Visit Monfort Bat Sanctuary on Samal Island, Davao Del Norte.
So much to see with so little time... I always feel guilty about going places elsewhere when I haven't seen much of the Philippines. Hence, this summer I explored Davao City and the Paradise Island of Samal with dear friends. I wasn't keen on seeing the bat caves, but as it was part of the best travel deal I could find, off we went on a perfect day.
The garden at the sanctuary overlooking Davao Gulf was idyllic, with coconut trees, birds (Maya), a pig, and a water buffalo (carabao). Prior to seeing the caves, the representative from the Philippine Bat Conservation Foundation, Inc. gave us orientation, and we learned that the site holds the Guinness Record for being home to almost 2M fruit bats (Geoffroy's Rousettes) that help with pollination and ensure the abundant supply of local fruits. Without the Sanctuary, the bats would be without a home due to human encroachment. Next came the tour of the caves. Our patient tour guide, Jonathan, prayed that the wind wouldn't blow our way so we could enjoy the site more. Somehow his prayer was answered as the wind blew when we were nearly done with the tour. Despite the odor, I lingered for a while and gazed at the seemingly helpless and innocent creatures quietly hanging from the cave walls. I tried not to think that they would one day lose their caves to real estate developers...
Please support bat conservation and ecological balance.