As I was planning our trip to Dumaguete, while researching for places to go I saw a photo of a cave in the images in Google. It caught my eye and I began looking in earnest about a place called Mabinay. Although “Mabinay Caves” is mentioned a lot in the net, the caves are actually NOT at Mabinay town proper but in a place called Bulwang. As shown in the map below, the red circle is Bulwang, before Mabinay town which I highlighted in yellow, if you are travelling from Dumaguete. I want to emphasize this for those of you who may travel there in the future.
The photos I saw were really beautiful and my desire to see the place was getting stronger the more I read about it. But I was also apprehensive because some mentioned about spelunking. I had to look up the word in the dictionary. Spelunking means “the sport or practice of exploring or studying caves”. I breathed a sigh of relief. I had images of myself tangled in ropes with a bewildered look in my face as I don’t know what to do. There is actually a word of what I was thinking about, it’s called rappelling. Let me dispel those thoughts of despair from you, the caves we are going to look at are okay for beginners.
Mabinay has over 100 caves, I think about 70 had been explored but the 3 caves good for beginners are Panligawan, Pandalihan, and Crystal Cave.
Mabinay is about 2 hours away from Dumaguete City, where the airport is located that caters to domestic flights (e.g. from Manila). There are Ceres buses that go to Bacolod City that pass by Mabinay. The place we stayed also had car rentals so we hired a car with a driver, which was much easier for us. As there were 5 of us, we hired the Toyota Innova. The rates are just for the car and driver. We had to pay for the gas or diesel, which costs about Php700 for the day trip as the car uses diesel fuel which was cheaper than the unleaded petrol that other cars use.
Hassaram Courtyard Car rental rates
Contact Nos: +63 917 302 5488/ +63 917 627 6741
Toyota Vios Php1250.00/day + driver 350.00 (4 passengers + Driver)
Honda CRV SUV Php1500.00/day + driver 350.00 (5 passengers + Driver)
Toyota Innova Php Php2000.00/day + Driver Php350.00 (7 passengers + Driver)
Car hire (Innova) with driver = Php2350
Diesel fuel = Php700
Cave guided tour for 5 persons = Php400
Entrance fee for each cave per person = Php15
Rent for headlamps/ person = Php50
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Text & Photos by Alicia Davis