Posted by: hoz49 | March 8, 2008

Kaenok Cave (cont Chocolate Hills)

As we were heading back towards the main highway our driver asked if we were interested seeing in the “Cave”. I’m a spelunker from way back so of course we had to stop. Fe said she would accompany me even though she was wearing lightweight sandals, not really suited to rough walking. Her cousin from Bicol came along too, but everyone else stayed in the van.


We were met by two young men, Rio and Degenero (actually Wendell). Rio is the owners grandson. They kept a steady patter as we walked up the rough trail to the cave entrance. It was a hot and humid hike through the jungle, which we learned was part of the Man Made Forest. Halfway up the trail we were told entrance fee was P25 per person… and none of us had thought to bring any money! We told them they would be paid when we got back to the van.

Our guides had flashlights to illuminate our way but I also brought a small battery powered headlamp. They were surprised I was prepared to go caving and I explained I was once an avid spelunker at home but it was only by chance I had a headlight with me.

The first entrance is a small climb down a trail to a lateral passage. We immediately felt 10 degrees cooler. Kaenok Cave is dry, with no stream, but it seeps groundwater. There are numerous formations, both stalactites and stalagmites. I noticed some flowstone and even a few helactites. This passage is about 40 meters long, averages 4-5 meters tall and ends in mud fill.

After visiting the first passageway we returned to the entrance and crossed over an open breakdown pit to the second. This one is bigger and has even more cave formations. One flowstone was at least 12 meters tall and covered an entire wall. I asked Rio if he knew how long it takes to make a formation and when he said no I explained one cubic centimeter takes 100 years, and that a trip in a cave is like a trip through time. He was very interested and I hope he adds this bit of information to his tour. He smiled and said, “Now, I learn from you”.


Once a caver…

The second passage has a rough breakdown floor and Rio has built an elevated wooden corduroy walkway with rickety handrails over the rough spots. I was surprised Fe handled it so well. But she and her cousin were often in the lead. Maybe they just wanted to get out sooner.

The formations in the second passage have names like, “Angel Wings”, “The Priests” and “The Nuns”, it is a Catholic nation afterall. I told Rio we would call the giant flowstone “The Godfather”.

This part of the cave is approximately 100 meters long and averages 8-12 meters tall. It also ends in fill. The exit includes a rickety wooden stairway 10 meters up to a second entrance.

On the walk back Rio explained the cave was discovered and developed by his grandfather, Kaenok. (Hence the name.) He said during the second world war guerrillas hid in the cave and ambushed a squad of Japanese soldiers as they climbed the hill, killing all. I asked if the story is the same for Japanese tourists and he smiled and admitted, “sometimes change a little”. Smart guide!


Our intrepid guides Rio (on the right) and his friend, Wendell.

Though it is rough, and sometimes wet and slippery walking, Kaenok Cave is an interesting addition to the Chocolate Hills Tour, and well worth the 25 pesos.

to be continued



  1. I bet Hoz-B would have loved to been there on this one!

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