Cave tourism: The next adventure attraction in Northern Samar-A A +A
Saturday, February 9, 2013
LAS NAVAS, Northern Samar—If you feel like being a caver just for a day, kit yourself out with a lighted helmet, a jumpsuit and boots, and prepare to descend into the entrails of Northern Samar tourist caves.
This could be a chance for you to do far more than simply go on a sightseeing trip and enables you to personally see stone forests, amazing underground cathedrals and discover the secrets of these show caves.
Cave tourism, among many types of ecotourism, has gained popularity now in the Philippines particularly in Samar provinces where the country’s biggest caves can be found.
Compared to other outdoor gigs, like mountaineering or scuba diving, caving seduces tourists with its set of dangers, mysteries and thrills.
And this town invites you, dares you, to discover them yourself.
Next month, the local tourism office will offer a cave tour and river cruise which will feature the town’s best kept secrets - the famous KM3 Caves and Pinipisakan Falls.
The province backed up the initiative of a local adventure group called Laoang Spelunkers Club in hosting the first-ever Northern Samar Cave Congress on March 1 and 2 highlighting the enchanting caves, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, old churches, culture and festivals.
Local caver Jerome Amante Deananeas, one of the organizers, said that as of today, around 60 domestic tourists have confirmed joining the event.
“For a minimal fee of only P350, one will be given a souvenir shirt and enjoy trekking, mountain climbing, cave explorations, water sports plus informative lectures on Basic Caving and Safety, Cave Formations and Geology, Environmental Protection and other sports tourism topics,” Deananeas said.
“Cave tourism in the country is still quite young,” Deananeas said arguing that gatherings like this also teach them to learn good practices and promotes the tourism industry.
Caving, he said, could be more “technically demanding” compared to other sports as it needs skills, endurance tests.
Inside a cave, “you get to feel how small you are in the scheme of things. There would be times when you won’t even see the walls or the ceiling but only the small space around your body. The fear factor is higher and the prize is undeniably very rewarding.”
Aside from this event, local residents served as “tour guides” offer cave tours with add-ons, such as river-cruise, catering meals, souvenirs and home stay services.
Local folks living near the Pinipisakan Falls were turned from a mere farmer into guides, boatmen into engaging story-tellers, plain housewives into skilled cooks and souvenir-makers.
Pinipisakan Falls is a series of star-like waterfalls and a multi-layered cascading attraction located 15 kilometers away from the town of Las Navas. KM3 Cave or Ginagatusan Caves and its subterranean natural pool are the main attractions of the area and are only accessible by motor boats.
To get into these spots, one may take one hour river cruise and three kilometers trek that involves negotiating very steep trails, narrow dirt roads in single file.
In 2007, the province and its islets have been declared by the Tourism department as Eco Tourism Zone. Few years later, recreational activities and tourism-related businesses flourished in the province. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)