This is the last part of our Samal Island Adventure
If it wasn’t for this tour, we would not be able to discover Monfort Bat Cave that houses an estimated 1.8 million bats. It was recognized by the Guinness World of Records in February 2010 as the world’s largest colony of Old World fruit bats known as Geoffroy’s Rousette Fruit Bats. Amazing!
It is situated in a 23-hectare protected area at Barangay Tambo, Babak District, a few minutes away from Hagimit Falls
Our visit to the cave was something peculiar because we just got off from swimming activities for the past several hours. We paid for the entrance fee (P100/head) and had a leisure walk on the neat pathway going to the Exhibit Area. The view of Davao Gulf and the tall palm trees were indeed a sight to behold. We were briefed about the bats and later accompanied by a 12-year old little girl named Amanda as our guide.
She started her cue as soon as we hit the pathway to the first of five cave openings surrounded by bamboo railings. We were amazed to see an immense number of bats hanging upside down on the cave wall. They were very close together, some were flying, some were clinging almost to the ground. It was almost 5:00 pm and their shrieking sound got so louder and louder.
The strong smell of their wastes known as “guano” exuded the area. It is said to be used by local farmers as a natural fertilizer. We were lucky that we saw the White Lady bat, the only white among the millions of hanging bats. We were told that bats were forming a huge whirlwind formation at night time and will fly in groups across the region to pollinate fruits. And they will return before dawn.
That would be so exciting to see but the sanctuary is closed at 6:00 pm so we have no opportunity to witness that spectacular phenomenon.
When we went back to the Exhibit Hall we got to know more about the bats by reading all the articles especially those of National Geographic Magazine attached on the wall. We were given a small pamphlet with informative facts about bats. And here it goes.
1) Bats are found throughout the world except in the Arctic and Antarctic.
2) Some bats live up to 30 years!
3) Of over 1116 kinds of bats globally, 123 come from Southeast Asia.
4) Of over 450 mammal species in S. Asia, more than 25% are bats!
5) The smallest bat in the world can fit into a matchbox – a bumblebee bat.
6) Bats are not pests they control pests by eating insects.
7) Bats increase our road supply by pollinating plants and scattering seeds.
8) Bats are not a bad omen. They are considered lucky in some countries.
9) The world’s biggest bat has a wingspan of 6 feet and weighs 1 kilo (Giant Flying Fox)
10) Mother Bats have babies called “pups” once a year.
11) Bat homes are called “roosts” and they live in giant joint families.
12) Bats are comfortable hanging upside down.
13) Insect bats use ultrasound to find food and avoid obstacles.
14) Insect bats have less vision due to life in caves but fruit bats can see.
15) Bats are like cats in washing daily and being clean.
16) Also like cats, males bats mark their territory.
17) Bats are the only mammals that fly. Flying squirrels glide.
18) Bats have been in this world for over 50 million years.
Now you know more about bats.
We were the last visitors to come out from the sanctuary. We were so delighted to Amanda for being so informative. Such a small bright girl. We gave her a tip as a reward for answering all our queries.
We were thankful to the current owner, Norma Comfort for her advocacy of preserving these fruit bats on this island. With the help of the residents and the local government, they were able to protect the colony which has a valuable contribution to the ecological balance and to mankind as well.
Take a ferry boat from Sasa Wharf to Bakak Wharf. You may choose to ride a habal-habal (negotiate for the fare) or the Inland Express non-aircon bus and tell the driver to drop you at the entry point of Monfort Bat Cave.
The road is accessible by car so it is better if you bring your own and take the ferry service at Sasa Wharf for a minimal fee of P300 for the vehicle and P10/head for the passenger.
Contact Numbers: Smart-0920 969 3299 / Globe-0917 705 4295