Cave Management, Protection and Conservation CY 2011

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For Biodiversity Conservation : Cave Management, Protection and Conservation

Pursuant to the provisions of the Republic Act No. 9072 otherwise known as the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act of 2001 and its implementing rules and regulations, the DENR Region IV-A has programmed assessment of three (3) caves this CY 2011.

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-Assessment of Identified Caves

With the Regional Cave Assessment Team (RCAT) in place, the Region assessed three (3 )caves situated in different provinces: 1) Kwebang Puti at Brgy Paowin, Cavinti, Laguna; 2) Palale Cave at Brgy Ibabang Palale, Tayabas, Quezon; and 3) Bat Cave at Pamitinan Protected Landscape. ⇒ Palale Cave. It is situated in Sitio Ibayo, Brgy. Ibabang Palale, Tayabas

City, Quezon. It was assessed in coordination with the Local Government Unit of Tayabas City and Tayabas Mountaineers Association, Inc.

This Palale Cave is within the undeveloped titled property of Mr. Luis Araya. It is almost completely covered with guano deposits, evidence that it is a home to a large colony of bats. It is relatively a dry cave due to the absence of underground streams. However, an abundant array of limestone formations, boulders and outcrops can also be found therein.

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Previous assessment conducted by Field Museum of Natural History, the Palale Cave assesment following were identified found inside the cave: 14 species of cave dwelling bats, 2 species of rodents (rats), 3 species of swift lets, 2 species of snakes, 2 species of frogs, crabs, snails and other crawling insects inside the cave.

The Regional Cave Committee (RCC) has recommended Palale Cave to be lined up under Cave Class II, which allows visitors’ entry for regulated and responsible eco-tourism activities. Taking into consideration the Cave Assessment Report and the RCC’s recommendation on the cave’s classification.

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⇒ Kuwebang Puti. It is situated in Brgy Paowin, Cavinti, Laguna and is along the upstream of Lalangawan River which serves as the physical and natural boundary between Cavinti, Laguna and Mauban, Quezon. Its assessment was made possible through the assistance of the Municipal Tourism Office (MTO) of Cavinti, Laguna. To get to the site, one has to trek 3 to 4 hours along rugged trains on steep terrain. The cave’s passage is short. In consideration of the assessment results, the RCC recommended Kuwebang Puti to be classified under Cave Class I, disclosing important information about the said cave: presence of delicate and rare cave formations; with geological hazards such as tight crawl ways/squeezes and thin floor layer in some portions that may collapse once it is made open to visitors and habitat of edible nestproducing swift lets.

⇒ Bat Cave. It is situated in Sitio Wawa, Brgy San Rafael, Rodriguez, Rizal, within Pamitinan Protected Landscape and several meters above the Pamitinan Cave. Its detailed assessment was undertaken with the assistance of the Municipal Tourism Office (MTO) of Rodriguez, Rizal.

As its name implies, Bat Cave is a home to a large colony of bats (both fruit and insect-eating bat species). Though there were traces of massive guano extraction, some volume could still be found. Its passage is relatively dry due to absence of underground streams, but despite its dryness, there is a rare geological formation called rimstone dam apparently formed long time ago therein. This could be an additional attraction/feature of the cave.

The RCC recommended the Bat Cave under Class II wherein it could be opened for responsible eco-tourism.

-Drafting/Preparation of Cave Management Plan

Taking consideration the Cave Assessment Report and the RCC recommendation comments and suggestions during the assessment presentation, Cave Management Plan for each assessed cave was crafted. These were done by concerned PAWCZMS field staff in close coordination with their respective Municipal Tourism Office and some Barangay and LGU officials. The three of the RCAT members during the actual cave survey and mapping – part of the detailed cave assessment activity. This is the particular station where the squeeze or tight crawlway is situated.

-Operationalization of Regional Cave Committee

The Regional Cave Committee ensures that the management, protection and conservation of caves of the Region are fully implemented. Two meetings were held during the year: August 9, 2011 and December 1, 2011. Present during those meetings were concerned LGU’s and PAWCZMS staff from Region, Laguna, Quezon and Rizal offices. Results of the conducted detailed assessment of the 3 caves were presented during the first meeting wherein for the Committee’s recommendations, comments and suggestions.

On the other hand, during the 2nd meeting on December 1, 2011 the proposed management plans of the 3 caves were presented to the Committee for deliberation. Comments and suggestions from LGU’s were also solicited.