8 Bicol Caves in PH Protected List

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov 08 (PNA) -- Eight caves in the Bicol Region are in the country’s list of 158 that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has classified for protection, conservation and management.

DENR Bicol Regional Executive Director Gilbert C. Gonzales said six of these caves are categorized as Class 3, that is, generally safe to inexperienced visitors and have no known threatened species and archeological, geological, natural history, cultural and historical values.

The caves are the Luyang Cave in Barangay Lictin San Andres, Catanduanes; Versales Cave, Barangay Linao, Placer, Masbate; Lingaw Cave, Barangay Linao, Libon in Albay; San Ramon Cave, Barangay San Ramon, Libon, Albay; Rawis Cave, Barangay Rawis, Libon, Albay; and Pighulugan Cave, Barangay Misibis, Bacacay, also in Albay.

These caves may also be utilized for economic purposes such as guano extraction and edible birds and collection, he said.

Two caves are classified under Class 2 or those with areas or portions which have hazardous conditions and contain sensitive geological, archeological, cultural, historical and biological values or high quality ecosystem, Gonzales added.

Open to experienced cavers or guided educational tours/visits, these caves are: the Mataas Cave, Barangay Mataas, Bacacay, Albay, and the Calabidongan Cave, Barangay Calabidongan, Camalig, Albay.

“It may be necessary to close sections of these caves seasonally or permanently,” Gonzales said.

He claimed that he found this cave classification useful in rationalizing any plans to use them for economic purposes.

He said DENR Secretary Ramon Paje has signed a memorandum circular that provides for continuous classification of caves in the country until all of them have been classified.

“This has the end view of protecting our caves, including their natural, historical and cultural attributes,” Gonzales said.(PNA) PDS/MSA/CBD/