Lightly explored by FCD Jake Miranda to a depth of 15 meters fresh water on September 7, 2016, the Tarusan Spring cave system held more depths for discovery. Revealed to Gastardo and Miranda during the June 20, 2017 exploration was the knowledge that the underwater cave system goes further and deeper than 31 meters/ 102 feet.
The freshwater spring is located in Brgy. Tarusan, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur and it features a strong outflow. With the monsoon rains washing down silt into the area, horizontal visibility during the latest dive was at 2-3 meters.
Logs and tree branches were in the way as the divers made their slow meandering descent. Line laid was approximately 70 meters and upon reaching the depth of 31 meters after 30 minutes, the divers turned the dive and vowed to return for further exploration during a period when the rain will be less and the visibility will hopefully be better.
Although the dive was safe and successful, what dismayed the FCD was the introduction of “improvements” by the landowner. The spring water harbored various aquatic plants of astounding beauty, with lush growth along the river bank complimented by thick topside foliage.
With the vegetation uprooted during the construction of a cottage above the headspring, it resulted to erosion. There was heavy siltation observed during the dive.
The following pictures below explicitly show what the area looked before and after the perturbation of its natural beauty by misguided individuals.
Hinatuan Mayor Shem Garay and the Tourism Council have been duly informed of the state of the area and the latest news received from their side is that the landowner has been in a meeting with them and he is supportive of the LGU’s intervention program for the spring.
“We have already talked with the landowner. We even invited him to attend the ER & Tourism Stakeholders’ Dialogue and he appeared and stood up during the Open Forum asking for the immediate intervention of the LGU so that he would know what to do. During our initial talk prior to the dialogue he promised to remove the cottage and conduct re-greening in the surrounding area. He is very much willing to abide to the wishes of the LGU. “
– Ms. Gemma Salonga Millan, Hinatuan LGU Information Officer
The FCD will continue to monitor the progress of the LGU’s intervention and eventual management of the area. Aside from being the water source of 2 barangays downstream, the area has a natural beauty and it must be kept as pristine as possible.
Locals use Tarusan Spring as source of potable water and its preservation is critical to the survival of two communities down the river.
All topside images by Jake Miranda. Aquatic plants images by Bernil Gastardo.
Article by Gastardo and Miranda.