With our white-water rafting trip called off, we stayed on land and explored Sierra cave--one of the many caves in this area of Cagayan.
The cave is right next to Callao cave and within the Callao Ecotourism zone. Our host Anton had planned this and we just followed whatever was on his itinerary for us.
Only a small marker identifies the entrance of the cave, which is a steep 20-meters up the hillside.
I know, I know, maybe a dress wasn't the best outfit to use for spelunking--but the last cave we went into years ago (in Bicol) was a "walk-in" cave--meaning, no need to climb or crawl.
After a steep climb up, we had to let ourselves down feet first into the entrance of the cave. Now you can see how a dress doesn't work here. At least the guides are polite enough to look away!
The entrance is a bit chalenging, but then it opens up into big chambers and clearings.
We were told that Sierra Cave is a "living cave", meaning rock formations are still growing inside because water from outside is able to seep in through tiny cracks. The dripping water allows the formation of stalactites on ceiling of the cave, and stalagmites on the bottom.
Aside from looking at fossil marks on the walls, and icicle-like formations, we were concerned with taking a group picture inside.
The cave is pitch black inside. It only looks this bright because all of us had flashlights, and our cameras have low-light features.
I think the men had enough of our posing.
Deep inside the cave, towards the end, is a small cavern named "Celica's Passage". The guides told us it was named after the child who discovered it.
As soon as the girls heard it was a kid who found it, they crawled through it too and disappeared from view for a while. I felt my heard pound and ordered them to come back right away!
The back end of the cave was muddy because it had been raining the past few days. This made the whole cave floor very slippery. Everyone took turns slipping and falling on their behinds.
With all this excitement going on inside the cave, we forgot that Anton was waiting for us in the cave next door-- Callao cave. He was excited to show us the big cave chambers as well as the the flight of bats at dusk.
But getting out of this slippery Sierra cave was a challenge. The whole trek took more than two hours, much more than Anton originally intended for us (also maybe because we took so many pictures inside?)
We are finally, finally out of there, but it took us many more minutes to get back down to the road. This trail down was way too slippery.
And we are finally out! Whew!
Anton was disappointed he wasn't able to show us Callao cave, and so were we.
We didn't expect Sierra cave to be that extensive...and slippery..and none of us kept track of the time. I think the guides were just concerned with literally keeping us on our feet.
Here are his pictures while he was waiting for us...
Inside Callao cave... looks like a scene from Phantom of the Opera..
Too bad we didn't get to see this anymore.
The flight of bats happened while we were still playing in the mud in the other side.
Witnessing a river tragedy in the morning and spelunking through a slippery cave afternoon is plenty of activity for cityfolk. I guess we just have to make another trip to explore more of the caves. For now, we were eager to get back to the house and just shower.
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