One of the pleasures of Marinduque is that most parts of the island is still untainted by mass tourism. While the heart of the Philippines is widely known for Moriones Festival and the islands off its coast, the hidden caves dappled around the mainland are some of the best that you will find in the country.
On my recent visit to Marinduque, I had the opportunity to explore Bagumbungan Cave that is classified as a Class II cave. Thus, some sections of the cave are off-limits for safety reasons and you can only explore it with a trained guide. It is located in the confines of the Brgy. San Isidro and Brgy.Punong in Sta.Cruz, Marinduque.
Bagumbungan Cave was actually discovered by the locals who used to collect the edible nest of swiftlet that is used for making bird’s nest soup. But when a spelunker tipped off the DENR about the grotto, an exploration to map the routes and wildlife inside the cavern went underway. In 2013, the cave was opened for tourism.
I have been to some the most beautiful caves in the Philippines such as Sumaguing Cave in Sagada, the cave in Bucas Grande, and the small cave in Sipalay, but I try to avoid spelunking because I find it arduous, and I don’t like wandering in enclosed space. But, since we were there already, I decided to give it a try. And I’m so glad I did!
We wriggled through the dim fissure, not knowing how long it was or what lays ahead of us. It was an experience both exhilarating and frightening, some parts are too edgy and slippery to offer any escape if we were to get into difficulties. A sense of mystery tingled over the cave, the only thing that broke the silence was our panting. A huge mass of boulders, pillars and columns loomed, and we hauled ourselves over the boulders, into the inner hollow, which curved away into the shadow. As our eyes adjusted to the gloom, we saw before us gorgeous flowstones, rimstones, and stalagmites. We waded hip-deep through the water, and as we clambered farther to the inner cavern, each fissure had minute wonders to unfold. Bagumbungan Cave is truly a gorgeous spectacle.
If you want to explore Bagumbungan Cave, here’s a travel guide with sample budget and itinerary to help you plan your adventure here.
HOW TO GET TO BAGUMBUNGAN CAVE
1.Take Cebu Pacific flight from Manila to Marinduque, this is the fastest way to get there. Cebu Pacific now flies 3 times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday) from Manila to Gasan Airport in Marinduque. Travel time is approximately 45 minutes.
2.Take a jeepney (PHP 20 – $0.38) or tricycle (PHP 150 – $3 – special trip) to Gasan town proper.
3.At Gasan, ride a jeepney to Brgy.Lamesa in Sta.Cruz. Fare is about PHP 50 ($3).
4.At Brgy.Lamesa, take the jeepney to Brgy.San Isidro. Fare is PHP 20 ($0.38).
5.Alight at Brgy.San Isidro.
6.Register and pay the fees at Bagumbungan Cave.
By Bus + Ferry
Option 1 (Direct Bus)
Fare: PHP 900 ($17.22)
Travel Time: Approximately 8 hours
1.From JAC Liner Cubao terminal, ride a JAC Liner bus that travels directly to Marinduque. Bus departs daily at 4:00 PM (boarding time is 3:00 PM). Fare is PHP 900 (Mogpog, Boac, Gasan) and PHP 1,000 (Buenavista, Torrijos, and Sta.Cruz. Travel time is roughly 8 hours.
2.Alight at Mogpog (next town to Sta.Cruz).
3.Board a jeepney en route to Brgy.Lamesa in Sta.Cruz. Fare is about PHP 50 ($3).
4.At Brgy.Lamesa, ride the jeepney to Brgy.San Isidro. Fare is PHP 20 ($0.38).
5.Get off at Brgy.San Isidro.
6.Register and pay the fees at Bagumbungan Cave Registration Hall.
Option 2 (Bus + Ferry)
Fare: PHP 700 ($13.40)
Travel Time: Approximately 8 hours
1.From Manila, take a bus to Lucena City (Grand Terminal). There are several buses that ply this route – JAC Liner, RRCG Bus, JAM Liner (Cubao and Buendia Terminal), and Lucena Lines. Terminal. Fare is approximately PHP 270 ($5) and transit time is about 5 hours, depending on traffic.
2.Get off at Lucena Grand Terminal.
3.At Lucena Grand Terminal, take the jeepney (PHP 10 -$0.19) or tricycle (PHP 150 – $3) to Dalahican Port.
4.At Dalahican Port, buy your ferry ticket + terminal fee. Make sure you know which town you’re headed because there are 3 ports in Marinduque. If you are headed to Mogpog, and Sta.Cruz, nearest port is Balanacan Port in Mogpog. If your hotel is in Gasan or Boac, Cawit Port in Boac is the closest. Ferry fare is PHP 390 ($7.46) and terminal fee is PHP 30 ($0.57).
