When was the last time you had an unplanned adventure? As some people say, spontaneous plans are the best and exciting. Well we had one of our summer getaway spent exploring caves instead of beaches with less than 24 hours to go. Caves are usually hard to reach and difficult to explore but not the Bontoc caves of Hindang, Leyte.

Hindang leyte map

Hindang is a fifth class municipality in the province of Leyte, Philippines. In the north, it borders with the town of Inopacan while it borders with the town of Hilongos in the south. You can get there by fast or slow crafts travelling from Cebu to Hilongos (4-5 hours) and then by multicabs or tricycles from Hilongos to Hindang (15-20 minutes). The caves are located in Brgy. Bontoc, and there is a signage along the road leading to the access road about 300 meters from the highway or 10-15 minutes walk.

It would be good to have your own vehicle or service as the road is accessible by cars. In our case, we rented a tricycle but too bad it had a problem climbing a steep but short rocky road halfway through the access road so we decided to take a walk. Time check it’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

Bontoc Caves

Upon reaching the place you can see stalls selling souvenir items, t-shirts, food and drinks. They also have enough parking spaces for vehicles.

Here are the rates for the entrance fee as of May 2014. I just hope this gets used for the proper development, maintenance and preservation of the place.

  • Adults  – Php20
  • Children – Php10
  • Senior Citizen – Php15

There are also certain don’ts to be followed for the safety of the visitors such as:

  • Don’t feed the monkeys
  • Don’t bring plastic bags (monkeys are very curious and will grab your stuff thinking it has food, put it in your bag)
  • Don’t use flash when taking pictures (it will scare the monkeys and of course the bats inside the cave)
  • Don’t be rude or make fun with the monkeys and avoid leaving garbage anywhere

You can already see some wild monkeys (10-15) in the trees around the entrance area and observing closely the visitors. From here you will be advised to keep an eye of your things. Spoiler alert: there were no more monkeys roaming outside the caves and recently they have come down, so take your pictures from here. I hope it’s not a sign of decline in their population.

Then brace yourself for a climb up the concrete stairs with more or less a hundred steps. Vamonos!

Ohh the map! Here’s the map, here’s the map! Where are we going? Can you help us find the Cathedral cave? 🙂 #DoraTheExplorer

We took the left route first towards the Cathedral cave because it sounds awesome. We passed by Dahikon cave which cannot be accessed as it is down below.

Just a few steps and we are outside the Cathedral cave with some gorgeous rock formations that are overwhelming.  Fun fact:  a cave is a naturally occurring area or space under the surface of the Earth and they are often a system of interconnected passageways created by the weathering of rock.

Caves have been used throughout human history as shelter, for burials, and as religious sites. Many archaeological treasures and ancient paintings have been found in caves around the world. This cave system in Bontoc has been said to serve as refuge to people (guerillas) and protected them from the Japanese bombings during the World War II.

Caves are usually cold, dark and wet with creatures living such as bats, cave crickets, roaches, cave spiders, insects and more! And need I say that it also stinks? Now let’s pretend to be guerillas and return to base. Hoorah!

You need to be really careful inside as the rocks are slippery and you don’t want to go out covered with bat poops and pees. It’s also creepy to hear the bats noise right above you so please turn off those camera flash. 🙂

I found the scenery very epic because of the leak of light that comes through the opening above. This one deserves a trademark pose. Oh yeah I’m the dark knight! 🙂

Just a few clicks here and there and we’re out. We then took the route on the other side and rested for a while in Pandong Bato cave.

They have created concrete tables and chairs for visitors and it looks like a picnic area with an overlooking view of the plains below. Hmmm no comment.

Moving forward and you’ll be in Pandayan cave and I thinks it is a bigger cave system. I can see a wide space inside but we were all tired and dehydrated already so we were not able to explore it much.

I was also having a hard time walking with my slippers becoming really hungry. Too bad I slipped on one of the rocks and it ripped my slippers so I just took out the lower layer, throw into the garbage can and grabbed a mentos. 🙂 #likeaboss

The fun and adventure was not over yet as our tired knees tempted us to do a shortcut. Yes! They have a Zipline on top of the cave which is about 650+ meters long and you’ll save yourself a hundred steps going down. They offer the zipline ride at Php180 for a standard sitting position and Php200 for a “superman” position.

Whoah yeaah! That ends our cave exploration and we got our dose of adrenaline rush. From meeting Boots (Dora’s sidekick monkey), to Batman’s cave and to Superman’s flight it was a worthwhile getaway. Time check it’s 4PM.

Diving Board

But wait, there’s more! After getting stinky, soaked in sweat and exhausted, we literally need to dive in the water. Just a kilometer from the highway where we are, going north to Inopacan, there is a “diving board” built by the locals. The shore is just about 30 steps from the highway. The walk to the “diving board” is built in concrete that looks like a bridge extending about 30 meters to the sea, about 2 feet wide and 4 meters high. And by the way there’s an entrance fee of Php5, hmmp okay that won’t hurt. 🙂

The structure is built on top of a rock base and at the end, it just drops deep that is why I think it is safe to jump just make sure you know how to swim. You can actually see from the diving board the Cuatros Islas consists of: Himokilan Island, Mahaba Island, Apid Island and Digyo Island, also being visited by island hoppers.

Ohh that heart-pumping feeling when you are about to take off, the stress-relieving excitement when you scream out loud and the splash!

There are floaters (1.5 liter bottles tied together) that can be found below so you can grab one after your dive. It was almost 5:00 PM and the tide is low but still I would estimate it’s about 10 feet deep so you won’t hit the bottom.

It’s not for the faint-hearted but it’s for those who take courage and take a leap of faith. 🙂 #sodeep

And of course, another trademark pose.

I don’t need to show off my backflip dives and somersault moves because you might try it. Just always bear in mind your safety first. 🙂

From the mountains to the sea, this whole adventure tells me that there are a lot of wonderful places just around the corner or next to your location just waiting to be explored. You just need to appreciate nature even the little things and the not-so-famous-yet tourist spots. You don’t need to spend much to go outside your province or region or country to experience adventure. Just look around and start one!

Adventure is not outside man; it is within.
~George Eliot

Special thanks to Kelvin Jay Olimba for his GoPro camera shots that proved to be tough and waterproof  🙂