The Island Garden City of Samal is not just for the beach lovers. More than its coastlines, wonderful beaches and summer fun-filled getaways, IGaCoS is also home of more exotic wonders – those that nature offers naturally and utterly perfect in their simplest ways. What most people do not know, in the heart of the island lies 70 caves. And, one of these has been acknowledged by the Guiness of Book Records to hold the largest colony of Rousetteus amplexicaudatus or commonly known as Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bat. Yes, it is indeed a wonder for a small island to become the largest refuge of approximately 1.8 million of this warm-blooded, night-hunting creature.
A lot of people may shudder at the thought of seeing masses of these black flying mammals lining the dusky skies of Samal, however, for Norma Monfort who owns the property where the cave is situated, instead of fear, the animals have actually fostered in her an imminent sense of care and protection. For bat caves to become homes to this number of bats is but a rare occurrence. That is why it is understandable for Ms. Monfort to employ some form of security in order to prevent hunters from destabilizing the balance that these bats have found in the Monfort Cave.
However, because of the overwhelming population, it has been observed the cave itself has been overcrowded. That is why one of the major tasks of concerned bat conservationists is to make three other smaller caves habitable for some of the bats. Major fruit bat threats are farmers who have turned into bat hunters because of falsely believing that these bats are a threat to their crops, not knowing that these bats actually help in the process of plant reproduction. In fact, these bats are key elements in the production of durian fruits every season. Some people in the island also hunt these batsfor food.
Indeed, the next time you go to the island, you might take the time to enjoy the wonders that Samal has to offer in the midst of its lush forests. However, if you have the adventurous heart and know well the laws of nature, you must proceed with caution when you embark on cave explorations in the island as you might disturb the solace that these fruit bats have found in this humble island. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time.
How to get there:
- Monfort Bat Cave lies just close to the Babak Port. It is located at Baranggay Tambo, Babak District, Island Garden City of Samal. You may ride a habal-habal motorcycle to reach the location faster.
- Adult – Php 100.00