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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Sta. Cruz’s the great indoors: Exploring Saliducon Cave

STA. CRUZ, Davao del Sur — If you think life’s adventures is all about the great outdoors, try experiencing the great indoors: Saliducon Cave of Sta. Cruz Municipality.

HIKING DESTINATION

Amusingly, Sta. Cruz municipality has been getting more visits than shopping malls as ‘lock down’ fatigued residents from neighboring cities and provinces  have started to troop to this town’s ecotourism sites.

Its famous hiking destinations are Mt. Loay, Mt. Dinor, and Mt. Apo via its Boulder Face route. Famous also are its Langan Falls and Pilan River in Barangay Sinoron for its curtain falls.

Members of TEAM RAD, a mountain bike team had to first climb on the amazing “grasslands” where you are rewarded with a spectacular view at the background of Sta. Cruz’s coastal line and the Davao Gulf.

Tourism Officer Julius Paner said Saliducon Cave was officially opened on April 15, 2021 as an ecotourism site.

Located in Barangay Saliducon, first time visitors has to first trek a hill before  reaching the cave entrance. The uphill trek to the cave is already a treat in itself. You get to enjoy a panoramic view of Sta. Cruz’s coastline and mountain ridges, the grasslands, and the bamboo canopy.

Team RAD’s Atty. Jun Maypa stands on pumice or hardened volcanic lava believed to have rolled down during an eruption of Mt. Apo, now a dormant volcano.

Paner said, visitors need not go through the Municipal Tourism Office to get a permit. He said an ordinance was passed giving the barangay the sole authority to issue the permits as well as provide cave tour guides.

Visitors will be charged a modest environmental and caving fees which includes the guide, free use of helmet and headlamps. Gratuity or tip for the guide is very much appreciated.

One of the challenges in entering the cave is its narrow portals. You have to be sort of a contortionist to be able to squeeze through small spaces. Getting dirty comes with the adventure and that includes getting muddied up and stepping on bat poop which they call ‘guano.’

Squeezing through a narrow entrance which also serves as an exit.

Deeper into the cave are huge chambers where you can stand and take photos.

Photo shoot in one of the larger chambers of the cave.

Also part of the challenge is the descent and ascent on narrow corridors. You have to securely firm your foothold as well as your finger grip on tiny creases on the rock walls. Since it has been raining, the rocks can be slippery. Overall, the Saliducon caving is the complete adventure package.

In case you plan to experience Saliducon Cave, you may call Chona Eting on this number:   09912066259.

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