SAGADA, Mountain Province – Barangay officials and tourism stakeholders of this famous tourist-frequented town participated in the 1st phase of the Cave Management Planning Workshop funded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The training was co-facilitated by staff of CENRO Sabangan and the Municipal Tourism Office of Sagada municipal government.
Before the workshop proper, Sagada Municipal Planning and Dev’t Officer Jane Likigan discussed the overview of the tourism industry in Sagada. Likigan stressed that some of the utmost concerns of the municipal government and its communities are the proliferation of wastes, lack of parking areas, congestion of traffic and lack of potable water supply due to the increasing tourist arrivals, she related.
Cristopher Bosaing of CENRO Sabangan emphasized the rock formations and biodiversity inside and outside the caves in Sagada are deteriorating. He appealed to the barangay officials and tourism stakeholders in Sagada to come together and help in the crafting of a Cave Management Plan so that the caves will be preserved, especially that these are the most visited tourist sites.
One significant concern, Bosaing observed, is that the trees and shrubs in the “heads” of the caves must be well-maintained. He related further that plants hold water hence, the stalactites and stalagmites are formed by water that sips into the cave.
It will be recalled that there was a joint assessment conducted by Cordillera office of the DENR and CENRO-Sabangan of the Balangagan and Lumiang caves which are classified as class II caves. The results of the assessment were forwarded to the Biodiversity Management Bureau for action.
Caves classified as Class II are those with sections that have hazardous conditions and contain sensitive geological, biological, archeological, cultural, historical, and biological values or high quality ecosystem. They can be visited by well-experienced cavers and visitors but with experienced guides.
By Francis B. Degay