A member of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) cave assessment team points to Imorigue Island in Dewil Valley, Barangay New Ibajay, El Nido, in this photo taken between February 25 to March 1, 2019. Imorigue is the home of Maulon Cave, a 2,000-year old burial site where an artifact of a wood coffin was discovered in 2009. (Photo courtesy of Jovic Fabello/PCSDS)

The town of El Nido is not yet ready to open additional tourist sites, a municipal official said Monday.

Municipal administrator Rene Jay de la Calzada said there is a need to preserve their environment by limiting additional tourist sites that can encourage uncontrollable human traffic.

De la Calzada is referring to the suggestions that Maulon Cave, a 2000-year old burial site in Imorigue Island in the Dewil Valley of Barangay New Ibajay, can be opened to become another tourist destination in El Nido.

The wood coffin artifact discovered inside Maulon Cave on Imorigue Island in 2009 by archeologists is displayed inside a museum in Barangay New Ibajay, El Nido.

The Maulon Cave was where a wood coffin was discovered in 2009 based on a post in El Nido Tourism page.

He said that Dr. Victor Paz, an anthropologist from the Archeological Studies Program (ASP) of the University of the Philippines (UP) authenticated the coffin as an artifact but did not give its exact age.

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“Yong Maulon cave ay ginawa po ‘yan na burial site ng ating mga ninuno 2,000 years ago. Mga sinaunang tao dito sa atin. Hindi pa talaga ‘yan napupuntahan ng turista. Maliban doon, cave po kasi ‘yan kaya hindi agad-agad maa-access. ‘Yong nakita naman na coffin ay napatunayan na artifact but wala pang carbon dating kaya hindi malaman kung ilang taon na,” he pointed out.

However, despite the discovery, the municipal government has no plans to open it to the public.

“Sa ngayon wala pa tayong plano kasi ang daming proposed sites dito sa El Nido. Hindi pa siya bubuksan unless klaro sa management dito. Mahirap kasi na magbukas tayo then hindi tayo prepared. Magkakaroon lang tayo ng problema sa environment. Pero possible naman [na buksan ‘yan],” he said.

He said the artifact can be viewed in the museum in Barangay New Ibajay.

El Nido has Cudugnon and Ille caves that are open for the public.

“Sa ngayon pwede nilang makita doon sa museum na nasa New Ibajay. Ang dalawang cave natin ay open naman for the public, very well-known po ito,” he added.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.