From the innocence of my mind with regards to the island of Samar, never have I thought that the island houses treasures beyond compare. The island was so dull in my head, not until I was able to set foot on the island and embarked on a journey that will surely stay vivid on my mind.
The island of Samar houses a considerable number of caves, waterfalls, rivers, and pools, and we are only counting the discovered ones here. One of these wonders that I was able to experience is the alluring Lobo Cave which is located in the municipality of Jiabong, Samar.
The cave was technically explored and surveyed by a team lead by Italians last 2006 and since then the cave was included in the array of attractions in the province of Samar.
In a nutshell, Lobo Cave houses rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites molded by the water flowing through the system for millennia. It also has chambers which serve as a sanctuary for some insects and animals.
Another bewildering day
After our tiring but fun-filled 2-day cave exploration experience, we stayed under Sir Joni’s roof where we were treated like more than hotel guests, but family members.
It was only then I knew that we still have another cave to explore the next day. Well, who would have thought that our extreme caving experience in Samar does not end after our Langun – Gobingob Cave Exploration?
Morning call and we departed from Catbalogan City for Jiabong, where Lobo Cave is situated. A short jeepney ride from Catbalogan City and a quick motorcycle ride will get you to the registration area in Brgy. Tagbayaon where cave guides are also stationed.
From the registration area, an hour or more of a trek through a mostly open trail will get you to the cave’s main level entrance.
I suggest you bring anything to protect yourself from the heat of the sun. Arm and leg sleeves are good options as they can also protect your skin from irritation that might be caused by the grass blades. Also, water should always be on the pack.
A small passage to a Big World
At first glance, I had no idea that it was already the mouth of Lobo Cave in front of us. It was just like a simple facade of a stone wall with traces of old stalactites. Before starting the adventure, we geared-up while Sir Joni gave a quick orientation on what to expect and observe while inside the cave.
Since we will be passing numerous deep waterways inside the cave, a floating vest is required for each visitor and electronic gears protected inside waterproof cases. Then we started exploring the internal system of Lobo Cave.
Cobwebs and a muddy and slippery trail will greet you at the entrance of the cave. But just several meters away, you’ll be greeted with an introductory view. Stalactites and stalagmites stretching their way towards the floor and the roof. You need to duck your way on several areas to prevent from hitting your head against the stretching stalactites.
Lobo Cave’s treasures
Inside the cave are different rock formations molded by the ages. Mushroom – shaped rock walls and columns glittering from the crystallized minerals meticulously carved by mother nature as if her own masterpiece. They were like icicles and without exaggeration, they sparkle! Insects thriving inside the cave peacefully harmonized with the ecosystem within. From time to time, bats fly around with echoing chirps.
We passed through narrow canyons and mystical tunnels.
Rappelling down through a narrow hole leads you to, what I call, “the underground water park”.
It was in this section I was astonished the most. Never have I seen such a view where deep clear emerald water flows from one chamber to the other. Multi-tiered waterfalls with waters gracefully flowing down.
Chandeliers of fragile stalactites hanging low creating lapping sound with the water. Water drops from the roof echoing across the chamber. It was soothing, calming, and healing.
We splashed around like kids and paddling our way through the deep water sections of the cave.
We went back our way up after arriving at the dead-end section of the cave and took our lunch before proceeding on our way to the other chamber of the cave.
I guess the paddling, swimming, and walking made me eat a bit more than I should have.
Care for a quick spa?
A small chamber inside the cave is filled with mineral-rich mud. The chamber is so small that you have to duck and crawl your way without hitting the fragile and low-hanging stalactites. It is also slippery inside the chamber.
Here, we masked ourselves with the mud as if having a facial spa treatment.
We went back to the main junction where we rinsed ourselves from the mud packs and the sands.
Then we continued on our way towards the exit of the cave. Minutes of paddling and floating, we finally reached the exit which was a dry river.
Well, it was summer at that time and that might explain it.
Just when you thought that the eye candies are over, prepare yourself for another set of eye pleasure. To get to the main road from the exit of the cave, we have to paddle along Tingob river on a small canoe.
The river water was so calm and eerie that I can’t help but think of the possibilities of crocodiles and or large snakes swimming across the river.
Mangroves and palm trees decorated the borders of the river.
We passed through some locals enjoying the river.
We greeted each other as we gently passed along while they enjoyed the company with their families I guess. Glimpses of the green mountains heightened the scene.
Traces of civilization slowly appearing. Riverside houses and docked canoes hinted us that we are almost at the end of our trip.
Then we docked just a few meters passed under the bridge and made our way up to the main highway. Getting back to Catbalogan, we went on top-loading where we enjoyed the provincial scenes of Samar.
We were supposed to go straight back to Ormoc, Leyte and book a night trip back to Cebu the moment we arrived in Catbalogan. Then we realized it was already too late in the afternoon and too tiring. Luckily, Sir Joni offered us to spend another night in their house. We were so thankful for his hospitality.
Instead of cramming to catch the night trip back to Cebu, we spent the rest of the day exploring the city. Early morning the following day, we bid farewell to Sir Joni and his family as we went back to Cebu.
Special thanks to Sir Joni Bonifacio
Sir Joni Bonifacio is a cave master in Samar. He is one of the few people with the drive to explore and promote the caves and other natural attractions on the island. Sir Joni Bonifacio is a man of adventure with a vision. He sees Samar’s tourism on the pedestal some day. His aim to promote the tourism of the island and his effort to achieve this is beyond compare.
My sincere thanks to Sir Joni for letting us experience this wonderful and different kind of adventure. It was truly a memorable and mind-opening experience. I experienced so many new things during the entire adventure.
HOW TO GET TO LOBO CAVE
- My most recommended option is to contact Sir Joni Bonifacio for a well-arranged trip.
- Well experienced cave master
- Complete with essential gears
- Informative exploration
- Contact details are available on his website: Trexplore
- Or you can ride a jeepney from Catbalogan City heading for Jiabong
- Disembark in Brgy. Tagbayaon
- Jeepney Fare is around 10 – 15 pesos
- Ride a motorcycle to get you to the registration area and get a guide
- I am not sure how much they charge for the motorcycle and guide
- I am also not sure if the guides have the gears needed
NOTES and REMINDERS
- You have to trek for an hour or more on a mostly open trail.
- Bring heat protection especially during sunny days
- I recommend arm and leg sleeves paired with a cap
- Bring enough potable water for consumption especially for the long trek
- Bring waterproof casing for your non-waterproof electronic devices
- Always observe LNT (Leave No Trace)
- Never litter
- Lastly, immerse yourself in the world inside the cave
- Enjoy and don’t forget your souvenir pictures