The eastern side of Bulacan is turning out to be an exciting destination to explore. Its rugged terrains have long kept its secrets of natural beauty that is slowly getting the attention of local travelers. Thanks to the current health crisis and community restrictions that we have started to appreciate destinations that are equally beautiful and close to the metro.
The Malaangan Cave is one of the destinations in Bulacan that started to make a buzz when travel restrictions were lifted. Its picturesque limestone formations, online, was enough to pique anyone’s curiosity. Located along the eastern boundaries of San Rafael, the cave and spring is popular spot among locals. The cave largely remained untouched by both tourism and quarrying.
The hiking trail weaves through the community and along the banks of the river. The timing of our visit was not ideal as a typhoon recently hit the area that inundated the river’s banks. Most of its tree covers were damaged that it was not able to provide us with protection from the sun. Our guide was explaining to us that water from the mountains flooded their area carrying with it debris and that the community was still recovering from the calamity.
A clearing along the trail will give you a perfect view of its karst landscape. The towering rock formations are beautiful from the ground that it was like you entered a totally different dimension. Its beauty was captivating that a TV station had turned the clearing into a set of an enchanted village for one of its shows. The set was partly damaged by the typhoon.
Some of us clambered up the limestone formations to get a perfect view of the landscape of its surrounding areas. There is small trail to the top but take extra precaution because the ascent is steep with jagged rocks. The view from the top is also amazing and made the climb worth it.
We headed further up the trail to the cave opening. Malaangan Cave is a pass through cave where you can enter from one point and exit the other. The entrance of the cave was partly hidden by foliage. We had to slowly go down into mouth of the cave before we could traverse through the cave.
It was pitch black inside the cave. It did not help that we didn’t have any flashlight with us so our phone lights had to suffice. The passage way was small and we really had to watch our steps throughout the traverse. It did not help that we came in after a typhoon so mud has accumulated inside the cave. We had to crawl like spiders and balance our weight on the small crevices on the side of the cave. We had to get a good grip on the rocks lest fall face first on knee-high mud. It was physically challenging and fun at the same time.
As we exited the cave, we were treated with the amazing views of its popular rock formations. The rocks formation was a perfect reward after hustling through the narrow cave. Clean water was flowing through the formations so we got to clean ourselves with fresh spring water.
The towering rock formations was a real beauty to admire and to capture. It took hundreds of years for nature to craft such natural beauty for us to explore and admire. It gives you that kick on nature’s immense creativity.
After getting all mudied up with the cave adventure, we decided to cool down by the river. The freshwater from the caves flows out to merge with the river. It is the perfect place to just relax after getting yourselves exhausted from spelunking.
The riverside is also an attraction in itself. The community has built picnic huts and tables along the banks for their visitors who want to enjoy a relaxed provincial ambiance. The water of the river is clean and cool to the skin so we really took our time to just enjoy a relaxing dip.
Some deeper parts of the river resort was off limits because of the debris that came from the uplands when river overflowed. Our guide said that this was the part where one can actually jump off from a tree branch into the water. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to do it but, who knows, I would probably get to do it soon.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
Malaangan Cave and Springs is just one of many destinations in Bulacan that is getting a lot of attention this pandemic. Owing to its accessibility matched by the thirst to explore or simply go out of our homes, it was a perfect spot where one can simply take a breather from all the craziness happening around us. The timing and the need both aligned to bring this side of Bulacan into the tourism limelight.
Our economy is slowly opening up with more vaccines being made available to us for free. Getting the majority of the population vaccinated is a key point in getting us out of this health crisis. This would allow us to start getting back some normalcy into our lives, and that includes getting a window to travel and explore. Get vaccinated when you get to your turn. Getting vaccinated and practicing health protocols diligently protects you and the community of the destination you plan to visit and explore.
Getting there: You can take a bus in Cubao to Baliuag. Once in Baliuag, proceed to the jeepney terminal near the Iglesia ni Cristo church and take a jeep to Tukod in San Rafael. You can hire a tricycle in Tukod to Malaangan Cave. Make sure that you make an arrangement with your tricycle driver to pick you up at a later time.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.