Central Cave: Exploring The Crystal Maze Kingdom By Descending 60 feet Into A Cavern


As we all know, Samar Island is the 3rd biggest Island out of 7,641 Islands in the Philippines, and this Island offers an immense diversity of destination types. From the pristine caves to the mountainous natural wonders and an extreme adventure that will certainly challenge your inmost wanderlust soul. The Island has a bit of everything for everyone. For a two week trip or even a month, it’s easy to obtain a sample of the best of each.

Photo Credit: Joni Abesamis Bonifacio of Trexplore The Adventures

Our Canyoning adventure was truly successful, It was fun and backbreaking. Sir Joni told us that we need to be ready for some other fun-filled extreme adventure in Central cave. The night before our caving adventure in Central cave, we actually had our practice on the equipment that we will be using on the next day. I never owned this kind of experience, thinking that it must be really challenging since we get to practice on the equipment at night before heading to our real adventure on the next day.

Truly, after our scrumptious dinner at Orlando’s grill, we went back to Sir Joni’s place and we rested a bit, then proceed to our practice. Sir Joni taught us all the details about the equipment and he taught us how to go down to the cave and also ascending. I was struggling when I tried ascending, but after several attempts, I got the technique and I was smiling from ear to ear since I am ready for the adventure on the next day. The next to practice was Gly of Chasing Potatoes and Fathema of Little Pinay Explorer, and they have made it equally well. We then rested after our practice, catch some good sleep since we need to wake up early morning.

The long wait is over, we woke up early in the morning and had our delectable breakfast prepared by Sir Joni’s wife, ate Rhine. We couldn’t deny the fervor that we own that moment while having our breakfast. Sir Joni told us that we need to satisfy our stomach before leaving their house since we need to trek of around 3 hours going to the tiny hole entrance of Central Cave.

Photo Credit: Joni Abesamis Bonifacio of Trexplore The Adventures

Sir Joni, the cave master made sure that all equipment’s required for our caving adventure are all complete and ready. Hence, we also make sure that we are also ready for the adventure. I was with Gly, the award winning travel blogger behind Chasingpotatoes, the pretty and energetic Fathema, a travel blogger and video blogger behind the Little Pinay Explorer and Jon, the sweet and beautiful girl behind Laypiskolorpul.

Photo Credit: Joni Abesamis Bonifacio of Trexplore The Adventures

We trek on the same track where we had our Canyoning adventure a day before our caving adventure. But the trail heading to Central Cave is a bit hard, since we get to trek on a muddy trail within the forest land. There were rivers and small waterfalls that you’ll be seeing along the way.

The trail begins to change and so the weather. I can sincerely feel the cold mountain breeze hugging me tight, but due to my active sweat glands, it didn’t get in. The assault track started to open its world, like as if welcoming us and reminding us to be ready. And before we can eventually fight with the backbreaking trail, we resolved to rest first. Shortly enough, we continue to trek on the assault trail, the rain started to pour down in its minimal state. We had no choice at that moment, but to continue on our trek and our goal is to reach the tiny entrance of Central Cave before the strong rain will finally arrive.

Along the grassy trail before reaching the Central Cave, there was a snake that peacefully hiding on the banana leaf. It really scares us since there’s no way to escape, but to pass on a trail under the banana leaf where the snake was, which hang across the track. The green snake was said to be very venomous and can grow up to almost 8 feet or more and deliver a rapid series of neurotoxic bites if cornered. They also said that the venom is the quickest-acting snake venom, meaning bite victims have little chance of survival according to the expert.

A venomous green snake that welcome us.

We all have endured the challenging trail where the snake peacefully hiding. One of our friends Jon, was really scary and it took her several attempts to run on the trail. Through the help of Sir Joni and Sir Joni’s assistant, she finally had the courage to get to it. We keep on our trek and Sir Joni told us that we almost reach the entrance of Central cave.

The tiny entrance of Central Cave

I still caught the last drop of the forest dew on the grass. And at last, after almost 3 hours trek, we arrived at the tiny entrance of Central Cave. And right after we have set up our camping site, the strong rain suddenly showing its maddening state. It was frigid and the wind is as strong as rain. We then had our late lunch, which was prepared by Sir Joni’s wife. We had a luscious Chicken Adobo and Chopsuey or Chop Suey is a dish made-up of meat (chicken or pork), and seafood (shrimp or fish) cook with different kinds of vegetables. We really had a sumptuous lunch under the heavy rain and strong wind before exploring the Central Cave.