5.Board the ferry.
6.Get off at Balanacan Port in Mogpog.
7. Take a jeepney to to Brgy.Lamesa in Sta.Cruz. Fare is PHP 50 ($3).
8. Get off at Brgy.Lamesa.
9. Ride the jeepney to Brgy. San Isidro. Fare is PHP 20 ($0.38).
10. Get off at Brgy. San Isidro.
11. Register and pay the fees at Bagumbungan Cave.
IMPORTANT: Jeepneys to Brgy.San Isidro usually leaves at 9:00 AM, so make sure to be there early. The return trip last trip is around 1:00 PM, but you can hire a tricycle to take you to Brgy.Lamesa to get on a jeepney bound for Gasan or Boac.
By Van Rental
For a hassle-free transport to Bagumbungan Cave, you can also rent a van at Dream Favor Travel and Tours.
Dream Favor Travel and Tours
Contact #:+63 918 933 1605, +63 2 542 5229
BAGUMBUNGAN CAVE FEES
|HALFWAY (up to the falls)||FEES|
|Entrance Fee||PHP 35 ($0.67)|
|Environmental Fee||PHP 15 ($0.29)|
|Cave Guide Fee||PHP 55 ($1.05)|
|Equipment Rental (Helmet + Headlamp)||PHP 35 ($0.67)|
|Right of Way||PHP 10 ($0.19)|
|TOTAL FEES (PER PERSON)||PHP 150 ($3)|
|ALL THE WAY (up to Punong Exit)||FEES|
|Entrance Fee||PHP 70 ($1.34)|
|Environmental Fee||PHP 30 ($0.57)|
|Cave Guide Fee||PHP 110 ($2.11)|
|Equipment Rental (Helmet + Headlamp)||PHP 70 ($1.34)|
|Right of Way||PHP 20 (0.38)|
|TOTAL FEES (PER PERSON)||PHP 300 ($6)|
- Senior and student – 20% discount with valid ID
- Optional certificate – PHP 50
- Minimum number of guests is 2, so if you are a solo traveler, you will have to pay for 2 persons
- If you are a group of 10, you can contact them in advance and request for kamayan lunch to be prepared for PHP 300 per person.
WHERE TO STAY IN MARINDUQUE
Balar Hotel and Spa
The Boac Hotel
BAGUMBUNGAN CAVE ITINERARY + BUDGET
Here’s a sample Bagumbungan Cave itinerary + budget (day trip) to help you plan your trip. We stayed in Boac during our visit and we only did a day trip to Bagumbungan Cave.
*This sample budget is good if you are a party of 2 ( fees are per person except for the tricycle fee)
Lots of Insta spots inside the cave. LOL Thanks to Angelo for this idea!
|08:30 AM||Jeep to Brgy.Lamesa in Sta.Cruz. PHP 50 ($0.96)|
|09:00 AM||Jeep to Brgy.San Isidro. PHP 20 ($0.38)|
|10:00 AM||Head to Bagumbungan Cave Registration Hall.|
|Pay the fees. PHP 300 ($6)|
|10:30 AM||Explore Bagumbungan Cave|
|02:30 PM||Finish spelunking.|
|03:00 PM||ETD Gasan or Boac|
|Tricycle to Brgy.Lamesa. PHP 150 ($3) (divide by 2 persons)|
|Jeep from Brgy.Lamesa to Boac. PHP 50 ($0.96)|
|TOTAL||PHP 495 ($9.47) (per person if 2 pax)|
- If you are alone, you will have to pay for 2 persons for the Bagumbungan Cave, so that’s PHP 300 or PHP 600, depending on teb route you’ll choose.
- Total fee for a solo traveler is PHP 870 ($16.65).
BAGUMBUNGAN CAVE TRAVEL TIPS AND REMINDERS
- There are restrooms at the Bagumbungan Cave registration hall, so you can shower and change your clothes after the spelunking.
- Helmets and headlamps are provided.
- Stack up cash as there’s no ATM in the area and everything is on cash basis.
- There’s a store beside the registration hall where you can buy drinks, snacks, and halo-halo.
- Bring your own water bottle to keep yourself hydrated during the hike.
- Bring dry bag to protect your gear, or better yet, use a waterproof camera.
- Wear comfortable shoes that’s good for caving. Some paths are slippery and rocky.
- Do not trash the place and do not touch the live stalagmites or stalactites. Leave no trace.
DISCLOSURE: Our Bagumbungan Cave trip was made possible by Cebu Pacific Airlines and Marinduque Tourism.
About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.
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