“When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from those who have never left home.” -Rumi


“Where are you going Miss?” an old lady asked me while I’m about to buy some adhesive bandages (for my medical kit) in the pharmacy on our way to *Balay sa *Agta Cave. “I heard that you are heading to Balay sa Agta?” 

“Yes *Manang, we will go there.” I answered excitedly.

“Really? A small girl like you, are you not afraid?” she asked with frightening voice. “Haven’t you heard the incident happened there? There was a guy who trekked there fell down from the mountain and died.” she told me with caution (but later on I know that – that incident happened many years ago).

“Nope, I haven’t.” I answered

“Be careful *Inday.” she advised me while we walked together towards the road.

“Salamat.” I smiled.

Then she saw one of our guides and it happened that they are neighbors – they both talked. 😀


LANGOB: ‘BALAY SA AGTA’ (HOUSE OF THE GIANT CAVE) 

There was a legend in Argao long time ago that this cave was the house of *Mangaw (the giant) – the husband of Maria Cacao (the engkantada in Mt. Lantoy). To know more about the story please also read: Maria Cacao and Mangaw of Mt. Lantoy – the legend of Argao.

Years passed, from ancient stories/folklore this cave also – happened to be a camp/hideout for civilians/slaves during those wars in the country. Even natural disasters shaken sometime to this cave but it is still there. Though not so beautiful unlike those popular caves from around the world but the important is – it has it’s own mysterious legend that was and is and will still be told to the people in the town.

Thankful to Argao Tourism and Barangay Conalum that today they keep it as one of the treasures in Argao. They protect, maintain and preserve its natural formations inside and outside. Yes, is is not too late, soon this cave will gain more of it’s beauty inside. Thank you.

IG PHOTO BELOW IS THE ENTRY OF ‘BALAY SA AGTA CAVE’

If you already read the story of Maria Cacao and Mangaw, it mentioned about ‘Balay sa Agta‘ and bats – (“a lot of bats in the cave that when you reached the entrance it will blow you away”). That didn’t happened when we reached there during our caving. Bats, I never counted them but there were few flew from the cave – really few of them or maybe they were hiding inside the cave. For sure, those birds are still there – I still saw lots of ‘guano’ inside the cave at the mid of our hike. 🙂

IG PHOTO BELOW IS THE INSIDE VIEW OF THE CAVE 

At the mid of our hike, we saw this hole above that allows sun’s rays reach inside. It was really nice! Great to see some lights from the very dark hours of our hike.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR CAVING, YOU CAN CHECK MY VIDEO BELOW 🙂

We hike approximately two hours back and fourth. There were few stalagmites and stalactites formations in few areas inside. Now it is prohibited to all visitors to touch those formations – in order to gain more of it inside the cave.

After our hike we visited also the Bugasok Falls <- you can click here for the video.


THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE GOING TO “BALAY SA AGTA CAVE”:

1. Call/visit the Argao tourism office before you go. This is for your more information and for your safety too. They didn’t allowed individual/group to go there without their permission, it is to avoid any accidents will happen. It is best to booked for a guide and you will first call them to schedule your preferred date. The tour package cost about Php600.00/person inclusions: the habal-habal ride (round trip from tourism office to the cave), the guide, permits, entrance fees, gears and snacks (after the caving torta and sikwate). Here are the contacts of Argao Tourism office, landline number: +635-485-8063; email address: argaotourismcommission@gmail.com and fb: Argao Tourism.

2. It takes 45-50 minutes ride to reach the starting point for the hike and approx 30 minutes hike going to Balay sa Agta cave. We rode a motorcycle called it ‘Habal-habal’ in mostly rough roads. We stopped first at Barangay Conalum to logged our names for their records.

3. You can park your vehicles at the backyard of the old house on the way to the cave to start your hike – for free! Yes, the owner didn’t asked payment etc for us. If you like you can give them some presents. We met and talked these old people (unfortunately I forgot their names). We talked to 2 women and you know what in their whole life, they didn’t been there at Balay sa Agta cave. Just imagine it takes only approx of 30 minutes hike from their house, but they didn’t tried to see it. As what they said – they are scared to go to the cave, then I remember the legend. 😀 (Sorry no photos with them).

4. You should bring some medicinal kit. I know most of hikers/adventurers had their medical kit in their backpack. This is in case if something happens. Like me, I slide and bumped my butt on the ground while walking towards our motorbikes. That was after our caving! But nothing injuries I got, I just stepped in wet grasses – but it hurts! Lol! 😀

5. Better bring some snacks or lunch with you. This is a day trip so some of you will get hungry while hiking & caving at noontime. In the afternoon at the end of your caving/trip, you will be directed to ‘Jessie’s Torta’. Here where you will eat the very famous local delicacies of Argao – the “Torta & Sikwate (Tsokolate)”. If you are lucky, sometimes Jessie the owner of “Jessie’s Torta” do some tutorials of how to make torta and sikwate.

6. “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time.” This is the best of all to remember, everyone of us are responsible to our mother earth, we should take care of her. Please avoid throwing of garbage in the cave, in the roads and in any places you’ve been as well.


FACTS ABOUT MOUNT LANTOY

Mount Lantoy is located 10 kilometers inland from the main town or the Municipality of Argao, in Cebu province, Central Visayas region, Philippines. It has an elevation about 593 meters or 1,946 feet.

I never been there yet at the main area of Mt. Lantoy but looking forward to go there soon. As they said Mt. Lantoy is good for hiking and trekking especially for those adventure lovers and there are camp sites too for those who loves camping. But before doing such hike/trek/camping to the mountain, you must first visit and inform the office of Argao Tourism for your safety and information about the place same as what we did when we went to Balay sa Agta Cave.


BALAY SA AGTA CAVE ITINERARY:

Because I only live in Argao going there at tourism office was easy, no need to wake up sooo early! 😀

8:30 – at Argao Tourism Office. We prepare our gears for the caving.

9:10 – starts our habal-habal ride

10:00 – we reach the starting point for hiking

10:10 – approx we started our hike

10:40 – approx we started our caving

12:40 – done our caving approx

01:15 – going back to where our motorbikes parked

01:45 – rode again and now to Bugasok falls

02:00 – enjoying Bugasok falls view and the river

03:30 – approx we went back to the proper town

04:15 – reach at Jessie’s Torta

04:30 – had our snacks and enjoyed

05:00 – done at Jessie’s and went back to Argao Tourism office

05:15 – went home

“Salamat nila ni Nasir ug Elmar nga amoang guide. Thank you guys!” 🙂


VOCABULARY:
Balay - house
Agta - giant
Manang - older female or the eldest sister
Inday - small or the youngest sister
Salamat - thank you

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