Photo Credit: Joni Abesamis Bonifacio of Trexplore The Adventures

While we were having our lunch, Sir Joni told us about the scary tale of Central Cave. A few years ago, a young local adventurer was hunting for bird’s nests together with his friends. They went inside the cave by using the forest vines. They successfully reach the cavern, but when they were about to ascend, the other guy was really struggling and almost bring one of them closer to death. Fortuitously, they were able to escape, and until now the story is remarkable to many and only few locals who are brave enough to enter the Central Cave.

After fully enjoying our luscious lunch and listening to the scary tale, our long wait is over, finally the adventure begins. I was with 3 adventurous pretty girls and I was the only guy, I guessed the rule that says”ladies first” adhere that moment, but it wasn’t. Sir Joni told me that I go first, I was really scary and I don’t know what will happen when I go down the cave.

Photo Credit: Joni Abesamis Bonifacio of Trexplore The Adventures (Trying to squeeze myself in the tiny entrance of central cave)

Sir Joni really makes sure that all my equipment needed when I started to descend are all battened down. And then I slowly squeeze myself in the remarkable entrance of Central Cave, it was very tiny and scary at the same time. I was hanging in the dark hole for a few minutes, knowing that I have to go down by slowly releasing the lock of Petzl stop. It is a self-braking descender device for single rope, which offers exceptional control and versatility. And this has been a popular device for cave descents worldwide.

Photo Credit: Jon of Lypiskolorpul ( A photo of Fathema while descending)

The voice hovering above me didn’t end, telling me that I can make it. I don’t know how I felt that moment, I was agitated, but at the same time very scary. It was an adventure I had never conceived of myself going through. I actually feel like I was watching an action movie and I was the action star that time, descending 60 feet or 18 meters down a hole into a cavern below with only ropes anchored on a sturdy tree trunk. I look up with a light that appears to follow me as I slowly descending to reach the bottom of a cavern. And at last, after more than 10 minutes of slowly falling with an ended trepidation hovering above me, I reached the majestic central cave.

Shortly enough, with the help of Sir Joni and the porters, the 3 adventurous pretty girls I’m with also followed. And I’m certain that they have the same fear, excitement, and trepidation I had when I started descending. Jon was the last one who descended down, we were there below staring at her, trying to encourage her that she can make it. Then, a horrible sound happens, she was in a state of being unheeded by releasing the lock of Petzl stop longer, and she was like doing a Zip Line vertically for like close to 5 seconds. Can you imagine yourself experiencing that one? She was really scary that time and we then gave her a comfort the moment she arrived at the cavern.

We then went exploring the cave, we pass through a small trail and to our surprised it was a world full of crystals. The mineral formations starting to divulge their innate beauty. I’ve seen Speleothems, or “Cave deposit”, and usually known as “Cave Formations”, which are secondary mineral deposits formed in a cave. Deep down the Central Cave, there were probably hundreds variations of Cave Mineral deposits that could be identified by experts. But since I only recognized a few of these Cave mineral deposits, I was able to identify some of them as we continue to explore the hidden magical world of Central Cave.

As we continue walking around the chambers, I couldn’t halt myself from admiring the glittering crystal walls like the crystal dress worn by a princess when dancing with her prince. Truly, it was really a shining, shimmering, splendid and all the beautiful description that you can say. It was equally stunning and one of a kind underworld adventure in my entire life.

There were actually a bunch of crystal walls of pure white rock formations that I want to bring home. Some of them are clinging from the ceiling like a shiny chandelier in the mansion house. Truly, I was really happy and overwhelmed at the same time since I have just seen a beautiful scenario like as if painted in fresco that even word could not afford to express and describe.

Inside the cave was warm, I could not pay attention to my body’s interaction because I was busy gazing to the natural beauty of Central Cave. We continue on walking on the crystal maze with only amazement painted in my face and voice. Yes, I’ve visited many caves in the Philippines, but most of them were ruined by vandalism and are not being taken care of. And I only wish that this one of a kind cave in the country will be conserved.

DSC_0454-01.jpeg

DSC_0465-01.jpeg

It was dark inside and our headlamp serves as our light while traipsing our feet along the crystal maze kingdom of Central Cave. After more than 3 hours of exploring the cave, we finally reached the final leg of our spelunking adventure. We ascended to the assault crystal maze trail until we pass the end area of our caving adventure.

