Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park 2017-2018
The Gaia Exploration Club, La Karst (from Palawan), and staff of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River went back to the PPSRNP on December 27-January 2 to document areas of the underground river closed to the public, and then from January 3-5, 2018, GEC helped facilitate the drafting of the Cave Management Plan for the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.
Through the support of the Department of Tourism, GEC assisted in the formation of the Philippine Cave Guides Association (PCGA) in 1998, a precursor to the Philippine Speleological Society (PSS). The GEC held the first years of leadership of the PCGA and some of its members are founders of this early organization.
The GEC is also one of the founding member clubs of the PSS, with the aim of fostering interest in caves and building a robust caving community. GEC together with the Sang at Salug Outdoor Club and the Philippine Cave Guides Association hosted the 1st PSS Caving Congress in Nueva Vizcaya in 2001. GEC led the early years of the PSS and remains an active member of the national organization.
The GEC also sits in the National Cave Committee as a Non-Governmental Organization representative since its inception and also currently is a member of the Regional Cave Committee of CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon). The organization also works with caving groups from overseas from time to time, namely the Bristol Exploration Club from the United Kingdom and La Venta from Italy.
Conservation of the environment is one of the core beliefs and priorities of the GEC. After all, if there is no natural environment to explore, the GEC has no reason to exist. The GEC has been involved in the establishment of the following important cave related initiatives:
- Philippine Cave Act of 2001
- National Cave Classification Guidelines 2000
- National Cave Management Guidelines 2014
- DENR Cave Rescue Protocols (together with the Philippine Speleological Society) 2015
The group has facilitated and created programs for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on numerous occasions on topics ranging from caving skills and techniques, conservation, cave classification, and cave management among others. For its efforts, the GEC has been recognized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for “invaluable contributions to cave conservation and management”.