A management plan is under way for the conservation of a cave in Tanay, Rizal which is a favorite television and film location and tourist attraction to prevent further damage on the stalactite and stalagmite formations inside.
In a social media post by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Calinawan Cave’s flora and fauna inside and outside the cave have received immense damage, particularly the stalactite and stalagmite formation on its main chamber.
It further cited that continued noise and motion could further create destruction to its natural ecology and lead to transfer of habitats for bats and other life forms inside the cave.
To ensure sustainability and protection against exploitation, the Rizal DENR together with the local government of Tanay and Calinawan Cave stakeholders conducted a three day cave assessment and management planning last Sept. 23 to 25.
The Regional Cave Assessment Team (RCAT) headed by Reginald Forcadilla conducted cave profiling activities to assess and map the Calinawan Cave in Sitio Rawang, Barangay Tandang Kutyo.
Forcadilla said that based on their initial findings, Calinawan Cave will be classified as Class II, but some chambers will be closed to public for conservation area and safety purposes.
A cave is classified based on the proper use and management under Republic Act (RA) 9072 or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act.
Caves classified under Class II have sensitive geologic values or high-quality ecosystems, as well as portions with hazardous conditions.
These caves may be closed seasonally or permanently, or may be open only to experienced cavers or guided educational tours.
A workshop was also facilitated to formulate a five-year management plan to conserve the biodiversity inside and outside the cave, as well as to promote the area as prime eco-tourism destination and develop sustainable behavior and attitude among the communities towards forest protection and biodiversity conservation and development.
Caves are considered unique, natural and non-renewable resources with important scientific, economic, educational, cultural, historical, and aesthetic values. They are home to specialized mineral formations with unique and diverse flora and fauna.
As mandated by law, the DENR is tasked to formulate, develop, and implement a national program for the management, protection, and conservation of caves and cave resources, with the cave coordinating agencies like the National Museum, National Historical Institute, Department of Tourism, and local government units concerned.