DSC_0470-01.jpeg

Our way back to the exit is I think the tiring one since we have to apply the Single Rope Technique (SRT). It’s an ascender gear with a foot loop that is being tied to the rope. Yes, if you think it’s really hard, it was very exhausting. Exactly like when we descended earlier, I was the first one once again, who ascended back to the exit. Pulling yourself up by lifting your right foot upward while pulling the rope with your right hand is what makes it really challenging. But anyway, you can constantly take some rest and just enjoy yourself hung up in the air, since the ascender has an auto-lock feature.

P9100310-01.jpeg
Photo Credit: Joni Abesamis Bonifacio of Trexplore The Adventures

Slowly, but surely, that’s what I told myself while moving up. As I almost reach the exit, my head bump in the wall, and my headlamp fell into the cavern. I was really scared because the headlamp is very expensive, I thought I broke it, and luckily it was okay. No damage has been found out, only a few scratches. The headlamp must be very durable since it fell into a cavern from a 60 feet height. I was then very happy, aside from I get back to the entrance of the cave safely, the headlamp was still in good condition.

Right after everyone was able to get back to the entrance of the cave, we rested for a while and fix all our stuff.

P9100355-01.jpeg
Photo Credit: Joni Abesamis Bonifacio of Trexplore The Adventures

On our way back, we still need to trek for 3 hours before we can finally reach back to Brgy. San Andres, which is our jump off area. It was raining so hard that day. Hence, the trail was really slippery and we also experience river trekking. We even encounter sturdy floods along the way. Darkness reached us in the trail, and the good thing was, are headlamp was still functioning until we reached the jump area and ride a tricycle back to Sir Joni’s place.

Lastly, at around 7PM we arrived at Sir Joni’s house and we rewarded ourselves with a luscious dinner. Even up until I was about to sleep, I still can’t believe that I was able to endure the challenging adventure in Central Cave. It was one of those adventures in my life that I can truly treasure for the rest of my life. If I were to rate my Central Cave experience, on a scale of one to ten, I would probably be rating it as 11 or more than that. It was truly one of a kind outdoor adventures I experienced. You can as well check these lists of Top Outdoor Adventures in The Philippines.

Also Check:

 

BUDGET FOR 1 DAY CAVING ADVENTURE IN CENTRAL CAVE
Price: Php 3,500.00 / 70 USD per person

Trekking, Descending & Ascending by rope, Caving, Rock Climbing, Bouldering and River Trekking.

NOTES:

  • A minimum of 2 persons to avail the Canyoning adventure
  • All year round except Bad weather
  • From 8 years old and above.
  •  Physically Fit & Mentally Fit

INCLUSION:

  • Permits, Caving gear, Transportation, Food (Breakfast & Lunch).
    Local porters, Trexplore Cave Guide, Photo Documentation and Certificates.

THINGS TO BRING:

Small packs, Dry Bags
Hat, Cap, Sunglasses, Sun Screen
Water Container / Mineral water
Strong climbing shoe or Trekking shoe
Dry fit Clothing and Extra clothing
Camera

CENTRAL CAVE ITINERARY

  • 06:30 AM – breakfast at Trexplore house
  • 07:50 AM – ride tricycle to Barangay San Andress jump-off point
  • 08:00 AM – arrival at Brgy. San Andress, meet the porters, start trek
  • 10:40 AM – arrival at Central Cave entrance, prepare equipment, set up rappel
  • anchor, early lunch
  • 11:40 AM – descend Central Cave, start exploration
  • 03:10 PM – ascend Central Cave, pack up
  • 04:30 PM – start trek back to Barangay San Andress
  • 06:40 PM – ETA Jump off point
  • 06:50 PM – Depart for Sir Joni’s Place
  • 07:05 PM – ETA Sir Joni’s Place
  • 07:10 PM – Take a bath
  • 07:40 PM – Dinner
  • 09:00 PM – Ambling around Catbalogan City

 

TRAVEL TIPS

Only Sir Joni Abesamis Bonifacio of Trexplore the Adventures who is capable of operating and guiding the adventure in Central Cave. He has all the necessary equipment’s and he is extremely skilled and he also has a well trained porters to insure your safety when doing this adventure.
For your Caving and Canyoning adventure, services, please get in touch with Sir Joni by using the following details:

Mailing Address: Abesamis Store, Allen Avenue, Catbalogan City, Samar, Philippines 6700
Cellphone Number: 0919-2943865 Smart / 0927-6750062 Globe
Landline: 063-055-2512301
Email: Address: info@trexplore.ph / samar@trexplore.ph
Website: Trexplore the Adventures

WHERE TO STAY

There are Hotels or Inn’s in Catbalogan City where you can stay. However, Sir Joni also has available guest rooms where you can stay for a night.

