Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cueba Santa

 This was taken at Quezon National Forest Park in Atimonan Quezon, 3 years ago. The two girls in the picture were my daughters.The giant grotto was the latest attraction in the park then.

Fast forward to 2012, last weekend we went to visit my home town (3 hours away from this forest park) and as usual we made a pit stop there. While having lunch, I saw a tarpaulin with photos of sight seeing packages the town of Atimonan offered. I was surprised that there were lots. Falls, caves beaches, mountain treks, to name some. Hmmm, in heaven I was! Ofcourse, the opportunity was there, I grabbed! haha.
To cut the story short, we availed a guided trekking tour, initially to Cueba Santa and later ( I'll tell you why) to Pinagbanderahan Peak. It was so random, you would see how physically unprepared we were. On our 3 for 100 slippers we faced the challenge ;).

The best thing was the trail commenced right then and there. . at the foot of the mountain where the grotto is. We begun the trek with a prayer for safety.

Another good thing about this trail is it's somehow novice friendly and by the look of it, although it's the first time I heard about it ( excuse me, I'm no mountaineer, I'm just a mom with itchy feet:)), it sure is a road frequently traveled. There were concrete stairs which thu' already difficult for "lay men"  like us, it wasn't like the muddy mountain trails we experienced in the past little adventures we had.

Not easy, but definitely we enjoyed the scenic trail with the pouring sweat, aching muscles and all.

I particularly like the idea that they left the dead trees in their natural cementery habitat. Our guide mentioned that it's being prohibited to take away those fallen trees from that forest.

I was in love when mountainous rocks appeared in the middle of the green forest! I was thinking  maybe I was a fairy in the forest in my past life.

 If not, why I'm so happy when I'm frolicking with nature:)))

We made countless water stop...

. .yet it seemed we sweat like no amount of water could refill, haha.

We saw plenty of deep black holes created by the rock formations. Maybe down there are caves? or snakes???

For me, the rocks made the trail so much interesting.  For instance the photo above was a passing through. .

 . . reminded me so much of  the movie "The Flintstones". You know the stone age, haha.

 Until we reached our goal_ the Cueba Santa.

 Upclose, it looks like another black hole we saw a lot earlier. Omg, I was silently contemplating how on earth could we get down to that deep hole of an entrance. It was so different from the caves I've been in Bohol and Palawan.

It was pitch dark and the entrance was narrow and steep. I thought we needed some rope to rappel.

With the help of our guide, we managed to get down to the cave.

But to however my giant husband was able to squeeze himself in, I had no idea. haha.

Inside it was pitch darkness. I was behind the lens here and was actually just blind shooting.

Later I was able to adjust the aperture and somehow achieved some lights.

I wasn't sure of the exact reason for that candle lighting,for the light maybe? Later thu' when I learned from our guide the myth/history of the cave ( I will share in the ending part of this post), I thought it's more than just for the light but maybe more of spiritual intention.
Notice that the cave has been vandalized badly. Sad.

Nothing spectacular in this cave. No awesome stalagmites and stalactites. Quite small too.

Except for the story it  dwelled during Japanese invasion of our country. This I got from our trekker guide and right now I'm too lazy to google confirm it. Meet our guide "Alvin" who waited for us all to get back into fresh air, out of the cave before sharing the cave history. It has been told that a number of nuns were killed and probably molested, raped? inside the cave by the Japanese soldiers. Now, don't you think it' had been reasonable and thoughtful of Alvin not to divulge the creeping story inside the pitch dark cave? Agree?
He added, there have been instances that some rock formations reflected like nuns lining -up inside the cave. I wonder if those rock formations really exist and I just missed them or were they vandalized already and gone? Or just some apparitions seen by the chosen ones?

I thought we only reached the anterior part of the cave. There was a bigger hole there which I thought would be possibly accessible via rappelling. Maybe for the experts. Definitely not for us.

And hence the journey of getting there had been more exciting than the cave itself, we wasted no more time and exited the way we entered.

Back to the fresh air we decided to continue on to the more challenging part of the trail.

To the Pinagbanderahan Peak.
see ya.


  1. looks like an easy climb, ha? parang di pinagpawisan eh, he he he.. its been a long time since we used the manila south road going to naga, my father's hometown.

    1. for the pro maybe an easy one, but for us whose biggest trek challenge (before this one) has been to jog around our boring village, this one is HUGE!haha. naku, taga naga ka pala, go revisit the south, ang dami ng attractions. so happy di na ako lalayo:)

  2. Stumbled here and followed you.. :)

    mukhang a good place to hike...

    1. thank you :)

      the trail is friendly especially for those like me..
      very accessible too from mla.

      happy tripping :D