Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cacupangan Cave, Our Anniversary Fave

Do you like caves? I am so in love with caves, I feel that I was a mermaid once and I get energized just going inside the cave.......NOT! But my sweetheart loves caves. We go to Pampanga and there, he looks for caves. We go to Baguio, and he asks around where the caves are. We went to Kota Kinabalu, and what does he look for, yes, caves. And yes, he looked for caves in Las Vegas too, and the likely place he went was the underground drainage with giant squarish pipe-like 'caves' hehehe! That was an unforgettable experience for him too, but we got to stick to our blog title for now. I knew he was cave deprived so I helped him find a good cave.  We celebrated  our wedding anniversary by exploring caves.  Yes, we explored some itsy weeny small caves before we decided to consult the internet and voila, there are actually more caves to explore!   We went to the longest ever cave in the Philippines, the Cacupangan cave.

Where is Cacupangan cave? It is in the town of Mabini, about 11 kilometers from the busy town of Alaminos, Pangasinan, Philippines. From the highway, it is 5 kilometers to the cave. The sign, Cacupangan Cave from the highway is so small, so be on the lookout. If you're coming from Alaminos, look to your left. You will also see the sign just before you pass the cemetery. You have to turn left in the upward cemetery road. The road is of rough gravel, I was afraid our small car would get bounced out of the road. After about 1.6 kilometer of this road, turn left for more gravel road, about 1.4 kilometers more. You are now in Barrio Benmachia. You will see a gate at the entrance with entrance prices. We arrived at the place at about 10 AM, on a weekday. I guess this was early so no one was at the gate, although it was open. We went inside with our car and parked near the cave entrance. We found a young woman there and asked her if she could be our cave tour guide.

Her name is Nancy and she knew the insides of the cave like the back of her hand. She did not have flash lights, she wore flip plops, did not speak much English, but she got us through the cave. It is necessary that you have a guide as some parts of the cave are pitch black, although some parts have skylights through the holes of the cave. There are also several entrances that may confuse you and later you might wonder where your car is parked because you went out the wrong entrance and ended up in the 'wrong' barrio.  People are friendly, though, and everyone would be applying as your tour guide.
Things to bring when exploring caves:
1) Strong head flashlights submersible too, as there are parts in the cave that are 7 ft. deep.
2) Water for drink.
3) Comfortable shoes or sandals. Your feet will get wet. Some opt for flip plops if they don't like walking in wet rubber shoes. Choose footwear which allows your feet to 'grasp' the wet stones as you walk.
4) hat if you don't like your hair to get wet while walking. There are parts of the cave which leaks water
5) Wear a swim suit if you're inclined to swim across the water instead of walking at the sides nearest the cave walls.

The cave is long. The cave’s opening is at N16 deg. 03.261 E119 deg. 57.464. Don''t ask me what those mean, I am not a cave enthusiast. As usual in all the caves, there are stalagmites, stalactites, bats and guanos. I found out later, there are also snakes, eels, and other not so cute insects, whew!
According to Nancy, our guide, it would take approximately three hours to reach the end of the cave at Barrio Villacorte. Reaching the end, many people like to go back as the path is relative easier, downward instead of a bit of upward climb from Barrio Benmachia. The cave became more popular when a TV series about a mermaid, starred by the local actress, Claudine Barretto, was shot from the nearby Hundred Islands. Some parts of the cave was used as the home of the monster who is the mermaid's arch enemy. There is even a sign "Don't enter beyond thips point', inside the cave. Of course we did not heed it. I guess that sign is a warning for the TV crew, as going beyond that line, the water is seven feet deep. It was an adventure for us. My sweetheart would like to go back, with a bigger submersible flashlight and camping gears. Yes, Pricilla, we would be staying there overnight.

I hope I will be able to find my new close friend, Nancy when we go back there. Hayyy, of course I would go cave hiking with my sweeetheart. I could enjoy some novelty, like swimming inside the cave. Who knows, the bats' guanos might give me superhuman power, make me forever young, etc.

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  1. Nice story:) I like the fact that your sweetheart likes caves. cool.....

  2. Oh, yes, I love caves! Nice pictures! Thanks for all the times you have stopped by my blog in 2009. Wishing you a very happy 2010. Looking forward to more pictures!

  3. Thanks Monissima. I think his DNA could not forget his days of being a cave man, hehehe.

  4. Thanks, Elizabeth Mahlou. Glad that you like the pictures. Your comment just reinforced my decision to be more of a photographer this year 2010 :)

    I enjoy reading your blogs too!


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