Air Conditioned Room with Private CR.

  • Php 1,000.00 per room per night – 1 pax
  • Php 1,200.00 per room per night – 3 pax

Fan Room with Common CR

  • Php 200.00 per room

 

HOW TO GET TO CATBALOGAN CITY

By Plane

You can fly to Calbayog City from Manila via Philippine Airlines and from Cebu via Cebu Pacific Air.
From Calbayog City, ride a tricycle going to the Grandtours Van Terminal, and from the terminal, you can ride a Grand tour Van that bound for Catbalogan City. The travel time is around 2 hours. The fare is Php 100.00 from Calbayog City to Catbalogan City.

By Sea

From Cebu City:
You can take the Cokaliong Shipping Lines at 7 PM then you will arrive at Maguinoo Port in Calbayog the next day at 6 AM or 7AM. Cokaliong schedule from Cebu City to Calbayog City is (MFW 7:00PM), then Calbayog City to Cebu City is (TTh 7:00 PM). From the Maguinoo Port, ride a tricycle going to the Grandtours Van Terminal, and from the terminal, you can ride a Grand tour Van that bound for Catbalogan City. The travel time is around 2 hours. The fare is Php 100.00 from Calbayog City to Catbalogan City.

From Ormoc City:
There are daily schedule of boat and fast craft trip from Cebu City to Ormoc City. You can take a fast craft for 2 hours or a boat via Roble Shipping Line and travel by night for 6 hours. The moment you arrived at the port area, simply walks a little bit going to the outside of the port and ride a tricycle going to the Grandtours Van Terminal, and from the terminal, you can ride a Grand tour Van bound for Tacloban City and from Tacloban City, ride another Grand Tours Van bound for Catbalogan City.

By Land

Van
There are many Van bound for Catbalogan City (like Grandtours, Van-Van, Duptours & Turbanada). The approximated time of travel is 2 hours from Tacloban City to Catbalogan City and 1 hour & a half ride or 2 hours from Calbayog City.

Bus
A bus trip from Manila to Catbalogan City is about 20 hours (Philtranco, Silver Star, Eagle Star, PP Bus Line & CUL). Also from
Davao City to Catbalogan City via Philtranco about 20 hours and Bachelor Express Davao City bound for Tacloban City.
Tacloban City “Abucay Bus Terminal” you can find a bus bound for Catbalogan City for about 2 1/2 hours.
There is also a Bus from Calbayog City bound for Catbalogan City, and travel time is approximately 2 hours.

Possible Travel Expenses for 4 days and 3 nights (Calbayog and Catbalogan Trip including the fare, food & accomodation )

  • Cebu to Calbayog via Cokaliong – Php 1,030.00
  • Cebu Pier 1 Terminal Fee – Php 25.00
  • Dinner – Php 70.00
  • Mid snacks – Php 70.00
  • Breakfast (Coffee and bread) – Php 50.00
  • Calbayog port to Brgy. Tinaplacan (Jeepney) – Php 50.00
  • Bangon Falls Entrance Fee – Php 10.00
  • From Tinaplacan corner to Bangon Falls and Tarangban Falls – Php 200.00
  • Guide Fee (Bangon Falls and Tarangban Falls) – Php 200.00
  • Snacks at Bangon Falls – Php 86.00
  • Bangon Falls (Brgy. Tinaplacan) to Calbayog City – Php 50.00
  • Calbayog to Catbalogan (Grand tours) – Php 100.00
  • Catbalogan to Tacloban – Php 120.00
  • Tacloban to Ormoc – Php 130.00
  • Ormoc to Cebu via SuperCat – Php 570
  • Terminal Fee – Php 25.00
  • Lunch on board – Php 145.00
  • Canyoning in Samar – Php – 2,500.00
  • Central Cave adventure – Php – 3,500.00

TOTAL EXPENSES – Php 8,931.00

 

Itinerary for the whole trip (4 days and 3 nights, Calbayog and Catbalogan)

