300 cave enthusiasts gather in Surigao City

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 Apr) – At least 300 cave enthusiasts around the country have gathered here staring Tuesday for their five-day 15th National Cave Congress.

Jason Garrido, president of the Philippine Speleological Society, told MindaNews that cavers around the country will learn a series of topics and experiences that will be imparted in various events.

Garrido said that through the event with the theme “Caving in Changing Climate,” cavers and communities where caves are located are expected to come up with standards and better cave conservation and management approaches and programs that will correlate with the present situation of caves.

“We’ll help protect this fragile ecosystem and its environment while facing the inevitable climate change,” he said.

Surigao City has several caves, among them Silop Caves in Barangay Silop, Mapawa Caves and Buenavista Caves.

Garrido pointed out that one of the caves in Silop is now at risk because of activities of people surrounding the caves. For one, waste water from the villagers goes into the cave. But he said they are finding workable solutions to save the cave and the karst area.

Garrido said several caves that are unexplored in Surigao, like those in Silop, will be surveyed by the cavers.

Several topics, such as understanding how past climate changes helped form caves, will be tackled by Prof. Kyung Sik Woo, president of Union International Speleology and Asian Federation of Speleology.

“Underwater Caves and New Discoveries” will also introduced among cavers by Johann Jake Miranda, co-founder of Filipino Cave Divers.

“Cave Conservation Program” will be discussed by Terence Dacles, senior advisor of German Corporation.

Hands-on trainings on basic caving, cave survey will be held in the Silop cave complex.