an ecotourism study tour, October 26, 2015
Date of trip: October 26, 2015

The Cavinti Underground river and caves compex is one of the newest ecotourism destinations the province of Laguna.It is located in Brgy. Paowin in the municipality of Cavinti. According to the tourism office of Cavinti, it is their most promoted tourist destination. The registration and orientation are both done at Bumbungan Ecopark, a man-made ecopark that used to be a main road before the water completely took over the it, forming a picturesque falls.

The underground river and cave complex is dicovered by Mr. Gardo Sanchez, a local resident and farmer. According to Kuya Bunso, one of the tour guides at the caves complex, Mang Gardo accidentally discovered the opening of the cave when he was collecting pieces of wood for charcoal making. Then, on March 22, 2011, the municipality of Cavinti initiated an exploration of the caves complex. Finally, on March 30, 2013, they opened it to the public as a prime ecotourism destination.

Together with Palawan and Sagada, Cavinti is among the 3 municipalities in the whole country that have a cave management plan. Based on the cave classification, the caves complex of Cavinti falls under class 2. Unlike the underground river in Palawan, the one located in Cavinti is not navigable using a boat or a bamboo raft since the volume of water flowing in it is not large enough. Of course, the experience is also different than that you can have at Sumaguing Cave in Sagada, Mountain Province. Some tourists who tried both say that the caving experience at Cavinti caves complex is more intense than the experience at Sumaguing, especially for those who tried all the 3 chambers. However, it is purely subjective and may differ from one person to another.

Anyone who wish to try caving at Cavinti Underground River and Caves Complex should expect some crawling along the way since there are portions that are really narrow and small. You should also expect that you will be wet since water is flowing inside the caves complex.

This activity is surely for adventurous people. The road alone going to the location of the caves complex is an adventure of its own. The road is unpaved. It is rocky and has very steep portions. I just hope that even with the continuous development of the area, they leave the road as it is since it adds up to the overall experience.

The whole tour is about 6 hours including the travel time to and from the site of the caves complex. After taking our lunch, we headed home.

When we left, we took nothing but pictures, we left nothing but memories.

Some reminders from the tourism office:

  • Always observe GiGO or garbage in, garbage out. Do not leave any garbage along the way and inside the caves complex.
  • Do not touch the rock formations to avoid damaging it.
  • Vandalism is not allowed.
  • Taking some limestone as a souvenir is strictly prohibited.

Additional notes:

  • It is better for you to bring your own packed lunch. Since the tourism industry in Cavinti is not as big as other tourism sites, food establishments are very limited even in the town proper.
  • The headlamp provided at the caves complex is not that strong. If you wish to take some good photos inside the cave, it is better for you to bring a good lamp.
  • You can contact the municipal tourism office of Cavinti through:
    • landline: (049) 523-0012 ; or
    • official facebook page: facebook/cavintitourism

Acknowledgements:

We just want to send our sincerest gratitude to Ma’am Nitchelle dela Torre and her staff at the Municipal Tourism Office of Cavinti for accommodating our group.

Travel Guide    
Route Mode of Transportation Estimated Travel Time
DLTB/HM Bus Terminal (Cubao) to Sta Cruz, Laguna (terminal) Bus (Sta Cruz Bound)* 2.5 hours
Sta Cruz to Cavinti (Poblacion or Public Cemetery) Jeep (Cavinti Bound) 1 hour
Cavinti (Poblacion or Public Cemetery) to Bumbungan Ecopark Tricycle 5 minutes
Bumbungan Ecopark to Cave Guard Post 4×4 Multi-Cab 1.5 hour
Cave Guard Post to Cave Foot** 3 hours
*Either DLTB or HM Transit    
**Including the whole tour package inside the caves complex  

 

Estimated Budget  
Transportation  (One Way)  
Victory Terminal (Cubao) to Sta Cruz, Laguna (terminal) 140
Sta Cruz to Cavinti (Poblacion or Public Cemetery) 25
Cavinti (Poblacion or Public Cemetery) to Bumbungan Ecopark 10
   
Tour  
4×4 Multi-Cab rent (upto group of 7) 2,500
Caving fee (per visitor)* 500
Environmental Fee (per visitor) 10
Tour Guide (upto group of 10) 400
   
Food 150
   
*inclusive of the helmet and the headlamp

 

Some photos at the Cavinti Underground River and Caves Complex and at the Bumbungan EcoPark:

small huts that can be rented out at the ecopark
small huts that can be rented out at the ecopark
a foreign family at the ecopark
a foreign family at the ecopark
the old national road that became a falls
the old national road that became a falls
a person taking a bath at the falls at the ecopark
a person taking a bath at the falls inside the ecopark
a relatively smooth road
a relatively smooth road
School of the deaf funded by a private company that is located along the road going to the caves complex
School of the deaf funded by a private company that is located along the road going to the caves complex
our helmets
our helmets
the river as viewed from the guard house
the river as viewed from the guard house
the first bamboo bridge going to the caves complex
the first bamboo bridge going to the caves complex
our group at the start of the trail
our group at the start of the trail
the beautiful river at Brgy Paowin
the beautiful river at Brgy Paowin
entering the cave
entering the cave
one of the formations that you can see inside the cave
one of the formations that you can see inside the cave
one of the mini falls inside the caves complex
one of the mini falls inside the caves complex
another formation
another formation
one of the possible exit points
one of the possible exit points
one of the small areas of the cave where you need to really lower yourself in order for you to enter
one of the small areas of the cave where you need to really lower yourself in order for you to enter

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