Stalactites creep down from the darkened ceiling of Lahab Cave in Dumalag, Capiz like frozen slimy alien tentacles. Our local guide, perched above a crevice overlooking the entrance of the cave looked down, probably checking the trail we were about to endure on our way into the bowels of the Earth.
I looked down to the supposed trail and said to myself, what trail?
Our fourth day in Capiz didn’t start so strange.
After a pleasant overnight stay at Maribert Inland Resort, we immediately boarded our van and headed to the nearby town of Dumalag; our itinerary for the whole day, nothing but cave exploration.
My first experience spelunking was at Norzagaray’s Pinagrealan Cave. It was a fairly easy cave to conquer but I know my limits when it comes to physically demanding activities. So I can’t help but feel a bit of trepidation as we alighted at the gates of Suhot Cave and Natural Spring Resort.
It was a Sunday and the weekend crowd was in full force. Open huts facing the natural spring coming from Mount Pangin-raon were filled with locals having picnics. Kids were jumping and swimming across the chilly waters of the spring. We can only look with envy as early lunch was passed around.
With our bellies full, it was time to go spelunking. But hold on, the cave which we were about to explore is really not within the confines of the Suhot Cave and Natural Spring Resort. In fact, it’s name is not Suhot Cave, but Lahab.
To get there, our guide said we have to walk a short distance away. A mere fifteen minutes.
Well, I’ve heard those fifteen minutes countless times before.
To be quite fair, the trail was pretty easy to traverse, if not for the muddy parts. I have to resort to walking barefoot since my sandals kept on sinking to the ends of the Earth.
The promised fifteen minutes actually took thirty. Which really isn’t bad, I’ve had longer fifteen-minute trails before.
The mouth of Lahab Cave impressed upon arrival. It’s one of the largest cave openings I’ve seen and the stalactites growing down from its ceiling was otherworldly.
I took a really long look as to how we would traverse from its mouth to the cave floor and shook my head. With my dehydration episode still fresh from the Liktinon Falls hike, I knew I would have to pass on this one.
No amount of convincing from my companions can persuade me.
I know my limits and I really don’t want to push it, especially on activities I’m not really too crazy about. If we’re talking about diving for corals and fishes, it might’ve thought thrice before saying no. But caving? Naahh.
So we parted ways.
They went ahead, walking precariously on the brink of a cave gorge. They were soon eaten by the dark mouth of Lahab Cave. Me, I retraced my way back to the Suhot Cave and Natural Spring Resort, whistling along the way.
I took time off shooting the man-made spring enclosure along the resort while waiting for my companions. The water was just knee-deep on my part of the cascade, but it looked deep enough on some parts that kids were actually able to jump down from a ledge.
It wasn’t too soon before my compadres came back all muddy from the Lahab Cave exploration. They were allowed to rest for a few minutes before being herded to the more touristy Suhot Cave. There’s no fifteen-minute trek for this one, it’s literally just a stone’s throw away from the kids jumping into the spring pool.
A few from our group begged off from entering the cave, having had enough stalactites and stalagmites for the day. But since I haven’t had any spelunking action yet, I grabbed a helmet and a flashlight for myself and proceeded towards the awning mouth of Suhot Cave.
This is definitely smaller than Lahab Cave and looked easier to navigate too. Its stalagmites are smaller and less impressive; in fact, it looks like any ordinary cave to me.
We pressed forward.
Unlike Lahab where my companions have to wade into pools of ice-cold water, Suhot Cave’s floors are drier. The headroom goes quite low at times, using a helmet is a must.
I’ve been to caves with light bulbs installed along pathways, like the Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave in Albay, and I’m quite glad that they didn’t do that here in Dumalag. Caves are supposed to be dark; you’ll slip, bump your head, get a scratch or two; but it’s all part of the experience.
We were told that there are still a lot of unexplored areas inside Suhot Cave and what we saw was barely scratch of the connecting caverns inside. Be that as it may, we still somehow enjoyed being a caver for a day (half the day for me).
Let’s leave those dark unexplored places for hardcore spelunkers shall we. Because what I really want now, after that stuffy caving thing is to jump at the cold spring of Dumalag and have a colder halo-halo right after.
Suhot Cave and Natural Spring Resort
Address: Brgy. Dolores, Dumalag, Capiz
Entrance Fee: Php10.00 Adult | Php5.00 Kids
Guide Fee: Php200.00 Suhot | Php500.00 Lahab
GPS Coordinates: +11° 18' 15.55", +122° 37' 13.45"
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