Islas de Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo – Part 4

I remember our Physics teacher back in high school. He gave us a bonus question during an exam. The question was “What is the northernmost town in Iloilo?” Having been to the other end of the province at that time and thinking it was the north, I readily answered San Joaquin. Of course it was wrong. No one knew what the answer was if I remember correctly, so no one had extra points for the exam. The answer was Carles and I was already on my second day in Islas de Gigantes that is part of Carles.

After a few hours of sleep, we woke up at 5am to start the trip to the lighthouse. I’m used to eating breakfast before doing anything in the morning but we had to go early to the lighthouse if we wanted to complete everything that day.

Nong Jofer and another guide, Nong Boyet, who was going to be our cave expert later in the day, fetched us from the resort a few minutes after 5am. We passed by the group that left earlier because they had to walk the unpaved part of the road while we, on the other hand, being just me and Raisa, still rode the motorbikes. I think that was the advantage of being in a smaller group.

I remember now that I was a little scared while on the motorbike because our guides were driving fast and there was a part where it was downhill. But that was nothing compared to the more nerve-wracking things I did during the course of the day.

Arriving first at the lighthouse meant that we could go up first. Going up the lighthouse was a bit scary. We had to go up through four flights of vertical ladders. I never climbed a ladder this tall. Heck I haven’t even climbed more than three steps on a ladder. But it was safe.

Lucky for us, it was perfect timing for the sunrise. I got to snap a few photos of the sunrise from the window while going up.

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When we reached the top of the lighthouse, the sunrise was in its full glory.

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The moon didn’t want to go unnoticed too.

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A little history about the lighthouse. It was built in 1994. That’s all I remember. I’m not really good in history.

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We needed to give a donation to the caretaker of the lighthouse so I gave her P100. I’m not sure if it was enough or more than enough but she thanked me for it.

We then headed straight to Bakwitan Cave. I had to stop by the resort because I was thirsty and had to drink plenty of water. It was a good thing I did this. I really needed this water for all the effort I would be doing in the cave.

Manong Boyet was our sole guide for the spelunking activity. Nong Jofer left us so he could prepare our breakfast.

Manong Boyet told us that during World War 2, locals would evacuate here so they could hide from the Japanese. I think this is why they call it Bakwitan. Also, during the onslaught of the typhoon last year, three families took shelter in the cave. I think it could have been a good evacuation center.

There were a lot of vandalism outside the cave. You could hear the frustration from Manong Boyet’s voice while he was speaking about how some locals did them. There was a pit that was dug near the entrance of the cave so they could search for gold but nothing was found. It just made a messy hole in the cave.

Look at all those vandalism behind me! This was also before I got so messed up inside the cave.

Look at all those vandalism behind me! This was also before I got so messed up inside the cave.

Nong Boyet also warned us about not touching the live rocks so as not to destroy them. He said that our hands have some sort of acid that could interact with these live rocks and could lead to them “dying.” They even had to protect the rocks that have just started forming by placing other “dead” rocks around them.

A stalactite or a stalagmite (I don't know which is which) that has just started forming.
A stalactite or a stalagmite (I don’t know which is which) that has just started forming.

Here are some of the rock formations inside the cave:

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After introducing us to the rocks, the hard part of spelunking started. It was this part of the trip that I was most scared of (I would do scarier things later though). I did spelunking last month in Siquijor and it was really an effort on my part. Add to that was the warning I have been reading from other blogs.

I run so I don’t have any problem with endurance. I just have a whole of other problems. Flexibility and the ability to climb anything are just two of them.

The passage going to the exit of the cave was almost vertical. I had to follow Nong Boyet’s instructions carefully or I would be dead. My slippers were making it hard for me to climb so I had to remove them and go by foot. I had to go second so Nong Boyet could pull me while Raisa could push me. Again I was the rhinoceros. There was a part where I had to go first so Nong Boyet could help Raisa so I had to pull myself through mud.

I looked like I went through hell when I got out of the cave. I don’t have pictures of myself because I was sure I looked horrible. I was all too sweaty too.

I felt like I could do anything after that ordeal I experienced inside Bakwitan Cave.

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