When Sacred Water Becomes an Economic Good: Tensions and Governance Challenges in Mount Banahaw, Philippines

  • Journal of Environmental Science and Management
  • Maria Helen Dayo
  • Agnes Rola
  • Corazon Abansi
  • Joy Lizada
  • Rosalie Arcala Hall
  • Ida Siason
Keywords: sacred water, use value, non-consumptive use, water governance, Mount Banahaw, Philippines


Mount Banahaw, an active volcano and a watershed tn the municipality of Dolores, Quezon province, Philippines, is also a considered a sacred place. This study discussed the community outcomes arising from the conceptual dichotomy of perceptions of multi-use of water by formal organizations such as water districts for domestic use and by informal organizations such as the religious groups for the sacred or religious use of water from the sacred mountain; and the negotiations among these different actors and agents for water access. Results distilled lessons around the interlocking themes of water use and institutions in the access and allocation of water resources as water transits from non-consumptive use to use value. Polycentric water governance is necessary in the context of Mount Banahaw’s cultural, social and economic realities.