Caving after a wedding?! Strange mix, but yeah, TEAM BUMACOTRONG made it all happen. Ian got married and since everyone in the team attended his wedding, we had an impromptu caving the next day. We were maximizing time with our climbing buddies and friends, who where from far away places. Joan and Jocelyn came all the way from Bukidnon. Pau took some time off his family in Cotabato and attended Ian’s wedding too. Jah went home for the wedding and then joined his hubby Chris and me fro the caving. So around 12noon, we went of for a cave we knew only in Tatay Haron’s descriptions.
I never really knew a cave existed within 10 miles from home. Together with two other cavers from Koronadal City, Haron Castro met us in Tantangan and oriented us to where we’re heading. The plan is to go to a base camp, leave our other stuff there then head off to the jump of baranggay and then trek all the way to the cave site. Caving will be just around 1-2 hours inside, and difficulty is assessed to be moderate. We have 2 beginners in our team so we need to know about this stuff.
By 1pm we were fetched by a camper truck and was brought to the camp site- a thriving restful farm that used to cater official functions during its high days. We ate our mini lunch there and left provisions for our dinner later. Then the same vehicle brought us to the jump off some 20-30 minutes away and upland. From there we started the long walk over the hills of what we thought is “just around the corner”. It was just around the corner of course, for our two guides, who where the sons of the cave owner. The place where the cave was discovered is owned privately and they are actually “mining” guano there (bat fecal material) and sold for fertilizer purposes.
According to the owners and the baranggay chairman of Maibu, the cave systems was there already since their ancestors settled in the area. Dubbed Maibu Caves, the cave system is a bat cave that is situated on top of a hill and going down vertically and interconnects with some other unexplored caves. Guano, part of bat feces, lay abundant on its floor. And that’s where the owners getting their income. You can see the sacks of guano outside the cave mouth ready for hauling and drying. Knowing these facts, we decided to explore only the middle largest cave because of time constraints.
I have to warn everyone also that though I have been to many other cave explorations before, I still have the fear for enclosed, dark places and of heights, especially of the drop zones. I also brought my DSLR during this exploration so I gotta be very careful with my self and my camera! But I need to get photos I told myself. So off to caving!
My adrenaline went sky high when we entered the cave mouth- an 80 degree drop zone on a muddy soil, and some 20 feet below into the darkness. Uh, I wish I could fly away from here! But I brave along with my peers crawling on a bat laden, guano filled cave. My cam went busy. It was my first time to take photos inside the earth, and with DSLR at that. I must be crazy, really. There’s no stalagmites nor stalactites you see of course, but the wet, humid temperature made me feel the cold, damp chill. Mud. Lotsa mud. So I trained my cam on people and the bats. On several areas along the cave interior, the cathedrals are filled with bats flying out of the noise we made. There were gaps and crevices on the floor that lead to somewhere nobody knew where. We stooped, crawled, bend, grasp and crawled some more. Some passages could only allow one caver to pass. The other passages where ladder like that somehow, you need to figure out how to jump and then hold to the wall at the same time without falling off the crevice. It was one terrifying moment for me but I gotta do it or be shamed for life! And my camera!
We made it all through the cave, sans perspiration and mud all over. The two beginners were ecstatic at their feat. I am ecstatic at my success too. Got the only perfect pictures during the exploration. It was a feat for me too. I never liked caving, but I couldn’t forgo the moment and try something new for my photography stunts. I think the whole team had its one hell of a caving experience. All happy, all satisfied. I had my photos and another encounter with mother nature. I have my good friends. I’d go caving with them anytime.What else can you ask???