Puerto Princesa Aims to be Philippines' Caving Capital

Puerto Princesa is batting to become the “Caving Capital of the Philippines,” City Tourism Office (CTO) head Aileen Cynthia Amurao said.

She said that currently, Puerto Princesa is trying to fast-track the conduct of a research on this in order to determine how many caves are there within the territorial jurisdiction of the city.

Documentation of these caves, Amurao said, is now underway as the CTO wants to already embark on full blast promotion of these emerging tourism sites.

Amurao disclosed that the city has “so many caves,” and in fact, it is the home of the Hundred Caves that can be found in Barangay Tagabinet, which is adjacent to the Puerto UNESCO World Heritage Site, Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR).

The Hundred Caves were reportedly discovered during the '90s, and cave systems prove to be multi-layered with a series of continuous narrow or winding interconnecting passages.

The paths are rather vertical, and one of its kind in the country, and because of this, Amurao is confident that Puerto Princesa can emerge as the country’s caving capital.

In the Hundred Caves, Amurao said tourists will surely enjoy guided cave tours, photography, rock climbing, and even bird watching because of the surrounding forest cover.

Implementing necessary protection and conservation measures for the caves and its surrounding environment, said Amurao, will prove to be challenging but Puerto Princesa can achieve its aim by following what are stated in Republic Act 9072 or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act of 2001.

The Act is a significant legislation which directs the State to “conserve, protect and manage caves and cave resources as part of the country’s natural wealth,” she said.

Aside from this, the city tourism officer said the improvement of existing tourist destinations and other sites is underway.

These are the construction of tourism-related facilities like the eco-center, kiosk, and green toilets among others.

Livelihood assistance is also continuously being given to local residents, and in this strategy, tourism-related capacities of local residents are enhanced.

Amurao revealed too, that the Langogan-to-Maoyon community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) cluster site in the northeastern part of the city has now been developed.

In this site, cultural tourism is being promoted with the Batak indigenous peoples (IPs), who produce and process civet coffee.

In the northwestern area of the city, improvements in the Buenavista-to-Tagabinet CBST cluster are in place, and residents are handling the management of the tourism sites.

Amurao said they are doubling their efforts for these emerging tourism sites to open to help uplift the lives of the people. (PNA/Gerardo C. Reyes, Jr.)

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