One of the scenic and must-to-go spots at Brgy. Hindang, Iligan City is the Hindang Cave. A ~1hour ride to get you to this barangay in the hinterlands from the city proper and a 2-3hour uphill trek to get to Hindang Cave. The trail is good for the experienced trekkers and for people who are physical conditioned for it. All I can say is that I was not cut out for this trek but am happy I’ve done it and came out unscratched.

Because after a grueling trek uphill, we came into a canopy of trees and lush vegetation that changed our moods as well. This time we knew that the cave was near and I can stop my litany of question, “Are we there yet?”. *giggles*.. You can immediately feel the humidity in the area and hear the sounds of crickets and the like. The trail led to a downhill path. You can actually tell that the habitat for wildlife has changed with the kind of vegetation that now surrounds the area. You cannot get any cellular signal for this or any part of the trail. So it is best to leave the works and worries of your life and enjoy where you are at the moment. After all you are at ~600-700 feet above level (estimated level: DraftLogic) and about to see the not-so-visited gorgeous Hindang Cave.

We have yet to go down on what it looks like a basin of vegetation to get to the opening of the cave. But as soon as we saw it — it stopped us in our tracks. Covered with curtains of greens from the top, vines cascading everywhere, and framed with light-colored massive limestone rock facade, is Hindang Cave– I just knew I was blessed to have made it there and get to experience what Mother Nature has unfolded in front of us.

And then silence just got the best of us and that eerie feeling that you are somewhere deep in the mountains and this huge mouth hole of cave gaping at you. You’re awed for a second or two — or even few.

We finally made it — just before noon, for a break and our lunch. I was ecstatic for some spelunking! This will be my first suuuper massive cave to scare myself into with 6-8 cave cluster as my research said it was. LOL! Here’s the adventure seeker in me pushing out the fear of the dark, unknown, and closed areas away. I was half scared and half excited. It was the thrill that I will be willingly swallowed into this massive mouth hole of the cave. And I was, all, up for it.

We made it down the pathway through the cave opening. This was the biggest chamber of the all chambers inside. The view looking up the opening is just beautiful with the light shining in. 

Next to this “receiving” chamber is another chamber — but this one is dark and is massively walled up. The walls are irregularly shaped with jutting surfaces in odd shapes.

Shyly waiting for us at one side is a narrow opening just enough for you to bend down to a squat to get to the inner chambers. I was having second thoughts of going through but the guides ahead of us said that opening is pretty short.

This was some shots I took inside. It turns out that a digital camera has way better adjustment and clarity in photos than a DSLR would. Deep within the cave, lighting was a problem, and since SLRs actually uses light to take a shot, it was quiet impossible to make one here, in a few seconds, without proper lighting. So I would suggest to bring both types of camera’s or additional lighting if you can. 

The one small thing in this huge cave that saddened me is this. This is a stalagmite in eye-level. The guides told us that the locals had cut it off because they fear of the shape it was forming. And it broke my heart because what they thought was a good thing was actually a bad thing at the same time. Locals and officials should be taught about how to properly preserve these. And if you chance upon this same scenario, do it your best to tell the locals what these are and why and how they came to be what they are. The good thing is that if you check it out — this is still alive! *grins*

The stalactites in the cave chambers are alive and forming. So how do you know that a stalactite is alive? Check for drips of water at the tip. If it’s wet and you hear drops of water in a cave chamber and the surface has a powdery feel to it, you can bet that the stalactites in a limestone cave is still alive. The science to it is actually simple. Limestone contains calcium carbonate that gets dissolve in water (containing carbon dioxide) and  forms calcium bicarbonate that drips down to a tip. When it comes in contact with air, the chemical reaction is reversed and it will form back to calcium carbonate, hardening and forming into what looks like ice peaks from the ceiling.

But sour note and lectures aside, the caves are also inhabited by bats and — lots of them. Our guides were also trying to look for salag or bird’s nest for them to sell. I was impatiently asking if the “salag” I saw were the ones that they were looking for. But to my dismay, it was a bat’s nest — so they say. I only took a few shots with bats on the crevices. I know that they were more scared of me as I was of them.

 Hindang cave is by far the coolest cave I’ve been in. Inside, are connecting chambers that host darkness, dampness, and that eerie feeling that beyond is an unknown. They have 6 large chambers and 2-4 small ones. The ceilings are high and the chambers are massive. There are no stalagmites at any part of the cave. So the ground is damp and it is difficult to move around with but my dainty pink slippers. LOL!
I would have love to have stayed a little longer but the thought of having to go down the trail was torture. So we got out and readied ourselves for a downhill trek.
We were on our way down — the trek took us ~1-2hours. Much faster that we did uphill. Its a sad thought to know that I may not be able to visit Hindang Cave as much as I want to. The trail is too much for me. Maybe in some distant future when I am physical conditioned for it. For now, I’m happy to know I’ve set foot the Hindang Cave and off we go for Hindang Falls.

+ Bring flashlights.
+ Wear appropriate shoes. The ground is damp and slippery.
+ Bring cameras and it’s additional accessories.
+ budget your time. If you want to visit the Hindang Falls afterwards, it is best that you set schedules.

How To Get There:
1. Iligan City city proper to Kiwalan (Map: HERE, Time Travel: 30 – 45 mins)
*Jeepney (Fare: 14Php)
*Taxi (no metered taxi available, rate as agreed by passenger and driver)
*Private Car 
2. Kiwalan to Hindang: (Travel Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hrs)
*Jeepney (Fare: 35 – 40Php)
*Habal-Habal (Fare: 50 – 60Php)
*Private Car
3. Brgy Hindang Proper to Start of Trail: (Travel Time: 5-7mins)

*Habal-Habal (additional Fare: 5 – 10Php)
*Private Car
4. Hindang Cave Trail (Trek Time: ~2-3hrs uphill; ~1-2hrs. downhill)

You Might like to read the rest of the HINDANG SERIES:
Part1: Adventure Planning Mode
Part2: Attractions & Directions To Brgy. Hindang
Part3: Ambitiously Trekking the Hindang Cave Trail
Part4: Spelunking at Hindang Cave
Part5: Hindang Falls


Remember what Bilbo used to say:
It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
 You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet,
there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.
–J.R.R. Tolkien

Photo Credits to Travel Jams & Adventures In Life