Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sacredness of Basey National Park

Basey is host to numerous, unimaginable natural resources, from the rock formations meshed with hunter green foliage to yellow river of the Cadac-an. The golden river (Cadac-an) is the body of water that encompasses the Sohoton Cave. Other historian said that the river was named the Golden River because legend has it that their village used to have a huge golden bell that rang so loud that the sound reached Mindanao. The Moros weren’t very happy about it, so they stormed Samar and threw the bell into the river.

Tourists going to Sohoton will have to converge at Basey Wharf where a pump boat will take you to the cave. You can bring food and drinks. In the town there are rice cook in coconut leaves which are shaped into hearts - puso. There is also iraid made of palawan, a root crop endemic in the region.  
Golden River
The travel, through the Golden River, will take you one-and-a-half hour by boat to reach Rawis of Barangay Guirang, where Sohoton National Park is located. The river itself is already a sight to to see. It is lined by nipa palm trees. As you go deeper into the river, you will see the remote barrios with house clusters, beautiful rock formations and wild trees. Upon arrival at the park, there were tourist guides waiting for you.

The caves are part of the Sohoton National Park which covers almost 840 hectares. There are limestones, rockholes, weather-formed rocks and underground rivers aside from forests and wild animals. In the previous decades, the park used to be a loggers' paradise where huge trees were cut and sold for lumber to the gain of big companies and individuals.  

The park has a number of rock formations. The more prominent assemblage are the cathedral-like caves of Panhulugan I and II, Sohoton and Bugasan. These caves are endogen caves in angular limestone cliff. They support the base of other crack systems. There are many flowstones and dripstones in the formations.
Panhulugan Cave
You first venture into Panhulugan Cave, across Sohoton cave. The root word of Panhulugan is hulog which means “drop.” The cave is called such because during the Spanish time, the rebels would throw logs and debris into the Spaniards who were passing through the Golden River. This cave frames itself in an angular limestone cliff forming a letter “H”. Its three main cracks serve to wit its form. Its two parallel legs lying 50 meters apart and connected at the entrance by a perpendicular crosspiece provide the said formation. The cracks serve to be the hub opening for internal hallways and the internal cave chambers measure some 49.2 feet high at the end of its leg. Its cathedral immensity contains an interior that branch out into many multi-levelled chambers and tunnels. The cave is geologically active as evidenced by the constant drips of water from stalactites. These caves were used as burial sites during the 13th century.
Sohoton Cave
The nearby Sohoton Cave is another cathedral-like dome with a parabolic arch-type entrance of about fifty-meters high. Its entrance is a flat door about twenty meters in width and fifty-meters in length. On its ceiling hang spike-shaped crystalline stalactites and rustic and cavernous walls and with stalagmites on the its floor. At the far end of the cave is an opening with a balcony overlooking the natural swimming pool below. Unlike the Panhulugan Cave whose limestone of white, Sohoton was a mixture of white and brown calcites. It is prohibited to touch the white calcites because it will turn the touched area black, killing that certain space. The cave had rock formations that eerily resembled figures. A few of those present that you shouldn’t miss are the elephant trunk, the waterfalls, the eagle’s giant claws, and the village people.
Another formation to see is the Sohoton Natural Bridge. It is a huge arch-shaped rock that connects two mountain ridges spanning the Sohoton River with a vertical clearance of 23 feet, about 8 meters in width and 40 meters in length. The Stone Bridge is forested at its upper portion while on its underside hang heavy karst formations of giant stalactites forming like swords and rockets.

Sohoton caves provided a glimpse of the beautiful natural wonders of the Philippines the locals and the rest of the world still have to discover and experience.  

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