KASIBU – Almost three hours from the downtown Bayombong, a quiet municipality nestled over the mountainous terrain of Nueva Viscaya is a promising tourist destination for nature and adventure lovers.
With its distance from the main transportation alleys, commuting to this quiet town could be daunting for first timers.
Here is a quick guide in visiting the Capisaan Cave system
- In able to reach the municipality of Kasibu from Manila, take any bus bound to Cagayan Valley (Santiago, Cauayan, Roxas, Tuguegarao or Aparri) and alight in Solano, Nueva Viscaya.
- Schedule of Jeepneys bound to Kasibu is every around noon time. All three jeepneys departs Solano as a convoy. Travel time is 2-3 hours.
- There are homestays available for backpackers who commuted to Kasibu costing around Php200.00 to Php250.00 per head. Add Php50.00 for the arranged dinner.
- Schedule of Jeepneys bound back to Solano is around 5:00 AM and all jeepneys departs as a convoy. Travel Time is 2-3 hours.
As we arrive from the jump off point, Sir Jerry, the pioneering president of the Capisaan Cave Tour Guide Association, gave us a quick pep talk about caving and explained the unique but massive cave system, discussing its different entry points and major attractions.
It is encouraged, as a first time to go spelunking in Kasibu, to take the Alayan cave-Lion cave route. It entry and exit point stretches from two barangays and would take four hours to normally traverse this route.
After the brief orientation, we headed back to our chartered jeepney and set to the mountainous and bumpy course to the Alayan Cave entrance which is another less than an hour travel from Brgy. Capisaan.
The spelunking came to a brief halt as the rear right tire blew, a good thing, the driver has a spare tire. As the tinkering goes on, I alighted the jeep and drenched my senses with mother nature offers and basked myself under the morning sun to collect heat.
As the tire changing is completed, there and back again we are to the dusty mountain road. Despite the bumpy road, I still fell asleep on my travel pillow.
THE CAVE SPELUNKING EXPERIENCE
As we approached the jump-off point, we alighted on a citrus orchard beside a rocky hill. With our cave guides, we made a short trek to the mouth of Alayan Cave.
Our cave guides divided the team into five to avoid crowding a specific area. I positioned myself with the last team. I was on a brink to back out because I am having second thoughts with the four-hour spelunking route, I asked the guide if I can go halfway the cave. He said its ok as long as I am willing to trek back to Brgy. Capisaan since the jeepney should be back then by the time I asked. I chose to finish this challenge and my motivation is to get back to the Lion Cave entrance and take photos the best I can inside the cave.
After the fourth team has entered the cave, it is our now our turn, and, I drew a deep breath and started trodding the cave’s mouth until complete darkness has embraced us – nothing but flashlights illuminate us. They banned the use of gas-powered lamps to avoid soot polluting the cave walls. As we go deep into the cave, the cold temperature starts to creep down to my core. Part of the challenge is that most of the trail is above or over water, nevertheless, let’s do this!
From streams of cold water we passed, we need to cross a deep cave lagoon – thanks for the life vests! After crossing, then interesting formations start to show as we continue to the trail. The formations inside the cave are indeed unique! Here are some of the photos I have taken:
There are rock formations that prove Mother Nature could be “naughty” – if you know what I mean or let the pictures speak for themselves.
There is also this colossal rock depicting the bow of Titanic. Aside from these stunning rock formations, the trail itself is a massive and tricky obstacle course, where you really need to crawl, fit yourself through a narrow passageway and duck to a path submerged underwater where your head is only above water – such an unforgettable experience. So listening intently and following your cave guide would make your spelunking experience easier and fun.
LIGHT FROM THE OTHER END
More than halfway through the trail, there are rock formations that depict shapes of vegetables and other common table food – this made me hungry along. With my tummy starting to rumble, I kept asking our cave guide, how far are we to exit? How long still should we bear this trail? He kept on saying, “almost an hour” or “half an hour”, then I thought we are still stuck in the middle of the cave. Then suddenly, LIGHT!! I felt an instant surge of energy that made me almost run to the exit – but still is careful of the overhead obstacles – I bumped my head but thanks for the hardhat! When I was out of the full with my cold, wet and tired body drenched under the early afternoon sun, I cannot help but shout! Wooooh! We made it!
Additional information about the cave: The First Cave Congress happened in Capisaan Cave System shared by Sir Jerry, attended by cave guides from Palawan and Cordillera region.
Thank you to my friend Engr. Wrix for making this cave exploration possible! I am happy to have met new friends as well.