For my first summer getaway, my wandering feet led me to some caving adventure and a peek through wild life. Tagging along with my friend and her family to their hometown, I embarked on another unforgettable trip full of many firsts in southern Leyte.

All smiles for this family of wanderers. Hindang Caves, Leyte

 

Historic Caves

Hidden below the peaks of Mt. Bontok in the quiet town of Hindang, Leyte are a number of caves interwoven with mystic and deep history. It is said that during World War II, these caves served as the secret hideout of Filipino guerillas who fought against the Japanese invaders. 

Another picture perfect moment at the entrance of Pandayan Cave.

 

I was awed by the sight of the Katedral Cave and Pandayan Cave with their impressive size and rock formations. Aside from these two major caves, there were also many smaller caves scattered all over the forest. It would be really great to get to explore all of them.

Unique limestone formations and forest trees at Mt. Buntok.

 

I wanted to go spelunking since the caves were very much accessible and there were some local guides who offered their services. Sadly, we had to pass off the chance since we didn’t bring any flashlight or helmets with us. But not to dampen our spirits, we contended ourselves instead by strolling just a little beyond the cave’s entrance. We did find a little taste of adventure crawling through the narrow rock passages in Pandayan Cave.

Modern guerillas finding their way out of Pandayan Cave.

 

But feeling a little daring and wanting to get a closer look at the Katedral Cave, my friend and I strayed off from the group for a short while and went down a little further. The stalactite formations really fascinated me. The cool air blowing from Katedral Cave gave me chills as I walked closer to the cave’s entrance. The sounds of the bats added to the eerie feel of the place.

Feeling dwarfed at the entrance of Katedral Cave.

 

Taking a peek at the aptly named Lili-on Cave.

 

Wild Monkeys

If you do decide to go up to Mt. Buntok, you will also be in for a close encounter with wild life. Aside from the caves, another unique attraction at Hindang Caves Park are the wild monkeys that roam freely in the forest. They quickly gather and hang around near the pathways when they hear people coming up to the mountains. Visitors are actually allowed to feed them with bananas so these so-called wild monkeys have become a little tame and spoiled over time. I couldn’t help but find these monkeys adorable in seeing how eager they were in getting their treats.

Gettin’ some banana lovin’ at Hindang Caves, Leyte.

 

Souvenirs of rainbow-colored monkeys.

 

Easy Access

The local government officials of Hindang did a great job developing the Hindang Caves Park to make it more accessible for the public. They built a paved walkway from the park entrance up to the caves’ entrance at the side of the mountain. The  climb up may still be strenuous for the faint-hearted, but it’s a very satisfying exercise for everyone who gets the chance to see the caves and meet the wild monkeys in the mountain. The lush forest is also a sight you wouldn’t want to miss.

A little exercise for those wobbly knees.

 

If you get tired of your climb or finished exploring the caves, there are also picnic areas at the top of the mountain where everyone can relax and enjoy the scenery overlooking the coast of southern Leyte. Nothing beats the freshness of mountain air and quiet serenity of the countryside.

Picnic and sight-seeing at Hindang Caves, Leyte.

 

Keep calm and enjoy nature.

 

How to Get There

Hindang Caves is a perfect side-trip for you and your friends if you are planning to go to Canigao Island in Matalom, Leyte. The park is only 25-30 minutes drive from Hilongos or Bato. You can rent a jeepney, multicab or motorcab to get there; the fare ranges from P30 to P40 each person. The access road leading to Mt. Bontok is just merely 300 meters away from the national highway. You will pay a P10 entrance fee to get inside the park. You can also ride the zipline for P180 at the peak.

 

(Photo credits: Ara Augusto)

Written by: Apol
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For my first summer getaway, my wandering feet led me to some caving adventure and a peek through wild life. Tagging along with my friend and her family to their hometown, I embarked on another unforgettable trip full of many firsts in southern Leyte.   Historic Caves Hidden below the peaks of...
<p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: medium;font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif">For my first summer getaway, my wandering feet led me to some caving adventure and a peek through wild life. Tagging along with my friend and her family to their hometown, I embarked on another unforgettable trip full of many firsts in southern Leyte.</span></p>   <p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: large">Historic Caves</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: medium;font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif">Hidden below the peaks of Mt. Bontok in the quiet town of Hindang, Leyte are a number of caves interwoven with mystic and deep history. It is said that during World War II, these caves served as the secret hideout of Filipino guerillas who fought against the Japanese invaders. </span></p>   <p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: medium;font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif">I was awed by the sight of the Katedral Cave and Pandayan Cave with their impressive size and rock formations. Aside from these two major caves, there were also many smaller caves scattered all over the forest. It would be really great to get to explore all of them.</span></p>   <p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: medium;font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif">I wanted to go spelunking since the caves were very much accessible and there were some local guides who offered their services. Sadly, we had to pass off the chance since we didn't bring any flashlight or helmets with us. But not to dampen our spirits, we contended ourselves instead by strolling just a little beyond the cave's entrance. We did find a little taste of adventure crawling through the narrow rock passages in Pandayan Cave.</span></p>   <p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: medium;font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif">But feeling a little daring and wanting to get a closer look at the Katedral Cave, my friend and I strayed off from the group for a short while and went down a little further. The stalactite formations really fascinated me. The cool air blowing from Katedral Cave gave me chills as I walked closer to the cave's entrance. The sounds of the bats added to the eerie feel of the place.</span></p>     <span style="font-size: large">Wild Monkeys</span> <p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: medium;font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif">If you do decide to go up to Mt. Buntok, you will also be in for a close encounter with wild life. Aside from the caves, another unique attraction at Hindang Caves Park are the wild monkeys that roam freely in the forest. They quickly gather and hang around near the pathways when they hear people coming up to the mountains. Visitors are actually allowed to feed them with bananas so these so-called wild monkeys have become a little tame and spoiled over time. I couldn't help but find these monkeys adorable in seeing how eager they were in getting their treats.</span></p>     <span style="font-size: large">Easy Access</span> <p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: medium;font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif">The local government officials of Hindang did a great job developing the Hindang Caves Park to make it more accessible for the public. They built a paved walkway from the park entrance up to the caves' entrance at the side of the mountain. The  climb up may still be strenuous for the faint-hearted, but it's a very satisfying exercise for everyone who gets the chance to see the caves and meet the wild monkeys in the mountain. The lush forest is also a sight you wouldn't want to miss.</span></p>   <p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: medium;font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif">If you get tired of your climb or finished exploring the caves, there are also picnic areas at the top of the mountain where everyone can relax and enjoy the scenery overlooking the coast of southern Leyte. Nothing beats the freshness of mountain air and quiet serenity of the countryside.</span></p>     <span style="font-size: large">How to Get There</span> <p style="text-align: justify"><span style="font-size: medium;font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif">Hindang Caves is a perfect side-trip for you and your friends if you are planning to go to Canigao Island in Matalom, Leyte. The park is only 25-30 minutes drive from Hilongos or Bato. You can rent a jeepney, multicab or motorcab to get there; the fare ranges from P30 to P40 each person. The access road leading to Mt. Bontok is just merely 300 meters away from the national highway. You will pay a P10 entrance fee to get inside the park. You can also ride the zipline for P180 at the peak.</span></p>   <p style="text-align: left"><strong><em>(Photo credits: Ara Augusto)</em></strong></p>

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