Samar is one of the provinces that have remained a mystery to me for a long time. I had the chance to explore its neighboring province, Eastern Samar, last year but failed to explore Samar itself at the time. That’s why I made sure to visit once I get the chance.
My excitement in exploring Samar began when a good friend of mine was able to explore its most treasured natural wonder, the Langun-Gobingob Caves. This cave system is said to be the largest in the country and the second largest in Southeast Asia! With or without company, I have set it a goal to explore it as well.
Come February of this year, I was able to finally see the Langun-Gobingob Caves. The good things I’ve been hearing about it are true! It’s the best looking cave system that I’ve seen so far!
WHERE IS SAMAR’S LANGUN-GOBINGOB CAVE SYSTEM?
Langun-Gobingob Cave System is located at the heart of Calbiga, a small town two hours away from Leyte. While Calbiga is probably best known because of Langun-Gobingob, the town also has other natural wonders and attractions that travelers and tourists can enjoy. One of these is Lulugayan Waterfall, which is a pretty sight! Watch out for my separate blog post about this beautiful waterfall!
REMINDERS BEGORE GOING TO LANGUN-GOBINGOB CAVES:
- First of all, contact a tour guide in Calbiga. You will not be allowed to enter the caves if you don’t have a tour guide. Your tour guide would give you the necessary things to prepare and answer the questions you may have with the places you’re going to visit. You can contact my tour guide, Kuya Alvin, on this number: 0977-331-1882.
- Prepare appropriate clothing. Use shoes instead of slippers or sandals for protection. The cave surely has slippery stones and sharp rocks, which would make it hard for those who just use slippers or sandals to walk past through them. Use shorts (like I did) so you can move your legs more freely, but you can also wear jogging pants (like what my tour guide did). The path towards the actual caving site has grass that may cut your skin so if you want to avoid that, wear jogging pants.
- Expect to get wet and dirty. Aside from slippery rocks, you’ll be experiencing shallow waters, mud and guano-filled soil. Believe me when I say there’s no other way to escape from being dirty here!
- While I had a great time exploring Samar by myself (with my tour guide by my side, of course), I think exploring the caves with a group would be a lot of fun. Besides, expenses would be greatly reduced if you are traveling with your friends here. Mind you, whether you are solo or with company of up to 4 friends, you’d have to pay the same fee for the service of your tour guide.
- Listen well to your tour guide as you explore the caves. He’d give you precautions, reminders and the like before and during your cave adventure. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have some.
- I highly recommend for you to bring a dry bag. While only certain parts of the cave have water drips and only a certain area where you have to cross knee- to waist-deep waters, it’s better to protect your things, especially your cameras, during your adventure.
- And lastly, enjoy the Philippine’s biggest cave system adventure!
What to expect in the Langun-Gobingob Cave System Adventure:
This great adventure in the town of Calbiga, Samar starts in the town proper. After meeting up with your tour guide (it is advisable you contact them ahead of time), you will have to register in the tourism office of Calbiga. Prepare the necessary fees here that include gears and equipment you will need during spelunking. These include helmet (P50), headlamp (P50) and a complete set of harness for rappelling (P500).
- After payment, you may leave your belongings to your accommodation of choice (see the list below). If you’re not staying overnight in Calbiga (but I highly recommend you to do so), you may ask the tourism officers if you can leave your bags in their office.
- Check if you’ve brought all the things necessary for your spelunking. Aside from the helmet, headlamp (check for batteries!) and a complete set of harness (for the rappelling part), bring water (for rehydration), food (like biscuits, cookies and candies to give you energy), camera (to capture the beauty of the caves) and cellphone (not only can this be used to take pictures inside the cave, you can use it also as a flashlight should your headlamps have already drained their batteries!). Put them all in your dry bag so you have your two hands free while spelunking. Use your hands as support or to keep your balance during your spelunking.
- Ride habal-habal going to Bgy. Panayuran. Rates would depend, but I paid P150 for back-and-forth ride during my cave adventure.
4. After registering your name in the barangay, start trekking towards the cave. This would take about an hour of walking through grassy, stony and muddy paths. If you’re already catching your breath, you can ask the guide for you to rest for a while.
5. Eventually, you will reach the view deck of the Gobingob Cave. Look at its mystical beauty!
6. After several minutes of resting and taking pictures, walk again, but this time, only for about half a kilometer towards the entrance of Gobingob Cave. While at the entrance, read the DOs and DON’Ts WHILE SPELUNKING IN LANGUN-GOBINGOB CAVES.
7. Before entering the cave, listen to your tour guide as he gives an orientation about the Langun-Gobingob Caves. Afterwards, secure your caving gears (helmet and headlamp).
