Sunday, January 29, 2012

Exploring Bayukbok Cave

On the first weekend of January, I did not just had my first summit, but also, had my first cave exploration for the year. On our second day in Mt. Manalmon, as we got back to the jump-off area at around lunch, we decided to explore the caves before the afternoon ends. We all prepared our stuff after lunch and headed to Bayukbok Cave.

It was a bit raining then and the roads are slippery. Before you get to the cave area, you need to trek a short trail going deep to the cave area. This trail is on the side of the mountain and there are some area where you are just climbing sharp rocks. It was slippery at that time that when I reached the top, I am not quite sure how I did it and also, how I will get back later. It was really tiring already at that point but the adventure haven't started yet.

With our guide, we followed him through the cave entrance. The guides has standard fees and we they are the same guides we had on our over night. We just paid them after we totaled our expenses that weekend. We took photos along the way and soon, we reached the entrance. It was a small opening going down. And the only way to reach it is to climb down some tree roots and actually rappel down using a rope on a large rock. It was death defying for most of us and it was only the beginning.

Us ready for the caving adventure

going down

It took us a lot of time climbing down there since most of us don't know some rappelling skills. Good thing our guide was there to assist us. My hands are all red after that because I gripped the rope tightly just to make sure I will not fall or slide on the rock. It was really a difficult challenge and after you get through it, there is no turning back, you need to cross the cave to return.

successfully going down the ropes

We entered the cave and we turned on our head lamps. It was pitch dark inside and a large spider was on the wall. Me having fears of them had difficulty taking my mind off it and pretending it does not exist on the wall behind me. I wanted to go ahead but can't since we need to go inside one by one.

Shimmering walls of the cave

scary big spider. eeeek! >_<

The inside of the cave is amazing. The areas where people didn't grab or placed their hands on are actually shimmering. It was very pretty as the lights shine through it. It was really amazing.

Inside the cave, we need to crawl, climb, slide and maneuver ourselves in order to pass through the small areas there. It was challenging but it was doable. There was this one chamber where we need to climb a rope ladder one by one. As the others waited, they played a tune on the stalagmites and stalactites on the wall. It sounded like a drum and we were all chanting while waiting for our turn to climb. It was fun and relaxing at the same time.

and there was light!

survived the pitch darkness

Our journey continued and we soon saw some light. It wasn't the end but good thing we were out of the pitch dark area. We need to climb and crawl, though, to reach the top and the exit of the cave. We need to do it on the side of a cliff which is very scary. You should not look down or else you'll lose all your concentration.  As we got to the final chamber, our guide gave us a vine that we can use to go down. It was not that necessary but for the fun of it, we did swing with it which was pretty amazing and cool. After that we took a small walk and we were back from where we started.

hanging on the vines

exit way

The trail going down was slippery as we predicted however, we got back to the jump off area safely. I am not sure again how I manage to do it without slipping of hurting myself but I actually did it. Another achievement unlocked!

going back to the slippery slope

It was a fun afternoon and even if we are all soaking wet and tired from the two day adventure, it was all worth it. The memory of my first weekend of this year was awesome and I hope I'll have more of it throughout the year. It was an epic weekend indeed!

Victory pose for us all!

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