Matanao gears up for caving tourism

Matanao gears up for caving tourism
Photo from PIA

Matanao, Davao del Sur -- All roads leading to the caves in Matanao, in the province of Davao del Sur, are well-paved and cemented.

This was the guarantee made by Matanao Information and Tourism Officer Clover Jane Chua-Sabornido during the PIA 11 press conference.

She said the caves in Barangays Colonsabak and Asbang are the main attractions of Matanao town that entice more domestic tourists.

“We now have night tourists, but they are mainly domestic tourists who prefer to see the sun in the first hour of the morning,” Sabornido said.

She said the people pay homage to nature by way of celebrating the “Lungib Festival,” a feast of Matanao’s natural resources like the caves, waterfalls, mountain views, and the local culture.

Sabornido said that the original name of the feast was Cave Festival two years ago. Then they rebranded it as “Lungib,” which means caves, celebrated by 33 other barangays in Matanao and supported by the Sangguniang Kabataan, local leaders, and stakeholders.

“The festivities started with street dancing by high school students of the Department of Education and Cave Forum in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), where the discussion revolved around how to preserve the cave resources, the Cave Act and the Wildlife Act, basic caving and the do’s and don'ts, and the spelunking and caving on the third day,” she said.

Sabornido said that aside from the caves, they also take pride in their mountain views and waterfalls, the view of Mt. Apo and all that can be seen from the peak of Barangay Asbang, the Divine Mercy Prayer mountain, farm tourism, the extreme sports complex, a brainchild of Mayor Vince Fernandez of Matanao, and the water tubing activities in Barangay Dungan Pekong.

She said that the distance between Barangay Colonsabak and Barangay Sabang is only five kilometers.

Sabornido said that Matanao is accessible via tricycle from Kilometer 71, at the crossroad of the Davao City-Cotabato City Highway, for P50 per passenger.

She said an electronic jeepney from Digos City to Matanao costs P80 per passenger.

Sabornido said the people can stay overnight at the houses of the indigenous peoples, who offer their houses for a meager fee.

She said Matanao recorded 100,000 tourists this quarter, which shows that the place is now popular even with local tourists.

Sabornido said they have tinkered with their Facebook page to have more reach, and partnered with the Department of Tourism on Cave Exploration, on the Davao Adventure Challenge, which will be launched this year in Cagayan de Oro City.

She said four houses already offered homestays. (RVC/RGA/JSGD/PIA-Davao del Sur)

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