Just one more destination and I’m back on track! My fifth for this year happened yesterday, and I’m so glad that I have the energy to construct an entry for it just twenty-four hours after! Haha!
My office mates and I, plus Rayven and Ian (a.k.a. the We Can Weekend crew) plotted Malangaan Cave on our travel list a few days after our Mt. Daraitan adventure. The mountain sure got us exhausted, but it only made us want to see more of the nature. We didn’t want to lure ourselves to another extremely challenging hike though, so we filtered the mountains by level of difficulty. We can’t sign up for level 3 and above at this point (we need more practice so as not to risk our lives), so we opted to play around level 1-2. Caving came to our minds and first on the list is Malangaan, which is located in San Rafael, Bulacan.
Call time was 7AM at Cubao, where we took a bus bound to Baliuag. It only took more or less than an hour before we reached the town proper, and we still had time to have brunch. We then rode a jeep to Pulo, where I caught some sleep because I was, as usual, short. The driver helpfully dropped us where we were supposed to ride the tricycle going to the cave itself. The tricycle ride was quite long, but enjoyable. The view was amazing, it’s almost unbelievable that such way of life exists just a few hours away from Manila.
We arrived at what I call the “base camp” exactly 12NN, and the driver offered to come back for us by 4PM because it would be hard to find a ride back to Pulo.
So we started walking, and met three nice kids who extended their help to guide us on the way to the cave. We were surprised that the cave is situated just a few steps from the base camp, and the first challenge that we encountered was the glaring heat of the sun!
We decided to stay at the entry point for a few minutes so we can rest and enjoy the cave by ourselves. We were lucky enough that it was just only us who were there by that time!
The adorable Ruben!
After countless photo conceptualizations, we finally decided to move further.
We were too busy taking photos for our own documentations (and that’s totally understandable – it’s what made us book this trip in the first place!), so I suggested that we take a group photo so we can show the world how much we enjoy each other’s company! Lelz, and oh, did you notice the checkered theme of our polos?
The rock formations started showing up after a few steps, and they’re beautiful.
Finally, it was time to go inside the cave and sweat it out! It was very dark inside and it was muddy for rain just fell according to the kids. It was never my intention (or our for that matter) to get whiny but the mud was very thick it stuck to every cut of my sandals. It was the only challenge inside (though there were instances where we had to bow our heads because the boulders were cramped), for it made every step risky. The kids were very encouraging and I really appreciated all their cheers when we were struggling!
It took us around half an hour to make it outside the cave, and the view outside was wonderful!
We walked for a few more minutes to get back to the base camp and finally get ourselves the biggest reward after every trek or hike: 1 liter of soda for each! Well for me.
Ian with Alexander, Ruben and Rodman
We got back to the base camp at 3:30 PM, giving us ample time to clean ourselves. The trip was short but sweet for the kids were really adorable! I may have spent only a couple of hours with them but I could tell that they are kind, honest and polite! We asked them how much should we pay them for touring us, but they told us that it was our call. I gave them 20 pesos so they could buy their own bottle of soda (asked them if they want to drink from my bottle during our long walk but Alexander told me that they can manage and that it won’t be long before we reach the base camp), and I almost bought their bottle myself when Ruben thought that I was asking him to buy for me. Earl gave them our payment, and I was watching their faces the whole time. Their smiles were priceless, and separation anxiety crept in when I heard Ruben say, “ang dami!” while they walk away from us. Aww, my heart <3
Just to manage expectations, the cave was full of vandals which is very disappointing. The place is an amazing view, but it could’ve been better had the visitors and locals were careful enough.