is the largest river system in Antique and it cuts through the southern part of the municipality, directly affecting 4 barangays – Rombang, Concepcion Sinaja, and Salvacion. During times of heavy torrential rain the river can be a highly destructive force, eroding banks and occasionally inundating communities and crops. The Belison River is also a danger to the municipality, as it passes through a more heavily populated part of Belison. Other barangay located along the coastal area such as Borocboroc, Delima, Ipil, Maradiona, Poblacion and Salvacion also experience flooding during heavy prolonged rains and typhoons.
Tsunami or tidal wave, also known as a seismic sea wave, is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater explosions (including detonations of underwater nuclear devices), landslides, glacier calving, meteorite impacts and other disturbances above or below water all have the potential to generate a tsunami. From the tsunami hazard map generated by PHILVOCS, Belison is one of the municipalities prone to tsunami affecting nine (9) of its barangay namely: Rombang, Concepcion, Sinaja, Salvacion, Poblacion, Ipil, Delima, Borocboroc, Maradiona with total area prone to tsunami of1,534 hectares.
Rain Induced Landslides (RIL) are downward and outward movement of materials caused by floods and excessive rain. It is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments. Although the action of gravity is the primary driving force for a landslide to occur, there are other contributing factors affecting the original slope stability.
The Geohazards Mapping and Assessment Team (GMAT) of the Mine and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has conducted an updating of Geohazard Maps for flooding and landslide susceptibility to all barangays of the municipality in 2017.