Bohol's Hinagdanan Cave
Aside from the famed Chocolate Hills, the white beaches, dive sites and the tarsier, Bohol is known for many caves, some historic like the Dagohoy cave yet the most popular of them and the most accessible is the underground Hinagdanan Cave located in Dauis.
My parents being Bol-anon (my mother’s roots hailed from Panglao Island), the cave is our favorite stop on every trip. Years back, the area where the cave was located was devoid of houses, open and bare, except for intermittent trees. With an adventuresome spirit, I often swam in the cave’s pool and explored its crevices.
Come October 27, 2007 and with six kids in tow, with my brother Bong, my mom, relatives and a visitor from Pagadian, we visited the site. It looks different, with shops situated near the entrance of the cave selling souvenir and gift items to visiting tourists. Adjacent to the cave’s area is a resort. The place has been developed and has become a tourist spot.
The entrance of the cave is still narrow and steep and only one person at a time can enter. Yet the stairs have improved. The once wooden rickety handle of the stairs have been replaced with rounded steel bars and the stairs are wider. It is easier to go down them but one have to be careful for the steps are slippery due to the humidity of the cave and the wet kids running up and down the stairs in a swimming spree.
Entering the cave, one has to wink twice in order to accustom your eyes to the dark. It is not that dark inside anymore for a light has been added near the stairs and two holes aboveground gives a streak of light towards the upper left side of the cave. Initially though, one feels blinded by the dark when coming directly from outside.
The large underground cavern has a pond, looking dark yet alluring. As far as I remember, the pond is deep and the water icy cool and fresh.
But the water near its outlet is a bit salty especially during high tide when sea water enters. As a kid I was not fearful of its depth for I know how to swim. Later, I learned that the deepest portion is 10 feet deep.
Looking around the cave one can see stalactites hanging from the ceiling and protruding stalagmites on the ground. You can hear bats squeaking above yet I can barely see one because of the dark. The smell inside is also musty and may be due to the bat’s excrements. After taking pictures of the walls, one discovers drawings on it.
The barrio of Bingag was once covered by thick untilled vegetation. In the 16th century, people slowly came to settle in the surrounding area and cleared most portions for tilling.
One day, while the owner of this land was clearing the area for a farm and the far ridge as a look-out, he discovered two holes on the ground, adjacent to each other. The holes were found after decayed trunks of trees were removed from the ground.
To determine the depth of the hole, he threw a stone down the hole and was surprised to hear a splash. Intrigued, he further explored the inside of the caves and found to his delight a beautiful sight of stone formations hanging from the ceiling and some protruding from the ground.
A pond is in the center of the cavern. The cave is full of bats and smells bad. The news of the discovery spread. Adventurous people entered and swam in the pond. It eventually became a swimming pool for the local folks.
Eventually a ladder was improvised down a small hole at the side of the cave. In the local dialect, “hagdan” means ladder so the cave became known as Hinagdanan Cave.
The cave lies 2.5 kilometers from the center of Dauis town and 15 kilometers west of Tagbilaran City. It is located at Bingag, Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines. It is a karst cave, being made of limestone.
Dauis town was established in 1697 with a land area of 4,288 hectares divided in to 12 barangays. It is one of two towns on the island of Panglao and one of the oldest municipalities of Bohol.
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