DAY 1 Tarangban Falls And Bangon Falls

07:00 PM – Depart for Calbayog via Cokaliong from Cebu City.
07:30 AM – ETA Calbayog Port
07:40 AM – Depart for Bangon Falls and Tarangban Falls in Brgy. Tinaplacan
08:20 AM – ETA Brgy. Tinaplacan (Registration)
08:30 AM – Depart for Bangon Falls
08:40 AM – ETA Bangon Falls Entrance
08:45 AM – Trek to Tarangban Falls
09:10 AM – ETA Tarangban Falls
09:20 AM – Enjoying Tarangban Falls (Swimming and Picture taking)
09:50 AM – Trek to Bangon Falls
10:10 AM – Exploring the 3 tier of Bangon Falls
10:40 AM – Depart for Registration Area
10:50 AM – ETA Registration Area (Change clothes)
11:10 AM – Depart for Calbayog City
01:00 PM – ETA Calbayog Grand Tours Terminal
01:10 PM – Lunch
01:30 PM – Depart for Catbalogan City
03:40 PM – ETA Catbalogan City (Sir Joni’s Place)
07:30 PM – Dinner with other Travel bloggers
09:00 PM – Orientation for the Canyoning adventure of the following day
10:00 PM – Rest (Sleeping time)

Day 2 Samar Canyoning Adventure

07:30 AM – Breakfast
08:30 AM – Depart for Jump off point
08:40 AM – ETA Jump Off Point
09:00 AM – Trek to Canyoning jump off point
10:00 AM – ETA Jump off point Canyoning
10:10 AM – Rapelling Orientation and Practice (Familiarizing the Equipment)
10:30 AM – Canyoning
01:00 PM – Snacks
02:00 PM – Canyoning done
02:30 PM – Lunch
03:00 PM – Rest
06:00 PM – Ambling around Catbalogan City
08:00 PM – Dinner at Orlando’s Grill
10:00 PM – Practice on how to use the Single Rope Technique (SRT), for the Central Cave adventure.

Day 3 Central Cave Adventure

06:30 AM – Breakfast
07:50 AM – Depart to drop off point
08:10 AM – ETA Drop Off point
08:10 AM – Trek going to Central Cave
10:40 AM – ETA Central Cave entrance
11:00 AM – Early Lunch
11:40 AM – Going down to the Cave
12:40 AM – Exploring the Cave
03:10 PM – Going up to the entrance of the cave
04:50 PM – Trek going to the Jump off point
06:40 PM – ETA Jump off point
06:50 PM – Depart for Sir Joni’s Place
07:05 PM – ETA Sir Joni’s Place
07:10 PM – Take a bath
07:40 PM – Dinner
09:00 PM – Ambling around Catbalogan City

DAY 4 Depart for Cebu

07:30 AM – Wake up call (Take a bath)
08:00 AM – Breakfast
09:00 AM – Depart for Tacloban
11:30 AM – ETA Tacloban Grand Tours Terminal
11:45 AM – Depart for Ormoc City
03:20 PM – ETA Ormoc City Terminal
03:45 PM – Depart for Cebu City
06:30 PM – ETA Cebu City
08:00 PM – Home Sweet Home

51 comments

  1. These caves look amazing and I would really love to explore an adventure like this and shall surely try and do it someday, though I would completely dread the idea of encountering any snake on my way, that green snake may be hiding and sitting calmly but still looks ferocious to me

    Like

  2. These cave formations look absolutely amazing with so many pretty stalactites and stalagmites! Great shot of that snake there, which really acts as a reminder for tourists to be careful when exploring these nature reserves. I’d love to be able to check out this crystal kingdom and trek around the cavern.

    Like

  3. This is a beautiful cave. But I don’t think I will have the courage to go inside. I’m afraid of heights. Also, there are so many dangers that are in my mind while reading your post. hahaha This adventure is not for the faint of heart.

    Like

  4. The entire trekking journey seems like so much fun especially with getting ready – I think looking forward to a trip is as exciting as being in it! Great post with lots of amazing shots of the inside cave

    Like

  5. If I had seen that snake I would have had such a panic!! Well done for continuing. I’ve never been canyoning but it looks like so much fun. The mineral deposits are incredible as well. Sounds like you had a great trip.

    Like

  6. Such an amazing formation of stalagmite and stalactite. I didn’t know there’s a cave like this in Samal. What a lovely canyoneering experience, very adventurous! You must be strong enough to pull yourself. I wish I can do this too one day.

    Like

  7. I’ve been to several caves but these stalactites and stalagmites you’ve captured in your photographs are magnificent. That snake was definitely frightening, kudos for your bravery! 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.