A socmed post about an underground cave in Laguna piqued my interest. Located along the foothills of the Sierra Madre, the cave system was still in the early phases of development so going there on a solo DIY trip was a bit of a challenge. So, when an organizer squeezed in a trip to explore this underground wonder, it was hard not to pack my bag for a quick day trip to Cavinti in Laguna.
Cavinti is one of the municipalities in Laguna that lie along the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is one of the popular weekend destinations in the province owing to the two man-made lakes of Caliraya and Lumot, and the Cavinti Falls or, more popularly known as, Pagsanjan Falls. But today we are taking on a different kind of Laguna and explore what beauty lies underneath. Welcome to the Cavinti Underground River and Cave System.
On The Dirt Roads of Cavinti
Exploring the Cavinti Underground River and Caves starts with an orientation with Kuya Jimsy where we are given a brief of this cave system. The underground cave system were discovered in May 2011. It consists of 100 caves with 7 entrances. 36 of these caves were already mapped and was already classified as a class 2 cave by the DENR, allowing the LGU to conduct tourism activities.
One can either choose to hike to the caves or to hop on a 4x4 to navigate through the muddy road leading to the jump-off point. The area is now being developed by the local government as a tourism site and they have cut through to build a road directly to the site. Presently, one needs to trek 3 kilometers of rough and muddy road to get to the jump-off point. Our group opted to walk the way. I mean an adventure like this one is not complete without getting all muddied and dirty, right?
The jump-off point of the cave complex sits along a river side. They have a makeshift shed where you can take a rest before you proceed to explore the cave. The rustic views here are very relaxing and refreshing especially after walking and sliding on the muddied trails. The cold water running over my feet was a relief after the first round of hiking.
Sa Loob Ng Yungib
It was another 15 minutes of river crossing and trekking through forest covers, from the jump-off point, to get to the mouth of the cave. The opening was inconspicuous and you wouldn’t even think that it leads to something naturally beautiful. Bamboo walkways above the water were installed at the entrance for easy access of guests. Be forewarned though that you will be crossing waist high waters at the end of the wood path so make sure to waterproof your stuff.
The chamber at the entrance will amaze you for its beautiful stalactite formations. The whole ceiling is covered with stalactites of different sizes. One of our companions brought a red lamp with her and it gave us a more dramatic vibe with our shots.
The caves of Cavinti reminds me of Sagada’s Cave Connection minus the nerve-wracking cliffs and traversing rock edges. A cabbage-shaped rock formation had similarities with that of Sagada’s. The only difference is that it is safer to traverse the cave system of Cavinti.
Cave Chambers, A Fountain, and a Waterfall
As you move deeper into this side of the cave, you will be captivated by the size and breadth of the chambers. A hundred people can easily fit to party into one of its chambers. The great thing about exploring the cave system is that the local tourism office manages the load of guests coming in. Guests stream in by batches to avoid crowding in any of its chambers.
As you walk deeper into the chamber, you will be treated with beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations. You would also notice that minerals and crystals shimmering when light strikes the surfaces of the rock walls. A rock formation called “pawikan” is shaped like a turtle when viewed at a certain angle. The most prominent feature on this side is the “Fountain of Youth” - a stalactite and stalagmite formation with water dripping down from above flowing down to the cave floor.
The other side of the cave complex has three major features. The most popular is the cavern with an opening on the ceiling. The opening allows light to stream in giving the chamber an ethereal vibe. It is probably the most photographed spot because with the right streaming of light gives you a beautiful and magical capture.
The Cathedral is another amazing feature of this cave system. It is another chamber that has a rock shelf creating an image similar to a church retablo. The stalagmites formations atop the church stand as images of saints of the altar. Adjacent to the “altar” is a small opening leading to a smaller chamber where one can find an underground waterfall. The spring water that cascades on the rocks is safe to drink and offers a relaxing shower after all the cave exploration.
The Cavinti Underground River and Cave System is an attraction that can parallel other cave attractions in the country. Its beauty is a product of thousand of years of nature handcrafting this beauty and it was great to see that the community is taking a lot of effort. to preserve its natural beauty. Ironically, the cave system was said to be discovered by illegal loggers. It is great to see the opportunity that this new attraction will bring to the locals of Cavinti.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
Laguna has always been a laid-back province to me where one can enjoy a quick weekend or day trip. I always associate the province to green fields, ancestral houses, and lined coconut trees that give you that hacienda vibe. Its rustic side usually covers hikes along its hillside to explore its majestic falls or taking a dip in its still lake waters. It is a perfect destination to relax and calm your mind and body. Little did I know that a different kind of Laguna exists in the rugged side of Cavinti with its underground river and cave system. It is something different but refreshing.
New attraction finds always excite me, especially when these attractions are in destinations that are not in the usual tourism map of the Philippines. This usually opens opportunities for locals to earn more from attention that it gets from both local and international tourists. It also shows us that the Philippines always have something new to offer. Again with more than 7,000+ islands to explore, we can never go wrong in our own country.
Let me also take this opportunity to make a call to my followers to help in the relief and recovery operations in areas that were affected by Typhoon Odette. There are no big or small amount. Any help will be deeply appreciated. Please check my IG and FB page on how you can help. Sabay-sabay tayong babangon!
Getting there: I was a joiner for this trip that was organized by Alvin Kusumah. You acn also check out Buhay Kalye Gala who has started organizing day trips to the Cavinti Underground River and Cave System.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.