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).