ComVal firms up tourism campaign
Nabunturan, Compostela Valley (22 January) -- The Compostela Valley tourism office-organized caving organization pledged Tuesday, January 19, to pursue their campaign to help promote and conserve the province's cave resources.
The Compostela Valley Cave and Conservation Society, Inc. (CaConSo) made the commitment during its general assembly that also elected its new set of officers for 2010 and held at the lobby of the Capitol in the capital Nabunturan.
"Kung daut ang kinaiyahan, daut usab ang kinabuhi sa katawhan," Provincial Board Member Moran Takasan, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee on the environment, told the almost 50 cavers who joined the assembly.
BM Takasan swore-in the new set of officers led by Loy Allen C. Urdaneta, a caver from Monkayo, who took over the post of Ramses Navarro of Laak whose term ends on January 20.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan official lauded the organization's objectives and assured to help in its campaign to protect the cave system of the province. After a brief message, Takasan told PGO-Tourism caving coordinator Prescila Decena he would want the organization to come up with a strong program which, he said, he would present to the SP for action.
"There is a need to institutionalize the projects and programs of the group to sustain the efforts of the provincial government to conserve and protect its caves. Caves, as part of the ecosystem, are tourism resources that we need to preserve," he said.
The new CaConSo officers are: Loy Allen C. Urdaneta, president; Prescila A. Decena, vice president; Engr. Evalyn M. Pamisa, treasurer; Christine Joy Carandang, secretary, Julie Ann C. Urdaneta, auditor, and trustees Leonel Lopez for Mawab, Michael D. Cosan for Nabunturan, Jeffer D. Capo for Maragusan, Brgy. Capt. Leonila S. Militares for Brgy. Andap, Laak; Brgy. Captain Eduardo T. Coquilla for Brgy. Sisimon, Laak; and Joanna Mae Asuncion for Pamintaran, Maragusan
Compostela Valley hosts scores of caves, most of which are unexplored. The municipality of Laak alone claims to have at least 100. Bongloy cave, the most pristine of the caves explored, lies in Brgy. Sisimon. Only about one-fourth of Bongloy has been explored by cave specialists from the Davao Speleological and Conservation Society, Inc. and the PGO-Tourism Services Section of Compostela Valley.
They believe the still untouched, virginal cave, with its unique speleothems and crystal-clear underground stream flowing from somewhere in the earthen depth holds still unseen subterranean wonders. Sisimon and neighboring Andap hosted last year's fourth Mindanao caving forum.
Aside from Laak's, caves are also found in five other municipalities of the province: Monkayo's Casoon, Awao, and Pasian caves; Nabunturan's San Vicente, Log Cabin, and Poblacion caves; Mawab's Mahayahay and Salvacion caves; and the unexplored caves of Pamintaran in Maragusan, Compostela, and New Bataan.
Caving coordinator Decena, elected vice president of the cave group in her private capacity, said the provincial tourism office hopes to promote Compostela Valley as a major caving and cave conservation player in Mindanao.
"We do not know if any province in Mindanao has almost 100 caves, they could have. Compostela Valley though, has so far the most number of explored ones," she said. "Hopefully, we shall be able to impress this with a very big delegation to the national caving congress scheduled in Kapalong, Davao del Norte this year," Decena said.
Christine T. Dompor, Compostela Valley provincial tourism officer, said Gov. Arturo T. Uy is very helpful in encouraging the strengthening of ecotourism in the province. Last year the governor allotted P100,000 for the site development of the caves of Laak and another P100,000 this year.
"Laak Mayor Reynaldo Navarro has also been very supportive and very much interested in developing his municipality's ecotourism program," Dompor said, noting that the mayor had also requested help from the tourism office to explore Monte Alto as a potential tourism site destination. Mayor Navarro pledged P1 million to develop Bongloy cave.
The tourism officer said Laak has a bright future in caving adventure ecotourism. This 947-sq. km. municipality, an isolated community mostly of lumad and descendants of migrants, is northwest of Compostela Valley and shares a common boundary with Monkayo in the east, Veruela in Agusan del Sur on the north, and Talaingod on the north and west.
It has a population of more than 60,000 souls distributed in its 40 villages straddling the municipality's wide range undulating landscape. It has an an average elevation of 200 metres above sea level.
Its highest points are Mt. Ampawid (844 m.), Mt. Olagusan (584 m.), and Mt. Abon-abon (320 m.).
It is 39.48 kms from Tagum City and 83 kms. from Nabunturan, the capital of Compostela Valley. (CIO ComVal) [top]