February 4, 2014

SURIGAO CITY | Spelunking at Silop Caves



The guide looked at us dumbfounded. One was wearing harem pants, and bright green tank top, another in blue of see through material for a blouse, one in bright candy pink city shorts, and of six of us, only one was dressed for the occasion activity. The look on his face was one that I would pay for to look at again.



What we thought it was going to be a whole day of turned out to be quiet the opposite. We were under-dressed for the city tour we expected it was, but overdressed on the city tour Surigao Tourism prepared for us. About 20 minutes away from Surigao City is the multi-cave system of Silop Cave. Composing of 6 cave systems, the Silop Caves is open for explorers, adventurers, and tourists alike. Only two of the six cave system, however, is open for spelunking.





Our first stop from the city is the Silop Barangay Center where we registered. It is also where entrance, and guide fees are paid, and a short guide introduction, and orientation to the activity. There's short trek of 10-15 minutes from the Barangay Center to the base of the stairwell. The trek is flat, grassy terrain with not much trees overhead so the sun would beat up on you if you do not have sun protection on. Gears are included, and were handed out at the base of the 110-steps stairs, and the mandatory BEFORE shot (first photo of this post) should, by all means, taken. From there, you will probably, still, be all smiles, and excited for the adventure. Once the stairs breaks off, and eventually ends, the trail becomes of jagged rock, and slippery; muddy loam with flora-debris surfaces; and through rock gaps, and crevices. The trek from the base of the stairs to the first cave is around 20-30 minutes depending one's pace.



The first cave, however, we just passed by. It is not allowed to enter the cave where thousand of bats reside as evidence by the very distinct pungent smell of their droppings. Oh, the smell of ammonia! We quickly made our way to the second cave where my excitement for adventure, fear of the dark, and close spaces, and worry for my strappy sandals doubled. Aside from the safety equipment (hard hat, head lamp, and gloves), rope lines are already secured to help you descend the cave system. The descend is not really steep, but it could be slippery. We went into the cave system further, and at one time were asked to turn off our head lamps --- of which one of us flicked it on, again, after only a few seconds. Because, yes, it was freakingly dark inside, and down there.



We emerged from there, and went into the third cave, and the second of the only two caves that is allowed into. The second one is a larger, and open cavern with high ceiling of already dead stalactites. There is an opening to one side that allowed light to shine into the cavern. When descended into it but did not stay, explored too much of that cave, and got out to a few minutes after.


Heading back to the baragay hall, we asked the some locals who were washing their clothes at the community's water source if it was okay for us to was off dirt, mud, and some debris off our lower extremities. We could not believe how muddy, and mud-stained we, and our clothes were after that short spelunking at Silop Caves. The Silop Cave  is ideal for adventurers, but is, even children ( school-age, probably) can try this since there is one guide looking after two tourist/visitors. I hope you will visit, and help out this community-managed tourism.


TRAVEL NOTES:
  • Wear appropriate footwear. Active, and close footwear is advised.
  • Best not to wear shorts, you might get scratches, or insect bites along the trail.
  • You can bring your water canisters with you, I would advise you bring a small body bag, or backpack for you to keep you belongings in.
  • Please do not leave your trash along the trail, or in the caves, take them out with you.

HOW TO GET THERE:
Surigao City Proper - Silop Cave Junction
- Take the Arellano-bound Jeepney ( 20mins) 30 PhP/Pax
Silop Cave Junction - Silop Barangay Center
- Take Habal - Habal ( 5 - 10 mins)
* Or you can hire a habal - habal from the public market to Silop Barangay Center for an agreed rate.

SILOP CAVES FEES:
Entrance Fee: 50PhP/Pax; inclusive of safety gears
Guide Fee: 200PhP/ 2 Pax


This is part of the #TravelMindanao Project, and  you might like more of Surigao City posts here:
Where to Eat at Surigao City
Spelunking at Silop Caves  <<< you're here.