Weekend Spelunking near Manila? Bulacan is your best bet with numerous caves to choose from! For this weekend, I decided to take a road trip to Malangaan Cave in San Rafael with my cousins, Aya and Andrea. With narrow dirt roads and no street lights leading to the cave’s base, it made for a rough ride and yet, the view of endless plantations was an awe-striking distraction… for my cousins. I had to keep my eyes on the road.
2.5 hours in, we have reached what seemed to be a gate with plenty of kids manning the station. Aya was quick to point out their “manager”, a small girl in charge of collecting a 30 pesos fee to enter. The rest of the kids fought for our attention, almost begging us to choose one of them as our tour guide for the cave. We ended up having two boys, Rodel and Rodmar, inside the car and pointing us to the direction of the 30 pesos parking area. We tipped them 100 pesos each.
There’s a spring at the base of the cave where locals swam and cooled down from the afternoon heat. Numerous wooden sari-sari stores lined up beside it providing food and refreshments. Old songs and out of tune vocals played in the background, adding to the entertainment—then again, Filipinos love their Karaoke! Further down, we had to cross through sharp and uneven boulders before reaching the entrance of Malangaan Cave.
I honestly thought that the open-air rock formation was the “Malangaan Cave”—don’t judge! I did question it! The limestone formation looked like a horse-shoe with both ends caving in but also letting enough light in. It made for a picturesque view with a wide natural walkway as if made to invite man to walk past it. Sometimes there would be a small stream flowing through it but I’m glad it was dry when we went!
Though it was fun playing around the rock formations, I couldn’t help but notice how some may have overdone their fun. Vandalism. Everywhere. It sad to realise how poorly maintained this cave is especially that it has so much potential of being a proper tourist spot. Was it because there were no entrance fees and environmental fees to fund the cave’s preservation? I honestly don’t know but one thing I do know is that it is still beautiful regardless.
“Ate, do you have a flashlight?,” asked Rodmar. He led us to medium-sized hole by the wall, signalling us that we’re about to enter the cave. Ooh, our spelunking was just about to start and there I was thinking that we’re already halfway. Ha!
It’s cooler inside. The temperature must have instantly dropped 5-degrees as soon as we entered. Cellphone’s flashlight on, we started traversing through the dark space. If we weren’t climbing rocks or going down from it, we were walking sideways or with hands over our heads, making sure that we don’t end up with a concussion. Again, I’m happy I’ve had parkour trainings before—it definitely helped my balance and navigation strategies.
It must have been 15-20 minutes before we saw the sunlight peeking through above—that was our exit point. Aah, Fresh air! Space! Color! And best of all, this was our congratulatory view:
The beauty never ends! On our short hike back to the base, we saw what the whole Malangaan cave looked like from the outside. Glorious.
Sun was setting and it was time to head back to Manila. We didn’t want to drive through the dirt road in darkness so we were chasing the sunset back to the main road. This time, I took the time to pause and appreciate the view—the full moon peeping through the pastel sky overlooking the rice plantation. What a sight to cap off a day trip adventure.