Thursday, July 7, 2011

Monfort Bat Cave in Samal Island, Davao City

Day 2 of our Davao tour was spent on the Island Garden City of Samal or IGACOS for short. Our first destination on the island is the Monfort Bat Cave which provides shelter to at least 1.8 million fruit bats, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

From Magsaysay Avenue at downtown, we boarded the Island City Express bus for Php 30 fare/person up to the Babak district.  The mini-bus boards a Ro-Ro vessel, owned by the same company, along with other vehicles and boat passengers. 

Upon arriving at Babak pier, we rented a tricycle that will take us on the northwest portion of the island and back to the pier for Php 250 after minimal haggling with the female trike driver. Habal-habal should be less expensive and faster, but there are four of us including 2 kids, so its not an option. 

There are many portions of the road which are unpaved or damaged, so its quite uncomfortable inside the trike. Its an uphill ride on the road leading to Bgy. Tambo where the Monfort Cave is located. There are many signages leading to the tourist spot, so visitors won't get lost in finding the bat cave.

Entrance fee for adults is Php 40 and Php 20 for kids. There are signages on the path to lead visitors in the bat cave within the compound. The foul odor of the bats' manure and urine gets stronger as we got near the caves.

There are 5 caves in the area housing 1.8M+ fruit bats, for an estimated density of 645 bats per square meter of the cave's surface area.

It is believed that Davao's abundant fruits of durian, mangosteen, and pomelo might have not been possible without the pollinating effect of the fruit bats. Sadly, out of about 70 original bat caves in the island, less than 20 caves are remaining to shelter the bats. Good thing that there are people like the Monfort family who worked on preserving the bats' habitat.

I wonder how the place would look like at dusk, when the million bats start to leave their neighboring caves to feed? Probably an eerie and darker place with bats cries everywhere, much like a horror movie setting, hehe.

Here's the map of Samal island for reference.

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