Prehistoric relics unearthed at Loay cavern, officials say
LOAY, Bohol - Prehistoric artifacts, including a human skull and earthen wares, have been dug up at Sukgang Cavern, barangay Tayong of this town, by archeologists of Philippine National Museum, which, if after carbon dating process could prove that Bohol island was once inhabited by ancient people during or even before Christ’s time.
Municipal councilor Hermes Entero of this historical town bared this during an exclusive interview yesterday at his residence of Bool, Tagbilaran City. His revelation is corroborated by curator Charlemeine Titangco, officer-in-charge of National Museum Bohol branch in this city.
Philippine National Museum (PNM) archeologist Ame Garong also confirmed the ancient finds but the relics were now at the Manila National Museum for more study. She said in her e-mail reply to this writer that the NM would soon conduct a full-blown archeological digging at the site to determine the richness of the cavern, which is just a few meters across the national highway near the border of Lila town.
Entero said that the digging that took place sometime in July 2011 yielded relics of a human skull and wooden coffin, stone-made knives and other artifacts.
Entero, however, expressed dismay that even before the digging started by the PNM, traces of ransacking of the cave by treasure hunters are evident that somehow ruin the value of the relics. He even mentioned some former town officials who were allegedly into treasurer hunt.
He said this prompted him to author and sponsor a municipal Ordinance declaring the Sukgang Cave as an archeological site so that is shall be protected. The declaration added to other what he called treasures of the town that were placed under similar measure. The main purpose of which is for conservation and protection for the future, he said.
He said the cave could be one of the potentials in tourism come-on along with others already identified, including the historic stone church with centuries-old pipe organ, stone watch tower, the Clarin ancestral house, and the “actual” Sandugo site, and others.
In separate interview, Mario Suyman, owner of the lot where the cavern underneath is situated, said he plans to develop and invest in tourism. He said that he will put up a facility-resort atop the cavern for visitors to sight-see overlooking the Mindanao Sea as he expected that that soon a lot of tourists will influx the cave because of the relics find.
Titangco said that clearing efforts as cutting of bushes and trees nearby have been observed. But for Kagawad Entero the said site where the plan is being pushed should have clearance from authorities concerned since it is already declared as protected area under the municipal Ordinance.
Under the Republic Act 10066 or the “National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009,” archeological site is defined as places, whether above or underground, undersea or at sea level, containing fossils, artifacts, cultural, geological, botanical, zoological materials which depict document culturally relevant, paleonthological, prehistoric and/or historic events. (RVO)