Thursday, February 12, 2009

Going back in time at Balobok

With the wedding engagement over and done by mid-afternoon, we were itching to make up for our Simunul island hop as it was still early in the day to do nothing while waiting for the sunset. Kit, the tourism operations officer suggested we go caving to Balobok. The tourism staff were kind and hospitable to look for a suitable vehicle; we were just going to pay for the fuel, so who are we to refuse?We passed through the airport runway (now undergoing lengthening in preparation for welcoming bigger planes and more visitors perhaps) in the university town of Sanga Sanga and after that the road became bumpier by the minute. We passed through a rough coastal road that snakes through the forest, passing through several communities who were perhaps surprised to see visitors at that late time of day.The Tourism Council have very good reasons to want us to see the cave and realize its significance.T he excavation on the site revealed that archaelogical materials that reveal details of the prehistory of the Philippines. The discovery of artifacts and implements made from the giant clam as well as animal remains intimate that the Balobok Rock Shelter played a role in the movement of people into the Southwest Pacific. The prehistoric layers identified at the site belong to the Neolitihic period or the New Stone Age. The discovery of animal remains carbon dated to be about 8,810-5,190 years old is evidence of one of the earliest habitation in the region. Alas, the artifacts and animal remains are no longer in Bongao but are under the care of the National Museum. These will be returned to  Tawi Tawi if and when it finally have a museum of its own. I secretly wonder when that time will come.Info: If you want to visit the Balobok Rock Shelter, coordinate with the Tourism Council Office: Salvacion Pescadera, Prov. Tourism Officer at 0910.6716367 or Sirikit Arip, Supervising Tourism Operation Officer at 0919.4325553. a heavy-duty vehicle is needed to negotiate the very rough trail; it is only advisable to visit the shelter during the dry season.


Related Posts with Thumbnails