Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures!
Two months away from the mountain felt like forever. Lately, Ace and I had been caught up with something that kept us off the trail. My outdoor soul itched for verdure. My legs ached and longed for the muscle pain I get from trekking.
So when The Bisaya Traveler invited me to join them on a weekend excursion, I gave him a fast yes. My good friend Niña was very happy to join us, too. Ace, however, wasn’t able to join us for some reasons.
Niña and I thought we would only go trekking on that day. Imagine our excited faces when we learned we were actually going spelunking.
After meeting sir Aldrich and some of his crew at the South Bus Terminal, we took a bus to Toledo City and dropped off at a pink church in Poog. There we met the rest of the girls that completed our group. As soon as everybody was ready, we hailed a motorcycle to Bunga, Toledo to meet our mirthful guides. We also had our names logged at the barangay hall since we were the first non-locals to explore the caves in the area. Our hike commenced after a short prayer led by Tatay Raul.
Our day was not too strenuous like what I expected because we were accompanied by high-spirited individuals who knew just how to entertain weary souls. Their funny jokes and life stories made the trek light and fun. Without knowing, we already arrived at the mouth of the cave.
They said the cave is named Lapos-Lapos Cave. In our dialect, lapos means to pass right through or to penetrate. As the name suggested, there was a big hole where the sunlight comes in at the end of the first cavern. And we had to pass right through that same hole in order to explore the third and second caverns. The three caverns were awesomely large.
However, I had few sad sentiments about the place. The place was vandalized. There were writings on the wall. The stalactites and stalagmites were dead. There were holes in the ground which were evidently man-made. Our guides mentioned about some artisanal mining done inside it. Considering Toledo’s abundance of land minerals, it wasn’t surprising for people to take advantage of digging around hoping to find some. In fact, small scale mines are pretty common in the area. Although we were the first non-locals to explore the cave, we noticed that it had been frequented by local kids and or residents.
As we made our way to the last chamber, our guide led us to a small hole enough to fit our bodies. Niña and I thought about staying behind but the guides urged us to get in. A wide opening with the sight of the blue sky welcomed us after surpassing that hole. But our companions were not there. We heard their laughter and giggles above a cliff. We got curious about what was up there so we worked our arduous way to them.
Lo and behold! The wonderful panorama of Pinamungahan and the island of Negros. The stunning vista left me speechless and made my heart jump for joy.
As I sat on a tree branch, I was once again reminded why I prefer the mountains than the ocean. I love the feeling up there looking at the world below me. I feel so big and bold.
Just when we thought we had enough surprises on that day.
Another wonderful experience actually awaited. Stay tuned for that awesome surprise on my later story.