The presence of two strange flying creatures caught on camera inside a huge cave in the southern town of Argao, Cebu has baffled local tourism officials.

They believed that the footage captured by a group of call center agents were of fishlike or snakelike objects about a meter long that have been spotted in mountain areas of Mexico, Japan and Europe.

These creatures are called skyfish or flying rods because of their stick-like body. They have appendages along their torsos that reportedly flap in a wave motion while moving.

But according to The Straight Dope, a syndicated column in the US, the video footage are that of ordinary insects. It said that the camera's video capture framerate is too slow to capture the number of cycles of the insect's wing beat, resulting in a distorted image that looks like a flying rod.

"Essentially what you see is several wingbeat cycles of the insect on each frame of the video, creating the illusion of a "rod" with bulges along its length. The blurred body of the insect as it moves forward forms the "rod," and the oscillation of the wings up and down forms the bulges."

"Anyone with a video camera can duplicate the effect, if you shoot enough footage of flying insects from the right distance," said a Straight Dope column published in September 2000.

"We have consulted photographers and experts. They insisted that the object is not a reflection of anything. Right now, we're in a quandary. Probably, they're flying rods," said Alex K. Gonzales, Argao tourism officer.

Gonzales said the photos bearing the skyfish were taken when a group of eight call center agents were touring the House of Giants cave, known as Balay sa Agta, in Barangay Conalum, a hilly village 10 kilometers from the town proper.

The cave, a tourist destination, got its name because of its large natural hollow, which can accommodate the entire, if not two St. Michael Parish buildings, Argao's centuries-old church, he said.


Rainerio Alcarez and Jerome Montejo Jr., both accredited tour guides, accompanied the group during their eco-tour last Sunday. They said they did not expect a rare phenomenon to happen.

Alcarez said they were on their way out when he sensed something unusual, the intensity of sunlight emanating from the cave's open sinkhole at around 11:30 a.m.

The sinkhole, which the Argao tourism office calls an open cathedral, is located in the mid-portion of the cave's center covering.

Alcarez considered the sunlight's brightness that time as strange, as it was the first time he encountered this since working as a tour guide for seven years.

"I told them to take pictures using their digital cameras because the brightness of sunlight that day was really unusual," he said.

Upon returning to the tourism office in Poblacion, Alcarez said he was shocked to see two flying objects caught on camera when he downloaded the photos into the office computer.

At least four shots from different angles were taken of the creatures that were caught right in the light emanating from the cave's sinkhole.

Gonzales said they already consulted officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources but they could not also explain the existence of these two flying objects.

The local tourism office, he said, will not close the cave while they are bent on looking for experts to identify these flying creatures.

"It encourages us more to protect the cave. We will not allow tourists to go in there without our local guardians for their safety," Gonzales said.