The concreting of the road leading to Gangub Cave is underway in preparation for the expected influx of visitors this summer, a municipal tourism official said.
Junaide Dawili, acting municipal tourism officer of Bataraza, said the road project leading to Sitio Gangob, Barangay Sandoval, is part of their aim to make the cave a prime tourism destination.
“Malaki ang potential na mag-boom ito dahil binigyang pansin na ito ng ating local na gobyerno… ng tourism office sa pakikiisa na rin mismo ng barangay. At dahil nga nabigyan ito ng aksyon ngayon at sinisemento na ang daanan mas malaki na ang potential na ito ay sumikat at makilala na ating layunin” said Dawili.
A cave that became the church of the Seventh Day Adventist since 1987, Dawili said it is also known as “Panuyon Cave” which came from the Pala’wan word “panoy” that means “bats” or “paniki” in Filipino.
Visitors who want to see the cave will need to climb a precipice from the bottom through a set of 120 steps to reach its opening.
Gangub is home also to many different species of bats that provide a good supply of guano which is a high-value fertilizer
In May 2017, House Reps. Lucy Torres-Gomez, Karlo Alexei Nograles, and Frederick Abueg recommended for approval House Bill 5794 declaring it a tourist destination in Bataraza.
He said it might be approved next year so the construction of the concrete road will be an advantage to the expected passing of the bill.
Jaime Bardago, caretaker of the cave for 22 years and the owner of the adjacent land property, told Palawan News that there was a time when residents and visitors would sneak to the cave and steal the guano.
The practice only ended when the municipal government of Bataraza paid attention to the area as a potential tourist destination and implemented sanctions against violators, he said.
“May time pa nga ‘yan na ninanakaw ng mga tao ‘yong guano pero sa awa ng Diyos wala na ngayon. Binigyang pansin na kasi ng LGU at tourism office, at tinulungan din ng CBNC at RTNMC sa pag-donate ng mga poste,” said Bardago.
Bardago said the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) also played important roles in ensuring that Gangub Cave is protected from abuse.