Orientation-Workshop on Caves and Cave Resources Conservation
and Management with Field Practicum
by: Ma. Grace Laurente-Agatep

The Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS) of Region IVB-MIMAROPA, in coordination with Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) and Provincial Cave Assessment Team (PCAT) of Romblon, conducted a three-day orientation workshop on caves and cave resources conservation and management with field practicum on January 2-31, 2013 at Simara Island, Romblon. It was participated by the Municipal Mayor of Corcuera, Hon. Mayor Rachel Banares, Municipal Cave Committee of Corcuera and Municipal Tourism Officers (MTO) of the Municipalities of Ferrol, Odiongan, Calatrava, Banton, and Corcuera.

            The said activity was organized to capacitate the participants on cave assessment, planning, and mapping and to familiarize themselves with various aspects of caving such as cave geology, cave biodiversity, cave archaeology and assessment, cave ecotourism, code of ethics in caving, and Cave Act or RA No. 9072.

            As part of the orientation-workshop, a meeting was held for the creation of Provincial Cave Committee (PCC) and PCAT which was attended by the tourism officers of the Municipalities of Odiongan, Ferrol, Calatrava, Banton and Corcuera. It was agreed during the meeting that a second meeting will be held for the orientation of the newly appointed members of PCC and PCAT of Romblon on March 2013 to be hosted by the Municipality of Odiongan.

            For the field practicum of the participants, the participants headed by Efren delos Reyes, Ronald Atienza and Doreen Mascarenas of PENRO Marinduque, conducted a cave assessment of Oyo Cave in Bgry. Colong-Colong which is one of the priority caves of Simara Island for cave tourism. It was found out during the assessment that Oyo Cave has small opening/entrance with a 125 linear meter distance. Hence, there is less breathable air inside and high humidity. Aside from its slippery floors and other collapsed portion within the cave, presence of cave formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flow stone, draperies, straws, bathtub, and cave pearls was also observed. The said assessment led to a recommendation of maintaining a limitation as to the number of visitors per cave guide if Oyo Cave will be opened for ecotourism. The development of a management plan with proper zoning and interpretative tourism for cave guides, establishment of precautionary actions, maintenance of the cleanliness inside and outside the cave, and provision for safety caving gears were also recommended. Likewise, Cave Oyo was recommended for Cave Classification II signifying that only some areas of the said cave will be open for ecotourism activities. 



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