Cav­ing

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The eastern prov­ince and is­land of Sa­mar is home to hun­dreds of oth­er­worldly caves, many of which are yet to be cat­a­logued. The most jaw-drop­ping ex­am­ple is found in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Cal­biga: Lan­gun Gob­in­gob, the largest cave sys­tem in the Philip­pines. Not for the ca­sual walker, the trek to and within the sub­ter­ranean sys­tem of pas­sage­ways takes about eight to nine hours in to­tal. Some of the sights that re­ward the chal­leng­ing route in are those of the mam­moth sta­lac­tites and sta­lag­mites, a mas­sive cham­ber the size of three foot­ball fields, and blind crabs and other fas­ci­nat­ing in­hab­i­tants in the pools. A tour of Lan­gun Gob­in­gob and Sa­mar’s other caves can be booked with Tr­ex­plore ( tr­ex­plore.ph).

Up north in Lu­zon’s Moun­tain Prov­ince, Sa­gada adds an un­ex­pected cul­tural di­men­sion to cav­ing. Fa­mous for its 500-year-old hang­ing coffins, the Lu­mi­ang Burial Cave is a sacred site for the in­dige­nous Igorot tribe. Stacked on the cave walls are 200 hol­lowed-out logs con­tain­ing the re­mains of tribal an­ces­tors whose bod­ies have been ar­ranged into a fe­tal po­si­tion to achieve peace in the af­ter­life. For a more in­sight­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, book a half-day ad­ven­ture that starts at the burial site and ends at the equally mys­ti­cal Su­magu­ing Cave through the Sa­gada Gen­uine Guides As­so­ci­a­tion Inc. ( sag­gas.info).

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