LGU: Pasacao cave closed to tourists
By Paulo DS. Papa
The Municipal Tourism Office of Pasacao, Camarines Sur has reminded the public that the Suminabang cave in Barangay Dalupaon remains closed for assessment and classification of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
To recall, the DENR last year ordered the closure of Suminabang cave for assessment, classification and safety purposes. The closure was also intended to avoid destruction of resources inside the cave as a result of illegal activities stipulated under Republic Act No. 9072 or the National Caves and Caves Resources Management and Protection Act.
This law prohibits: Knowingly destroying, disturbing, defacing, marring, altering, removing, or harming the speleogem or speleothem of any cave or altering the free movement of any animal or plant life into or out of any cave: Gathering, collecting, possessing, consuming, selling, bartering or exchanging or offering for sale without authority any, cave resource; and Counselling, procuring, soliciting or employing any other person to violate any provisions of this law.
In an interview, Gladys B. Tipanero, Pasacao’s tourism officer, told Bicol Mail that the cave closure is still in effect pending DENR’s clearance to reopen it.
She said that instead of visiting the cave, tourists may visit Barangays Dalupaon and Caranan for snorkeling activities to see the rich corals reefs in the area. Pasacao’s underwater ecosystem’s is maintained as it is guarded by the DENR, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources (MENRO), Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) and the Philippine Coast Guard.
Tipanero also recommended to tourists to visit the Daruanac Island and Mainit Spring in Barangay Balogo.
She urged tourists not to bring home white sands from the island as it takes years for nature to produce them. The island has a small beach area with limited sands. Once these sands are depleted, what will remain in the island will just be rocks, thus making it difficult for boats to dock there, she said.
This summer season, the beach resorts in the town reported 80 to 90 percent occupancy. Personnel of these resorts are fully vaccinated and follow all the health protocols. The local government collects P10 environmental fee from each tourist as mandated by a local ordinance, Tipanero said.