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When people hear of the island of Boracay, they visualize unbelievably clear waters that often reflect the blinding lights of the sun. People begin to anticipate the soft and fine white sand being dug by their toes as they bathe in sea and sunlight. People look forward to romantic strolls at the beach where the night sky is lit by an unusually large moon. And people are intrigued to the much-talked-about frenzied disco nights where the rules are simply dancing, singing, and having fun.
Practically everything in Boracay is civilized and tame against the backdrop of a gentle and nurturing nature. But there is a side of the Boracay where few people are aware of and few people dare to explore. This side of the Boracay is ominously dark, uncomfortably dank, and perhaps, purposely hidden from too many human eyes. This side of Boracay refers to the Yapak forest.
The Yapak Forest is thick and jungle-like. It is an extreme challenge even for the most seasoned jungle explorer. This forest is the habitat of many tropical animals, such as the monkeys, the snakes, and the giant â€œflying foxesâ€. These flying foxes are alarmingly large bats but they only feed on fruits and not on flesh and blood. During the night, the giant fruit bats scour the Yapak Forest to find their food, and then, as daylight invades, they return to their trees and restfully hang upside down.
Beside the home-trees of the Flying Foxes, one will find three distinct caves, the Crystal Cave, the Buslugan Cave, and the Bat Cave. The last one, the Bat Cave, shelters the cave bats. Bats, like humans, are mammals. That is, their young is born alive and nourished by the mother. But unlike people, bats, particularly cave bats, hated the light and the noise. This is why they are also nocturnal, that is, they are awake at night and are asleep during the day. When a tourist explores the Bat Cave, he must be extremely cautious and must avoid making noise that will disturb the bats. When disturbed, bats are known to fly about in a frenzy.
The Boracay island can be reached via 45-minute local plane flights from Manila to Kalibo, Aklan. From Kalibo, buses ply towards Caticlan Jetty, where the tourist must take a 90-minute boat ride towards the Boracay island. If the tourist will be hailing from Cebu, there will also be plane flights towards Kalibo, but these are just twice a week. Once in Boracay island, the caves can be reached either by walking or by riding a bicycle. Walking is best if one is staying at the Ilig-Iligan Beach. There are many local guides who will lead the first-time explorer towards the bat caves.
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