The why’s of sustainability series III: Why bat guano from Samar?


If you’ve gone inside a subterranean cave full of bats, you would notice the endless rain of piss and droppings, pelting your head and the countless bats whirling around you, sometimes smack into your face.  There are also the cacophony of bat shrieks and shrilly sounds filling the caverns.  And you wade through thick layers of moist guano–yes, guano, as in the best natural fertilizer on planet Earth.

The fresh droppings are nitrogen-rich–the right fertilizer for your vegetables or plants whose leaves are prized.   As the guano deposit goes deeper, the more it becomes phosphoric–as in phosphorus, which makes your trees yield the sweetest fruits and your shrubs the proudest flowers.

Here in the states, you would find all sorts of man-made soil conditioners packaged individually for instant use in your garden or flower pot as the case maybe.  But I haven’t seen one declaring guano, either of the bird or bat kind, except on e-commerce sites.  Just the same, soil conditioners are a big business hereabouts.

Samar is blessed with so many caves full of bat guano.  The province is crisscrossed with caves galore.  The Calbiga cave system, for one, is reputed to be the biggest in Asia.  One can just imagine the extent of the bat guano deposits there.  It is said that the swarms of bats homing into the caves would darken the sky–an indication that the cave system is just full of it –i.e. bat guano.

Entrance to the Calbiga Cave System, Calbiga, Western Samar

What a pity that in this age of organics, my Waray-waray bugtos have not come around harvesting or mining the bat guano to formulate a natural fertilizer mix with a view to sustainability.  And marketing soil conditioners and outright pure bat guano fertilizers, standardized for N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium).  Maybe they are afraid of anitos or spirits supposedly haunting those caves?  Or the snakes and other surprises that come a-lurking in dark and dank places?  Or is government bureaucracy anathema to such ventures?   Or is there a dearth in entrepreneurship?

Bat guano sticking to spelunker's shoes in Calbiga caves.

Whatever the reasons, with this focus, the powers that be and the region’s businessmen will hopefully come together to strategize and implement a plan of action.  Fertilizers, especially the organic kind, are a sine qua non in food production.  This urgency cannot be over emphasized with our stratospheric number of mouths to feed.

Bat guano can be mined and processed as pure bat guano organic fertilizer or as an adjunct in making soil conditioners or potting mixes.   The first category can be further categorized as Hi-N, for leafy vegetables, Hi-P for flowering and fruiting plants, and 0-P-0 exclusively for fruit trees.

The company, Down to Earth Distributors, based in Oregon, has the following bat guano formulations:

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