8. Enjoy your spelunking! Remember that it would depend on your chosen itinerary as to how your cave adventure will pan out. As I only planned of having a whole day tour of this cave system, our itinerary went like this: enter in Gobingob Cave, spelunk to Langun Cave opening, then head back to Gobingob Cave. Here are some of the sights that you’d be expecting to see during this adventure.
LANGUN-GOBINGOB’S STALACTITES AND STALAGMITES
Take note: Even though they’re tempting to touch, refrain from doing so. It is said that touching these stalactites and stalagmites might alter their formation or even “die,” as what my tour guide said.
Now, this part is one that I’ve been thinking about even before we started this expedition. Haha. I don’t remember any rappelling activity that I’ve done in the past so this was going to be the first time that I’d be doing it. I was nervous but of course, I was excited as well! Haha.
It’s not easy to do, but it wasn’t that hard as well. Wear your harness because only through rappelling would you be able to descend the steep cliff on that part of the cavern. To my surprise, my tour guide didn’t need to because he (and a few of the tour guides of the town) were trained to descend that part of the cave without rappelling. Make sure you listen very well to your tour guide regarding how to rappel properly. One of the things I clearly remember is to use the right hand (my dominant hand) to hold the rope tightly and slowly loosen it bit by bit to descend. The left hand is used to loosen the rope as well as you descend, but it’s the right hand that would determine how high you’re going to lower your body. The legs and the feet have important roles, too, while rappelling and this is to determine the direction you are going to take in your descent towards the ground below.
Don’t worry if you have fear of heights. Your tour guide will guide you well in this part of your adventure inside the caves.
You’re expected to see many amazing and wonderful creatures inside the cave and these include bats, white crabs, cave crickets and spiders, as well as hypogean blind fish.
FIRST SOURCE OF SUNLIGHT AFTER A FEW HOURS
This opening from the cavern’s ceiling reminded me of the spectacular light I’ve witnessed in Callao Cave of Cagayan. Look at it, guys!
THE LANGUN CAVE OPENING
These are some of the shots that we have of this gorgeous sight! Witnessing this is one of the reasons why I’ve been wanting to push through with this adventure in Samar!
It is in this area where my tour guide and I ate our lunch for that day. Our lunch is binagol, an Eastern Visayas delicacy that is made up of talyan (a root crop similar to gabi), coconut milk, nuts and sugar. Binagol comes from the term bagol, which means coconut shell.
Unlike other glutinous delicacies, binagol has two layers: a thick crust on the upper side and a super sweet mixture at the bottom. It is covered with banana leaf.
Said to be a flowstone, which is a sheet-like deposit of calcite that are formed where water flows down the walls of a cave, this natural formation inside the Langun-Gobingob Caves is called “The Stage.”
One mesmerizing characteristic of the Stage is its shine! Thousands of calcites shine while we point our head lamps towards its surface!
A rope has been placed around the stage to prevent people from touching it. GUYS, DO NOT TOUCH IT! It is said that the oil from human fingers can cause the water to avoid the touched area, which then dries out!
OPENING OF GOBINGOB CAVE
There are sides of the Gobingob Cave that I didn’t notice while entering it during the day. Now upon exit during the afternoon, I’ve seen more that made me more awed of it.
9. Now that you’re out again of the Gobingob Cave, return to Bgy. Panayuran by walking through the pathway you’ve walked through earlier that day.
Where to stay in Calbiga?
The tourism office lists down two accommodations for you to choose from, a hotel and an eco-lodge. Here are their rates:
|LOLA ROSA BED & BREAKFAST HOTEL
Poblacion 2, Sto. Niño St., Calbiga, Samar
If you’re more on the budget side when looking for accommodations, you can opt to choose the Calbiga-SINP Ecolodge:
Bgy. Bacyaran, Calbiga, Samar
|The ecolodge has six (6) rooms, and each
room has about 3-7 double decks.
Each bed is priced at P250.
EXPENSES FOR EXPLORING LANGUN-GOBINGOB CAVES:
Here’s a summary of my expenses in exploring Langung-Gobingob Caves. Be reminded that I stayed in Calbiga for a night that’s why I’ll be including that one, too, in this list.
- Entrance fee and environmental fee- P80
- Rappelling gear– P500
- Habal-habal from lodge to Bgy. Panayuran– P150
- Tour guide fee– P500
- Lunch– P35 (binagol), P25 (1L mineral water)
- Snacks– P30 (drinks, biscuit from sari-sari store in Bgy. Panayuran)
- Overnight stay– P200
TOTAL: P1,520 (excluded here is the dinner I’ve had that day)
Thanks for going through my write-up about my adventure in the biggest cave system of the Philippines! I hope you have learned a lot, and more importantly, I hope you’ve been inspired to go to Calbiga, Samar and make a spectacular adventure of your own in Langung-Gobingob Caves!