Mallig Creek in Naguilian serves as the South border of the Pascual Farm, RBS Farm and many other adjacent farms in Santo Tomas, Naguilian. From the rolling hills of Naguilian and the adjacent towns, Mallig Creek merges and empties its water into the larger Cagayan River.
Year round water. Unlike many small creeks, Mallig Creek has water year round, even during the height of Summer before the monsoon rains arrive. However, the water level is significantly lower during the waning days of Summer (evident in the May 2014 photos shown here). The presence of water year round remains to this day, in spite of the massive deforestation and conversion of the steepest terrains in the area into corn and cassava cultivation, even in the steepest areas (see other photos below).
Monsoon rain flooding. The water level in Mallig Creek increases dramatically during the monsoon season; flooding (up to "lampas tao") some areas of the small patches of lowlands between the adjacent hills.
Steep region planted with corn. Our recent survey of the property showed very steep areas planted with corn.
Slash and Burn. Outsiders trespass along the periphery of the farmlands, especially along Mallig Creek. During our recent site visits, there were evidences of recent and previous "slash and burn". An area once planted with "running" bamboo along the creek had been burned and planted with corn. However, the latest corn crop not only is stunted but also did not show any corn ears.
Massive soil erosion is evident in this steep region of the property.
Potential impact of El Nino. According to our collaborating farmers, Mang Brillante and Manang Beatriz, Mallig Creek had water even during the past El Ninos. Whether this will remain true in the future is a concern.
From recent reports, there is a great probability that El Nino may develop as early as July 2014; some scientists found that the ENSO patterns in May 1997 (one of the worst El Nino recorded) have similar patters with the May 2014 patterns.
Water sequestration. To prepare for potentially severe drought associated with El Nino, one of our major projects is water impounding in ponds -- both from bodies of water, like the Mallig Creek, as well as sequestration of rainwater that is quite in excess during the monsoon season.
Based on the average monthly precipitation, we estimated building impounding areas (ponds) of about one (1) hectare, with depth of about three (3) meters to collect most of the rainwater during the monsoon season -- for every five (5) hectares of land surface in Ilagan and Naguilian, as well as adjacent municipalities. [Our recommended water depth for the pond is due in part to our water sequestration (pond) design as well as anticipation of more excessive water during El Nina (when there is more rainwater than average).]
With water conservation techniques, like minimization of surface water evaporation, micro-irrigation, mulching (either with plastic or organic), "root level" micro irrigation, subsurface water replenishment, etc, the rainwater sequestered, mostly during the monsoon season should be more than sufficient for water needs during the dry season. However, because the projected Juy-to-August 2014 onset of El Nino being the start also of the rainy season in the Philippines, there would be less rainwater that may be sequestered this year. The deficit would even more severe if the duration of El Nino will exceed more than a year (up to the next rainy season).
The above impact of severe El Nino is one of the reasons why areas with bodies of water, in this case, the Mallig Creek in the selected Santo Tomas, Naguilian property, would have advantage in coping with severe El Nino. This advantage would be realized only if there is pre-emptive storage of water in impounding areas well before the onset of El Nino.