Photo from National Museum Tabon Caves

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has urged Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates to encourage Palaweños to support the bid of Tabon Caves Complex in Quezon, Palawan to be included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

Board Member Ryan Maminta said that he filed a resolution during their regular session on Tuesday, calling on all government agencies particularly the provincial government to express “full support in the nomination and declaration of Tabon Caves Complex and all of Lipuun Point in the municipality of Quezon as UNESCO World Heritage Site recognizing its outstanding universal value and cultural significance.”

UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines (NCP) Secretary-General Dr. Ivan Anthony Henares was in the province, along with representatives from National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), UP School of Archeology and National Museum of the Philippines last March where he met with provincial government officials and made a pitch for Tabon Caves Complex’s inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Maminta said at present, the Philippines has three nominees in the list which includes Mayon Volcano and Batanes Islands. He however said that among the three, he found out that only Tabon Caves has completed the requirements and necessary information that have been submitted to the UNESCO.

“It is about time that we pass this resolution and send it to relevant government agencies and institutions like the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Commissioner for Cultural Heritage and Secretary General of UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines, National Museum of the Philippines, as well as the Senate and Congress and the Office of the President to push this declaration,” Maminta said.

“The Tabon Caves Complex has exceptional cultural and natural value being the site where artifacts such as the Manunggul Jar and other jars and human remains were found in an expedition led by Dr. Robert Fox. These are proofs that early humans have been residing at the Tabon Caves thousands of years ago that dates back to 700 to 800 BC,” he added.

The inclusion of the caves he said, will add to the prestige and honor for the province to have another World Heritage Site that will join Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.

Meanwhile, Board Member Nieves Rosento also said that aside from Tabon Caves Complex south of Palawan, El Nido town also has its own caving adventures to offer that should be included in the province’s proposed cultural tourism mapping and become another tourism attraction.

Rosento said the local government unit of El Nido has actually launched its own cultural mapping tourism activity in Barangays Sibaltan, Mabini and New Ibajay back when she was still the town’s chief executive.

“This was based on an initiative of the National Museum of the Philppines where there is an ongoing study in Ille Cave and its potential to be declared as the oldest cremation site in Asia,” Rosento said.

“There is also an ongoing cultural excavation and further research in the cave,” she added.

Furthermore, she said the governor should also focus on the incorporation of cultural tourism mapping of the whole province in the tourism masterplan to open new tourism potentials and the possibility of the declaration of Palawan as a cultural capital of the Philippines.