Sunday, November 4, 2012

San Isidro (Bagumbungan) Cave now under government protection

Congressman Lord Allan Velasco with his team in Bagumbungan Cave.
 Bagumbungan Cave in Brgy. San Isidro, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque popularly known as San Isidro Cave has been placed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under its list of protected caves to spare from exploitation.

The Philippine Government listed a total of 158 caves classified as protected areas with varying levels of protection classifications. DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2012-03 was issued pursuant to Republic Act No. 9072 otherwise known as the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act.

This latest move is intended to safeguard the caves from treasure-hunters, vandals and looters. Under the said Memorandum, caves classified as Class I are those with delicate and fragile geological formations, threatened species, archaeological and paleontological values and extremely hazardous conditions.

Class II caves are those with areas or portions which have hazardous conditions and contain sensitive geological, archaeological, cultural, historical and biological values or high quality ecosystem. In view of this, it may be necessary to seasonally or permanently close sections of caves under this classification.  Bagumbungan Cave which falls under this classification, is otherwise, open to experienced cavers or guided educational  tours and visits.

In 2009, this cave with an underground river was ‘discovered’ by a team from the provincial tourism office and cave enthusiasts from Sta. Cruz. To underline the importance of the find, particularly the need to protect it through the involvement of the community, combined LGU and DENR efforts were soon undertaken. The association of the cave for centuries with phantom stories believed in by the local community apparently contributed much to the preservation of its pristine condition and ecosystem. Local folks avoided entering the cave or even talking about it.

Dr. Antonio Uy, now Vice-Governor of  Marinduque with his team
during their 2009 visit to Bagumbungan Cave.
Among the first cavers on record to explore San Isidro Cave are then provincial administrator and tourism chairman, now Congressman Lord Allan Jay Q. and the Sta. Cruz municipal team of Dr. Antonio Uy, now vice-governor.  Educational tours and visits to the cave have since been coordinated with the office of Mayor Percival Morales of Sta. Cruz and the local barangay of San Isidro.

 San Isidro Cave was first featured in this video posted on YouTube 
by this blogger on July 15, 2009.