THE Lapu-Lapu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) is now studying the conversion of a newly-discovered cave in Barangay Pajo, Lapu-Lapu into an eco-tourism site.
Pajo Barangay Captain Junard Chan said Mactan Grain Terminal initially wanted to fence the property but the barangay asked the private company to revise their plan.
The cave is located on a property-owned by the General Milling Corp. in Sitio Seaside.
“Kuralon unta sa Mactan Grain ang entire property. Karon atong gi-parevise nga dili lang iapil ang langob kay mao man nay atong gikasabotan basi sa atong paghatag nila og permiso nga pwede silang maka-operate in condition nga ang langob pwede nilang ma-reserve. Nisugot ra sad karon (Mactan Grain wanted to fence the entire property. We asked them not to because our agreement for the issuance of permit was that the cave must be reserved for an eco-tourism site. The company agreed),” Chan said.
Pajo Barangay Council submitted a resolution to the office of Lapu-Lapu Mayor Paz Radaza in September last year. Chan said they asked the City to help them develop the area as a tourist attraction.
He said there could be a museum where indigenous materials used during the time of Datu Lapu-Lapu will be displayed.
“Kon mahimo siyang eco-tourism dako kay siyag ikatabang in terms of livelihood. Makahatag siyag panginabuhi sa atong kahigsuonan. At the same time maka-income pud, mokita sad dili lang sa foreign tourist kon di apil na ang local tourist sa maong area (As an eco-tourism site it can give livelihood to the people and the barangay),” Chan said.
The cave has been abandoned for years. But remnants of religious activities that took place inside can still be found: broken religious icons, balusters, two structures used to catch drops of water — believed to be sacred — from stalactites.
Chan has considered the cave’s history as a place of worship, adding that this can also be developed as a religious site.
Chan said they will seek advice from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other concerned agencies on the matter.
In a press conference, Radaza said she gave the barangay’s proposal to the City Environmental and Natural Resources Office for further study.
She said a public-private partnership is possible for the project.
General Milling is interested to develop the cave. It has to be a tourism (site),” Radaza said.
Chan said that developing the cave would complement to the construction of a senior citizen’s park under the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 29, 2016.
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