|“The purpose of LIFE, after all,|
is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt
When you seek adventure, you obviously look for thrill. And thrill comes with anticipation and learning, of freedom and for the main purpose of this article, of sweat.
So, better squeeze out those juices, lessen that extra pounds you might gained by this time because I’m telling you, I did all of that when I signed in for this.
Disclaimer: Not for the faint hearted adventurer.
Now, I welcome you to the Bulabog Putian National Park!
This piece of landscape beauty is located in the northern part of Iloilo province, taking in certain barangays from the municipalities of Dingle and San Enrique. The park’s peculiar name was based on its main attraction ---- the Bulabog Putian Peak --- a white stone wall visible even as far as its neighbor, Passi.
|Your doggie tour guide|
Approximately 2 hours travel from the heart of Iloilo City, tourists can ride a tricycle from the town proper of Dingle going to the park’s entrance where you are required to register and advised to hire an official tour guide. Well, the tour guide dog is a plus!
Advice: Do not hesitate to pay for the helmet being offered because you WILL thank it later for head bumps. For sure.
Off to trek the caves
Fun fact: The park is home to 30+ remarkable caves. However, only 6 of these caves are occasionally trekked by tourists because others may either have small openings or found alongside cliffs.
This article will be featuring only 3 caves --- the Tuko, Guizo and Maestranza caves.
|Endorsed by the DENR and DOT|
Declared as a protected area by the DENR, it is a biodiversity haven ---- on both tropical flora and fauna. If you love nature, you will definitely fall for this mystic place. Stepping into rocky roads composed of limestone which is abundant in the area, you will be walking alongside towering and century old trees.
|Walk in this jungle paradise|
Picture perfect century old trees awaits to be feasted upon by your eyes. You can see swarm of butterflies fluttering around the trek and the tour guide additionally informed us, “If you are lucky enough, you will see monkeys living in the area”.
|A century old tree|
Knowing what lies inside the Tuko Cave
From the name itself, the Tuko Cave is identified as just because of the number of tukos or geckos living in it. Unfortunately, the number of these exotic creatures to be sighted were adversely reduced due to illegal hunting and poaching. Also, you can look out for tarantulas and spider scorpions.
|Entrance to Tuko Cave|
The journey to Maestranza Cave
Walking past the Tuko Cave is the infamous Maestranza Cave which is well visited during Holy Week, as it offers perfect reclusion in observing the Lenten season.
|Entrance to Maestranza Cave|
|The perfect reclusion in observing the Lenten season|
Greeting you with three defined caves, this cave holds an estimated 20,000 fruit bats and retains a great historical possession of the Ilonggo revolution. Assemblage point of the Ilonggo revolutionaries before, tourists will see carvings and messages in its historic cave walls.
|Writings of Ilonggo refugees|
Deep into the Guiso Cave
Going back to the signpost, Guizo cave is a little bit distant from Maestranza cave. After minutes of walking and climbing the narrow trail that leads to the distinctive cave’s opening, tourists will be greeted upon by various species of bats down under. Unlike the previous caves, tourists going inside will be slogging down the cave’s tight spaces and exit to another opening.
|Entrance to the Guizo Cave|
|Guizo Cave as bared from above|
Now here is the REAL thing! Deep down will be complete darkness and it is advisable to use available lighting equipment/device. The helmet is also essential as there will be times that you have to bend during tapered stalactites or slippery floors. In most cases, the Guizo cave will be muddy and expect your shoes to be soaked in mud. Visitors will definitely enjoy the uncanny but interesting stalagmite/stalactite formations and the cooling effect of your surroundings.
Beware: Snakes and eight legged insects.
|Here’s a heart from the Guizo cave|
The Expansive Moroboro Dam of the Jalaur River
After the sweaty cave adventure, sightseers are welcome to spent tranquil time in the infamous Moroboro dam of the Jalaur river, which is also another tourist spot in the park. It was built to provide additional water supply, improve irrigation in the Iloilo province, augment electric power supply through a hydroelectric plant and enhance flood mitigation measures.
|Moroboro Dam's vast structures|
|Seemingly perfect nature view from the bridge|
Visitors will also enjoy unspoiled picture takings in the old hanging bridge beside the Jalaur River Dam like us.
|Sway in the old hanging bridge|
Come and visit the Bulabog Putian National Park!
Words by Michelle Villa / Photos by Adrian Patrick Gemora