Recognized as among asset natural resources for their uniqueness and wonder, let alone its historical, and ecological value, caves have become venues for scientific studies and discoveries in the past years- a resource best championed by CENRO Digos City.
Coinciding with the celebration of Earth Day last April 22, 2022, DENR-CENRO Digos City, in collaboration with PENRO Davao del Sur conducted a Cave Exploration cum Tree Planting Activity at Sitio Talambato, Barangay Asbang, Matanao Davao del Sur.
Tagged as typically dark, cold and a home to bats- but more than that, caves play multiple key roles in determining and sustaining a healthy environment. They’re vital in groundwater movement likewise a habitat for threatened and endangered animal species.
The explored caves in Matanao included the Fyingi Sol Cave (Class III) and Su’bon Cave (Class II), two sets of caverns known to be ecotourism sites at the locality, providing an alternative albeit sustainable source of livelihood for the communities surrounding them.
The Fyingi Sol Cave/Swiftlet Cave (Sol is a B’laan word, the local settlers in said area) is known for its narrow, tight and challenging entrance is 78 meters long, with dome walls and several cave formations observed. Su'bon Cave, unlike the other, is moderately submerged with water, and is 198 meters deep, having larger calcite formations. Su'bon, further, means "foul odor" coming from feces of bats, a smell that one can get a whiff of inside the cave.
As you do your spelunking/caving, your eyes will wander on the various formations in it. Speleothems droop from the ceilings like icicles, emerge from the floor like mushrooms, and cover the sides like sheets of a waterfall. Speleothems form as the carbon dioxide in the acidic water escapes in the airiness of the cave and the dissolved calcite hardens once again.
Other formations observed inside the caves are the icicle-shaped formations called stalactites which form as water drips from the cave roof. The other formations most commonly found in other caves, Stalagmites grow up from the floor/ground, usually from the water that drips off the end of stalactites. Columns form where stalactites and stalagmites join. Sheets of calcite growths on cave walls and floor are called flowstones. Other stalactites take the form of draperies and soda straws. Twisty shapes called helictites warp in all directions from the ceiling, walls, and floor.
Since the implementation of Caves Management and Conservation Program in 1994, over 1,500 caves have been recorded by the DENR, to which, hundreds are in Davao Region. There had been over a thousand that were assessed, listed, mapped and classified, there could be a thousand more out there. Nature’s a true wonder, after all.
The DENR will unceasingly explore and assess caves across the country and will propel for its protection and conservation, like all the other natural resources gifted to the Philippines. | 𝑣𝑖𝑎 𝐶𝑦𝑙𝑙𝑒 𝑀𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑒 𝑆. 𝑁𝑎𝑑𝑜𝑛𝑧𝑎