Mainit Mabugnaw Cave: Explore The Underworld Of Carcar In Cebu
Spelunking, or cave exploring, may not rank high on most people’s vacation to-do lists. However, it is nothing less of an adventure and something meant to be experienced firsthand. Caves are amazing natural wonders because within its walls are thousands of years of Earth’s history. And Cebu happens to be blessed to have a large number of caves worth discovering, such as the Mainit Mabugnaw cave located in the municipality of Barili, near Carcar.
How to get there
One way is to take a bus from Cebu South Bus Terminal to Jct. Mainit Spring in Guadalupe, Carcar.
PHP 50 – Bus fare from Cebu South Bus Terminal to Guadalupe at the Jct. Mainit Spring (same fare applies on the return trip)
PHP 15 – Habal-habal fare from Jct. Mainit Spring to Guadalupe Mabugnaw Mainit National Park (same fare applies on the return trip)
The other way, according to locals, is to take the bus and then disembark at Carcar’s city center. There are habal-habal rides there that go directly to Mainit Mabugnaw National Park. Fare is PHP 30.
This enormous cave is the crowning glory of the 57-hectare DENR-approved Mainit Mabugnaw National Park in Barangay Guadalupe. Outdoorsmen who have gone to Mainit Mabugnaw cave dub it with several names, but locals simply call it “Cave 3” because you will pass by different caves as you walk through the trail.
The national park has a small entrance fee (see the rates below). With this, you get to trek along a well-established trail and cool off at a pool nourished by a natural hot spring, excluding professional guideship services. During a hot day, the place can get pretty crowded with locals. Women even gather here to do their laundry. But more importantly, the spring is used by the Carcar water district to distribute fresh, drinkable water to the community.
In the park, you will trek through a loose, rocky trail along the hillside. The trail exposes you to the sun, so don’t forget to wear sunscreen and proper attire.
Entering Mainit Mabugnaw cave
In less than an hour, you will come across the mouth of the monstrous Mainit Mabugnaw Cave. The size of this cave is intimidating! Stalactites that are taller than the height of the tallest basketball players hang almost a hundred feet down the cave’s ceiling.
On the cave floor, you will encounter stalagmites several feet tall. Boulders the size of cars are strewn on the ground. Ancient moss-covered flowstones adorn the walls. All are evidence of Mother Nature’s superb artistry!
Several deep, black caverns are along Mainit Mabugnaw cave, and many of them are unexplored. These sub-caverns means that the entire area may be a massive network that spelunkers will definitely enjoy.
Amazing, airy cave interior
During daytime and provided that no one is up for exploring sub-caverns, you won’t find the need to bring flashlights. That’s because the cave’s ceiling has large holes, slowly carved by erosion, that let sunlight illuminate the inside. From these holes, you will see trails of giant tree roots that cling to the cave’s walls.
The forest canopy above filters the sunlight that casts sunbeams of fairy-like light, glowing inside the vast cathedral. This same forest cools the surrounding air, making the temperature inside the cave quite comfortable.
Interesting cave adventure
You will hear bats and birds safely observing their earth-bound visitors far below their safe perches.
You can discover dilapidated and broken religious statues inside Mainit Mabugnaw cave. Decades ago, the cave used to be a part of a planned pilgrimage route, but before the pilgrimage trail could be completed, the project was halted due to a conflict in the local parish. Since then, the project has been abandoned.
Something for adrenaline-seekers
If you think your caving adventure is over, you’re wrong. Just recently, Mainit Mabugnaw cave has become the site for adrenaline-seeking adventurers who rappel down 70-feet along the cave’s ceiling walls. It’s perfect for those still getting the hang of the outdoor activity. You can do it twice (or thrice) until you get pleasantly exhausted and successfully conquer your fear of heights.
After abseiling down the ropes, you may set up a camp on the cave floor and share ghost stories. Locals say the cave is haunted, but adventurers don’t seem to mind the ghosts who are said to live in this place.
Spelunking may not be for everyone. However, it is an excellent way to be awed by the majesty of nature, so definitely try it even once! With such breathtaking sights and more, Mainit Mabugaw Cave is a must-visit place for those who want to experience a dose of adrenaline, and even newbies who want to witness Mother Nature’s artworks.
Mainit Mabugnaw National Park Fees
- Regular Registration – PHP 10
- Child PHP – PHP 5
- Foreigner – PHP 100
Guideship fees are not included.
Philihappy Pro Tips
- For professional guideship services, get in touch with Joseph “Choi” Inosante at Base Camp Recreations at +63933 465 1477 or Eric Tunacao (Out Pax) at +63942 809 7700.
- Protect yourself from the sun! Bring sunscreen with a high SPF to give relief to your skin. Check out our picks.
- Since the trail has loose soil and sharp rocks, wear tough trekking shoes or sandals with an aggressive tread.
- Take extra care when rappeling, particularly in the staging area, which is almost 100 feet from the ground. Always follow your guide’s instructions for safety.
- Pack light but don’t forget to bring extra clothes and packed lunch/snacks.
- Do not leave your garbage behind. Do not touch the flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites, and other cave formations. They are very fragile, and one touch can irreparably damage them.
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to explore Cebu’s other attractions, check out these stunning ecotourism destinations in Cebu.