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Slovenian Spelunkers on Asian Exploration

Written by Joe Espiritu

After so many years, Slovenian spelunkers returned to continue their exploration of an Odiong cave, said to be the second deepest cave in the Philippines. How those sportsmen from the previous Yugoslavia came to know of the subterranean passage in a remote part of the country must have been an advertising coup of our tourism industry. They came, they saw and were impressed. So they came back we hope they will produce extensive literature in their return.

 Geologists say that the Philippines, with Bohol in the middle, were previously under the sea. Marine life covered the sea bottom. Their dead shells provided a layer, which hardened into limestone. The shifting of the surface of the earth pushed the sea bottom up to form the Philippine islands. It is not a wonder if one could find ancient seashells in Mayana, which has the highest mountaintop in Bohol.

 Odiong is within the limestone structure, which runs from Garcia Hernandez to Duero. For ages, underground waters dissolved portions of the subsoil creating an underground passage. It is not surprising that Odiong will have a limestone cave. In what direction the hole would take will depend upon the solubility of the earth beneath. If it ultimately makes its way to the sea, then the Odiong cave will have a marine outlet.

 Cave exploration is not for amateurs, it may be dangerous. Not only that the tyros could get lost but also they might blunder into places, where they would suffocate. The former problem could be avoided by a child's game tying a strong nylon string to the mouth of the cave and unreeling it as they go from place to place underground. If they get lost, all they would do is retrace the string to the mouth. As for the second problem, amateur spelunkers might carry with them air bottles like those used in scuba diving. However, lugging those bottles around could prove to be inconvenient.

 The Slovenian explorers might find out that the Odiong cave is not just the second deepest cave in the country but actually the deepest after they finish their exploration. Then, they might establish some interesting characteristics peculiar only to the cavern. It might be proven safe enough for amateurs to safely venture underground or it may be  some sort of obstacle course for pros.

 This would mean two things. Either it would be promoted as a place of excursion to those who would like to see the wonders of stalactite and stalagmite structures or it may be a training ground for amateurs, who would want to learn further the intricacies of spelunking. Either way, we would have a viable tourist spot. The next is how to make the cave accessible to Western tourist. There are tourist, who would like to enjoy amenities even in out of way places and there are those, who are adventurous and would like to live on the rough.

 Tourist spot development would be long and expensive. Perhaps if could not be done satisfactorily in our time. However, now would be the time to start, There must be  something that made spelunkers from another part of the world to come back here. It is not just idle curiosity, which made them return. Whatever it is we could capitalize on it.

 The next is; by the time we find something interesting, we should take steps to protect it. There had been objects of interest, which we have neglected. Ancient graves had been desecrated, prehistoric wooden coffins removed and old bones scattered. This could be a treasure trove of information to archeologists and anthropologist trying to trace population movements from the South East homeland through the Philippines to the outermost reaches of the Pacific islands. We would not like Odiong cave to lose it's value.

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