The Gomantong Caves have been renowned for their valuable edible swiftlet nests, which are harvested for bird’s nest soup. However, besides the swiftlets, the caves are also home to bats, snakes, cockroaches and other creepy crawlies. Apparently, the entire floor of the cave is covered with guano measuring some three to four metres deep!
Due to the presence of guano on the cave floor, as part of the boardwalk which ran through the cave, there were wooden handrails by the side in case you lose your balance due to the slippery floor – I almost grabbed onto the handrails at one point but to my horror when I shone my torch on it, there were hundreds of cockroaches crawling all over the handrails!! EEEKKKK!!!
I then looked around with my torch and shone it on the cave wall and found thousands more cockroaches all over the wall!! GROSS!!! Majority of them were dark brown like the typical house cockroach but some of them were a little golden or pale in colour which made me wonder if they were albino or was it due to the lack of sunlight in the cave? Hmmm…. enough talk about cockroaches – I also saw a snake curled up and fast asleep at a corner of the cave.
Sorry to disappoint those of you who would like to see a picture of the cockroaches and snake – the ground was too slippery and and it was too disgusting a sight for me to want to snap a picture, plus lighting was extremely dim and I wanted to get out of the cave as soon as possible!
Too bad it wasn’t the season for the harvesting of bird’s nest but we saw the rope ladders which they use and also saw how high the ceiling of the cave was.
The reason why bird’s nest is so expensive is that people actually risk their lives to harvest the nests and there isn’t any safety harness used to prevent them from falling to their deaths!!
Is it really worth risking your life for??