MANDAON, Masbate — The local government unit (LGU) of Mandaon town in Masbate is trying to save the pre-historic Bat-ongan cave currently on the brink of demise here.

Mayor Kristine Salve Hao-Kho of Mandaon in an interview Thursday said Bat-ongan Cave, a limestone monolith some 1.5 kilometers from Mandaon town proper used to be as burial grounds in prehistoric era, is vandalized with scattered rubbish left by visitors, mostly local tourists, inside the cathedral dome.

“The cave is located in a private land and it’s been open to public without proper supervision, anybody can enter unfortunately, the historic site is being vandalized. We want to preserve this site as important part of our history,” she said.

The historic cave located in a private property owned by Dr. Jose Ataat currently based in United States is left under the care of a caretaker.

Kho, who personally visited the enchanted cave, said the local government of Mandaon will now take over management to save the historic cave which contains historical facts of the country.

Carol Sia, planning officer of the provincial tourism office, said artifacts belonging from Vietnamese settlers were also found inside the cave few decades ago here.

Rey Vincent Andeza, also of Masbate provincial tourism office, said American archaeologist Dr. Wilhem Solhein also uncovered remarkable artifacts here in 1953, which he brought to the United States.

Bat-ongan cave is famous for its numerous chambers and unique rock formation.

On top of the cathedral dome are a cockpit arena and a cemetery where burial jars are found. Once tourists enter the cave, they can see a natural stone shapes like statue of a saint.

Andeza said the big number of visitors at Bat-ongan cave are registered during holy week season and summertime.

The Mandaon tourism council also introduced the all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) and outdoor adventure drive around the cave, and headed to Bat-ongon Falls. (PNA)


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