Nabunturan promotes caves as ecotourism sites

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 December) — Nabunturan, Compostela Valley’s capital town, is currently beefing up its ecotourism package to include the awesome stalactite and stalagmite caves in Laac and the staggering White Peak Mountain in New Bataan.

Nabunturan Councilor Angelo Sotto, chair of the Nabunturan Sangguniang Bayan committee on tourism, said the two sites, which ironically are also where government troops and the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) have often clashed, show huge eco-tourism potentials that can be tapped by the province.

San Vicente Cave of Nabunturan. Photo courtesy of“The stalagmites and stalactites that you see in the caves of Laac, the likes of which you could not see anywhere, enthralled those who see them,” Sotto said at Marco Polo’s Club 888 Wednesday.

“We’re even thinking of making Nabunturan the new caving capital because of these beautiful caves,” he said.

He said that the White Peak Mountain, a New Bataan mountain already known to most mountaineers but which is not yet so popular to the public, can also compete with the country’s highest peak, Mt. Apo. He said that like Mt. Apo, which stands at 2,954 meters (9,692.074 feet) above sea level, White Peak also boasts of 75 to 80 degree slopes that could challenge adventurous trekkers.

He did not deny, though, that both places have been the sites of encounters between the NPA and government troops that are often reported in the media.

“That’s part of the risks we take. Mt. Apo used to have the same reputation before, but it never stopped us, climbers, from going there,” he said.

“Now, we have the White Peak and it’s in New Bataan,” he added.

He said they always ask permission from and coordinate with the locals who usually support them in their activities.

In barangay Mepangi, members of the Nabunturan municipal tourism council are still exploring a “sink hole” that reportedly leads to an “underground river, with a lake sighted beyond,” Sotto told reporters.

He said whatever lies in the bottom of this “sink hole” has yet to be discovered because the farthest that they’ve gone was only within 60 meters.

“Whatever lay down there is still waiting to be discovered,” he said, adding, “We hope we can include it in the tourism packages that we are developing in the province.”

He said Nabunturan will open its week-long Simballay Festival on December 12 to showcase these potential sites and as a “thanksgiving to a bountiful harvest.”

Simballay, a Mansaka word for “meeting” or the Cebuano’s “panagtagbo,” will also showcase the rich culture of Nabunturan, he said. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)