I took my off from the oceans and mountains and found myself spelunking caves of Norzagaray.
|snapshots of what happened last weekend|
Norzagaray is one of the municipalities in Bulacan, a well-known province in the Philippines for historical caves. The most prominent are those found in Biak-na-Bato National Park which served as headquarters of Katipuneros during the Philippine Revolution.
I will not be talking about caves in Biak-na-Bato in this article 'coz I haven’t been there myself; but rather I will be talking about two caves in Norzagaray, Bulacan that are both worth featuring – Pinagrealan Cave and Gray Cave.
The Pinagrealan Cave
|the entrance of Pinagrealan Cave|
(photo credits: Moymoy Cunanan)
The entrance of the cave is so inviting that if you are an adventurer by heart, you will go inside the cave in an impulse the moment you see it. The cave has a lot of beautiful subterranean views exploited by visitors and locals as reflected by the vandals and graffiti throughout the cave’s wall. The trail was easy, there are some narrow pathway and some areas with waist-deep waters, but everything is manageable.
The cave may not be a challenging pursuit which is a common expectation for spelunking; however, I can still qualify it as a worthy site to visit. (just do not give too much attention to vandals and senseless graffiti *wink*)
Several minutes away from Pinagrealan Cave is another cave that offers a more beautiful view and more challenging trail.
The Gray Cave
|The entrance of Pinagrealan Cave and the "process" of going inside :D|
To enter the cave you have to descend a roughly 20 feet bamboo ladder that has a sign of giving up anytime. That is the initial challenge of Gray. From thereon you have to skip, hop, crawl, and swim both in water and mud. You will enter narrow pathways, holes, subways, and tunnels. If you are observant enough, you will see crabs, fishes, frogs, bats, and even shrimps inside the cavern. You will end up wet, muddy and stinky from guano (bat shits).
Compared to Pinagrealan, the Gray Cave is not as explicitly explored nor exploited. Although there are also some graffiti and vandals that really are sore to the eyes, its natural wonders somehow are intact.
Both caves do not offer amazing rock formations compared to Sagada. (oh well, I think the awesomeness of a rock formation depends on our imagination). It does not have the challenge of San Carlos Cave or the magnificence of Blue Water Cave in Cagayan Province. But both have its own wonders and natural beauty that is worth exploring and navigating.
How to Get There
I got there because of the group TEA Zone (The ExtremeAdventure Zone), an active outdoor group that focuses on extreme activities such as rock climbing, rappelling, bouldering, and spelunking to name a few.
Getting to Pinagrealan Cave is easy. It is located at Brgy. Minuyan, Norzagaray, Bulacan. Just ride a bus bound to Bulacan and tell the driver to drop you off at Road 1, the town proper of Norzagaray. From there, ride “Brgy. Bigte” bound jeep until Bigte circle. From the circle, there are motorcycles for hire that go to the entrance of Pinagrealan Cave.
Going to Gray Cave is another story. I doubt if locals even know where and what Gray Cave is since TEA Zone is the one responsible for its name. If you want to visit and see what Gray Cave can offer you, I suggest you join the spelunking activity of TEA Zone through its Facebook Page.
My two-cent worth of thoughts
- The local government SHOULD and MUST do something to prevent the rampant vandalism in the area.
- If you will visit the place please do not leave any mark, or any sign that you’ve been there. No one really cares.
- Do not in any way forget to bring flashlight or any means of illumination. This is a must, unless you wanna walk in a narrow, uneven path amidst pitch darkness.
- Change of clothing. You’ll get wet and dirty. You will do caving, not a walk in the park. Take it from Embi :D
|see? it's no walk in the park|