Quantcast
Latest Stories

Passions go deep inside Calbiga Caves

By

CALBIGA, Samar—Amazing stalactites, stalagmites and other natural formations, bats, spiders, snakes, blind fishes and crabs. What more can be discovered inside the Calbiga Caves complex in Calbiga town in Samar?

For nearly a month, some of the best European speleologists and cave divers led by Matteo Rivadossi, accompanied by local spelunker Joni Abesamis Bonifacio and three other Samareños, explored the Calbiga Caves in April.

The expedition aimed to confirm an earlier theory that the municipality of Calbiga, and possibly the whole Samar Island, is crisscrossed by underground rivers. Organized by Odissea Naturavventura, it was a team up of two Italian caving associations, Gruppo Grotte Brescia.

It had permission from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the municipality to explore the caves.

The team included geologist Guido Rossi, filmmaker Alessandro Gatti and Gigi Casati, both cave divers; Panizzon Stefano Lillo and Merigo Davide, both cave explorers, all Italians; Frenchmen Tristan Godet and Jean Paul Sounier, both cave explorers; Belgian Marc Vandermeulen, cave diver; Slovenian Rok Stopar, cave explorer/doctor; and Russian Maria Tikka, cave explorer.

Rivadossi, Rossi, Sounier, Godet and Lillo had been to the Calbiga Caves in 2009. They discovered the 6-kilometer Camparina-Ludi Bito-Burabod Cave, which has many branches connecting to a long and beautiful underground river.

Also in 2009, a three-member team of foreign cave divers—Americans Bruce Konefe and William Hudson, and German Thomas Bodis—found the Lurodpon Cave after diving into a submerged cave passage through the Langun-Gobingob cave system.

Cavers’ destination

A favorite destination of cavers, the Calbiga Caves can be reached in one and a half hours on a foot trail from the town proper. The system covers 2,968 hectares and is said to be the largest karst in the country and one of the largest in East Asia.

It has 12 caves, including Gobingob, Langun and Bitong Mahangin that boast of giant columns of stalactites and stalagmites, unique rock formations, underground water courses and springs.

A team of Italian speleologists, who first explored the cave system in 1987, said that Langun, the main cave, has a chamber that is 270 meters long and 160 meters wide at its largest area, which can easily fit three football fields.

Gobingob, on the other hand, has a huge hall with beautiful stalagmite, stalactite and flewstone formations, while Bitong Mahangin has a single dry tunnel at the bottom of which lies a lush forest.

A protected area, the Calbiga Caves complex is the habitat of rare species of blind crabs and the 7-centimeter hypogean blind fish. At dusk, hundred of thousands of bats hover over the cave entrance.

The Italian cavers also noted in 1987 that the Calbiga has a “truly exceptional hydrogeological karst,” swallowing more than 20 watercourses.

Farther east, near Barangay Caamlongan, is another cave system called Canyawa Cave (Devil’s Cave), which was discovered and explored in 2002 by a team of French and Italian cavers. It consists of 15 galleries of distinctive features and underground rivers.

Bad weather

The latest expedition targeted the Langun-Gobingob, Camparina-Ludi Bito-Burabod, and the Lurodpon caves, as well as the Calidungan and Balogo springs. But bad weather prevented it from achieving good results.

“Sadly, 45 days of rain caused the river to become murky with zero visibility. It was then impossible to check in Calidungan,” a lake fed by the Magtingol River, according to Rivadossi.

He says the final result of the trek was “the reconstruction of the underground hydrographic net(work) from the inlet of Palaspas River into the 10-km cave system (Langun-Gobingob) to Balogo Spring.”

While waiting for the weather to improve, the experts went to other caves in Pinabacdao and Matuguinao, both Samar towns.

Still, Rivadossi says the adventure had been a fulfilling struggle “to pass through caves and enter into the vast world of nature’s magnificent phenomena!”

He explains that the team sought to see the unexplored side of the earth where no satellite or robot can ever do.

Passion, intrigue

“The cavers are not paid for their extraordinary curiosity. The intrigue on the magical possibilities and the search for new discoveries in the underground river (from the top to the spring) have become their passion for years,” Rivadossi says.

With the exploration, he adds, it is possible to make a deep investigation about the biology, hydrology or geology of the Calbiga Caves.

Mayor Melchor Nacario recently received word from American researchers from University of Texas that they wanted to study the complex in relation to climate change. They did not give details, however.

In studying climate change, some scientists are said to have explored caves to inspect stalagmites—known “archives” of the climate history dating back to tens of thousands years—in a particular area. The caves hold records that may give clues to climate change.

Stalagmites are formed as rainwater, mixed with calcium carbonate and other elements, makes its way through the ground and onto the cave floor, creating in time a column of rock.

Scientists would cut open the stalagmite, study its chemical content to determine the relative moisture of the climate at various periods in history, starting from the the oldest layers at the bottom to the present at the top.

If the American scientists push through with their plan, the Calbiga cave network may also tell what happened in the past in relation to the present.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Calbiga , Calbiga Caves , Caves , Samar




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Lacson rejects calls to name ‘pork’ execs
  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Man found dead in Quezon City, alleged victim of summary execution–report
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement