Samal Bat Cave Sanctuary

Have you been to the biggest bat colony in the Philippines?

Samal Bat Cave Sanctuary

“Well, hi there fella! Nice to meet you!” – A male Rousette’s Fruit bat hangs from the opening of one of five entrances to a 245 foot deep cave

Samal Bat Cave Sanctuary

One of the openings of the cave where millions of Rousette’s Fruit Bat make their home.

I entered the Monfort property in Brgy. Tambo in Samal City and came into one of the corralled areas. As I edged closer to the cave’s opening, the temperature rose, the hissing sounds grew louder and the musky, ammonia like odor grew stronger. This should be it, I’m near…

Like some creepy horror film, there, on the ground, beside a big creepily formed tree was a hole in the ground. A black hole teeming with creatures that makes your hair stand up. With the sounds they make, it all makes it more spine tingling… But then, it was a sight to behold. A gathering of 2.5 million Rousette’s fruit bat, harmless creatures that feed on fruit. It is the biggest congregation in Davao, in the Philippines and in the world earning it a Guiness World Record. Such big distinction and you are there, face to face, edging at a seeming abyss. All in this island.

This crepuscular congregation is within the property of the Indigo-Monfort family, who has taken cared of the colony for more than a century. Now, it is under Norma Monfort, who corralled the five openings of the cave. It was also through the family’s conservation efforts that she has been recognized and was named 2011 Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Hero.

There’s an entrance fee of P100 which goes to maintaining and supporting the area and once inside, there are important information that will surely educate you not only on the Rousette’s fruit bats but also on bat conservation as well.

Samal Bat Cave Sanctuary

Because of the size of the cave, these bats, almost 2 million of them is said to occupy 75% of the cave’s surface

Samal Bat Cave Sanctuary

An individual takes flight at one of the cave entrances

The caves are usually holes in the ground and the area has several that houses these bats

The owner, Norma Monfort has been maintaining the area since 1900 where this cave system is found and is part of their property. The entrances have been corralled.

Samal Bat Cave Sanctuary

Because of the number of bats, it can be noisy and going near it, one can feel the higher temperature as well as the foul smell emanating from the cave’s mouth

Samal Bat Cave Sanctuary

Every sunset, the bats go out for food, and is called their circadian flight

Samal Bat Cave Sanctuary

Corralled areas means that it is one of the cave entrances where the Rousette’s Fruit Bats make their home

Monfort Bat Sanctuary
Brgy. Tambo, Samal City

HOW TO GET THERE From Davao City head to the Lanang port area where ferries ply the Lanang-Samal route. Once at the other side, there are habal-habal motorcycles that can take and wait for you at the Monfort Bat Sanctuary in Brgy. Tambo. Do haggle with the driver.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

3 Comments

  1. @EstanCabigas
    June 26, 2014 @ 18:36

    Have you been to the biggest bat colony in the Philippines?: “Well, hi there fella! Nice to meet you!” – A mal… http://t.co/yGK78MRcue

  2. rEydan
    July 1, 2014 @ 8:52

    Wow!!! Sarap nyan panoorin pag sila lahat lumabas 🙂

  3. Cebu Urbano
    July 2, 2014 @ 18:36

    definitely a 2 thumbs up! sure hope these guys will be out of the endangered list soon

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