Friday, February 20, 2009
Captivating Capiz-Suhot Cave (Dumalag, Capiz)
DUMALAG is a typical small town in
Capiz. People know and greet one
another by name.
Lately, however, new faces have appeared. The locals can
immediately recognize them as visitors, seeking directions to
reach the places that brought them to the idyllic town, 35
kilometers from Roxas City.
Some of them come from as far as Iloilo, Antique and Aklan.
Their quest: world-class
springs set in the middle of a
cave that well-traveled
visitors say can rival those
found in the Northern
Luzon's Sagada and
Benguet, or the Kuwebang
Milagrosa of the Hundred
Their destination: the foot of the legendary Pangin-raon
Mountain, just 300 meters from the town proper.
The foot of the mountain is the doorway to the wonder of Suhot
Cave that inspires awe by its size and length.
Surrounded by lush vegetation and second-growth forest, the
cave stretches 18 kilometers. Its innermost recesses and
labyrinthine passages have remained unexplored.
It is considered one of the longest caves in the country and has
of late been drawing amateur and seasoned spelunkers.
The body of water in front of the cave is rich in minerals and
originates from the watersheds of Pangin-raon. It flows through
a subterranean passage and empties through the cave's
bowl-like opening guarded by a wall of solid rock.
The surrounding land is owned by the municipal government,
purchased from private owners in the early 1980s when the
mayor was Conrado Salcedo, to ensure that the natural
attraction would remain in public hands.
Ricardo Castro, the incumbent mayor, plans to develop the
Suhot Cave into an eco-tourism destination, using an initial
fund of P3 million given by the Department of Tourism.
Part of the plan is to build ecologically-friendly cottages around
the cave, a spring-fed swimming pool and snack bars for
excursionists who unwind at the Suhot Cave's waters, mostly on
Dumalagnons say that inside the far reaches of the cave, where
few men have set foot, stalactites and stalagmites molded
through the years are like human figures in varying stages of
The few who were lucky to see the formations swear by the
beauty of this rare display of nature's handiwork.
Townsfolk also love to tell the tale of adventure by a local
speleology enthusiast, the late Filomeno Blanco, who in the
early 1970s was said to have stumbled upon a stalagmite that
was a nearly perfect reproduction of the figure of a young
They say Blanco used to say that the figure appeared to be
someone holding out a collection plate to a worshipper for some
In another section deep inside the cave, Blanco had also
claimed to have gazed in disbelief at three human-like figures--a
child standing between parents.
To most of the people, the stories are so real that they openly
urge brave explorers to unravel the mystery and wonder that
only the Suhot Cave can offer.