The World's Largest Fruit Bat Cave in the PhilippinesJune 4, 2015
My family is working on some big project that we hope will be realized this year, God willing, and we’re saving whatever we can save for this big thing. But we just can’t put the lives of our kids on hold just because we’re planning something for them. We need to move them around so they won’t get stock with gadgets at home.
Guess we’re just so lucky here in Davao City, getaways are just around the corner. Every weekend this summer we brought the kids somewhere – Samal beaches, Phil. Eagle, Eden Resort etc., like they always complain they’ve been to these places many times and we’re at it again. Well, they always complain, a parent just has to hear them :P
One of the places we’ve been which is just a 30-minute drive from R. Castillo St. where we live, well, that’s minus the waiting time at the barge was Monfort Bat Santuary in Samal Island in Davao del Norte.
Straight ahead are the bat caves, the property is well-manicured and it's clean.
Getting here is easy-peasy. If you have a vehicle you can queue for a barge ride at Sasa wharf for P200 (one way) for small vehicles. Turn left shortly after the wharf and drive straight ahead to Barangay Tambo in Babak District. There are signages along the way you won’t get lost.
There’s a hut at the property entrance that’ll collect an Environmental Fee of P20/person, then drive down ahead. There’s another entrance fee of P100/person that’s inclusive of a Guide who will explain to you anything you need to know about these bats. Few words of advice, bring along something to cover your nose or extra shirts just in case, the caves really stink like heck and I had a headache after peeking the aged bats roosting at the last cave.
The Guide said, the floor of the caves are full of bat exrements or guano,
they're rich in potassium nitrate which is used to making gunpowder,
but so as not to distract the bats, they rarely do harvesting.
Monfort Bat Sanctuary is home to world’s largest colony of Geoffrey Rousette Fruit Bats (Rousetteus amplexicaudatus). According to Guinness Book of World Records, the 5 caves have about 2 million bat population. These bats are very important to the regions bionetwork, they play responsible in pollinating economically-important fruits in the region.
One of the interesting things to do here is to observe the bats circadian rhythms happening on nightfall, like you watching witches fly out in groups at night. They don’t normally allow this, but for some scientific purpose I think, it can be arranged.
Norma Monfort, the owner of the property understood the significance of bats as great pollinators of fruit, Hence, her efforts in conservation and educating the locals on the importance of the bats to the ecosystem and the economy, garnered her 2011 Disney's Conservation Hero of the year.
Posted by verna luga
She earned her Masters in Applied Social Research at Ateneo de Davao University. She's a hard-core pluralist, an eternal optimist, a 40ish realist and a frustrated florist. She’s a mother, a teacher, a dreamer and who knows one day a potter.
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