Exploring The Caves and Waterfalls of Hindang

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I’ve been wanting to see the talked about Hindang Caves on various blogs throughout the inter-webs and having a trek team was what I’ve been wanting for a long time. This time, our group which was composed of the new friends I made from our Pugaan waterfall trekking had new faces wanting to go to new places. There were about 15 of us this time.

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Barangay Hindang is located 20km away from the city proper of Iligan city. We had to take a bumpy ride going there but the scene was amazing. As we got higher the air was colder and far refreshing compared to the urban winds of smoke and smog. It was a 2-3hour uphill trek (shorter though if you decide on running). Sir Bobby and Elijah decided to do a 14k uphill walk-run to the meet-up point and surprisingly they arrived earlier compared to us who took the van!

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You had to write down your name on their logbook which was located at the nearby sari-sari store beside the local basketball court. There was also a fee of 25php person. We had to pass by a school and several houses before the actual trek.

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It’s a nice day out for a walk. We were already starting a sweat there with the warm weather. The road was still manageable but once we started on the rough terrain, that was where things started to get really interesting.

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The buffalo looked at our group earnest with curiosity while enjoying his mudhole.

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I want to know what fruit this is and if it’s edible because I’ve been seeing this tree lately. Can anyone help me out here?

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The terrain may look like a walk in the park but I assure you it can give one quite a sweat, make it minor muscle tears. We had to climb a 200 meter mountain before we could actually reach the highest peak in the area! For people like me, well, that took the breath…make that sweat out of me.

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The trail was visible enough and the flora there was varied from mushrooms to ferns, most of them I do not recognize. There were some parts though that got tricky since you could actually notice that not a lot of people seem to travel here. The sounds were pleasant with the tweets of birds but there was an area that made unusual warning chirps whenever a trekker passed by. I tried looking for it but I never found the sources of the sound.

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It seemed like the huge rocks there were similiar to those you see under sea floor. Some were razor sharp so you definitely look where you were stepping along with some strategic footwork when it came to the high slopes and the muddy areas. There were also times when your knee and chin could literally meet from the steepness of the trail.

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Breathtaking view isn’t it? Our pace was at a brisk walk but one can easily get lost if you go too slow and get left behind by the others. I loved every bit of it from sky to earth. Plus, you could never see a single sight of trash anywhere unless you counted the coconut husks.

Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time

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It may not look like it but I was already sweating excessively that I got my rash guard soaked to the sleeves! That’s the ever smiling Leia beside me and the one behind us is her sister Ana.

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We passed by many sparkling streams, we were told not to risk drinking the water. I mean, drink all you want but nobody wants a bad bout of diarrhea later on. I do love dipping my feet once in a while or so just to get cool from the heat.

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There was an area there which grew huge bamboo trees. Some of these clusters had nasty thorns that resembled barbed wires. I wonder what this area would sound like when the winds were blowing.

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I’m pretty sure we’ve almost reached the peak  which they called Mt. Pagangon once we saw this little hut. This was where our guide and his family lived. According to Sir Bobby’s GPS we were at 1822ft above sea level, awesome.

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They gave us a share of their boiled camote for us to snack on during our rest before we started to descend further down to the cave. Take note to bring lots of water with you and an iced water bottle the night before is truly one of those things you have to do. I secretly brought one camote with me to the cave in case I got hungry and boy was that a wrong idea.

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and this is the cave entrance! You had to go on a slightly downward trail just to reach the opening. It was covered in lush greens, plants were growing in different directions and the area had some scattered vines around just to name a few. Seeing the opening made me ecstatic with the thought of going in and seeing what was inside. At first,the smell resembled to that of freshly burnt moist leaves. Later on I was told it was a mixture of bat droppings and urine.

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It looked slightly eerie at first with its wicked looking stalactites and the silence from within. One had to be careful which way they were going and what rock to step on. The cave was made up of about 6-8 chambers. It  was cool yet very dark, that’s why you have to bring a source of light with you. This place is definitely not for those who easily flinch at the sight of dirt and grime. The ground here was slightly mushy and there were random water drops here and there. The purple haired vixen to your right is my new friend Yvette!

