Bayukbok Cave 2: Manalmon Challenge (Part 2)

After that short hike up Mt. Manalmon with our buwis-buhay (death-defying) poses for posterity’s sake, it was time for yet another adventure. From the summit we go down south in the bowels of the mountain that devours (manlalamon) – Bayukbok Cave.

We took on Bayukbok Cave 2 because Cave 1 is closed to the public due to safety per DENR. The idea of spelunking was a thrill in the beginning.  It was a first for me…actually, for the three of us (Dexie, Matet and I). I have no comparison for the experience other than the photos and some stories from the more adventurous friends.

So in the sweltering heat of the almost gone summer, we crossed the hanging bridge and trekked a bit along the sharp limestones to the cave’s opening. Quite frankly, I was kind of expecting a huge cavernous hole on the mountain side gaping. It was a surprise to learn that to get inside Bayukbok Cave, we need to slither our way in. So the expectation has been set. The entrance was so small and tricky that you have to watch your head to avoid hitting sharp rock formations!

After our grand entrance by slitherin’ our way in, we found ourselves in a rather bigger chamber. Finally! at least I can now stand without having to worry about breaking my head or any of those rock formations!

Talking about formations, we found a very provoking one and we made some fun out of it! I have read some other caves have it too but this is my first!

Disclaimer: The succeeding photos are rated SPG (adult supervision is highly encouraged)!

 

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Ron and his face! 

 

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Me and my modest self 😛

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Matet, let’s move on…LOL

The walk through the large chamber was short-lived when we had to exhibit our natural talent for fitting into small spaces (considering my size). There was a passage we thought we could never fit in. Thanks to kuya Michael for having faith! HAHAHA!

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a walk in the park for Ron…

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Let’s get dirty, ladies! 

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Did I mention that this part was coming from below? 

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Ahh, that smile of victory!! 

Oh! I cannot believe I was able to fit in on that hole! I truly must train on such flexibility stunt! And when you think you have had the most challenging ordeal, you are served with another one…a notch higher than the last. So before we lose our wits, if we wouldn’t make it, here are some shots.

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Spelunking pa more!

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Thank you for the lights! I successfully got registered in the photo!

The next stunt was rather difficult. We didn’t have any photos because the space was just too small to maneuver with the gadgets. It would have been nice having a head/helmet mount (maybe next time).  It involved some muddy/slippery ascent. We were only aided with a rope and it was a bit dark even with our headlamps on! It actually gave me the creeps!

After the death-defying ascent, we were bound to descend. My only concern is that there was not much to hold on nor to step on to. Then I learned to use GPS! Yes! GPS as in Gapang Para Safe!  I used my as* and my hands and Kuya Michael’s leg! And then we saw the light!

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We came from the space above Ron’s head. We negotiated our way to where Dexie’s sitting

We ended the journey through the darkness and was greeted with fresh air and bright chamber! It’s not exactly the end yet. We had to scramble some more limestone rocks  before we could reach the surface! And we did albeit being muddy and dirty as hell!

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Almost there! 

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Yes, vegetation! some greens!

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We made it out alive! 

After that spelunking, I was thirsty to do more! I was thinking of Sagada and the Sumaguing Cave. I wonder if that’s something I can conquer one day! Well I guess that’s for me to find out!

The day was slowly closing as the sun hid behind thick cumulus clouds and before we even had the chance to cross the so-called Monkey Bridge, the rain began to pour. When I say pour, it wasn’t just a shower, it was raining cats and dogs! We ended by washing up and packing for home.

Since we came out of Bayukbok Cave 2 alive, here’s our Manalmon Challenge Itinerary and Notes.

5AM –  Baliwag Transit Terminal – Cubao

  • Take the trip bound for Cabanatuan
  • Alight at Brgy. Camias (Kamias), San Miguel, Bulacan
  • Travel time is about 2-3 hours depending on the traffic

7:30 AM – Take the trike to Sitio Madlum

  • There are no other transportation to the Jump-off
  • It’s a 30-minute ride, bumpy ride after the concrete roads end

8 AM – Register/get yourself accounted for

  • Everyone has to sign a waiver, including the guide
  • A guide will be assigned
  •  IMPORTANT: make sure you have a clearance/permit from town office before heading to the registration. This is typically arranged a few days before the intended date of hike. They strictly carry out the No Clearance/No Hike policy. Consider yourself warned to avoid disappointments!
  •  Short briefing from the assigned guide

9 AM – Start the trek

  • Pretty easy trek; the trail has a mild assault to the summit much like a walk in the park.
  • The only challenge is the intense heat of the sun

10:30 – ETA Summit (Mt.Manalmon)

11 AM – You can have lunch at the campsite or start descending and have it at the community area

  • We had ours at the campsite

12:30 PM – Rest

1:30 PM –  start walking to the entrance of Bayukbok Cave 2

2 PM –  Enter the Cave

3 PM – Monkey – Bridge back to the Registration Area

  • We missed this part because of the rain

3:10 PM – Wash up and pack

4:40 PM – Head to Brgy. Camias (Kamias)

5 PM – Bus bound for Cubao

 

The Damage Report

P 117 – Bus fare from Cubao to Camias, San Miguel (P 234 RT)

P 240 – Trike from Camias to Jump-off (Sitio Madlum) (P 480 RT)

P 20 – Madlum Cave Registration

P 10 – Mt.Manalmon Registration fee

P 55 – Lunch; you can pack or cook your own food

P 500 – Guide Fee(s)

  • P 300 – Mt. Manalmon – Standard fee
  • P 200 – Bayukbok Cave 2

Additional Damages

P 10 per gallon – water for shower

P 15 – Soda (Mountain Dew)

P 30 – Additional drinking water

P 30 – Head lamp if you do not have your own

The damage did not so much cost us an arm and a leg. It wasn’t expensive to go outdoors like I used to think. Besides,  even if it does cost so much, the experience is priceless!

At the end of every adventure you will find yourself wanting more. Trust me, there is nothing more addicting than the mountains. They give you that high, both literally and figuratively! Face your fears and live your dreams – go out of your comfort zone!

 

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