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BY: Ven Labro
SAMAR ISLAND CAVING ADVENTURES AN EXPERIENTAL GUIDEBOOK LAUNCHING
CATBALOGAN CITY – The first-ever caving guidebook in the Philippines — the “Samar Island Caving Adventures, An Experiential Guidebook” — was recently launched here to the delight of caving enthusiasts.
Samar’s cave master Joni Abesamis Bonifacio, who has over 20 years of caving experience in Samar, says the 76-page guidebook is of great benefit not only to local cavers but also to other spelunkers and even would-be cavers who plan to explore caves in Samar, dubbed as the “caving capital of the Philippines.”
“Description, maps and data for the top 20 caves in Samar Island” as well as “stories of caving adventures from 12 expeditions” are included in the guidebook. It also gives tips on cave photography, the length and time needed to explore a cave, the level of difficulty (whether for beginners or advanced caving) and if flood-prone, among other relevant information.
“But this is not your typical cave guidebook. While it contains essential cave data it takes an experiential approach to caving, including stories and photos of the caving adventures leading to its creation,” says Australian caver Sarah Francis, the author of the cave guidebook.
She adds: “Caving adventures in Samar aren’t just about caves. They’re about friendship, working as a team, sharing stories and laughter. They’re about challenging yourself but knowing when to pull back….”
Francis reveals that before she started writing the guidebook, she and Bonifacio first embarked on 12 separate caving expeditions in Samar Island in 2014, and that in the following year she collected more data from key international speleologists like Italian caver Guido Rossi, French caver Jean-Paul Sounier, and some members of the Aven Club Valettois and the Asian Karst Exploration Project that had previously explored caves in Samar Island. (more…)
By Ven Labro
CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines, May 3, 2017 — Exactly thirty years after a group of Italian cavers found in the province of Samar the country’s largest cave, another group of foreign cavers discovered this April the “longest cave” in the Philippines.
The Sulpan cave system in the mountain town of Matuguinao in Samar province, according to the cavers, is now the new record holder as the country’s longest cave after it surpassed by about a hundred meters the cave in Palawan that was the previous record holder (32 kilometers long) while the cave in Samar is 32.100 kilometers, Matteo Rivadossi, team leader of the 2017 Samar international caving and cave diving expedition, claimed.
‘CRAWLING AND DIVING’
Rivadossi said the cavers had a hard time exploring the Sulpan cave system, particularly during the last leg of their expansion expedition. “This is incredible. We have surveyed many, many little passages — crawling and diving, So, (it was) not easy,” he said in an interview with this writer on April 30, the day before their group left Catbalogan for Manila where they will took a flight back to Italy and Slovenia.
Rivadossi said the new record holder as the longest cave in the Philippines is composed of Sulpan Cave, which was connected to the Sulpan Barruz system in 2011, in Barangay (village) Barruz and the Sulpan Male-ho Cave, located near the nearby upstream village of Camonoan. “So, now the system is e-ho and Sulpan Cave and Sulpan Barruz,” he said. He disclosed that another cave, the Tres Marias Cave, is connected to the system, and that their last discovery was Libon Cave, “an enchanted place, a lake” that is a window into an underground river.
Aside from Italian caver Rivadossi (team leader), the other members of this year’s international expedition 2017 in Matuguinao were Italian cavers Guido Rossi (geologist), Antonio Cortina (geologist), Davide Merigo, Stefano Panizzon and Maurizio Reboldi; Slovenian cavers Simon Burja (diver), Matjaz Bozic, Katarina Seme and Marjan Vilhar; and Samar caver Joni Bonifacio (local guide) of the Philippines. (more…)