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Once you got inside the main hall, the next thing to do was crawl inside this little opening. We had to do this one at a time because it was really dark and you couldn’t be sure what you’re stepping on. (Photo by: Bobby T.)

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The next thing one should expect is the bats once you start to look up above after you take a whiff of guano (bat poop). Now I tell you it might not smell like that field of flowers but think of it as something new….and unforgettable. Don’t forget to close your mouth though while you’re looking right up because a bat dropping or two might accidentally  go to the wrong place

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Only a few of us dared to go beyond the steep area of the cave because of that nasty looking huge spider with pincers connected to a foot long antenna. Some of us had to shoo it away and aside from that there was about 5 inches worth of guano there. I had to be really extra careful which parts of the cave I was touching and stepping foot on. (Photo by: Yobz)

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I like this spot a lot. Just as we were about to go out there were several picture worthy snaps you can take.

What to bring:

  • A flashlight or any source of illumination
  • A hat for those afraid of being pooped on.
  • Alcohol which is highly regarded upon going out of the cave
  • Towel to wipe the sweat off
  • Plastic gloves? Haha.

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That’s me being helped up by Jilly. Imagine balancing a camera on one hand while holding on for dear life with the other. I have seen the sunlight at a different perspective once I was out of the cave.

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We went back to our guide’s house and that was where we decided to take our lunch and fresh coconut water for refreshments. Talk about the simple life! I’ll take Buko juice over energy drinks any day. Just as were were about to go downhill it then started to rain and the winds were freezing cold. I think it was cool that Jilly brought an umbrella, talk about being prepared. (Photo by: Bobby T.)

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I slipped and fell several times and even got into a very awkward position with another trekker because the trail got muddy and extremely slippery. Next thing I did was thinking “Oh f*ck it, i’m going commando” and then immediately taking of my shoes and socks and doing it in the most natural way possible….trekking on bare feet! The joy of being free from foot wear made me hug trees and hum while trekking downhill amidst the rain and erosion. (Photo by: Yobz)

I do not recommend that for those who have dainty and delicate feet.

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Just passing by another stream. Oh the pleasure of soaking tired feet despite the cold.

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Look what I found! (Photo by: Bobby T.) It’s a Velvet Apple or commonly known as a Mabolo fruit! It’s got a lot of health benefits too like hair growth and reducing inflammation and a whole lot of other things when you consume it.

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That’s me trying to pick up ferns (Photo by: Bobby T.) which I THOUGHT were edible. Turns out they weren’t and ate She had to toss them for fear of me collecting more of them. 🙁

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Sweet and fresh Marang in season at 10php apiece! The marang is rich in protein, fat, carbohydrates, ash, calcium, phosphorous, iron, crude fiber, retinol, beta-carotene, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, Vitamin A and C. It should be consumed as soon as possible because it oxidizes quite fast and loses its flavor. The seeds could be boiled or roasted and are quite edible too.This served as the ending credits to a hike well done.

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Next up is Hindang Waterfalls which was at about 1.5 kilometers away from where we were originally parked and 20km away from the city proper. Now the trek going there wasn’t as difficult as the one to the cave. It took us about 10-15minutes to get there and the first thing that greeted us was the sound of rushing water amidst the lush plant life.

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One had to pass in between the falls to get to the other side. For those who aren’t up for it well you can bathe in soothing waters there. (Photo by: Bobby T.)

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Be extra careful though, most of the surfaces here are slippery. This one here is the main falls which was at about 40ft. high. (Photo by: Yobz)

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This is the view going down the falls. A bit risky but totally worth the sight.

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There’s a surprise here though because you don’t get to see just 2 but three waterfalls. Here’s the catch…you have to climb a steep path with the use of tree roots and trunk and jagged rocks. Once you get to the top, you can see the biggest and the majestic of the 3 tiers. It was spectacular and the rocks there were massive! That’s me trying to scale the rock formation found beside the falls while trying to give a smile. Thank you for reading through this post and have a nice day dear reader! (Photo by: Yobz)

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Read more about this adventure based on my companions experiences:

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