Caving capital of Philippines-Samar.

Thankyou so much Philippines Tourism Spark Samar.

Elsie Gabriel

The island of ‘Samar’ in the Philippines was put in the caving spotlight since the discovery of the largest cave in the Philippines, the Langun Gobingob Caves in Brgy Panayuran, Calbiga, Samar.Samar, earlier known asWestern Samar, is a  province in the Philippines located on Samar Islands in the Eastern Visayas and its capital is Catbalogan City. There are many caving adventure trips that one can make during a tour of the island but the best one, Langun-Gobingob Caves is the pride of Calbiga, Samar. It is the biggest cave in Southeast Asia and is said to be the second largest cathedral cave in the world with 2,968 hectares area. It encompasses twelve caves with large underground spaces, unique rock formations and carved formations which have taken centuries to evolve.IMG_20171209_095934

Cave adventures are a rarye experience available throughout the year. Geological marvels don’t always show up on your destination maps,  if you do happen to site caves, do go that extra mile and explore. Philippines offers this rare thrilling educational opportunity .IMG_20171209_091131

So if you’re an adventurous traveler, who loves to explore and always ready for something offbeat, try caving. Set out on a journey to the third largest island of the Philippines, the island of Samar.The entire forested tropical zone is considered as the best eco-tourism destination in the province enclosing thick woodlands, navigable rivers which lead you to the cave labyrinths and towering limestone cliffs. Trails to the caving sites commence with the ride down the Sohoton River cruise with  luscious greenery thickets surrounding your entry.IMG_20171209_081813

Gentle music played by the locals greet you as you approach the Sohoton and Panhulugan Caves. The guide and their team of assistants are very professional at the sites which help you adjust to kayaking specially if you are first timer. The team ensures that every Kayak has one professional guide rowing you down to the gigantic Sohoton Natural Bridge, which is a sight to behold. It is made out of years of intertwined branches and roots which form the natural over bridge, which literally bless you as you row under it. The water in the river has shallow water with mild currents which make it absolutely safe.

Called as the “mother of all chambers”, Langun-Gobingob Cave is the largest cave of the twelve caves wide enough to fit three game fields. The cave is famous for various cave life such as several endangered species of spiders, snakes, miniature tiny bats, cave crickets and crabs. The cave here is like a living museum with extensive stalactite and stalagmite formations and pottery shards adorning the arena all around you, simply engulfing you with natural geological beauty. You will be left in awe and wonder at what nature has to throw up at you inside these hidden caves.Every nook and corner, offers a turn into a mercerizing artifact , whether gigantic or small, the formations can only come alive to your own imagination. I found, Trees, branches, human parts and birds in everything I saw in limestone, all created by drops of water dripping over centuries. As you go deeper, you will see cave waterfalls appearing and little rivulets, with amazing ground carpet formations too.IMG_20171209_144816

The Lobo cave is another coveted discovery, with luxurious mineral formations, simply ideal for beginers. Then you have the Central Cave which is located on a hill of Brgy. San Andres which is five kilometers away from Catbalogan, Samar.
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HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR CAVING ADVENTURE.

Pick your caving destinations according to your adventure choice and start planning trips to these incredible places for exploration, discovery and history! Philippines has hundreds of caves. They range from easy walks to challenging hikes that can often turn into squeezes, crawls, climbs, treks and swims. Choose your caving trail accordingly. Caving is an excellent adventure for the explorer in you.

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TEMPERATURE INSIDE THE CAVES

Cave temperatures are normally constant year-round, approximately the average of the surface temperature. Sometimes it is wise to ask your guide about the varying temperatures before you embark on the journey. Rocky wide dry  guided caving trips, use cave routes that are suitable for beginners, the main passages are wide and tall enough to walk through, with some narrow corridors and shallow ceilings without straining the explorer. These caves also contain much smaller passages branching off and curving back around to the main corridor, so those who have the adrenal to explore and are not claustrophobic can experience bending, crawling and wiggling through some narrow places. The caves are safe for beginners and groups, providing an authentic introduction to the life and landscape of the subterranean world, truly an underground marvel.IMG_20171209_080455

ONCE INSIDE SAFETY AND RESPECT IS PRIORITY

Discuss cave formations, what minerals, chemicals and rocks make up pillars and arches. Do not touch any thing. The stalactites, stalagmites, calcium flows, streams and cave floura and fauna are all to be respected and left alone. Be well mannered with your fellow tourists and do not talk loudly or disturb others from documentations and photographs. You may explore cave passages with a headlamp, helmets and guides speaking at every turn to keep you comfortable. Experience the nocturnal wonders of a natural cave which is pitch dark actually if your guide switches off all torches and lamps. You will surely value the aspect of “light’ if he does show you a few seconds experience, like he did for us.

HOW TO GET THERE

By plane
Once in Philippines, there are flights from Cebu or Manila toNorthern Samar. The convenient and affordable way is to get to Catbalogan  via Tacloban City airport. From Tacloban it takes approximately 2 -2.5 hours by road. The buses stop to drop and pick up passengers along the way, so the trip may take longer. Public Vans are the preferred mode of transport because they’re faster. Trip schedules are fairly regular for the major routes like Tacloban-Catbalogan. You can also get to Samar by taking the 2-hour ferry boat ride, the best of course would be to take the private vehicle specially if you are in a group. It will take you a day or two to cover all the caves, under the directions of the guide.IMG_20171209_084245

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