recommend innovative ecotourism services
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
BASEY, Samar – The
students of Masters on Public Resource Management (MPRM) of Eastern
Visayas State University (EVSU) Burauen Campus in Burauen Leyte has
visited two of the famous ecotourism sites in
Samar as part of their 2-day educational tours over the weekend.
Led by campus director
Dr. Felixberto E. Avestruz, Dr. Ann Rose Refuerzo and Dr. Dennis de
Paz, all professors of said campus, the group visited the mystical
Sohoton Caves in Basey and the Langon-Gobingob Caves in Calbiga town,
which are both protected areas under the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP)
last August 29-30, 2009.
In Sohoton, the group
composed of Melinda Tan, Lizley Prejula, Darlene Monteros, Fe Maningo,
Riza Dumaduma, Erlinda Malate, Iman Alvinez, Aileen Tacbalan, Eduard
Nerja, Luisito Rodriguez, Liza Pedere and Crisostomo Badeo were
entertained by members of the Sohoton Services Association (SSA), a
people’s organization duly registered with the Department of Labor and
Employment (DOLE) who at that time having meeting. They were
interviewed by the group before taking the cave tour.
At around 10:28 a.m.
the group entered the Sohoton Cave and amazed by the different rock
formations distinctly described by the guides as stalagmites,
stalactites, helectites and columns or pillars.
At the end of the
Sohoton tour, the group recorded the following observations, to wit;
the management should install public calling booth within Sohoton
area, improve the vicinity map, revive usual visitor management by
briefing them first before entering the cave, and provide trash
receptacles in the area, among others.
In Calbiga, on the
other hand, the participants of the tour, most of them wore sandals
and rubber shoes, said they experienced their most difficult journey
of the tour as they hike at least three kilometers to the cave, and
while inside the cave, loose soil, sticky and slippery rocks made them
feel uneasy to walk.
After an hour cave
explorations, the group got out exhausted. “(Majority of us)
experienced difficulty on breathing due to insufficient supply of
oxygen wherein one of our classmates was not able to continue and
decided to go out for fear that she may collapse inside the cave,”
said Forester Crisostomo Badeo, one of the participants who is also a
But nevertheless, “we
are mesmerized by the huge doom ever seen by our naked eyes, I think
that first chamber has the size that can fit the 5-story building
inside,” one of the participant said in full excitement.
At the end, they
arrived at the following observations. The trail leading to the cave
needs clearing and maintenance, picnic tables and kiosks at the cave
entrance should be installed, graded trail with hand railings and
elevated cantilever bridge within the cave is suggested as, according
to them, it may serve the tourists better.
In an interview, Dr.
Avestruz informed that the tour was a culminating activity of the
three subjects and was conducted with a concomitant purpose of
yielding salient information about protected area management of the
“Apart from unwinding
break after a series of lecture-discussion in the four-walled
classroom, this activity enabled the students’ erudition to review on
how biodiversity resources along with the identified mapped and
non-mapped issues were addressed by the SINP as contained in its
management manual and thereafter come up with a group report with
categorical recommendations,” the director said.
It was learned that
the group, through Dr. Avestruz, will submit their observations and
recommendations to concerned agencies such as the respective local
government units and the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, particularly the SINP.