Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Beginner's Journal: Spelunking in Langun-Gobingob Caves (Calbiga, Samar)

For every beginner at anything, there is for sure something more encouraging than the excitement. It is the start of something worth taking in his lifetime. Any first is as good as it gets -- a fresh memory it always will be. And perhaps, it only aims at one thing, to taste a far different take at life showing some courage at uncomfortable situations or unfamiliar encounters, especially when you’re all alone by yourself.

Last year, I came across a website dedicated to caving in Samar. It is actually maintained by Joni Bonifacio, a cave master himself, who leads a nature-loving team called Trexplore the Adventures. I found caving cool and fascinating and very different from the more familiar outdoor activities there is. Just perfect. That’s what I needed. Imagining myself doing caving at the expense of only my always-on-the-go spirit and not experience would be a first for me.

Then on May 21 this year, I knew I was at the point of no return. I was so hyped for the 6th Extreme Caving in Langun-Gobingob Caves (touted as the second largest in Asia), Calbiga, Samar for 3 days and 2 nights. Joni, the 8 others who responded to his invite, and I met up at Kaunan Ha Tulay (Waray for "Eatery by the Bridge"). At 1 P.M., we departed from the bridge to the starting point of an hour of trekking to the entrance to Gobingob Cave.

Honestly, I was exactly half-ready, half-prepared. Take this, I brought with me less than half of the right caving gears. I only had with me a helmet with chinstrap, head lamp, and flashlight. I didn’t realize that spelunkers, too, must have to have arm warmers, a good pair of shoes or boots and gloves, and even more preferably coveralls. Thank God, somebody in our team had extra warmers and gloves that were just enough for me. Should it not be because of her extras, I would definitely have a hard time going up and down the caves, especially that I was on slippers the whole time, because my shoes already gave up on our way to the entrance to the cave. The story of my dead shoes.

Three days and two nights, yes, but we had literally lost a sense of time. Days and nights didn’t matter anymore, only the turns of coursing to the left and right of various chambers of stalactites and stalagmites of calcite and limestone, and muddy areas, to the way up climbing against boulders and down the caves’ subterranean world (we did swimming and enjoyed a facial mud treatment); and the fact that the caves were teeming with bats, balinsasayaw birds (edible-nest swiftlets) routinely forming a large assemblage at the exit of the cave at 6 P.M., cave spiders (we saw a tarantula and a weird-looking spider), blind fish and white crabs (with no eyes, exactly blind), white shrimp, cave crickets, snakes (one was called “the guard” of a small, diamond-shaped entrance to the lower Langun Cave you had to crawl your way in), centipedes, and beetles feasting on guano manure.

As much as we had walks and climbs, where we would pick up litters along the way, seeing steam from our own sweat, we too had lots of rest in between, quenching our thirst and munching on energy bars. At 2 A.M. we returned to the camp, peed on plastic to be poured into a gallon-sized vessel, pooped on plastic to be dumped in a bin bag, reenergized ourselves for a 4-5 hour worth of sleep.

I didn’t have any hint of tiring out during the last day in the caves. But the greater challenge was the way out -- a steep hike on a 60-degree slope for 15 minutes and a long 3-hour trekking of going up and down the mountains. It wasn’t just tiring, but exhausting, seriously! We got our form back, all relaxed, only when we arrived at Mapaso Springs.

Then, we headed off to an eatery close to Kaunan Ha Tulay by way of a habal-habal (motorcycle).

What a journey! Let's go back to the caves!

For inquiries, please contact:
Abesamis Store Allen Ave. Catbalogan City,Samar 6700
Tel: 055-251-2301 Cell: (Smart) 0919-294-3865
Viewing Deck (overlooking the entrance to Gobingob Cave)
Entrance to Gobingob Cave
A shot before the real action
Campsite 1 - The Football Chamber (Gobingob Cave)
6th Extreme Caving: Langun-Gobingob Caves
The Stage
Harp-sound-producing columns
Cave cricket
The Mushroom
Deadend - Upper Gobingob Chamber
Cave spider
Where I became a king for a night. Ha ha!
Rappelling down a 40m vertical cliff
Tita Cave (Muddy Chamber)
Campsite 2 - Langun Chamber
Langun Chamber Exit
Fallen balinsasayaw birds (chicks)
My dead shoes
My socks fresh from Guano Mountain and Tita Cave (Muddy Chamber)
A 6 P.M. show of balinsasayaw birds


  1. We have more wonderful pix during the caving experience. This time pix from our guide, Joni. Check this link:

  2. Straight to the point and well written! Why can’t everyone else be like this?

  3. Bravo! that was indeed a real story... I salute bro.,for giving time to write your adventures experience. Keep the spirit. You inspire to do same. :-)

  4. Bravo! that was indeed a real story... I salute bro.,for giving time to write your adventures experience. Keep the spirit. You inspire to do same. :-)

  5. @Eya - Cave Princess: it was such a memorable experience. thank you rhea! :) u 2, keep exploring, you're doing great! :)