Balay sa Agta Cave is a very interesting natural cave formed and can be found in Argao, Cebu.
Argao is around 70 kilometers from Metro Cebu, which takes around two hours by bus but less for private cars or taxis.
“Agta” is a term used in Cebuano to describe a huge, dark and pipe smoking human-like creature in Philippine legends. Agta is thought to be a house (‘balay’) of this creature.
To get to this cave, you must be fit since it is quite challenging especially for neophyte mountaineers or adventurers for such environments.
Below, let us check out some features to get you more excited about this place…
Roughly and basically, we can describe the cave as having a wide open entrance that would lead you to the other end which has a small lake and waterfalls.
The space inside the cave quite wide and the ceiling is high is most places. It means that you don’t need to worry about crawling narrow and stuffy parts of this cave. But you just need to watch your every step due to various rock formations along the way.
From its mouth, you will first enjoy the spacious first chamber which is followed by the Guano deposits (excrement of seabirds, bats, pinnipeds and other birds – great fertilizer).
You will also learn that there is a rock phosphate mining inside the cave.
Then you will continue exploring the darkness until you reach the ‘skylight’ area, which is right in the middle or midway of the cave. They call it skylight since there is a huge aperture where light comes in and brighten this part of the cave. Amazing!
As you continue, you will make a sharp turn to your right and will reach a dome which is followed by a waterfall. Yes, you can surely refresh yourself with its cool water.
Up ahead you will find interesting stalactites and stalagmites formed
for thousands of years inside. The varied shapes of these formations are
fun to observe and somewhat other-worldly feature.
Then finally, you will be in a wider space where you can find the small lake and the waterfall.
The total amount of time to reach from its mouth to the other end is around 45 minutes, thus, it will be around 2 hours to return. The distance is about 400 meters long from its mouth to the other end.
At Conalum Barangay Hall, you need to pay an entrance fee (PhP20.00) and it is the official start of your trail towards the cave.
You should know that the narrow trails and steep ravines on the way is dangerous and quite challenging to beginners – around 80 feet deep or so.
As of this writing, the trail which is created by cutting out some parts of the ravine can only be accessed by humans in single file. Although a rope can help you keep your balance, you must make no mistake in making your every step.
More Descriptions Inside Agta Cave
When you pass the challenging trail leading towards the cave, you will have a reward – you will be refreshed by the cool temperature inside the cave. And, of course, it is dark.
It is pitch dark inside and so you need to turn on your head lights or flash lights, which are must equipment for this adventure.
Interesting shapes and rock formation are everywhere. While exploring and finding your way inside, you will notice rocks that sparkle as your light points them – they are crystal stones or such elements but not diamonds!
Since it is a dark cave, you will certainly encounter creatures that inhabit and make their home inside – such as bats, forest cockroach, and other creatures.
At the end of the cave, you will be entertained by a rock formation that looks like a tobacco puffing Agta – the black giant, a mythical creature in the Philippine literature.
You can only observe this rock formation when you turn off your headlamp or flashlight.
It has been believed that no matter how people tried to take a photo of this Agta nobody has really captured a clear and visible one!
Take a bus from Cebu South Bus Terminal in Cebu City. Upon reaching the Argao municipality, you can hire a motorbike (habal-habal) for Barangay Conalum where you can find the Barangay Hall.
Temporary Expenses Guide:
Bus for Argao-Cebu: PhP79/non-aircon; PhP84/aircon
Habal-habal from Argao Town to Barangay Conalum: PhP160/person/return
Entrance/Barangay Fee: PhP20/person
Tour Guide Fee: PhP240/person
You must contact the Argao Tourism Commission (phone: 032-485-8063) a day or few days before your arrival to arrange for a guide(s).
The usual guide rate is PhP500. You can deal with the guide to get a discounted rate especially if you have a big group and needs two guides.
Thanks for reading this interesting page. Hopefully this helps your search.
Please, keep safe if you decide to see this interesting place. Make your preparations and plans complete in advance.