‘Strange creatures’ in Argao draw tourists


Reports of two mysterious flying creatures inside a cave in Argao drew tourists to the southern Cebu town yesterday.

The Balay sa Agta cave, a tourist spot in a hilly village of Argao, Cebu, will continue to be open to the public, as local officials do not see as a threat the mysterious flying creatures reported to be inside.

“We’re on a status quo and our eco-tour program will continue. We cannot be afraid of something that we don’t know,” Alex K. Gonzales, the town’s tourism officer, said.

Gonzales said there has been no advice from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 to temporarily bar tourists from visiting the cave.

The cave is considered the largest in Cebu and appears big enough to accommodate two buildings the size of Argao’s St. Michael’s Parish.

At least two flying creatures were caught on camera when a group of call center agents toured last Sunday the cave in Conalum, a mountain barangay 10 kilometers from Argao proper.

Rainerio Alcarez, a local tour guide, spotted the fishlike or snakelike objects when he downloaded the pictures from a digital camera to an office computer.

A syndicated newspaper column in the US, however, explained that similar phenomenon have been caused by insects moving too fast for the camera’s capture frame rate.

Alcarez recalled that the sunlight coming from the cave’s open sinkhole at 11:30 a.m. was so intense that day that he urged the tourists to take as many pictures as they could.

Alcarez, a tour guide for seven years, also said that bats were so noisy when they entered the cave, which he described as very unusual.

When they checked the sighting on the Internet, Alcarez said they found similar flying objects in YouTube videos, where the creatures were identified as flying rods or skyfish.

Gonzales advised tourists, though, to visit the tourism office in Argao for registration and a briefing before visiting the cave.

He said that tourists will not be allowed to visit the cave without being accompanied by local tour guides.

“This is one measure that we’re going to impose strictly for their own safety,” Gonzales added.